Get Bambi Lashes
While I’m a loyal Latisse girl, I’ve always been curious about eyelash extensions. Made from either natural silk, mink or synthetic materials, lash extensions range from 7 to 14 millimetre in length.
Every expert I’ve interviewed has said that while lash extensions can seem high maintenance, once you have them on, they make you look polished and vibrant without much effort. “Most of my clients skip eye make-up altogether,” says Veronica Tran, the founder of Pretty in the City in uptown Toronto.
A friend who got them done for a vacation remarked that her falsies made her look 80% prettier. Ha!
Who doesn’t want to look 80% prettier? The problem is, there are so many places that offer lash extensions at various price points that it’s hard to choose where to go. I’ve always been about quality so I was excited when Tran invited me to visit her shop located in the Yonge and Eglington area. Tran was one of the first aestheticians to open a lash extension bar in the city back in 2005; she has since been quoted in virtually every Toronto-based magazine article about lash extensions.
When I arrived at Pretty, I was surprised by two things: it was packed with women of all ages and it wasn’t stinky. I was expecting to smell fumes from the glue and braced myself to hold my breath when opening the door. Pretty in the City is a gorgeous, airy space decked out in modern pink and white decor. Très girly. They offer manicures in the front and perform the extensions in the back area, which looks sort of like a sleeping pod. When I stepped in, all three beds were full with women lying on their backs fully asleep (the procedure takes at least two hours). After watching Tran work meticulously on a client (a first-time extension wearer in her twenties), I realized that I was in the presence of a lash master. Here are my interview notes with Tran.
Q: What should people know about how lash extensions are put on?
A: It’s critical that the technician add only one extension per eyelash. Your lashes grow at different times so if you have a group of them clumped together and glued to one extension, it could end up pulling slower-growing ones.
Q: Do some places use lower-quality glue?
A: This is a possibility but nowadays there are so many suppliers out there, so many choices. With the amount of competition amongst suppliers, there’s no reason to purchase subpar adhesive with so many available choices. All eyelash extension adhesives contain a main ingredient called cyanoacrylate. This is what allows for a quick grip and dry of the adhesives to allow the application of individual lashes. Other ingredients added to the formula either strengthen the bond, durability and allows for flexibly. This is where different types and brands would vary. Yes there are very poor quality adhesives out there but a good application is both equal parts good product plus good technique.
Q: There are many corner store mani/pedi places that offer lash extensions for just $50. What should we know about these places?
A: Usually if you see lash extensions for that price, they are applying flare or cluster lashes which don’t take that much time or skill to apply (30 minutes). It is the same technique that makeup artists use to apply temporary individual cluster lashes but with a latex glue. These nail salons are using a CA-based (cyanoacrylate) glue which will inevitably lead to lash damage. They do this because of the long lasting properties of the CA glue, but cluster lashes should only be applied with a temporary latex glue, which only lasts a day. The going price for a full set (55-65 lashes per eye) should be between $150-250. We charge $175 – 200 for 60 lashes per eye. I’ve heard some places charging $350. There’s no difference in that except perhaps their clientele can afford to pay that price. The higher price point is more typical in New York or L.A.
Q: Is it true that the process of applying lash extensions should never take less than an hour? And if a place promises that, does it mean that the person is cutting corners by glueing on more than one lash at a time?
A: Yes, the technique is called stacking. This is when there is really no skill involved in the application. They are literally stacking the extensions on top of the natural lashes and other extensions. This takes less time but creates a nest of the lashes. The the natural lashes begin to grow out it will pull at the weaker lashes causing damage. Lashes should ALWAYS BE COMPLETELY SEPARATED so they can grow and shed without any interference as if there were no extensions on it at all. A full set should take 2 hours or more. Sometimes it can be done in 90 minutes, but this is the exception, not the norm. A natural or partial set of 30-35 lashes per eye can be properly applied in an hour but no less. Here is an example of a poor application vs. proper application.
This is an example of a poor application. The technician did not bother to take the time to separate. Lashes were applied very close to the skin. In this type of application, the risk for infection is very high since there is so much adhesive webbed into the lashes making a nest for oil and dirt to collect. As well, when natural lashes are ready to shed, they are unable to since they are still attached to other lashes and extensions. This causes hanging lashes that could poke the eye, and in worse case scenario, risk having a clump of lashes being ripped off.
Shown above are two pictures of proper applications. Notice it is almost impossible to detect the extensions, the bond is seamless. Lashes are independent of one another as they are completely separated.
Tran has opened my eyes to the importance of finding a reputable place for eye lash extensions. I would totally consider seeing her for a set of extensions, when my Latisse runs out. A fabulous flutter for the holidays, anyone?