Celebs like Kylie Jenner and beauty social-media-lites have been killing the lash game lately—and it’s making it harder to resist doing whatever it takes to get a fuller fringe. With the evolution of materials and formulas, eyelash extensions are becoming increasing popular. They give you long-lasting, fluttery lashes and require only minimal daily maintenance. Wearers are able to customize the way their eyelash extensions look with hundreds of lengths, volumes and colours, too.
But it’s not as simple as just booking an appointment. Here’s what I learned from my first time.
1. One style doesn’t fit all when it comes to lash extensions
I had mine done at Toronto’s Crista Nicole Beauty, where lash tech Courtnay Wilson walked me through the process. First, there were four styles to choose from: J, B, C and D. J is was the most natural looking style thanks to its soft flair at the end. Although B is still natural-looking, it’s a more amplified version of J because it has a bend to the end. If you’re looking for a more dramatic curl, C or D might be for you as the curl is a lot more flirty, lifting and eye-opening. For maximum drama, length is key—9 mm is the most natural and 15 mm is considered Insta-visible.
I wasn’t sure which shape or length would best suit my eyes, so Wilson recommended B because she said this style wouldn’t force my eyelashes to go against their natural shape too much, something that could make the extensions fall off quicker. When it came down to selecting the length of the lash, we went with 14 mm since they were only slightly longer than my natural lash length. If you’re looking to go completely Kylie Jenner with your lashes, you may want to consider going with a longer lash length. What we chose for me rang in at about $150.
2. Keep those lashes dry and makeup-free for a full day
Don’t expect to throw on a full face of makeup and hit the town the day you get your set. After my lashes were applied, Wilson told me to wait about 24 hours before getting any water or makeup near my eyes. Exposing your extensions to moisture too early can cause the glue to break down; letting them set properly is the key to longevity.
3. You can (and should) clean your lashes
Wilson says one of the most common mistakes clients make is not cleaning their lash extensions. Over time, makeup and dead skin cells that fall onto lashes can build up, making them harder to refill. Wilson suggests asking your lash tech for their recommended cleansing techniques. Her go-to is sandwiching your lashes between two reusable lipgloss applicators soaked in oil-free makeup remover and gently gliding them down your lashes.
4. But avoid anything oil-based
If there is only one rule you follow when when it comes to lash extensions, avoid using anything formulated with oil near your eyes. Oil can break down the glue and cause the lashes to loosen. While wearing my eyelash extensions, I stayed away from oil-based cleansers, makeup removers and heavy eye creams. Instead, I opted for a gel-based moisturizer, gel-based eye cream and a cleansing water.
5. You’ll end up wearing a lot less makeup with lash extensions
I was stopped at the grocery store a few times by strangers asking me if my lashes were mine, and lying to them wasn’t in me. The drama of my extensions really defined my eye shape and made me look more awake, so I felt like I didn’t need too much else on my face. Initially, I thought I might want to wear a bright lip to match my bold eyes, but I found tinted moisturizer, concealer and a shimmer bronzer became my go-to—and if I felt like dressing it up more, I’d use a wash of the same shimmer bronzer on my eyelids.
6. No, you won’t be able to remove lash extensions yourself
Wilson recommends stopping by your tech’s chair for a refill after two to three weeks to add new lashes where you might have lost some. That costs about $60. But if you’re not looking for a refill, the removal process is not DIY. To avoid severe breakage of your natural lashes, lid or eye irritation or an awkward growing-out phase, Wilson highly recommends returning to your lash technician to ditch your fringe. Typically, lash techs use a professional gel solution that allows the extensions to slide right off, a process that’s quick and shouldn’t be too expensive. My removal cost $35.