Okay, full confession I loooooove long lashes, and am a total falsies addict. Whether they are DIY drugstore jobbies, or pro-applied boutique brands I've never met a set of fake lashes I didn't love. BUT, the idea of having someone semi-permanently attach extensions to my own lashes made me, well, a little nervous, so, before I had it done, I chatted up LashSpot Spa founder Barbara Rattigan to get the low down on the lashes. Here's what she had to say:
On those internet horror stories: ALL adhesives (yes even the kind you buy to use on your cheap duralash falsies) release trace amounts of formaldehyde as the glue dries, as a naturally occurring process. However, the adhesives and lashes themselves used by LashSpot Spas do not contain substantial levels of formaldehyde, in fact they all contain well under the OSHA requirement of less than 2% formaldehyde. As with any beauty product or treatment if you have a known severe allergy to either formaldehyde or anything else you should definitely consult a doctor before trying. Additionally as part of the LashSpot Spa consultation, your extensionist will go over your allergies, and any concerns you might have about the process with you before a single extension is used. Because of my own nervousness about the process, I totally appreciated the pre-appoint consult, it put all my fears to rest and I was ready to get lashed out.
On how to prepare for an extension: The best scenario is to come in with clean, 100% make-up free eyes if possible. However, if it's mid-work day and that's just not doable, the extensionist will thoroughly cleanse your eyes to ensure a sterile application. In fact, even if you do come in make-up free they will give your lashes a once over with their calming cucumber and chamomile cleanser to ensure no traces of make-up remain.
On how to properly care for them: No water on your lashes for the first 24 hours. This is important as the adhesives need to properly 'cure' to ensure longevity. After that, the only thing you need to avoid is oil. Oil free make-up remover or plain soap and water works great.
On who the lashes are best suited for: Everyone! Whether you're an ultra glam cosplayer who wants out-to-there lashes, or a fresh faced yogi who wants to shave time off your morning routine, lash extensions are for you. And we're not just talking about the girls either, with a growing popularity of lash extensions, the company has seen a rise in male clients and they have many options for men who want a little eye oomph but don't want to look too girly.
Okay, now that the serious stuff is out of the way, let's get down to the nitty- gritty. Here is what happened when I got the LashSpot Spa set done
When I arrived for my appointment at the pre-opening event I was instantly taken in by how pretty the space was. Situated on the second floor of New People, directly next to the Baby the Stars Shine Bright boutique, Lash Spot Spa is a cozy light filled space, with individual treatment rooms for total privacy. As I said in the beginning, despite LOVING the look of ultra-long lashes, I am inherently kind of a chicken so I was a little nervous at not knowing what to expect. My lash-guru for the day happened to be LashSpot Spa co-founder Jennifer Russell, who, immediately put me at ease explaining the process step by step.
Here's how it went. First I used LashSpot Spa's cooling oil-free Cucumber and Chamomile eye make-up remover to thoroughly remove any traces of make-up on my upper lid.
Next, Jennifer gave my eyes a final once over to be sure the make-up traces were completely gone. She then covered my lower lashes with protective shields to be sure no adhesive was transferred from top to bottom lashes. Admittedly, at first the guards felt a little funny, as they cover your bottom lashes when you eyes are open, and then you are asked to close your eyes OVER the guards. I was worried this might be uncomfortable for the 45 minutes to an hour I was told the appointment would take, but in truth, they felt totally fine, and they actually kind of reminded me of soothing Eye Candy Coolers, although as far as I know the guards do not have any de-puffing properties.
Next, Jennifer began the application process. Unlike other salons, the LashSpot Spa techs are certified and intensively trained to ensure the utmost in lash safety, and to ensure that each set is painstakingly put on one extension to one individual lash every single time. This precise procedure gives an ultra natural look, and doesn't cause any damage to your actual lashes.
"if not done properly, if the extensions are attached in clumps to more than one individual lash " Jennifer explained, "outgrowth will result in your lashes literally pulling each other out."
Ouch. Hearing that I was super thankful that my lashes were being done by a total pro!
So on to my application, which of course was done correctly. It was utterly painless. It did feel a little strange, mostly because I was laying on a table with my eyes closed chatting to someone while she added hair-like extensions to my eyelids, which is just not an every day thing. But it was totally pain-free.
As she worked Jennifer restated all the basic upkeep info, such as make-up is fine but make-up remover HAS to be oil-free, as oils will dissolve the bond and make the extension come off quickly. She also reminded me that rubbing or pulling on lashes is not recommended.
Because, as previously stated, I am a chicken, I went for a "Mini" lash set, which is about 1/2 the normal extension set, and which I was warned lasts only about 10 days to 2 weeks. She also advised that a Mini set would not be as radical as a full set, so, I would probably find myself wanting to still wear mascara.
None the less, when I sat up and looked in the mirror after my mini-extensions were in place, I was pretty shocked. To me it was SUPER dramatic, especially since I had removed all other eye makeup and was stripped down to my natural super pale colorless face. I could not believe how glamorous it looked! Because I have a fair amount of natural curl to my lashes I requested she use the curliest of extensions, which really opened my eyes up and left me looking bright eyed and glossy lashed.
That first night I had a really hard time sleeping in the lashes. This was mostly because I was suffering from the paranoid delusion that somehow, in the midst of some kind of spider-fighting dream, I would grab a fist full of lashes and yank them all out taking my real lashes with them. This did not happen, thankfully.
The next morning, as I had been advised, my lashes were a little "tangled" (the curlier extensions tend to do this) and did require gentle brushing out with a clean unused mascara wand. This was kind of hysterical to me, can you imagine having to comb your lashes everyday? I kind of felt like some weird anime cartoon girl which added to my feeling of "OMG LASHES" every time I looked in the mirror.
Other people did not have the same reaction to the lashes as I was having however, but, they did seem to be reacting to something different. I got carded while buying a bottle of wine in the supermarket (something that doesn't usually happen) and when I handed my ID over the checker said "OH WOW THAT IS SUPER IMPRESSIVE I NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN HOW OLD YOU ARE." I also seemed to receive a much higher volume of "Pretty Hair", "Cute Sweater" and "I Love That Coat" comments than normal, despite my hair, sweater and coat all being the same. It had to be the lashes, but, I think because they looked so natural and were so perfectly in place no one realized I had extensions on. So instead they just saw an overall confident, fresh face. In other words, these lashes were not wearing me, I was totally OWNING them.
As the week went on, I really got used to waking up, combing my lashes and looking instantly "made up". It sounds silly but it's hugely impactful psychologically. I mean, who doesn't want to wake up in the morning, crawl into the bathroom half a sleep, look into the mirror and BAM! see a super-glam face staring back. It's been awesome for my self esteem. It's also been really eye-opening as to why people are rumored to 'get addicted' to having their lashes done. Once you go glam it's gotta be hard to go back.
As I write this, I am now 12 full days into the extensions and I haven't lost many lashes. There have been a few rogue drop-offs that seemed to occur when washing make-up off or while detangling my curly add ons, but for the most part they have stayed put. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that as a freelance writer and photographer there isn't a need to wear make-up every single day, so most days I haven't. I have a feeling that this reduced wear and tear on the lashes have made them hold up better than they would have if I had been wearing make-up every day.
So am I gonna keep getting my lashes done? I haven't decided yet. LashSpot Spa applications run anywhere from $45-$225 per application depending on what you are having done. But they do save tons of time! And... that first thing in the morning glam-feeling is priceless, so who knows, maybe you will see me glam-lashing it up around San Francisco from now on.
LashSpot Spas San Francisco is located on the 2nd Floor of NEW PEOPLE at 1746 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115. Additional information on LashSpot Spas at NEW PEOPLE is available at: http://www.newpeopleworld.com/#/lashspot.
Want to try lash extensions yourself? Be sure to ENTER OUR CONTEST for a free mini-lash extension session from Lash Spot Spa.