The Awkward Girl’s Guide to Getting Eyelash Extensions
I’ve wanted to try eyelash extensions … well, FOREVER, basically… so when Edinburgh’s Yuu Beauty got in touch and asked if I’d like to try one of their services, it was a really easy decision for me.
Eyelash extensions, as I’m sure you probably know, are exactly what they sound like: individual false lashes which are glued on to your existing lashes, to “extend” and curl them – oh, and to basically eliminate the need for mascara, which was the big attraction for me. As a natural redhead, you see, mascara is basically my religion, and has been ever since my mum finally allowed my teenage self to talk her into to letting me wear it. Left to their own devices, my eyelashes are almost translucent, and they’re not particularly thick or curly, which means that, without mascara, I basically look like I don’t actually HAVE lashes. Witness:
Er, I also look like I haven’t slept for a week. That’s partly because I actually HADN’T slept much when these photos were taken, but it’s also because mascara doesn’t just make me look like I have eyelashes: it makes me look more awake, somehow, too. These photos are actually not a particularly good example of what I’m talking about, because my lashes are dyed here (that brown line you can see along the lashline isn’t eyeliner I haven’t cleaned off: it’s where the dye got onto my skin the day before. For reasons best known to themselves, the brand of eyelash dye I normally use has had a change of formula, and it’s now almost impossible to use. That’s another story for another day, but I just wanted to explain the brown smudges…), but imagine these photos, only with my lashes even paler, and you’ll get the idea.
Now, because eyelash extensions are a semi-permanent treatment (i.e. they last as long as your own eyelashes do, and only fall out when the lash they’re attached to does), they seemed like an awesome idea to me: I mean, imagine not having to wear half a tube of mascara every day – or remove it every night?
Two things, however, put me off:
01. The cost
A full set of eyelash extensions at Yuu Beauty will cost you up to £80 (£60, if you’re going for a more natural look), and an in-fill (where the lash tech will fill-in gaps that have started to appear when the lashes start to drop out) costs between £25-£40, and would be necessary every 2-3 weeks, if you wanted to maintain the look.
02. The time-commitment
The initial appointment lasts around an hour, while in-fills take between 30-45 minutes, so it’s not exactly a quick-fix to the pale lash problem.
I was, however, offered a complimentary treatment to try it out, so last week I headed into Edinburgh – to Craighall Road, to be exact, which is where the Yuu Beauty salon is located. (It’s a pretty good location, too, because unlike most of the city, we were able to get parked right outside – I felt like we’d won the lottery or something…)
The salon itself is on two floors, and is beautifully decorated. I was given a really warm welcome by the staff, which was lovely because, me being me, I was feeling slightly apprehensive about the treatment – mostly because I knew it was going to involve at least an hour’s worth of me having to lie still while someone hovered over my eyelids with sharp tweezers and glue. What if I sneezed? What if I couldn’t stay still? WHAT IF, people?
Of course, as is almost always the case with me, I was worrying about absolutely nothing. My lash tech was lovely, and has performed the treatment hundreds of times, so it was immediately obvious I was in safe hands. I was also in a really comfortable, soft bed, which turned out to be heated – that’ll explain why I kept almost drifting off to sleep, then! Although eyelash extensions are obviously a beauty treatment, rather than a therapeutic one, the fact that your eyes are closed for the duration, makes it really quite relaxing, and apparently it’s not unusual for people to snooze their way through it! I did manage to stay awake (just), but I found the hour-long appointment went much faster than I was expecting, which was great.
Unlike regular false eyelashes, which are normally stuck onto the lashline, each eyelash extension is carefully glued on to a single eyelash. Before we got started, I had a quick chat with the tech about what I was looking for (ME: “Umm, I dunno, really?”), and opted to go for the “extreme” look, which involves using the longest extensions to create a fairly dramatic look. You can, if you prefer, use eyelash extensions to create a much more natural effect, but, well, “natural” has never really been my thing when it comes to eyelashes: I mean, go big or go home, right?
As I said, it took around 60 minutes to apply the full set of lashes to each eye, and although I’m assuming it’s a tricky, painstaking process for the person actually doing the work, for me it was pretty relaxing: the treatment isn’t remotely painful or uncomfortable, and to be totally honest, I barely felt a thing until it was time to open my eyes again, at which point they did water a little bit – mostly because I opened them before I was told to, and got some of the glue in my eye. Such a rebel, I am. (Don’t worry, it wasn’t painful, it just made my eyes water for a few seconds!)
And here’s the result!
I’m wearing a touch of mascara on my lower lashes here (which aren’t included in the treatment), but absolutely nothing on my upper lashes, and I absolutely love the effect, which is full and fluttery, and exactly what I was looking for. When I went in, I had loads of questions, which I asked during the treatment, so here are some quick questions and answers for anyone thinking of trying some eyelash extensions for themselves:
Q. Can you feel the eyelash extensions on your eyes?
Nope, not at all. I was really aware of them for maybe the first hour or so, but by the time I got home and had dinner, I’d more or less forgotten about them, and couldn’t feel them at all – they basically don’t feel any different to me than my own eyelashes do!
Q. Can you get them wet?
Yup: the glue used is water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry too much about them getting wet, although it’s a good idea not to blast them with water, or rub at them with a washcloth etc. I was advised to try to avoid getting them wet at all for the first 48 hours, so I spent the weekend keeping the shower-head at neck height, and using dry shampoo on my hair. It wasn’t a great couple of days for my hair, to be honest, but I’m now back to washing it as usual in the shower – although, on the advice of the salon, I try to keep my face out of the water jets (apparently it’s a good idea to do this anyway, for the sake of your skin), and I don’t douse it with water when I’m cleaning it at night, either. The eyelash extensions eliminate the need for mascara, but I do use some on my lower lashes, removing it carefully with a cotton pad. Any eye makeup on the lid, meanwhile, can be removed with a cotton bud (Q-tip) – again, you want to avoid rubbing at the lashes, or getting oily cleansers on them.
Q. How do you look after your eyelash extensions?
They really don’t require a whole lot in the way of maintenance: sometimes when I’ve just woken up (Oh, you’re advised to try to avoid sleeping face-down, or with your lashes smushed into the pillow, too!), or come out of the shower, they’ll look a little bit messed-up, purely because of the length, but I was given a spoolie brush to take away with me, and a quick comb with that has them looking as good as new again.
Q. How long do they last?
As long as your own lashes do: they’re attached to your existing lashes, so they’ll fall out when they do. As I said above, if you want to maintain the look, you can have in-fills every two to three weeks, to replace any lashes that have reached the end of their life-cycle, and keep them looking full. At the time of writing, I’ve had mine for a week, and haven’t noticed any falling out, so fingers crossed they last as long as possible!
Q. Can you wear mascara with eyelash extensions?
I honestly don’t think you’d need to – and I say that as someone who has totally worn mascara over false eyelashes before, just to make them even MORE dramatic. I haven’t worn it with my eyelash extensions, but if you really want to, you can carefully apply water-based mascara to the tips (definitely not waterproof mascara!) and remove it very carefully, again avoiding oil-based cleansers. I personally wouldn’t risk it, though!
Q. Any downsides?
So far the only one I’ve found is that the lashes are so long they touch the lenses of my glasses when I wear them. I’ve switched to another pair, which I guess must sit further out from my face, because they’re not quite so bad – or I wear contact lenses, which are also fine to use with eyelash extensions.
Other than that, the biggest downside I’ve found so far is that, having tried eyelash extensions, I suspect it’s going to be pretty hard to go back to my usual, non-existent eyelashes. Although these did take some time to apply, obviously, they reduce the amount of time I have to spend doing my makeup every morning, and I’m finding it so refreshing to not have to think about mascara, which is normally the most time-consuming part of my daily makeup routine. At night, meanwhile, there’s one less thing to think about removing, and one less product to be used too: all of this is going to come in particularly handy on my upcoming holiday, and while I unfortunately won’t be able to justify having them all the time, I’d definitely get them again for vacations or special occasions.
Finally, my amazing parents got me a GoPro for my birthday this year, and gave it to me early, because they knew I’d probably want to film every second of my holiday. What they probably DIDN’T realise, however, was that I’d want to film everything ELSE, too, so here’s a quick video I took of my eyelash extensions – just because I can (apologies for the low quality – I was still learning how to use it!):