My decision to get lash extensions was not for “prettier lashes”, but rather a solution to keeping my glasses clean!
My natural lashes are fairly long, and when I’d wear mascara (which artificially lengthens them ever so slightly) they would touch my glasses and leave smudges. I had to clean my glasses about 4x a day due to the smudging.
My first solution was to get lash lift & tinting done- which definitely worked, but “perming” and “dying” lashes isn’t something I really wanted to do on a regular basis, and the effects would really only last about 2-3 weeks, yet re-doing the service isn’t recommended until at least 6 weeks.
I did this for a few years, not ever thinking about lash extensions. I didn’t know anything about them, or how they worked. Then this summer, I was talking with a friend and I noticed her gorgeous lashes- she told me they were extensions! And I was intrigued!
She gave me the name of her lash tech and I scheduled an appointment- at the Lash Lounge in Bethany (Portland, OR suburb). I told Camille (the tech) about my dilemma and she suggested we go with 12’s as the longest length.
For my initial set, I went with the classic look, as I didn’t really want that “lash extensions” look.
And they turned out AMAZING!!!! I absolutely LOVE THEM!
That was September 2021. After a couple fills, I decided to go for more volume. I love them even more!!
Before we go any further… let me explain the lash extension process… and what a “fill” is, and how to take care of them. If you are already familiar- just scroll past the next several paragraphs and start reading when you see the puffy eyelid (sigh).
How to Care for Lash Extensions:
When I first got extensions I was a little nervous about care, but really- they are so durable, therefore they are so easy to care for!
I washed my lashes every night before bed (using micellar water on a soft bristled make-up brush) and just lightly brushed them out, I’d pat them dry with a clean towel, comb them back to their perfect position, and let them air dry. Or sometimes I’d blow them dry (blow dryer, cold setting). I didn’t do this EVERY night, but probably 5-6 nights a week. If I didn’t wash them at night before, I’d wash them in the morning in the shower- using Neutrogena foaming face wash and another soft make-up brush to suds them up.
The things I avoided: shower water directly hitting my lashes. Also no super long HOT showers (steam), and be careful when opening the oven door (!!) and that’s it!
Prior to extensions I was wearing eyeliner and eye shadow. After extensions- I didn’t wear either, because I didn’t feel like I needed to.
OH, last thing- and no sleeping on your face or letting the pillow touch your lashes. If you do that, they could get all bent out of shape and look really wonky. So back sleeping only!
What is a Lash Fill?
You know how when you get acrylic nails (or even just polish your nails), as your nails grow you end up with a gap between your cuticle and the acrylic nail (or polish line)? Lashes are the same way. Always growing. When you get lash extensions applied, they bond individual “hairs” (or groups of hairs) onto individual lashes, adhering them as close to the base of the lash as possible.
Eyelashes “cycle”- meaning they grow, fall out, regrow…. so it’s common to lose some extensions due to regular lash fallout. It’s also possible to lose extensions due to bonding issues (especially if you took a long hot shower!).
How long do they last?
They look amazingly lush and full for the first week, then start thinning out a bit as you lose lashes naturally. It’s recommended to go in every 2 weeks for “a fill”.
If you wait too long, you get wonky looking lashes- too much grow out puts weight on the lash and can make the extension hang weird, or shoot out in the wrong direction. You can also break your own natural lashes that way. And, as you lose lashes and extensions, you can end up with thinner areas- or long roots showing.
It’s just not pretty. So every 2 weeks you go in for a “fill” and walk out again with a lush full stunning set!
Here’s what they look like after 2 weeks- this is the day before my fill:
They still look great to me- except for that wonky one.
Here’s another example where I developed a “gap” where the extensions kept falling off…
Anyway, I suppose lash extensions sound complicated in a way, but they really aren’t. They are inconvenient, sure, because the fill appointments take an hour or so- but I actually enjoyed that down time.
I just love how much more “put together” I look and feel with pretty lashes!
SO… fast forward… I have my extensions on for a few months and I love them! This is like the best thing ever!!
Until early January (after 4 months of wearing them) when I wake up with puffy lids and severe itching:
I call them and ask what I should do and they suggest taking allergy meds and using hydrocortisone on the itchy area, and let them know if it doesn’t help.
It helps. Yay!! The itching and swelling only lasted for a couple of days.
So I go in again for the next fill, 2 weeks later- January 18th. Still itchy, but less, because I took the allergy pills a couple days before and after, plus the hydrocortisone.
But here’s where it gets weird.
I get a super stuffy nose that night. Like super stuffy. After taking allergy pills? The congestion is so bad that I had to cancel an appointment that I had for the next day. But then I realize, I had a similar stuffy nose just a couple weeks earlier! I know this, because it started as a super dry burning feeling in my nose and then bam! comes on all of a sudden- like around 5pm at night. Coincidence?
I look back at my calendar- and sure enough, that same sudden stuffy nose was the same day as a lash fill! And I remembered I had another stuffy nose on another date back in December, so I look through my texts with a friend and found the date I was complaining to her about my stuffy nose- and then looked at my calendar- and yep! Same day as a lash fill!
Getting a stuffy nose with each fill- that can’t be good.
2 weeks later- Feb 7th- they decide to try the sensitive adhesive this time, to see if that helps. AND do a wash after the fill to remove any lingering residue. I take the allergy pills and apply hydrocortisone after, and sadly, there’s no difference. I’m just as itchy ((sigh)). AND, I still get the stuffy nose.
So I go back again- one last time to test it out….. I had her do the post-fill wash again and I had her slather my lids with hydrocortisone before I walked out. I also threw my mask in the trash on my way out the door- and bam! About 4 hours later I’m hit with a stuffy nose again. The congestion wasn’t as bad as it had been before, though. And my itching wasn’t as bad either. BUT- I made the decision that this is certainly an allergic reaction and not good for my system, not good for my body, I needed to stop.
This next part might seem a little out there- but when I told my friend about it, she said that she had a couple other friends with the same experience…. and get this…. it was all shortly after getting their booster shot! I got mine mid-January. So I think the worst of my experiences were right after that, and my most recent one wasn’t as bad because it was a full month later.
Regardless, I made the decision to have them removed. More on that in another post!
The good news? My lash tech was amazing, and the Lash Lounge is amazing and my lashes came out unscathed. Sure they were shorter than I remembered, but in reality- no, they weren’t, because they were still hitting my glasses!! Yay, but boo!
And my lash line looked pretty lush. It’s just that my lashes are straight and light colored so not visible. Ew. But no worries- I have a solution. And it’s not applying strip lashes!