Eyelash extensions are an alluring concept. After all, who doesn’t have eyes that could use some extra oomph? The procedure, where an aesthetician glues individual strands of silk, synthetic, or mink-based hairs to each of your natural lashes one by one, can give lashes some extra volume and length—with no clumping or smudged mascara. And it's become incredibly popular, as more and more women realize the allure of a shorter makeup routine and scoring Beyonce-esque “I woke up like this” lashes every day.
While it may seem like a no-brainer to get these extensions if you’re craving longer lashes, there are a lot of things you should know before you book an appointment.
First off, it's definitely a time and money commitment, says Arianna Montazem, a makeup artist and cosmetologist in Los Angeles who specializes in eyelash extensions. A full set of eyelash extensions can take between one and a half to two and a half hours, depending on the type of set. Plus, to maintain the extensions, you'll need to come back to get them touched up. For fills, she says it takes between 45 to 90 minutes. In Los Angeles, where she works, a full set can range from $150 to $350, although the price can be higher (up to $1000). The general consensus seems to be you get what you pay for, so beware of prices that seem to good to be true.
For the procedure itself, you can get a range of lengths and shapes added to your natural lash. According to Montazem, lashes usually range from six to 18 millimeters. However, she says she doesn’t apply anything longer than 15 millimeters since it can be dangerous to the health of the natural lash. As for shapes, her clients ask for eyelash extensions that imitate everything from a doll's eye to a cat's eye. People generally study different eye shapes and lash maps in preparation for their appointment in order to get the specific look they're trying to achieve.
Once applied, eyelash extensions require some regular upkeep. “I recommend for most of my clients to come back between two to three weeks [after getting the full set],” Montazem says. “Anything after four weeks or less than 40 percent of extensions left, I consider to be a new full set.” They also require upkeep apart from touch-up appointments. She also recommends caring for your extensions by "eliminating mascara from your beauty routine, or at least using much less, and cleaning the lashes gently each day." (Clean by brushing them gently with a clean spoolie brush.) You should also be careful when removing eye makeup to not disturb the extensions.