No matter how new or experienced you are in the beauty world, you probably understand one thing: eyelashes are so important. A voluminous set of eyelashes will completely transform your face, while even a quick swipe of mascara can help you look more awake even when you’ve just rolled out of bed. Not all of us were blessed with the thick and natural lashes that most men and babies seem to be born with (seriously wtf?), but luckily there are many lash enhancement options out there to choose from if regular old mascara isn’t cutting it for you.
Personal anecdote: I recently went to a wedding in full glam and forgot to put mascara on. Have you ever felt naked in a church? Because I did that day. Anyway, we’re breaking down the popular options so that you can make an informed decision if you decide your lashes need some enhancing.
Salon Lash Extensions
The first and most dramatic type of lash enhancement is the salon lash extension. If you’re a low-fuss kind of girl you may want to skip to the next option. Lash extensions are seriously high-maintenance, but if you’re willing to do the work you can have some amazing results. Lash enhancements are pretty simple, and they’re predictable in a good way. As in, once you’ve done some research and found a trustworthy salon, you can choose how you want them to look with several options for length, curl, and volume. You can even choose the style, like a cat eye with longer lashes on the outside, or an eye-opening look with the longer lashes in the middle. Once you and your lash technician decide what will work best for you, they’ll glue the individual lashes to your natural lashes and in 1-2 hours you’ll look like a new woman.
Pros and Cons of Salon Lash Extensions
Even though you get to skip mascara and save some time in your morning routine, there are some other factors that make this a high-maintenance option. First and most important is the upkeep, which comes at a relatively high cost. A full set of lash extensions will set you back $100-$200, and after 2-3 weeks you’ll need a fill, costing about $50-$100. You’ll also need to make some changes at home. No more sleeping on your stomach, since it could damage your new extensions, and you’ll have to be careful about using oils on your face since oil can break down the glue used to keep those lashes in place. When you’re ready to transition back to natural lashes you can either have them removed by your lash technician or do it at home with a special gel remover or even coconut oil. Once the extensions are off, you may notice some damage to your natural lashes, so try to mitigate that by finding an amazing technician from the start.
Lash Lift and Tint
If you have lashes that seem to stick straight out or you just need a little boost without all the drama of extensions, look no further than a lash lift and tint. This popular treatment is a great way to get healthy natural-looking lashes that will still enhance your look.
It’s essentially a perm for your lashes, which sounds weird but it works! To start the treatment, a lash technician will put a curved silicone pad on your eyelid and neatly brush your lashes over it with a solution to keep them in place. Next, they’ll add the perming solution and leave it on for about 15 minutes, followed by a setting solution for a few more minutes. If you choose to do a tint, they’ll add dye to your lashes and voilà! New and improved lashes! This is a great option because your newly curled lashes will last long, about 6-8 weeks, while the tint will last around 3 weeks. A lash lift and tint costs about $75-$100, so many women choose to get this done before a wedding or prior to a beach vacation where they don’t want to bother with mascara.
If salon treatments aren’t your thing, there are plenty of lash-enhancing products on the market that you can use at home. As with any other treatment, lash serums aren’t ideal for people with sensitive eyes, but they can work wonders on everyone else! There are currently tons of over-the-counter serums, but the only FDA approved brand is Latisse so if you’re worried about safety that’s your best bet. If you like to live life on the edge, I’ve personally had success with Rodan and Fields Lash Boost, which costs $150. I’m not one to support MLMs, but let’s just say I was startled while curling my lashes one morning and accidentally yanked half my lashes out. Desperate times call for desperate measures and after a few months of Lash Boost every night, my lashes were longer and thicker than ever before. Generally, a good lash serum will have biotin, keratin, and a couple other scientific ingredients that we don’t really understand, but the point is they seem to work.
False lashes are the safest and cheapest option for a temporary lash enhancement, though they can be tricky to do yourself. The best advice we can give is to shop around until you find a pair that fits your eye shape, though you may need to cut them if your eyes are too small for most drugstore brands. Then practice, practice, practice! Another tip is to wait 30 seconds after you apply the glue to the lash band so it gets nice and sticky, then apply it to as close to your lash line as you can. You can choose mink or real silk lashes if you don’t mind using animal products, but many people prefer faux mink. If you have a special occasion but don’t want to break the bank, you can’t go wrong with Ardell. For a few more bucks, Tarte is always a good choice.
You’ll never know which lash enhancement option works for you until you test them out, but always remember to go to a reputable salon with great reviews if you’re going that route. And if all of this seems like too much effort, just grab a life-changing Suratt Relevée Lash Curler and call it a day.