Look closely at the eyes of any female celebrity on TV or in magazines. Do her eyelashes look particularly full and lush? It's not that she's genetically blessed—unless she's like Liz Taylor and has a natural set of double eyelashes. So maybe it's Maybelline? Actually, it's not. No mascara can give you eyelashes that long and lush. Only one thing can: false lashes.
These aren't your basic strip falsies, but individual eyelash extensions that are made from mink hair or a realistic-looking synthetic material and attached to each natural eyelash. The result is highly glamorous, yet still looks real. In fact, the false lashes look so natural that ordinary people have been using them not only for special occasions, but also as a way to enhance their everyday looks.
We interviewed two such people, Groupon beauty bloggers Favin and Mae, to see what it was like to have these types of lashes. Here's what they had to say about getting lash extensions for the first time.
Favin went to Celebrity Skin Couture Air Tan in Chicago, where she learned that she actually has the same eyelash mutation Liz Taylor had. But although her double lashes are ultra thick and dense, they're not that long, so she would still benefit from extensions.
She opted for a full set, which meant she would get an extension for every lash. They typically cost $250, but are quite a bit less with a Groupon for eyelash extensions.
During the two-hour appointment, Favin's technician, Jennifer, taped her bottom lashes down with a hydrating wrinkle patch. Jennifer then applied shiny, black silk extensions in different lengths and curvatures, "which made for a really natural look that I love," Favin says.
"I had never gotten eyelash extensions before, and I didn't really know what to expect," she adds.
"The whole first day, I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror, in my phone camera, in puddles—I looked like such a glamazon."
The only downside? "I miss rubbing my eyes," she says. She's also had a hard time keeping her extensions away from oil-based products, like moisturizers and foundations.
With such care, however, her extensions should last 2–3 weeks. After that, Favin was told she could either go back and get a fill to replace any lashes that had fallen out or she get the remaining ones removed for free with an adhesive-dissolving gel
"I haven't decided yet which one I'm going to do, but I sure do love skipping mascara in the morning!"
For Mae's appointment, she headed to Chicago Lash Lounge, where makeup artist Olivia Black has applied false lashes on everyone from actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum to people who have lost their lashes to alopecia and chemotherapy. Olivia gave Mae a full set of luxurious mink extensions, which Olivia describes as the "Bentley of extensions" and "un-freaking-detectable."
During Mae's two-hour appointment, Olivia carefully applied more than 100 (cruelty-free) hairs from a real mink to Mae's natural lashes. Going into the appointment, Mae was a little concerned about the lash glue, but says it wasn't horribly toxic or smelly. And she appreciated that Olivia applied a layer of tape to hold down her top lashes "so glue didn't get on my eyeball."
As a girl who normally doesn't wear much more than chapstick, the glamorous falsies were a big departure from Mae's normal routine.
She didn't really have a problem with the aftercare instructions, either. In fact, she relished the 12 hours after her appointment, when she wasn't supposed to shower, workout, or wash her face. "It's great. Sit in bed and watch TV. Ignore your daily personal-hygiene GCal alerts," Mae says.
She was told, however, that sleeping on your back helps extensions last longer, up to four weeks for minks. "But I like to sleep on my stomach," she says. "Every night, I worried I was hurting my lashes. It was sort of like having puppies glued to my face."
Still, Mae couldn't help but enjoy all of the compliments she got on her new eyelashes.