Long, beautiful eyelashes are one of the hottest beauty trends around.  More and more women are going for that false eyelash look, and not just for special occasions, anymore.

  • Best practices on eyelashes
  • Lash extensions
  • False eyelashes

“They just make you feel beautiful. They really amp up your make up look,” said Crystal John, a client at the Luxe Day Spa in Tampa.

Another client, Candace Callahan, echoed that sentiment.

“I feel like it opens your eyes up and looks more glamorous,” Callahan said.

Many women glue on eyelash strips as part of their daily routine, which works well once you get the hang of it, but some are looking for longer-lasting solutions.

That’s where lash extensions come in.

“The benefit of extensions is you don’t have to worry about taking them off. You never have to worry about applying mascara. You always look ready,” Luxe Day Spa owner Christina Anastasas explained.

Callahan just had hers done and loves it.

“I do the Russian volume, so they’re the fullest and longest,” Callahan said. “It’s just so much easier in the morning or when you go to the gym. You can just get up and go and not worry about it.”

Meticulous Process

Heidi Dingfelder has red hair and very light eyelashes of her own.  She decided to give lash extensions a try.

“For me, it’s about having a natural look, but also making my eyes pop,” Dingfelder said.

Anastasas demonstrated the meticulous process of adding lash extensions.  With Dingfelder lying back on a cushioned table, Anastatsas went to work—looking more like a surgeon than an esthetician. 

She used tweezers to pick up a synthetic eyelash, dipped it into eyelash adhesive glue, and carefully placed it on top of one of Dingfelder’s natural lashes. The process continued, one by one, for two hours, until Dingfelder’s light, sparse lashes turned dark, full and thick.

Luxe Day Spa owner Christina Anastasas applies lash extensions to client Heidi Dingfelder. (Angie Moreschi, staff)

The results were striking.

“Wow! I think it’s amazing!” Dingfelder said, looking into a mirror.  “It looks like I have mascara on and that I took a lot of time and effort to do this. And I didn’t,” she said laughing. “I’m going to wake up this way every day.”

It’s not cheap.  For a full set of lash extensions at the Luxe Day Spa it costs anywhere from $150 to $350 depending on how full and thick of a look you want. The extensions last for about two to three weeks, thinning as your natural lashes shed.  Clients have to come back every two to three weeks for a refill, which costs about $50 to $60 each time.

Lift & Tint

Having your lashes tinted for about $20 is another option to make them look darker.  Or there is a Lift & Tint for $95 to essentially have your lashes dyed and permed so they stay curling upward. That process lasts about two months, but doesn’t provide the same thickness and volume of extensions.

Dingfelder has had the Lift & Tint done before, but says she was blown away by the extensions.

“This is so much different, because they’re so ‘POW!’” she said.  “I’m super excited!”

False Eyelash Strips

If you don’t have the time or money to get longer lasting treatments, false eyelash strips that you glue on yourself work well for many women.  You can get them at drug stores or beauty stores for an average of about $10 to $30, plus a few dollars for the cost of glue.

“The more you do it, the easier it gets, but they do take some practice,” said Callahan, who has worn false eyelashes in the past.

Technique is important. One of the most important tips is not to use too much eyelash adhesive glue.  Don’t just squeeze glue from the tip of the tube onto an eyelash strip.  Put a drop of glue on a piece of paper and use a small pick to dip into the glue and paint it onto the lash strip. That helps to better control the amount of glue you use, so it’s not so messy.

(Angie Moreschi, staff)

Also, be careful taking them off.

“When I would take them off, some of my natural lashes would come off with them,” Callahan said.

The best way to remove false eyelashes without damaging your own is to dab them with eye make-up remover first to loosen the adhesive, and then, pull them off gently.

Safety Concerns

Whenever you are poking around your eyes, it’s important to be extra careful.

“You can do a lot of damage if it’s not done properly,” said oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kwitko.

He says it is imperative to go to a properly trained, professional esthetician who follows careful safety protocol.  Be sure to ask about the experience and training an esthetician has before letting them do a procedure on you.

Be aware that some people can have an allergic reaction to the glue, which can lead to red, swollen eyelids.

“The glue itself can cause inflammation. It can cause conjunctivitis, (which is) pink eye.” Kwitko cautioned.

Keeping your lashes clean is also very important.

“You can see infections.  If you’re not careful, you can cause the lashes to fall out,” he said.

Anastasas says she always advises her clients to follow good hygiene, like never sleeping in the glue-on false eyelashes.

“Falsies have to come out before the end of the night,” she said.

She also advices nightly cleaning of lash extensions, taking time to gently clean them when you’re washing your face.

Other options

If you’d rather not use lash extensions or false eyelashes, there are products you can use to help make your own natural lashes healthy and stronger.  Serums like RevitaLash (which costs about $75) and Latisse (which costs about $120) promise to help grow your lashes.

If you’re looking for something cheaper, there’s also simple, old Vaseline, which has wonderful conditioning qualities to help strengthen your lashes.  Just apply it at night with a lash brush and wash it off in the morning.  Then, apply tried and true mascara.

If you do try lash extensions, be warned — they can be addicting.

“I love them!” Callahan said laughing. “They’re so much easier. I can’t give them up!”