Test Drive: Lash Extensions

Sometimes mascara just won’t cut it. Pro lash extensions are a great alternative that give instant length and volume to your fringe and they can last for a month or longer. To get the real low down on the service, we sent a staffer to test them out and then asked makeup artist Tennessee Dye for her best maintenance tips.

What They Are

You have two options when it comes to lash extensions: the more affordable synthetic route or the über luxe mink variety that celebs like J.Lo and Madonna rock. Our staffer opted for synthetics at New York’s Ebenezer Eyelash, and over a week later, she still had vampy results. Whether you go synthetic or mink, all fake lashes are individually glued to the top of your existing lashes, about 1 mm away from the lash line. No glue ever touches your skin.

How It Works

Getting lash extensions for the first time is a bit like experiencing an alien abduction: you lie flat on a table with your eyes closed as a bright light shines in your face. The whole process takes about an hour. It’s not painful, but it’s not exactly pleasant either. Of course, the payoff comes when you open your eyes and see a brand new set of noticeably different, gorgeous lashes.

Pro Tips

With proper care, your fake lashes can last a couple weeks. Here are makeup artists Tennessee Dye’s best upkeep tips:

Go Easy On The Makeup. “You don’t need mascara if you already have extensions,” Dye explains. Another no-no: using a lash curler, but liner and shadow are okay. Avoid rubbing your eyes at all times.

Avoid Oil-Based Makeup Removers. These formulas will dissolve the adhesive glue. Look for a gentle, oil-free formula like Klorane’s Soothing Eye Makeup Remover. “Make sure to carefully remove your makeup with a Q-tip, and don’t use too much pressure,” says Dye.

Water Is Your Worst Enemy. Don’t get your extensions wet for the first 24 hours. This means skipping your usual shower and cleaning your face with a damp washcloth. Steer clear of swimming pools, steam rooms, and hot saunas.

Buyer Beware

Lash extensions may look pretty, but they have a few potential pitfalls. First, they weigh down your natural lashes and can inhibit growth. Next, people with latex allergies or other sensitivities can be allergic to the glue. Most importantly, always make sure you go to a reputable place: Dye recommends high-end salons like John Barrett Salon.

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