Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Eyelash Extensions

They're becoming as ubiquitous as hair extensions. Hardly a photo shoot is complete without them. Kim Kardashian wears them like the rest of us wear mascara. Eyelash extensions are officially a thing. Like many new beauty procedures that quickly become part of our special occasion routine or even regular maintenance, there's a lot of questions from the uninitiated. Will it hurt? How long do they last? Do they feel… well, weird?

"Lash extensions are glamorous, they are the beauty accessory that allows women who have not been blessed with long lashes achieve a natural, eye-enhancing look," Deneen Marcel Jackson, owner of Deneen Marcel Lashes in Philadelphia, says. "Our customers love how lashes improve their overall appearance, not to mention how they cut down on the time it takes to complete their daily beauty regimens."

Ooh, a time saver? Tell me more. "This non-surgical procedure is a small wonder that makes a big difference," Deneen says. "With [lash extensions], everyone wakes up pretty!" It sounds small, but there are definitely days when I am annoyed at the time it takes to curl and mascara my lashes, so I'm willing to buy in to the convenience factor.

For the record, if applied correctly the extensions shouldn't hurt, they last three to four weeks, and they can take some getting used to. If you're going to take the plunge — it is a significant time and financial investment — here's what you should know:

  • Do shower before your appointment or at least cleanse your lashes to remove any dirt, makeup and oil to make sure adhesive isn't compromised.
  • Do make sure you go to a professional who is licensed and certified as a lash extensionist.
  • Do ask about the adhesive and lashes used. Extensions should be bonded with a medical grade adhesive formulated to be applied to lashes, not skin, and should only be applied and removed by a certified lash extensionist. The extensions themselves can be made of anything from Siberian mink to high-grade synthetic, in various lengths and curl types.
  • Don't wear waterproof mascara or products containing high amounts of Polyethylene glycol, Hexalene glycol, Butylene or Propylene glycol, they can break down the adhesive and shorten the length of your extensions. If you want to wear waterproof mascara after getting your extensions, Deneen suggests L'Oreal Full Definition Voluminous mascara because it's water soluble, glycol free and easy to clean off with a gentle cleanser.
  • Don't shower, work out, go in a sauna or otherwise get your extensions wet for at least 24 hours.
  • Don't use an eyelash curler on extensions, if you want a curlier lash, ask the extensionist.
  • The biggest don't is, don't try to pull off your lashes, go back to the professional who applied them to have them removed.

Lash extensions go for $275 to $375 so start saving your pennies if you want this luxe look!

image: Deneen Marcel Lashes