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Synthetic Eyelash Extensions: Window Dressing for the Soul
The first modern false eyelashes were made from human hair, commissioned by silent-film director D. W. Griffith so that his starlet’s lashes would touch her cheeks with every soulful downward gaze. Although you may think it’d be hard to improve on these natural materials, in reality the difference in texture between eyelashes and the stuff that grows from the head would make such extensions look a little strange. Stick-on strips have been available in drugstores for decades, but it wasn't until the mid-2000s that cosmetic scientists developed semipermanent extensions. Also known as grafted lashes, these delicate fibers fuse to the top of pre-existing lashes with pharmaceutical-grade glue, lending eyes a lush, natural-looking fringe without the use of mascara.
As clients lie on a table with their peepers shut for 40–90 minutes, a professional applies artificial lashes strand by strand, carefully bonding them about a millimeter away from the eyelid to avoid any contact with the skin or eye. The lush look stays intact for about two to six weeks—natural eyelashes have a finite lifespan, and when they fall out, they take the extensions with them.
To replicate the look and feel of natural hairs, lab technicians forge artificial lashes from plastic, faux-mink poly fibers, silk blends, or high-quality keraspecific fibers, which are chemically identical to real human hair. No matter the material, synthetic extensions should feel comfortable and light as they frame what poets have long called “the windows to the soul” and “the worst part of the face to be poked in.”
Under the tutelage of owner Meredith Clayton, who has been a hairstylist for more than 20 years, Shine Salon has pampered clients with an array of services such as hair coloring, facials, and body waxing since 2006. A crew of stylists, aestheticians, nail technicians, and makeup artists tend to clients’ beauty needs by banishing frizz from unruly strands, painting polish on natural nails, and adhering eyelash extensions.