We’re going to let you in on a not-so-secret secret: almost every celebrity who walks a red carpet or appears on camera is wearing faux eyelashes. That lash envy is probably why so many people are thinking about getting eyelash extensions right now—including us! To appease our own curiosity, we sent three staffers to lash expert Linda Luu at Luxe Flair Lashes in Los Angeles to give them a try. What did we learn? Click through our slideshow for everything you need to know!
Eyelash extensions are quite simple: a lash artist attaches a single false eyelash—or a cluster of two false eyelashes, depending on how dramatic you want the results—to a single natural lash with a permanent adhesive.
It’s up to you! A skilled technician can give you a soft look, or something more dramatic. “I can create a natural look by applying the extensions further away from base of your lashes,” Luu says. “Or I can make it look like you have eyeliner on by putting the lashes right next to the follicle.”
Lash extensions will follow your lashes’ natural growth cycle, which is around 30 to 45 days. The fake lash will shed with the natural lash naturally, but proper care will help them to stick around for longer.
“You can feel the false lashes for the first two days,” Luu says. For us, it was about 36 hours, then you barely notice them.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that lash extension are pain-free!” Luu told us. While not painful per se, some techniques can be more uncomfortable than others, depending on how close the technician gets to your lid and how sensitive your eyes are in general. Some find the process of having someone close to their eyes with metal tools the most stressful part.
“Mink lashes are softer and more natural looking,” Luu says. “But they don’t last as long as synthetic.” Some lash artists, like Luu, will use a mixture of lashes for a custom look.
Of course, this varies. Some artists can charge several hundred dollars, while others charge less than $100. Our advice? No matter your budget, make sure you do your research on the business you choose—a referral is always best.
In general, the less you touch them, the better. “Don’t wet your lashes for 48 hours to ensure the adhesive sets properly,” Luu told us. Then use a clean spooley brush to gently comb through your lashes as needed, or about twice per day. You can wash your face as usual, but avoid anything oil-based (more on that later).
While not common, it can happen. “I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I’ve had three clients have allergic reactions to the adhesive,” Luu told us. If you’re worried about a possible reaction, follow Luu’s advice. “Swing by the boutique a few days before and have a spot test done with the adhesive,” she says. If you have a silicon allergy—which isn’t uncommon—make sure your lash artist uses medical tape instead of a soft pad during the process.
Yes, Luu says. If done properly, the extensions will shed with your natural lashes without becoming splotchy or looking sparse.
If you like your new extensions, it’s best to come back in for touch-ups within a month. “If you wait too long, you’ll have to completely re-do them,” Luu says, which is more expensive. As a rule of thumb, you need to make sure you get back into the boutique while you still have half of the lashes.
No, you cannot remove the fake lashes yourself, Luu says. “You have to wait for them to grow out.”
Luu doesn’t recommend wearing mascara—and you really shouldn’t have to—but you can. “You can use an oil-free mascara once they grow out a bit,” Luu says. “Just brush through your lashes with a clean spooley brush to avoid them sticking together—and never use an eyelash curler if you have extensions!”
Anything oil-based will break down the adhesive faster, causing the lashes to fall out or point in the wrong direction. That means face oil, oil cleansers, makeup remover, and anything else oil-based should be limited.
“It’s best to sleep on your back,” Luu says. “You can sleep on your side, but there’s a better chance that the lashes will shed faster.”
Simply put, no. “I don’t recommend it,” Luu says. Anything that presses on you lashes can irritate them or make them point in the wrong direction.