Monday, October 27, 2008

Novalash Eye Lash Extensions

Novalash Eye Lash ExtensionOne of the great things about having a big family is that there's always someone who's an expert on something. We've got people who can fix your house, people who can write your will, people who can drill your cavities, people who can cut your hair . . . in fact we've joked that all we need is to get a mechanic and an orthodontist and we'd be set.

My cousin Emily is a beautician who, besides doing a fabulous job styling my hair, decided that she needed to branch out into up-and-coming trends so she took classes to learn how to put on eye lash extensions.

Eye lash extensions?? When I heard her news I did a double take. I've heard about hair extensions but eye lashes? Basically it's where individual hairs are glued onto your own individual eye lashes making your natural lashes longer than they'd ever be with plain old makeup or nature working for them. Emily went to a special series of classes put on by Novalash, the premier company making the products for eye lash extensions, to learn how to install . . . er . . . I mean put them on.

As with any fancy beauty procedure the cost can be hefty--getting a full set of extensions can easily run $200-300 and though they are tough enough to be unaffected by showers, swimming pools or rubbing your eyes they do fall out as your natural eye lashes are shed and need to be replaced regularly if you want to maintain your new chic look.

Think of it as you would acrylic nails. You pay to have a set put on your fingernails but then you have to go in regularly--maybe once every one or two weeks--to get the acrylic filled in so that things won't look funny as your fingernails grow out. According to Emily once you have a full set of eye lash extensions applied you need to go back every 4-6 weeks to have them filled in where old lashes have been shed and new lashes are beginning to grow.

I need hardly say that I found the whole thing extremely intriguing and once I found out about this amazing trick I started noticing a couple people around me who had such long and amazing lashes that they had to be extensions--at last I knew their secret. Seems like you can get pretty much anything installed on your body to improve its appearance and the news that I could now fix my pathetically sparse and short lashes and be able to walk around fanning people with my luxurious lids was pretty darn exciting.

While $200-300 was completely out of my range Emily only charges $100 for the service and I decided last July that I wanted to try it out for myself as a treat. I think I justified it by saying that it would make a pretty good blog post and could probably be written off as a tax expense going toward research. Something like that.

Anyway, she works out of her home and because we're cousins it was completely comfortable to relax across her bed while she sat in a chair at my head for two hours working her magic. Normally when I get my hair done I find it a pain to take time out of my day and sit there with a wet head while someone snips away but Emily had relaxing music playing and the window was open with a nice summer breeze blowing in and her bed was so soft and comfy that I pretty much dozed in and out of consciousness as she glued single lashes onto my existing stumps.

She placed a piece of fabric or paper or something across my cheek between my upper and lower lashes so that the glue wouldn't accidentally stick my eye lid together. That would be bad. Then she had this tool that helped her spread the lash wide enough to allow her to see each hair and one by one she applied the hairs.

I think she said the quickest she'd ever been able to do a full set was an hour and forty-five minutes and it took about that long for me--not quite two hours--probably because my eye lashes are short and thin. You typically only get extensions on your upper eye lashes so if you were getting a set on your lower lids as well you can imagine how much longer it would take.

When she was finished I could hardly wait to see in the mirror, wondering if I'd suddenly look like Catherine Zeta Jones (I was hoping for Andrew's sake that it could happen). Or would it be like the time I got my hair highlighted in high school and I was so worried it would look so dramatically different and "unnatural" that I told her to go easy and it ended up being so light as to be unnoticeable? What a waste of $70.

But one glance was enough--you could tell. Long, curling gorgeous lashes that fluttered like butterfly wings over my cheek. It may not have been quite Catherine Zeta-Jones but they were darn pretty.

I was worried about them standing up under the pressure of every day wear and tear but after the initial 24-hour "don't get them wet if you can at all help it" period was over those suckers were so solid they might as well have been genetically grafted in place. I could rub them, sleep on them, brush them, they weren't going anywhere.

A couple things I noticed:

First, my lashes were so long that I could see them. It was kind of like having a built-in awning where I could see the dark hairs overhead all the time. That wasn't entirely bad, in fact it felt downright sultry, but it got me thinking: So this is what it feels like to actually have eye lashes!

Second, my lashes were so long that they could be a little crazy. If I didn't brush them immediately after getting out of the shower then they'd dry pointing out at these crazy angles, clumping together and curling in ways that were not particularly attractive. Of course the solution was to groom them with a little eye brow brush before they dried and they'd be good for the whole day but that was a first. Brushing my eye lashes. Who would have thought it possible?

Finally, I loved feeling like I was always "made up." You don't need to wear mascara on extensions. I suppose you could but there's no reason to, they look so natural and beautiful that you'd just run the risk of making them look fake by adding goop to them. Great for those of us blonds born without eye lashes though the downside was that I kind of tended to forget that I needed to wear make up. They looked great but just because I felt like I had make up on doesn't mean that I had make up on and it was easy to forget to kind of finish the job.

After getting a set of extensions so inexpensively (relatively speaking) Emily said she charged $45 for fill-ins. This didn't sound too exorbitant so I went into the whole thing thinking that if I liked the results that I'd go ahead and keep it up, going in every 4-6 weeks for refills.

But it quickly became apparent that my lashes would need touch ups more frequently than every 4-6 weeks. After about 2 weeks the extensions started looking a little thin. This could be because my lashes are naturally sparse and maybe if I'd had a set of thick lovely beauties that you wouldn't be able to see the gaps as easily but regardless, after a fairly short time it seemed that I would benefit from a fill-in.

Then on top of that remember how I said it felt as if I had make up on all the time? Under certain conditions that's a benefit but there are sometimes when you don't want to feel like you're wearing make up, you know? You want to be able to rub your eyes when you're heading to bed and not feel like you're rubbing the cat. I don't know, I loved how they looked but the whole thing just got a little tiring to have them on all the time. Maybe if they'd stayed thick and beautiful for longer but after three weeks I was ready to forget about it and go back to my natural sad-but-real lashes and my good old fashioned Mabeylline mascara.

After five weeks they were looking funny and spindly enough that one night I'd finally had enough and ended up pulling off the last couple hangers-on that refused to die. I hadn't thought it a wise thing to do intially because somehow I don't recall plucking one's eye lashes to be the hottest beauty tip but I was getting a tad desperate to have my old lashes back so I just did it.

So what's the final verdict? If you've got some kind of special event--say a high school reunion or fancy company party during the holidays you want to drop 'em dead at then you might look around your area and see what they're charging. Ask friends and see if they know anyone who does it out of their home that might be offering a good deal.

If you're in the Anchorage area and you want to give Emily a try I'd highly recommend her (and not only for eye lashes but for hair styling as well) drop me an email and I'll send you right to her. Two hundred is too steep for me but one hundred isn't a bad deal for a one-time treat. And who knows, if you like the effect you might find it worth it to go back every month and get touch ups.

I have to say, they really do look dramatic and beautiful and you'll never get that kind of a natural look with the traditional glue-on fakes.

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Technorati tags: Novalash, beauty, cosmetics

35 comments:

Edi said...

Sounds cool but where is the photo of you with your eyelashes?? :)

Being that I could never handle contact lenses for long - I'm thinking these might bug me...but they'd be fun to try.

My dd has super long eyelashes (not inherited from me) and they are beautiful.

Summer said...

I must be the weird one in today's society. I think that models natural lashes are so much more beautiful than those unnaturally long ones.

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

Wow, those are indeed gorgeous.

My husband has gorgeous long thick lashes, and thankfully, my daughter inherited them. Whew.

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

I hate to tell you some of us do have naturally long thick eyelashes. My girls inherited mine. We all have trouble wearing glasses - it's hard to blink because our eyelashes rub against the lenses. My brothers, though, got the longest and thickest, of course, since they don't care in the least!

Pencil Writer said...

Funny post. Love your humor, always. I actually know a woman who has THE LONGEST natural eyelashes I've ever seen. Top and bottom lashes. Exstravagently long, yet not extra full, but still unusual and enviable. At first or second meeting, I tried to rationalize (in my mind) that they were fake somehow! But, they are natural. I'm so envious. And, to top it all off, they are black--her hair color. (Well, now, she's actually salt and pepper.) But since I'm a strawberry blond--er, salt and pepper, now as well--YES! Salt and caynne pepper! I'm like you, Michelle, no color in the old eye lashes or brows. Never--unless applied artifically, of course! Oh well. Fun post. Kewl idea for those who have the time and $$$ and "want to."

Pencil Writer said...

Oh, yeah. My son has some of those extra long, thick, curly -- though blond -- eyelashes too! So do my grandchildren, the lucky dogs!

Lucy said...

Sounds good to me...who has no eyelashes at all thankyouDNA. I'd come to Anchorage and give it a try.

Trixie said...

Oh my, what a good read. I love reading about stuff you tried. So, you know, I don't have to try it if it doesn't work out for you:)

Anyway my hair dresser had a sign up in her salon for these babies at $200 a pop. I asked her about it because I could not believe who in our little po dunk town would ever need fake eyelashes.

All you need here is to not have manure on your shoes to be in the "in" crowd. Which is nice because scrapping manure off your shoes is way cheaper than plastic surger, hair extensions, fake nails and eye lashes. Plus you don't have to put to much effor into rising to the top on the local beauty scale.

Anyway, back to my hair dresser. She said um....(sorry if this gets you all kinds of weirdo search hits) all the local strippers come in to get fake eyelashes. We have 1McDonald's people. Where are these women? We don't even HAVE an establishment of that sort! (Maybe we do and I'm clueless?)

So now, I everytime I see a gal with long eyelashes I can't help but wonder what she does for a living. Oh my, wish I never heard of these fake eye lashes.

Trixie said...
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cndymkr / jean said...

I think I would need to see side by side comparison photos in order to make a decision. I have thin yucky eyelashes so it is something I would be interested in doing. Could you have Emily move here to NJ? Thanks.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I would love to try these even just once!

Steph

Amy said...

I knew this post was coming after we were all in awe over your eyelashes story :) So cool- I don't know if I would go to all of that trouble, but one of these days I will put some of those fake ones on for a special occasion :)

Naomi said...

I would definitely like to see pictures of your long lashes! My daughter has amazing lashes and I am so jealous...

Patois said...

I'm going to have to continue my trying new thing vicariously through you.

Janet said...

That sounds like an excellent idea for when I'm in plays. My eyelashes are OK, but not THAT long. The Mountain Man has amazing eyelashes, and both the kids inherited them, thankfully.

Killlashandra said...

Where's the picture? I think the before and after picture of your first hand experience would be perfect. ;)

I'm not sure it's anything I would ever be able to afford, but it sure does look nice on other people. And the idea of feeling made up without having to apply any mascara would be a neat feeling.

Connie said...

I tried these last year and loved them, I am lazy and hate taking the time to put on the make-up, so a few years ago, just over 3 years, I took a deep breath and had permanent eye liner done, last year I decided I needed to get better with the mascara, seems I didn't have any lashes if I didn't have mascara on, used to have thicker lashes but with age things change, so last year towards Christmas I did the lashes, and I loved them, my problem was exercise, I found that the sweat caused the glue to run into my eyes and burn, we tried several things but the results were the same, so I no longer have the extensions and my eyes don't get irritated during my sessions, would love to give up the exercise but have 2 granddaughters up there in Anchorage I love to chase after.
Connie

Halloween Doll Clothes Gal said...

Looks great - I love the extensions. Nothing quite like long, dark eyelashes to finish off a girl's face.

Scribbit said...

I know, I know . . . I've let the blogging world down without having my own before and after shots. It was the week of Blogher and I just got busy and forgot to take the photo if you can believe it.

I am a disgrace to the blogging world :)

Heffalump said...

My boys have extra thick, long lashes. I think it would bother me since they would probably brush up against my glasses...

Heather said...

Thanks for all the great info - I'd LOVE to get this done (I have the shortest lashes ever) but everyone around here charges way too much... hmm... might need to schedule a trip to Alaska and kill two birds with one stone. :)

crazy working mom said...

Those are beautiful. I wish I had natural eyelashes like that!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

ohhhhh - sooooo tempting. I have blond, sparse, pathetic lashes. i have lived in eyelash envy my entire life.

But since mine are so thin, i think I would have the same problem - they would sparse again way too quickly. Besides, I don't even have time to get my hair cut let alone get my eyelashes done.

But oh - it is soooo tempting.

If Emily lived here,I think I would try it!

jubilee said...

Now that's what I call decadent.

Ha haha! Janice said, "eyelash envy" and that was exactly what I was thinking!

All the boys in our family have amazing eyelashes. Just doesn't seem fair. Ah well.

patty w said...

Thanks for posting this! I've always wondered how these really worked! I've got very short, very straight, tiny red lashes!

I'm a waterproof Maybelline gal..every day.

Cathi said...

I so enjoyed your story.
One of the gals I served with in the RS presidency in FL was very beautiful and glamorous. One day she showed up with these gorgeous long lashes and I knew they were fake. The next week I was the first to arrive for our weekly meeting at her house and she was towel drying her hair having just stepped out of the shower. Her long gorgeous lashes blinked wildly as she hurried to get ready for the meeting. Wow, I thought, five kids (and a nanny) a huge house (and a housekeeper) and she still gets her eyelashes on. A few weeks later she mentioned something about her eyelash girl. What? It was the first I had ever heard of eye lash extensions.

Cathi said...
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Rhonda said...

Hey, how cool!! I would do it in a heartbeat! But only at Amy's prices!

Visiting from Candid Carrie.

Tracee said...

I've been trying an eyelash conditioner that is supposed to make your own eyelashes grow. I'm giving it a few weeks.

I am Jamie Sue! said...

That... was oddly fascinating. I'm not sure why, but it really was. If it wasn't so cost prohibitive I'd give it a try. Maybe the combined effect of acrylic nails, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, push up bra, control tights and girdle would make me into a super model.

Lina said...

I have seen 2 people who tried extending lashes - the results and the overall look is great while they are on, but when they start falling it looks not so good, besides it, 1 girl said that she experiences her own lashes falling out after she's tried extending them.

Natasha @ Becoming Something said...

Did you know about the mascara-like stuff that you can brush onto your lashes that is proven to make them grow? I saw it in Oprah's mag. It's not approved by the FDA yet but is somehow still for sale. And it's about $140 a bottle.

Headless Mom said...

Interesting! Thanks-from one short eyelashed gal to another!

KnowingShopper said...

I was thinking about getting eyelash extensions, but the thought of going back to get them fixed and the horror stories I heard about bad 'installations' put me off.

I finally found a product that makes your lashes longer naturally, I've written a review of eyelash growth products on my blog.

Anonymous said...

You can get these done basically anywhere around the world. I had mine done in Miami and just stopped getting my nails done... I would much rather have beautiful eyelashes -- since everyone looks at your eyes not your nails! Novalash seems to be the most natural looking brand, which is what you used too! If you're looking to get them done you can find a salon on their website -- www.novalash.com :) happy lashes!