Introduction: Want Eyelash Extensions? LIY: Lash-It-Yourself (salon? We Don't Need No Stinking Salon...)
Last week I went to the wrong side of The Cascades to see my sister Karina on her birthday. Always a pretty girl, she looked even more beautiful than usual. At first I was a little miffed.
"That b!%&*!", I thought, "This is so unfair! Why does she get to look better as she ages? Am I adopted?"
I calmed down considerably after remembering a recent conversation we had that explained everything. She wasn't (necessarily) aging better than I was - she just got eyelash extensions.
Now maybe this wouldn't be such a revolutionary thing for a girl who is always "made-up", but my sister has the same beauty routine as I do (which requires no mirror and consists of splashing water on our faces and putting our unbrushed hair into rubber bands), so this new addition really changed the way she looked, no change in beauty routine required. Amazing.
"That b!%&!", I thought, "Why didn't I think of that?!" and vowed immediately to get eyelash extensions upon my return home.
As soon as I got home, I started checking salon reviews and menus. My hope for a long-lashed future momentarily faded as I learned that salon extensions were the sort of thing only people with real jobs could afford, then brightened as I remembered how it is I get by without having a "real" job. I get by (ish) because 1) I hustle my tail off and 2) I don't pay for services. I do it myself.
So I did it myself.
I LOVE my new lashes, so I wrote this -ible to commemorate the experience.
Disclaimer: some of my projects could be described with words like "unsafe", "ill-advised", and "in direct violation of local building code"... making stuff awesome is risky business sometimes. As Bob Dylan put it, "Behind every beautiful thing there is some kind of pain". He also advised we ought to "Play if f#$!ing loud!". I don't know exactly where I was going with that, but please evaluate the possible risks before undertaking this or any other project.
Step 1: Gather Tools & Materials
pack of individual flare eyelashes
lotion or baby oil
small paint brush or liner brush (not pictured)
liquid eyeliner (optional)
Step 2: Plan & Prep
Thoroughly clean your lashes and surrounding areas. Avoid using any moisturizing cleansers. The glue will stick best to squeaky clean eyelashes. Comb out lashes with eyebrow brush or unused mascara wand.
Take a peek at what you've got to work with and devise a layout. This plan may need some adjusting later, but it's good to have at least a general direction to start. Based on how I thought I needed them spaced, I decided on 8 flares per eye.
My original plan was to set all my individual falsies atop my natural lashes, but my real lashes are a little on the sparse side, so I decide to glue 4 on my natural lashes and 4 in the gaps between. Your numbers will depend entirely on your current lash situation and the desired effect.
I marked my target spacing with liquid eyeliner on my eyelid (shown) in an effort to help me stay on (or near) course later.
Cut open your lash pack. Remove the lid from the adhesive and place a drop in the lid of the lash container. Replace lid.
Note: I suppose if we were pros at this, we'd be able to work quickly enough to put more than one drop out. But we're not pros. This is our first time and we don't want the glue putting any pressure on us. During the course of your extension placement, you will have to put a new drop of adhesive in the tray when the last drop is used up or becomes too tacky to work with. This will happen a handful of times, so keep the adhesive close by.
Put a little bit of lotion or baby oil on your fingers and tweezers. The first couple of lashes wanted only to stick to whatever I was trying to put them in place with. A little bit of lotion made for smoother sailing.
Step 3: The Gap Lashes
This is the diciest part, since we'll be working from under the lashes, close to the eye. Extra caution should be used in order to avoid eye injury.
Tweezers in hand, grab the first lash flare. Drag the lower half of the flare through the glue, making sure the very tip of the root is loaded with a tiny adhesive ball. With opposite hand, pull gently upward on eyelid to reveal upper lash line from below. Steer the flare into lash gap number 1, which for me was on the outer edge of my left eye
Note: Since I'm right handed, I found it easiest to work left to right: outer to inner left then inner to outer right.
Stick the base of the lash exactly in line with natural lash line. Don't worry about trying to get the whole lash in proper position, just the root end. With the root in place, use a flat side of the tweezers to lift the flare end of the lash into line with natural lashes. Once you're satisfied with its position, press lash line gently between thumb and index finger to secure.
Repeat 3 more times on this eye and 4 times on the other eye. There should now be a nice (relatively gap free) bed on which to place the remaining eight flares.
Step 4: The Volume Layer
Now that we've got a nice sturdy base to work with, we're going to add a layer of flares directly on top.
Because of how we spaced these a few steps back, these last eight lashes should be adhering to our natural lashes, with the base falsies just lending a little support.
If you haven't already done so, put a fresh bit of adhesive in the tray.
Load a small, clean paint brush with a small amount of eyelash adhesive and "paint" a thin strip of glue on the top side of the natural lash the flare will be resting atop.
Note: For the first few in this layer, I applied glue as in the base layer step, but found the flares were just sticking wherever they wanted to. Then trying to remove them without ruining my base layer was not working out so well. So instead of putting adhesive on the flares, I decided to put adhesive on the destination lashes. Worked much better.
Now grasp a flare with the tweezers and lay it directly on top of the sticky lash.
Once you are satisfied with its position, press lashes gently between thumb and index finger to secure.
Repeat 3 more times on this eye, 4 times on the other.
Step 5: Batter Up!
Now bat those eyelashes and admire your handiwork, because your lashes are done! Nice work, gorgeous!
In order to prolong the life of your lashes:
1. Don't use mascara
2. Resist the urge to tug
3. Avoid using eye makeup remover
4. After showering or washing face, allow the lashes to air dry (no towel)
If a flare comes unglued, replace with a fresh flare.
When you want to remove the lashes, use an eye-safe adhesive remover. Do not pull out the flares, as this will damage your natural lashes.