6 Things You Need to Know About Eyelash Extensions

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In her Meet The Team profile, Glossier's Digital Designer Nadine Head-Gordon had this nugget of wisdom to share: "I used to get eyelash extensions, when you essentially get synthetic eyelashes semi-permanently glued onto your real eyelashes. I wanted to look like Bambi. I was on a date with a guy and one of them fell onto my cheek, and he told me make a wish. So I made a wish on a fake eyelash. That was when I decided to get them removed." In our book, this makes her the office expert on the topic. So we coerced her to write us all a guide to share with the world. Because who doesn't want to have semi-permanent Bambi lashes, too?

Despite working at a beauty company, I am the laziest of the lazy when it comes to getting ready in the morning. In my ideal world, I would wake up looking exactly as I did the day before—this is why, for most of 9th grade, I slept in my makeup. That doesn't work and I don't recommend it.

Then in 2012 came the answer to my prayers: eyelash extensions. Similar to the ones you can get on your head, eyelash extensions are individual lashes, made of silk, mink, or something synthetic, that are attached to your existing lashes semi-permanently. If you've ever dreamt of waking up with Bambi lashes but without that ring of leftover mascara dangling a foot under your eye, this is your solution. Curious? At least a little? Good, so get off Google search—here's everything you need to know about getting eyelash extensions:

1. It’s a very luxurious process.

Really—it’s enjoyable. You lie down in a bed and close your eyes for an hour and a half while calming music plays in the background and a technician attaches little feathery nothings to your lashes. It’s the most socially acceptable naptime a working adult could ask for. And if you’re not already sold, most salons offer a complimentary massage while you’re on the operating table.

2. Every lash extension experience is customizable.

When you're done, you will not end up looking like you just got a permanent strip lash attached to your lid. First, you can choose the length. Most salons will carry extension lengths from 9 to 15mm (or, from natural to Kardashian length). The sweet spot for most is 10-12.

After you pick your length, pick your curl. A “J” curl is for a more natural, awake look, while a “C” curl is a more dramatic, "I never leave home without my Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler" look. If you want to get creative, you can do “J” on the inner corners of your eyes and “C” on the outer edges for a more cat eye look.

Now, in terms of material, you have a lot to choose from: Faux Mink, Faux Fox, Silk, Real Mink, and last but not least, Real Human Hair. The differences between these looks are negligible so opt for the Faux Mink since it's the most affordable.

3. Eyelash extensions last longer than you think.

With proper care, I can get my extensions to last up to a month and a half. Most places recommend you come back every 2-3 weeks for a touch up, but if you’re looking to save a bit of money, you can prolong their lifespan. Just be careful not to get water on your lashes and don’t use oily products near your eyes.

4. Yes, you can wear makeup with them.

If you can't stand the thought of ditching your smoky eye, don't worry, you don't have to. Only liquid-based eye products can be damaging to the extensions, but you can get away with a tiny wing of liquid liner as long as you're not dragging it along the lash line. Make sure to carefully remove the shadow or liner with oil-free makeup remover and Q-tips for precision. Most importantly, stay away from mascara entirely as it leaves the extensions crusty and damaged. It's only acceptable if you're at the end of your cycle and will be getting a fresh set in a few days.

5. Extensions can ruin your eyelashes—but they don’t have to.

That is, if you don’t play by the rules. I am one of the many people who have made the mistake of pulling out the extensions myself–not only is it extremely painful but it leaves you with few to no natural eyelashes left. However, after what I like to call the intense “eyelash rehab” program of applying Vaseline to my lashes every night, my natural eyelashes were back to normal after a month and a half.

6. The only way to get rid of them is to get them professionally removed or have them fall out naturally.

Having the extensions removed is as easy as having them put on–painless and relatively quick. Every salon will have this service available. If you're not looking to spend any more money, however, the extensions do fall out with the natural shedding of your lashes. This is a much slower process, but it is $free.99, so there's that.

—Nadine Head-Gordon

Photo via ITG.

Maybe mascara is more your thing—in that case, read up on the best drugstore mascaras over here.

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