Being a natural dark-blonde, my eyelashes are quite fair and only really show up when I wear mascara, as a result my eyes always seem to be undressed and it’s something that I try to counteract with eyeliner. I’m a busy, sporty mum-of-two and makeup really isn’t my strong point, so I only attempt to wear mascara for special occasions and often find it pressed off under my eyes and smeared across my face unexpectedly resembling a panda when I finally check a mirror. Eek!
I’ve worn strip lashes infrequently in the past, only really on photoshoots when makeup artists do it for me as the handful of times that I’ve attempted to apply strip lashes myself they’ve ended up half way up my eyelid, poking into my eye or curling up at the corners and dropping off – it’s just not worth the hassle!
Seeing as I wear minimal makeup but want to feel a little more glam, I decided to try lash extensions to see how it would look. I already have botox and fillers, SPMU eyebrows and eyeliner, laser hair removal to my legs, underarms and hairline and really like the idea of low-maintenance beauty so that I can literally wakeup and walk out the door in the morning with minimal effort whilst still looking preened. For me, thicker, fuller lashes are a glam and girly touch to my sport low-maintenance lifestyle.
So I’ve decided to share my experience of getting lash extensions here to show you what’s involved, give you some more information and advice and answer any questions that you may have. I hope you find this helpful!
I found the most incredible lash technician through friends of friends whilst complimenting their lashes and asking if they’re natural because I love how full and thick that they look. Emma of Emma’s Eye’s is a twelve-times award winning lash technician based in Buckinghamshire and has her own clinic where I was able to book in between hitting the gym and doing the school run.
Being a complete newbie to lashes I asked for the most minimal, natural and subtle looking set to begin with and see how I get on. I’m a total gym bunny and find makeup inconvenient when I’m getting hot and sweaty and training. I like to swim, walk outdoors even when it’s windy and cold and always sleep on my side with my face pressed into my pillow. The thought of lashes poking me in the eye, pinging off as I train or getting stuck to my pillow is what’s kept me away from ever learning how to apply my own. Will lash extensions be more suitable?
It’s safe to say that I’ve started with the most minimal set of lashes which I’m more than happy about as it’s really a test for me to see if I find them both practical and comfortable for my lifestyle. I’m a bit of a twitcher when it comes to people touching my face and doing my makeup as my eyes like to water for seemingly no reason and my eyelids twitch at the prospect of being poked; perhaps not the easiest of clients for a lash technician to tame!
Arriving at Emma’s clinic, I felt completely at ease within the bright and fresh setting where I was invited to lay on a beauty bed to relax as soft music played and I admired the awards and certificates on the walls. Emma talked me through the procedure and showed me the lashes that she would be using to suit my needs; you can choose anything you want from subtle and natural all the way up to full on glam with the difference being the number of individual lashes that are applied to each of your own.
From a client perspective, there is very little involved and the entire process felt more like an eyebrow massage than having a lash treatment, as the technician touches the palm of her hand and finger tips intermittently around the forehead and brows for stability when applying the lashes. I didn’t feel anything on my eyes at all as my lower lashes were softly taped down to keep them out of the way and my eyes were closed for the entire treatment. There was no hair pulling or poking and it wasn’t sore, painful or irritating at all. As I said, if I didn’t know that it was a lash treatment I never would have guessed or being able to tell.
With my eyes closed, soft music playing and feeling warm and cosy I actually managed to fall asleep three times during the procedure, where I started to snore and then jolted awake much to my horror! But Emma assured me that a lot of people fall asleep whilst laying peacefully with their eyes closed for two hours and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about – that’s what you get for hitting the gym before lashes, it’s just so peaceful and relaxing to lay back and close your eyes without having to do anything!
Questions I Asked My Lash Technician
Throughout the treatment I asked Emma about every aspect of lash extensions which I’ll share here. Primarily I really wanted to understand if it’s suitable for me, if it can indeed fit into my active lifestyle, if it’s worth the cost and upkeep and if I would like the subtle lashes enough to then want to go thicker and fuller in future.
Q: How much does it cost and how often do you need it?
Emma: “My full set prices range from £40-£70 and infills from £25-£40. I recommend infills between 2 and 3 weeks depending on your lash cycle.”
Q: Why do people have lash extensions?
Emma: “For me personally lashes give me a lot more confidence and I have zero need to wear any make up, so my morning routine becomes so much quicker and I know a lot of my clients will agree with that. Lashes can enhance your natural beauty.”
Q: Who would usually have lash extensions – glam girls / young or old/ busy mums / business women etc?
Emma: “My clients range from young woman all the way to mature woman, there’s no stereotyping when it comes to lashes, as each set is customised to each client. I’ve even lashed males before.”
Q: What are the risks of having lash extensions?
Emma: “As with any beauty service there is always a small chance of risks, with extensions the main risk is allergies, unfortunately we can develop an allergy to anything at any time, the main cause of a reaction is from the adhesive.”
Q: Can your own lashes become damaged from having extensions?
Emma: “NO! As long as the lash artist you as going to is correctly trained and knows all about isolation, weights lengths diameters glue usage etc and you the client are maintaining the lashes properly after treatment, your natural lashes will continue to shed and grow as normal.”
Q: What can’t you do if you have lash extensions?
Emma: “Wearing mascara with extensions is a big no no for me if you are planning on returning for infills. Also avoid the use of a lash curler.”
Q: What must you avoid doing to your lash extensions?
Emma: “Things I advise to avoid when wearing lash extensions are: Pulling/fiddling with the extensions, oily products, rubbing your eye, excessive heat exposure such as getting to close to a bbq/oven or naked flame, wearing mascara, liquid or gel eyeliner.”
Q: How long does it take to have a set of lash extensions?
Emma: “On average, depending on what type of lashes you want, it can take from 2-3 hours for a full set and 1hr -1 1/2hr for infills.”
Q: What if you only want lash extensions once for a special occasion?
Emma: “That’s absolutely fine, I have done many one off sets for special occasions such as weddings, party’s, photoshoots or just because.”
Q: How do you maintain lash extensions at home / aftercare?
Emma: “Cleaning and brushing your lashes every day is a must, this as this will stop any natural oils and dirt from sitting on your lash line. If you don’t clean your lashes you can risk premature lash loss, blepharitis or even worse lash lice, it can also cause your lash follicles to become blocked and prevent new lashes from growing through. Cleaning your lashes is easy, you can buy a foam lash shampoo and brush though them with a lash cleaning brush then simply rinse off with water and pat dry, never rub dry. Then use your lash wand to brush them back into shape.”
Q: What must you do to prepare for lash extensions?
Emma: “Arrive to your lash appointment with no eye make up on. If you normally wear waterproof mascara or strip lashes I advise not wearing it for at least 3 days prior to your appointment as both can leave a residue on your natural lashes and cause bad retention. Also avoid drinking high caffeinated drinks before your appointment as these can cause your eyes to twitch.”
Q: How long can you have extensions for? Do you need a break after so many months?
Emma: “As long as the correct application and after care is maintained then you can continuously have extensions applied.”
Q: What type of lashes are there to choose from?
Emma: The main lash styles available are:
-Pre made volume
Q: Will it hurt?
Emma: “No, it doesn’t hurt and if at anytime you feel any discomfort during the process please do tell your artist.”
Q: What if I blink?
Emma: “During the application your eyes will be closed but some clients have sensitive eyes which can cause them to twitch their lids, but there any many tricks to help this. Sometimes clients dose off and startle when they wake and open their eyes. This can sometimes cause stinging as the adhesive hasn’t fully dried but only lasts for a few seconds, if that. If however your eyes are very twitchy or your eyes don’t fully close, your lash artist may stop the service as exposing the eye to adhesive fumes can cause a chemical burn. Overly twitching eyes can make isolating the natural lash and applying the extensions very difficult which can lead to stickys – when two or more extensions stick together – and bad isolation.”
Q: Will people know they’re fake?
Emma: “This depends on the type of extensions that you get, classic extensions are the most natural and can look very real, but styles such as Russian volume and mega volume are more glam and won’t look like natural lashes.”
Q: How do extensions differ to stick on strip lashes or individuals that you do at home?
Emma: “Strip lashes are normally very glam and long, they’re great for those who just want to have lashes for one night, you can also buy cluster lashes although the adhesive that come with this can be dangerous to those who are not trained. In my personal opinion cluster lashes should also be applied with strip lash glue.”
Q: Why visit a specialist?
Emma: “Going to a trained and certified lash artist is a must, a lash artist can not get insurance without a valid training certificate. Going to a specialist will ensure you receive the best service, someone who is passionate about their job will go above and beyond to make sure their clients are happy.”
Q: What if I sleep face down after having lash extensions?
Emma: “Unfortunately when it comes to sleeping we can only try to stay on our back or side but we don’t really have control once we’re asleep. You will find you lose more lashes from the side you lay on most often and sleeping face down will unfortunately result in quicker lash loss.”
Q: What if I’m going on holiday?
Emma: “Lashes are perfect for going on holiday, you don’t have to worry about mascara running down your face when swimming and will always look fabulous. Again lash cleaning will be very important as chlorine from the water and sun cream/oils will effect retention if not cleaned daily.”
As you can see, Emma is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to lashes and a true perfectionist in her work. My twitchy eyes were tamed by a clever taping trick that Emma used, upon conversation it may have been down to the pre-workout that I had at the gym before treatment as it’s highly caffeinated and something that I will avoid in future.
I absolutely love my new lashes and I’m so thrilled with the results; they look natural yet glamourous, almost as if I’m wearing mascara yet perfectly spaced and far thicker and longer than the goopy spiderlegs that I seem to create with my mascara want as my lashes usually end up sticking together.
With eyelash extensions you typically have between 90-120 individual lashes applied to each eye, depending on how many lashes you naturally have. Throughout the year your lashes shed on a daily basis between 1-5 lashes per day, but you don’t usually notice it because they’re so fine. For this reason my lash extensions will gradually drop away with my own lash cycle and in two to three weeks I will need infills.
The first night that I slept with my new lashes I felt a little cautious to try to remain on my back and side to protect my extensions, yet almost a week in now, I’m happily rolling around as normal and don’t think about, nor worry about my lashes at all. Afterall, my natural lashes have survived my sleep routine and there’s nothing I can do about it when I’m unconscious.
Cleaning my lashes is a quick and simple part of my nightly routine, I brush my teeth and use a makeup wipe to clean my face before pumping a squirt of lash foam onto a wand and comb my lashes before bed – it literally takes a couple of minutes and keeps my lashes lovely and clean and looking their best. My lash extensions have fit into my busy lifestyle seamlessly; I can still shower, gym, swim, walk in the wind, sleep and get up in the morning and out of the door in less than five minutes, all whilst looking pristine!
Having thicker, fuller lashes has certainly made me feel far more glamourous and sassy, subtly enhancing my own lashes in length and volume and as a result so many people have complimented me on my eyes that I find myself smiling and giggling all the more. When it comes to my infill appointment I think I’ll try the next step up for volume just to see what it’s like – come back in a year to see how I’m getting on and I’m sure my lashes will look like the wings of an eagle! I can totally see why girls get addicted, it really is life changing!
UPDATE: Upgrading To Hybrid Lashes
I certainly didn’t expect to be returning to my lovely lash technician quite so soon, but 8 days after getting my classic lashes I was booked onto a photoshoot for a lingerie company that called for me to look a little more glamourous than my everyday natural look!
Not wanting to risk the makeup artist attempting to add additional false lashes to my eyes, I booked in for a very premature top-up of lashes, switching from classic to hybrid making the number of lashes higher for thicker volume.
My classic lashes could have happily lasted 2-4weeks depending on how my lashes naturally shed in their hair cycle, so topping-up after 8 days was rather premature! This also meant that the extent of the hybrid lashes that I could achieve was limited by my classic lashes still being in place as they were yet to shed in order to allow each individual hair to be dressed again.
For this reason I couldn’t have every single lash topped-up with hybrid lashes, but next time I return I shall. The top-up appointment was slightly shorter than my initial and also cost less which is in reflection of the maintenance of the appointment rather than a full new installation of lashes.
Over the 8 days that I had my classic lashes I noticed a few false lashes fall into my sink when brushing my teeth, on my pillow when I woke up in the morning and under my eyes randomly as they drop off. Our natural lashes drop out all day everyday anyway, yet we only sometimes notice it because they’re light and blow away easily, however lash extensions are more noticeable because they are thick and black.
I’ve found it incredibly easy and comfortable having lash extensions and I’m in a nice flow of brushing and washing my lashes with my daily beauty regime. I’ve also realised how addictive it is to have lash extensions as I loved having my classics, as a stepping-stone to lashes, and adore the thicker, fuller hybrids that I have now!
The gym, photoshoots and sleeping haven’t affected my lashes and I’m free to go about my day just as I did before having them, which is great as they’ve fit so seamlessly into my life and are certainly something that I’m going to keep up now! What a difference it makes to highlight and define the eye – I’m kicking myself that I didn’t try this sooner!