I Tried It: Eyelash Extensions
Don't get me wrong, I love my Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara as much as the next girl. But the possibility of eliminating an entire step from my morning routine? That was too good to pass up.
So it was that I retired my faithful pink tube for a solid month this winter after receiving eyelash extensions at The Lash Lounge's newest location at Memorial Green. I went in hoping for something noticeable but not insane—I wanted to ditch my mascara, but I also didn't want to look like I donned a new pair of drugstore falsies each day for work—so I assumed that would put me somewhere around a "basic classic" set at The Lash Lounge. Upon my consultation, though, I learned I'd been blessed with naturally thick fringe to begin with, so a classic set—with 60 individual faux lashes applied per eye—wouldn't do much to enhance my peepers. It was at that point I put my faith in lash technician Vicky's hands, following her blindly (literally) to the point of no return: "dramatic volume."
What followed was two hours of careful, exacting work on Vicky's part and a kind of bizarre state of semi-consciousness on mine, my (closed) eyelids expanded with tape as I drifted in and out of sleep on a flat table beneath a fuzzy purple blanket to what I'd venture a guess were the sounds of a Pandora station based on Miley Cyrus's "The Climb."
As Vicky delicately attached each synthetic wisp to my eye with medical-grade adhesive, I'd doze off—what The Lash Lounge refers to as a "lash nap"—thinking about the Hannah Montana days and what I was going to eat for lunch later. Then, I'd catch myself snoring or become suddenly cognizant of the pair of tweezers in incredibly close proximity to my eyeball, and awaken with a jolt. I'd apologize for falling asleep, Vicky would tell me many people do and it's actually easier for her to work that way, then I'd pass out again and the whole process would begin anew.
In its marketing materials, The Lash Lounge likens application to a relaxing day spa treatment. I'd posit that it's closer to a procedure than a pampering, hovering somewhere between tolerable and tranquil. It wasn't not relaxing—I did lash nap, after all—but at some point, maybe 30 or 40 minutes in, I became acutely aware of the tape and the glue, and an ever-so-slight discomfort would remain for the rest of the afternoon.
Just before I finished physically melting into the table, Vicky pronounced my transformation complete. I sat up, disoriented—but, as one look in the handheld mirror she brandished would confirm, stunning. The hundreds of painstakingly applied individual synthetic lashes indeed spelled 'drama'—much more than I'd anticipated going into this venture—but I wasn't mad at it. Not one bit. I looked glamorous, and it took not one drop of eye makeup to achieve. Just the diligent, meticulous work of Vicky's nimble fingers on my sleeping face.
For the next two weeks, virtually anyone who approached me would be met with my new greeting, for which I'd now like to apologize: "I'm not wearing any mascara!" The gasps accumulated, and every girl was jealous and many hundreds if not thousands of men fell passionately in love with me from a distance as I batted my eyes in their general direction. "How much?!" my friends demanded. They, too, wanted a set of Vicky's magic full drama lashes of their very own. When I told them about $200, they demurred. "Well, is it worth it?"
And that, readers, is the crux of the whole thing. Was it worth it? Some days, as I captured effortless, no-makeup selfies for an absolutely fire Snapchat story, the answer was unequivocally 'yes.' Others, like when I swore I felt the faux lashes annoyingly bristle against my pillowcase at night, I was less certain.
For the first few hours post-application, my eyes wouldn't stop watering—I looked like a beautiful crying doll, an aesthetic I'm not exactly opposed to, but also not entirely what I was going for. That period, I learned, was likely the time the adhesive was still bonding my natural lashes to my extensions. It got better, but every now and then I still felt like itching my eyelids.
Which I couldn't do, because I nearly cried each time a fake lash descended to my cheek–a normal occurrence, as Vicky told me I'd lose the extensions gradually, similar to the way we lose our real lashes. The Lash Lounge recommends a fill two to three weeks after application, but I retained my voluptuous, mascara-free fringe for more than a month before noticing any signs of reduction.
Eventually, though, the last faux lash fell, as nothing gold can stay. If I had $200 I didn't really need and a hankering to hear old Miley Cyrus, I'd do it again. In the mean time, I'm back to my old friend, Better Than Sex. I'm going to give it a while before I go back to Vicky. I don't want to get too cocky.