My eyes are big and round. They’re the feature I play up when all else fails, like my fickle skin or hair. Which is why I layer on thick black mascara every morning, and then separate each hair with a wee flossing brush. It’s a painstaking ritual that I’ve been eager to ditch ever since I read about the extension craze last fall.
So when Flirt Custom Lash Studio, a two-year-old Burlington spot favoured by lash obsessives, recently opened a downtown Toronto location (777 Richmond St. West, 1-855-721-7108, flirtlashstudio.com), I was there. The chicly sparse warehouse loft holds only a dresser, a mirror and a single bed for application. The service costs $150 for the first go—which involves 40 hollow silk strands from Japan, each individually glued to one of my real hairs—then $50 for touch ups after about three weeks.
Lash specialist Lynda warns me to use the washroom and check my phone before we get started because this might take a while. Then I warn her that I have some fears: 1) walking out with cartoonish Kardashian eyes, 2) breaking my natural lashes, and 3) having newly high-maintenance accessories that will need special care when I shower or sweat.
She patiently explains that the lashes can be as dramatic or as subtle as I like. (On a one-to-10 lash spectrum that starts with Tilda Swinton and ends with Beyoncé, I opt for a seven.) Breakage is rare because the hollow lashes are so light—they don’t have enough girth to snap real strands. And the adhesive stands up to showers, though, I should wear a headband when I work out to avoid sweat dripping into them, and forgo all oil-based makeup, removers and cleansers.
One-and-a-half hours later, I have a gently curled, widely fanned fringe that looks real but ridiculously romantic with my undone hair, bare face and windbreaker. I go to the grocery store where multiple people stare at me, I’m convinced, because of the nighttime eyes and daytime outfit. Then I visit a friend who is genetically blessed with Bambi-calibre southeast Asian lashes, and she shouts, “You have Indian lashes!” I decide not to overthink the statement, and just say, “Thank you.”
Two weeks later, only eight or nine wisps have fallen out, and my lid fringe has settled into a totally natural, Sobeys-appropriate look. Plus, my morning routine is shorter by seven-odd minutes and I haven’t worried once about mascara smudges. There are a couple of drawbacks, though: eye makeup removal is tricky—I have to gingerly swab it off with a Q-tip, and I’ve had to curb my compulsive eye rubbing. But both are sacrifices I’ll gladly make.