Individual Eyelash Extensions – Review
In case you missed it, i’ve already done a post on getting my eyelashes done in “flares.” You can read it here. This post will be for the somewhat different and more costly experience of having eyelash extensions done. I put quite a bit of information on the post with the flares but i’ll go into a little more detail before my review which you can read after the jump.
I gave myself a week of time to “experience” the lashes before posting this review. It also gave me a good basis for the “Results.” portion. I hope you enjoy~
The flare eyelashes (small clusters of faux lashes) were glued to my inner eyelid just underneath my natural lashes. Of course the glue did mix with my natural lashes and my impromptu removal of them resulted in the loss of some of my natural eyelashes. I didn’t follow my own advice by going to the salon to get them removed – my bad. The technique also resulted in my eyelashes resembling strips rather than individual or clusters.
Eyelash extensions, on the other hand, are individual lashes glued onto the natural lashes themselves. Eyelash extensions cost between $80-500. The price is determined by the salon, the number of lashes and the material of the lashes. They are placed as close to the root as possible for as seamless a look as one can achieve. Ideally they will only fall out when your natural eyelashes fall out. The life cycle of the eyelash varies from person to person but can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months. This means that eyelash extensions will last this same amount of time. It must be said that not all your eyelashes fall out at the same time; what this means is that you will find eyelash extensions falling off at different intervals. You can go back to the salon to get these individually fallen lashes replaced for a lower cost than getting a full set. This is referred to as a touch up. Depending on the salon, touch ups cost between $30-90.
A couple of weeks ago, Groupon had a special for eyelash extensions at Raffine salon in Newport Beach. Of course I grabbed it!
My eyelash extensions were valued at $120 (I paid $60 thanks to Groupon.) This was for a total of 130 lashes or 65 per eye. I paid $20 extra to get another 10 lashes per eye. Basically, the price was $1 per lash for the extra lashes and 92 cents for the “set” lashes. I selected silk lashes because I’m ethically against the mink kind.
Beauteous is located in Costa Mesa, California. From my understanding of their ONE website (in Japanese!) it’s actually a training academy that doubles as a salon. They do not do anything but eyelash extensions in this location and it seemed as if there were three rooms (two people each) for the extensions. The location was gorgeous!
When I called Raffine to make my appointment it was suggested (told) to me that I should make my appointment for their Costa Mesa location. Being that this was about 30 minutes closer to me than the Newport Beach location I readily agreed. My appointment was made with no problem aside from a last minute change of time on the part of the woman with whom I spoke (from 12:30 to 1pm).
The employees at Raffine and Beauteous (the name of the Costa Mesa location) are exclusively Japanese. Apparently they are all trained in the Japanese method of applying extensions. Why does this matter? Because eyelash extensions actually STARTED in Japan! Fake eyelashes were available in Korea and American far earlier than eyelash extensions, but the specific procedure itself didn’t gain popularity until the late 90′s in Japan.
The website and Groupon advertised a 15 minute consultation before the procedure began. Specifically, the website states:
We provide a free 15 minute consultation on your first visit. Please consult with one of our Eyelash Specialists about your preferences, like lash length, thickness and design.
My consultation was more of a 5 minute talk about the 5 options they had shown on a small stand. Unlike the website there was no mention of the 10 lengths, 3 curls or 4 thicknesses. I asked if they had an album or anything depicting my options but they did not. I shrugged this off and went for the full set (which was the groupon offer + the 20 extra lashes I paid for.)
Throughout the procedure the ladies were courteous but quiet. There was some quiet whispering in Japanese but nothing insulting. At one point the young lady doing my eyelashes WENT ON A BREAK and another woman took her place. This bothered me substantially but her replacement was equally friendly. She even took a picture of me on the table for the blog! I ended up tipping ONLY this woman as the other spent less than 10-15 minutes with me.
I was brought to a clean, comfortable room where another woman was also having her eyelashes done. There were two tables resembling a masseuses’ table without the hole for your face to go into. Two microfiber blankets were made available to me (one below and one for covering up in case I got cold.) The salon had late 90′s early 2000′s music playing – it was mostly girl power music remixed to sound more modern.
I was asked to lay down and close my eyes. My lashes were “cleaned” and a hot towel was placed on my eyes to soften the lashes. This lasted about five minutes. White tape was then placed above my lower lashes but beneath my upper lid so that it was between my eyelids when my eyes were closed. If I opened my eyes a little I could see the white tape but it wasn’t bothersome at all! Tape was also placed onto my eyebrows, pulling them and my eyelids up towards my forehead. Both of these things are to provide a clean “slate” for the person applying the lashes.
Using tweezers, the tech looks for strong individual lashes on which the extensions will be glued. They are separated (again with the tweezers) with one hand while the other selects the appropriate extension, dips it in glue and attaches it to the natural eyelash approximately 1mm (or closer) from the base of the eyelash. This process is repeated over and over until all the lashes have been applied. In my case they did both eyes at the same time. Some places will do one eye and then the other but IMO this results in uneven looking extensions. Throughout the application she used small scissors to trim the lashes so that they were not all the same length or obscenely long. I ended up with what I believe was their next-to thickest, least curled and longest lash. That would be .20mm thick , J curled and 15mm in length.
After the final lash was applied the tech carefully removed the tape from my eyes. At this point I asked her to please take a picture of me on the table and she was kind enough to do so. In the picture you can see the powder from the tape (I imagine it’s a specialized tape because it did not pull at my skin or irritate it at all!)
The whole procedure took an 1 hour and 40 minutes. When I was finished I was brought up to pay and given a small piece of paper with after-care instructions and a pack of two eyelash brushes for maintenance.
Yet again I forgot to take extensive before pictures. ALSO yet again, I already had a before picture taken for future (past?) posts.
You can click on the pictures for extreme close ups. As you can see the results were extremely dramatic! They look far more natural than the cluster extensions did because of the individual application.
As I’m sure you can also see – some of the lashes were already loose less than 5 hours after application. I didn’t get them wet, near steam or touch them but the day was rather windy. Before the end of the day about four lashes had fallen out. Never one to miss an opportunity – this also resulted in an opportunity to take a picture of the lash extension. Some of the extensions fell out WITH my natural eyelashes and others simply detached. Here’s a detached one.
After three days quite a few of the lashes had come loose and I started thinking in terms of dollars. If each eyelash cost a dollar than there were easily 5-10 bucks being lost a day. Today I took the last update shots for this post. I’m still trying to figure out how to fix the gimpy looking gap on my left eye. Any suggestions? (Besides getting them redone?)
Overall, my experience was positive. Some minor flubs in Customer Service and nowhere near as lasting the results as I was promised. I don’t think I’ll be getting them regularly because they do not really last and I felt as if I couldn’t touch my eye at all. I attribute the loss of lashes to a combination of not matching my lashes to the right length and weight (my lashes were already frail so why did they use such a thick lash?), the windy day and my tendency to tear up. Still! They looked great while they lasted!
Customer Service: 7/10
$140 seems like an extreme amount to spend on eyelash extensions, but it’s actually closer to the bottom-tier of the prices for such a procedure. I expect touch ups (every 3-4 weeks) to cost around $45-$55 with a new set every two or three months. This would mean that the cost to maintain these lashes would be $960 a year. I may choose to get them done for super special occasions and I’ll definitely be looking for a salon closer to home. Whatever I decide to do long term, I’m glad I did this! It was fun and I love the results. Sometimes a girl’s got to splurge!