Most people decide to get lash extensions for an event, like a wedding, graduation, or like me, a vacation to try lash extensions for the first time. But afterwards, they may keep up their extensions when they see how much they like the effect and how much time it saves them getting ready to go out (for work or play.)

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Lash Extensions Aren’t Falsies!

False eyelashes (“falsies”) are temporary. They’re usually put on by yourself, by gluing a strip of lashes to the lash line and then taking them off after you’re done wearing them. Lash extensions are different because they’re put on by lash professionals in salon settings, using a semi-permanent adhesive to each individual natural lash on the upper lid. Because they aren’t applied in a strip, they wear longer and look more real.

Choose Your Own (Lash) Adventure

Extensions come in many lengths, thicknesses, and curl types. For my appointment, Khaye at Luxe Loft chose a combination of 10- and 12-mm length hybrid lashes with a C curl. The effect of the C curl is lifted and natural, like you’d get using a lash curler.

Lash extensions can be made from animal fur or man-made materials. True fur lash extensions are available in mink, sable, and fox, and have a celebrity price point. For those of us who aren’t Beyoncé-level (yet!) faux mink, fox, and sable lashes are great options, as well as silk and synthetics.

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Getting Them On…And Keeping Them There!

Professionals use a semi-permanent adhesive specially formulated not to cause eye irritation or damage natural lashes. Big thing to remember: Before your appointment begins, let your lash tech know about any allergies, or if you’re sensitive to any materials.

No Ouchies!

Once the service begins, I cannot stress how important it is to be aware of your body’s pain signals! If there’s any burning or discomfort, or if your eyes start to water uncontrollably, ask your tech to stop for a minute so you can tell them what you’re feeling. Lots of people have allergic reactions to adhesives, and because of that, salons have different kinds of products on hand to make sure an allergic reaction isn’t part of your visit. Your service should be a comfortable experience, so if your eyes start to burn, you may need a different kind of glue.

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Choosing a Lash Specialist

I used the Vagaro Marketplace to research different lash specialists in my area. I recommend reading as many reviews as possible and looking at portfolios. I found looking at “Before & After” photos the most helpful, because it helped me decide the kind of look I wanted. Reviews and the “Before & After” galleries are what helped me decide to book my appointment with Khaye at Luxe Loft.

Another thing that helped me pick the right salon and lash tech was looking for (and asking about) the experience, training, licensing, and certifications of lash specialists. And don’t forget about salon sanitation! Make sure your lash tech washes their hands between clients, uses sanitary protections, sterilizes their tools, and uses disposable lash brushes. After all, you don’t want to pay good money for an allergic reaction or eye infection!

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Ready, Set, GO!

If you can, try to skip makeup the day of your appointment. If you can go bare-faced for a couple days before, that’s even better, so you won’t have a lot of residue. This is really important when it comes to eye liner, eye shadow, and mascara, since most of us have more product build-up than we realize. It’s important to keep residue minimal, because you want the lash extensions to be bonded to your lash, not the residue on the lash. The less residue, the longer your extensions will last! If you have to wear make-up the day of your appointment like I did because I was coming straight from work, try to call ahead to let the salon know you’ll need a little extra time to get your makeup off.

Make sure you’re prepared to be there a while, because most lash appointments run 1-2 hours. Finally, and again, I cannot stress this enough: Keep your eyes closed the whole time! Even if your lash tech pauses to give you a break, resist the urge to peek at your phone. Even if the glue feels dry, it’s still curing. If it gets in your eyes, not only will it burn and make your eyes water, it could mean those lashes won’t set right and they could shed faster. So unplug, use the time to meditate or listen to music, or take a catnap and wake up beautiful! (Just keep your eyes closed till your lash stylist gives you the green light.)

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For more detailed info on getting ready for your lash appointment and lash aftercare, download the Vagaro “Lash” Minute checklist!

Maintenance & Upkeep

Even if you’re an ace at taking care of them, extensions long-term can take a toll. Take a break from extensions occasionally to keep your natural lashes healthy. When you wear extensions, your make-up and cleansers should both be water-based and oil-free. You may need to read your labels carefully and possibly buy some new products to make sure you aren’t using products with glycol or carbonate. Try micellar water or activated charcoal cleansers instead, because they won’t erode the adhesive.

Eyelashes naturally shed every 6-8 weeks, and extensions shed with the natural lashes they’re bonded to. Like me, you’ll probably see some shedding around the 2-4-week mark, so you may want to schedule an infill treatment at 3-4 weeks. However, some lucky (and careful!) folks can get up to 5 weeks of wear from a single service.

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Lash extensions are a specialized service that requires training and certification. Because the service takes a while, I’m not going to lie, it can be pricey. The price will depend on where you live (expect to pay more in cities.) Remember to factor in a tip (15-20% is standard) and budget anywhere from $80 – $150 for your first visit. Keeping them up usually costs between $50 – $150, depending on how many lashes you need.

But if you factor in the money you won’t be spending on mascara and eyeliner and the extra time you won’t be spending putting them on before you go to work or before you go out, it might be worth it to you. And I have to say—waking up every morning and looking like I already had makeup on? That’s worth it.

Video: I Tried Eyelash Extensions for the First Time for My Europe Trip

To watch more videos like this, check out the “Be Awesome” playlist on our YouTube channel!

“Lash” Minute Checklist

For more detailed info on getting ready for your lash appointment and lash aftercare, download the Vagaro “Lash” Minute checklist!

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Images: Giorgio Trovato via Vagaro