In reading about wedding photography, many photographers recommend having fake eyelashes applied by your make-up artist to help your eyes pop in the photos. However, I got married in the mountains of Austria and had to do my own make up. I considered applying fake lashes by myself but most likely I would apply them crooked or if I cried that they would come off. I decided to research eyelash extensions, which have become popular in the last ten years.
As an eyelash extension virgin, I had many questions and many doubts. How long do they REALLY last? Can the glue used in the application damage to my eyes? How sanitary is the application process? Google has the answer to everything, right?! Wrong. It turns out there is a lot of misinformation about eyelash extensions on the Internet – sadly, often by professionals themselves. I decided to find an expert in the area to give me a tutorial and to make my eyes look more beautiful for my wedding day and honeymoon. Liv is a former rocker who lived in Los Angeles for many years before quitting the music business and moving to San Francisco. She became a licensed aesthetician 17 years ago. She has been applying lashes for seven years. She trains and certifies other professionals in eyelash extension application.
I arrived for my 4pm appointment at Lashes by Liv in July a few minutes early, easily finding parking in the Cow Hollow neighborhood where her private studio is located. I stood in the hall and waited quietly, as the sign requested. About ten minutes later, I heard someone coming walk up the stairs and it was Liv. She looked like a younger and much prettier Chrissie Hynde – similar with an edgy, rocker, glam look. But maybe it was just the longer, Cleopatra-esque haircut and the black smock with her logo on it that gave me the impression.
She excused herself to wash her hands as I positioned myself onto the comfortable table. When she returned, she inspected my lashes and took some before photos. Then I closed my eyes and she gently taped my lids up a little so that she could get super close to my lashes. She also taped down the lower lashes with a special gel pad. And she went to work. As she worked, she answered my questions and shared information about lashes and beauty in general. [NOTE: some of my information also came from noted eyelash salon in NYC called Wink Eyelash.]
The number one myth about eyelash extensions is that they last for four to six weeks. The normal “life” of an eyelash ends around six weeks. So an eyelash could potentially stay on for that long. However, the reality is that it is an extension glued onto a natural, growing eyelash. A normal person loses eyelashes throughout the day from face washing, standing in the shower, by accidentally rubbing an eye. You get the picture. In order to keep eyelash extensions looking their best, it is best to keep them maintained every two to three weeks with an extension fill.
There are three stages of an eyelash. Short, medium and long. Short lashes are new lashes just growing. Medium lashes are “middle-aged.” And long lashes are towards the end of their life. Lash extensions are placed on the shorter lashes for longer lasting effects.
The glue used in eyelash extension should NOT contain formaldehyde. The glue should also be no older than three weeks and ideally is kept in the refrigerator. Ask before making your appointment how the glue is stored and if it contains formaldehyde. You should also ask if the person applying the lashes has a current certification. The person applying your lashes should have a certification; a common one is from Xtreme Lashes.
Wearing eyelash extensions help a person have better control over their skin care. Because it is important not to let hot water get on the lashes, it helps you to remember to use lukewarm to cool water, which is much better for your skin. It also helps you to remember not to rub your eyes when washing your face. In fact, to lengthen the life of your lash extensions, Liv recommends skipping eye make up all together.
When Liv was finished with my lashes – about 45 minutes later – she took some after photos and handed me a mirror. I was stunned. My eyes were more beautiful than ever. I happily handed over my $200 and told her that I’d see her in a little more than two weeks.
When my now husband, M., came home that night, he didn’t notice my eyes until about an hour after he was home – even though he’d kissed me. His reaction when he realized was startled, “What did you do to your eyelashes?” But he really liked them. Friends have either not noticed at all or have commented on how natural they look. The result for me two weeks later was mixed. I had lost a lot of lashes and you could see where they were missing. But, they still looked great and I felt very comfortable running out the door without wearing eye make up.
Before leaving for my wedding, I visited Liv once more for an extension fill. The fill was $45 and took nearly 45 minutes. After returning from Europe, I asked Liv to remove the extensions that remained. Having lash extensions, like many other beauty regimens requires a lot of maintenance. It is a costly and time-consuming process that I don’t have money or time to spend on at this moment. I would probably get lash extensions again, when I’m at a different place in life. Plus, my new husband loves me just the way I am – with or without long eyelashes to bat at him!
Liv is not accepting new clients at this time. [Note: Liv does an excellent job at giving you beautiful lashes but she is extremely difficult to book an appointment with and once you have an appointment she’ll reschedule repeatedly.] I suggest you use Yelp and other resources to find a licensed aesthetician to apply your lash extensions.