I kind of have a love/hate relationship with my eyelashes. I appreciate that they’re quite long, but given how curly the hairs on my head are, I’m confused as to why my eyelashes are straighter than Julia Roberts in Eat, Prey, Love (at least they’re not as white as that).
Jokes aside … because of my woefully un-curly eyelashes, I always thought I would be ineligible for lash extensions and for years hardly gave it a second thought. Until one day, a little voice in my head said, ‘but maybe…’
All it took was those two little words – plus my mother’s upcoming wedding and an invitation from Melbourne’s Simply Brows and Lashes – for me to reassess my pre-concieved notions and take the extension plunge. With my bride-to-be mother in tow, we headed off to the Melbourne-based salon to get our extensions done. Read on to find out about our experience!
Me, mid-lash application and mum and I getting our consultations beforehand.
What to know before getting eyelash extensions
Generally speaking, any treatment to do with your face and more specifically your eyes, is not something to scrimp on. There are plenty of deals out there for discount extensions but I believe that this is one of those things where you get what you pay for. The price of your treatment will of course include the price of the lashes and the application, but before booking there are three major things you should think about.
Is the beautician an expert in lashes?
Beauticians specialise in many different areas, but when it comes to your lashes you should look for the best in the business. Many professionals will have their own Instagram page where you can take a look at previous clients of theirs to get a feel for their expertise and quality of work – like my lash expert Meni.
The salon itself.
Is it hygienic? Are they certified? Do they often do lash extensions? Does their website and social media look professional? These are all questions I ask myself before considering a salon. On top of this, if you’re spending your hard earned money I think the experience should also be enjoyable. For me that means choosing a beautifully styled salon with excellent customer service.
Has the salon or beautician been recommended to you?
A recommendation speaks volumes and is something I personally place a lot of value in. The salon I chose for my lashes was recommended to me by a former colleague, without which, I’m not sure I would have booked the treatment. Ask around your network for salon and style recommendations before locking anything in.
What to expect at the salon and immediately afterwards
If you’ve thought about the three the steps I mentioned above, then you can rest assured that your arrival at the salon will be a pleasant one. Your lash expert should give you a personalised consultation and help choose a customised set of lashes to suit your face.
I told my lash expert I wanted to go for something fairly dramatic, so we decided on a what’s called a ‘hybrid lash set’ – which is a combination of ‘classic’ lashes and ‘3D Russian volume’ lashes. The classic lashes are individual lashes whereas 3D Russian lashes are a fan of three fine lashes. If you’re feeling particularly dramatic you could opt for 4D Russian lashes (a fan of four lashes) but to be quite frank I think less is more in this case.
So the number refers to the amount of lashes and the letter refers to the curvature of the lash, A being the least curvy and D being the most. My mum, who wanted something subdued but still pretty and curly, opted for a set of ‘classic’ lashes with a C curl.
The whole process took over two hours! Each one of my natural lashes ended up with a combination of both classic and Russian lashes attached to them, leaving me with more than 100 extra lashes on each eye. Afterwards, I expected my eyelids to feel heavy or irritated but was so surprised that the buttload of new lashes on my eyes felt completely weightless and dare I say, natural? A hybrid lash set like mine will set you back $AUD 275 and around $AUD 65 for subsequent refills.
The results and up-keep
Both my mum and I were blown away by the immediate results. My lashes are my number one beauty gripe and I really hate the part of my makeup routine where I have to curl my lashes and apply mascara – it’s tedious and I’m never really satisfied with the results. With extensions, I woke up every day having the best lash day of my life!
That being said, I felt very conscious of the fact that I had lash extensions. Not that I could feel them or they irritated me, but in my head, I was wary of crushing them in my sleep or pulling them out when I washed my face.
I’m writing this article nearly five weeks after the lash application and I’m only now starting to see lashes notably falling out.
Common lash misconceptions
My natural lashes aren’t good enough for lash extensions!
If you’re anything like me, then you may think that you’re not eligible for lash extensions. In my case, I thought that my natural lashes were too straight and would therefore sit underneath the uber curly extensions. In reality, the extensions are intertwined and mixed in with your natural lashes, creating a fairly seamless and undetectable transition. According to my lash expert, the only people who may not be suited to lash extensions are those who have hardly any or very weak natural lashes.
Extensions are damaging to your natural lashes
If you’re worried about damage, discuss this with your lash expert before hand and choose the correct style extension that your natural lashes can handle. If you feel like you need to, you can also take breaks in between your lash applications and make sure to use a natural, organic oil like castor oil on your natural lashes to strengthen them. If you do decide to take a break, make sure you get the extensions removed by a professional as pulling them out yourself will inevitably end up pulling out your natural lashes.
The up-keep is too hard to maintain
I was honestly surprised at how unnoticeable the lashes felt on my eyes. During the day, I would forget I had them and only consciously thought about them when it came time to wash my face. My biggest tip in regards to caring for your extensions is to brush them through with a clean mascara wand every single day and not be afraid to wash them. My lash expert gave me a lash-specific shampoo and told me to gently massage them with warm water. You can use any old face wash but do avoid oil-based products as this can erode the lash glue.
Russian lashes refers to the type of hair
I am definitely guilty of this one! I always thought that the term ‘Russian lashes’ referred to the quality of the lash hair, specifically that they are made out of luxe mink or silk hairs. This actually could not be further from the truth. The ‘Russian’ part simply refers to the dramatic style of the extension and in fact, in Australia, all extensions are legally required to be synthetic, for hygiene purposes.
So, what’s the verdict?
In all honesty, lash extensions are addictive. If you’re someone like me whose natural lashes aren’t exactly on top form, then I think extensions can transform your beauty routine and take your makeup to the next level. That being said, they are a commitment. A commitment in time, in money and in upkeep.
It’s one of those things where you have to weigh up the pros and the cons to decide if it’s worth it in the end for you. Would I get them done again? If it were for an event or holiday season, absolutely! But when it comes to everyday life, I’m not sure my wallet could handle it.
Have you ever had lash extensions? What was your experience?
*Ad. Simply Brows and Lashes provided this service for my myself and my mum free of charge. Big thank you to the salon, my lash expert Meni and to social media star Nat, who helped set this up.