What do Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Lady from Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” have in common?
They all have flittery-fluttery, long, feminine, batting eyelashes.
It’s the latest craze. And women want these eyelashes so badly they will pay good money for them.
“Long, full eyelashes are what women of today are seeking. You can’t get that in just a bottle of mascara,” said Alicia Mendoza, eyelash extensionist with Salon Belle Rouge in Layton.
The extensions are glued, strand by strand, to the person’s real lashes. The fake lashes last up to eight weeks before naturally shedding; at that point, a touch-up is needed to fill in the lashes.
The cost for an initial set of eyelash extensions has been up to $500 in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City. In Utah, prices generally range from $80 to $200.
A stylist typically spends an hour and a half to two hours on a client’s initial set. Touch-ups take about an hour and are recommended every two to six weeks; the “fills” generally range from $40 to $80 in Utah.
Clients are age 16 to 80, Mendoza said.
“My younger clients tend to want something more glamorous. Busy women with careers want to get ready quicker in the morning,” she said. “And they all just love the femininity of the longer lashes.”
Lori Chapman, eyelash extensionist with Phazes Salon in Layton, agrees the eyelashes started out as a fad, but believes they are here to stay — much like air-brush tanning. “I don’t see the lashes dying off any time soon,” she said.
Having the lashes helps save on time and makes women feel better about themselves, she added.
“You can wake up, just put on some lip gloss and you’re out the door,” said Chapman. She has been doing eyelashes for eight years and gained training in several major cities.
During the eyelash procedure, the client lies on her back on a cushioned table and keeps her eyes closed while the extensionist glues each lash. Tape is placed above and below the eye to give the extensionist a palette to work off of. Clients are directed to arrive with clean lashes, and they must remove their contact lenses before the procedure begins.
Some salons use a private room where the client can listen to soft music. Other businesses just do the work out on the styling floor in the open.
Many extensionists have discovered doing the procedure out of their home is most comfortable for their clients — as well as being convenient work for stay-at-home moms.
Eyelash extensionist Lindsey Petersen, of Pleasant View, brings clients into her home via her website http://winkbylindsey.blogspot.com.
Petersen, who trained in Las Vegas and has six years’ experience, says the work is a “welcome, quiet break” from her busy life caring for one child and a set of twins.
Most stylists use faux mink, which imitates flexible and fluffy eyelash hairs. The mink is black, but the fake lashes can also be different colors, such as dark purple, hunter green or deep blue to bring out the person’s eye color.
Julie Parks, 41, of Roy, has been getting extensions for the past six months at Salon Belle Rouge in Layton. “I saw them on other people and they looked really good,” she said.
Parks said she simply wanted longer eyelashes and believed it would be more convenient for her. “They are black so you don’t have to wear mascara. And that saves time,” she said.
“You wake up feeling pretty,” Petersen said.
Parks said people compliment her all the time on her lashes — and now her friends are getting the extensions, too. “There are a lot of movie stars who have them,” she said. “They look great.”
The lashes are simply an enhancement of a person’s natural lashes, Mendoza said. “We have to work off of the lashes the customer comes in with,” she said.
A younger person’s eyelash extensions generally look fuller because they have more natural lashes. A more mature woman may have fewer eyelashes, but the extensions still make the lashes look fuller.
And many older women simply want a more natural, extended look to their lashes, Mendoza said.
Eyelash extensionists must go through training and earn certification. Mendoza has almost five years experience; she took a course in Chicago. Since then, she has taken a second higher-level advanced course.
Patience and attention to detail is required of an eyelash extensionist. “It’s very tedious and specialized work,” Mendoza said.
“I think it gives people self-esteem and confidence. I like making my clients happy,” she said.
Before embarking on this new and exciting adventure of eyelash extensions:
• Ensure your extensionist is a licensed cosmotologist or licensed esthetician; ask where she trained and how many years experience she has in this work;
• Ask where the salon or extensionist obtains the glue and lashes. Ensure the products are from reputable lash companies. Some glues release fumes;
• Be aware there could be an allergic reaction to the glue, lashes or the tape used. Test a small area of your skin prior to having the extensions done;
• Understand there is risk of eye infection;
• Be aware that the extensionist will be using a sharp metal instrument near your eye. You will be signing a waiver prior to the procedure stating the extensionist is not held liable for harm or injury;
• Understand that no known long-term studies have been done on this procedure or the products used. There is no data on potential carcinogens or cancer-causing elements from eyelash extensions;
• Know that water cannot touch the lashes until 48 hours after the application. Clients cannot swim or go in a sauna. Oil-based cosmetics or facial creams could break down the glue on the lashes if applied near or on the lashes.
Source: Shannon Stumm, master esthetician instructor, Marinello Schools of Beauty, Ogden
Personal experience: Lash extensions rock
I’ve been using mascara since I was 14 years old, but I never considered wearing false eyelashes until I heard extensions are all the rage with movie stars nowadays — and many of my friends have begun to get the lengthy lashes.
Even then, I wasn’t convinced.
But when local eyelash extensionist Lindsey Petersen offered to enhance my lashes as a free personal experience, I decided to take the plunge.
There are various pros and cons to getting eyelash extensions, but for me, the end product by far outweighed the negative aspects for me — one of which was some pain.
When my eyes stopped watering from the glue fumes and I looked into a handheld mirror, what I saw was incredible: long, full, dark eyelashes that feel like butterfly wings.
I now have semi-permanent eye makeup that doesn’t clump and smudge like mascara or smear like eyeliner. Immediately after the application, I easily put my contact lenses in and went off to play a game of tennis. Despite temperatures in the mid-90s, my “eye makeup” stayed intact.
Now for the cons: My eyes are sensitive and there was some pain involved in the extension process. During my hourlong ordeal, it felt like someone was pulling out my eyelashes about every 10 minutes.
And at the end, when the stylist removed the tape from my eyelid and from underneath my eye — it pretty much felt worse than being at the dentist with no Novocaine.
It was a tense hour for me, and I recommend a Valium for anyone who is a first-timer and has anxiety issues with sharp instruments being used near their eyes. And there was some apprehension on my part when I signed the you-cannot-sue-the--stylist waiver.
However, the benefits began to trickle in afterward. That week, I went to work without applying any eye makeup and saved five minutes in my morning prep. After an eight-hour shift, and an hour of yoga, my “eye makeup” was pristine. There is something to be said for long-lasting — in this case, up to six-weeks-long — makeup with no worry and no fuss.
That weekend, when preparing for a dinner date, I realized I didn’t have to do anything with my eye makeup — no mascara, no eyeliner and no eye shadow.
To me, the long lashes are dramatic enough that I don’t feel I need any extra added glitz.
And my date, realizing he was entering uncharted female territory when I asked him what he thought of the extensions, smartly answered, “Uh, they look nice?”
Further, the eyelash extensions actually make my eyes wider, with the lashes flipping upward. It gives my eyes a clean and clear feeling. And even better, my professors at school aren’t able to tell if I’m half asleep during class, since now I look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed all the time.
As for the burning question: Will I go back and get my lashes filled in?
I probably will return for a touch-up — especially once the fake lashes begin to naturally shed and my lashes return to looking like sparsely planted carrots in a garden.
Vanity has won.