If you read my blog, you may remember me mentioning my weird eye lashes; they're straight from the inner corner of my eye to about two-thirds over and then curl upward in the outer corner, to the point where they often get in the way of doing winged eyeliner. I use my Shu Uemura eyelash curler and a good black mascara almost every day to try and balance out the difference and even then, they still look a little strange. Of course, my lashes do their evolutionary job of keeping stuff out of my eyes, but they're nothing to write home about and are often my most frustrating feature.
So when my friend and hair stylist, Kat Bishop, contacted me a couple of weeks ago to see if I would be interested in being a lash model for Kristyn Harboldt, one of the estheticians where she works, I jumped at the chance. My curiosity about lash extensions had been piqued a year or so ago after Kat told me about her positive experience with them. I also like to take advantage of opportunities where I can experience and educate myself on services my clients might be interested in or have questions about.
Kat and Kristyn work for Beauty Brands, a salon and beauty retail store located at Crocker Park in Westlake, which is on the west side of Cleveland. The company is still relatively new in the Cleveland area; the Crocker Park location opened in December 2015. Along with salon and spa services, Beauty Brands carries a wide range of cosmetic, skin care, and hair care brands, including some of my favorites - Anastasia Beverly Hills, tarte, Too Faced, Smashbox, 100% Pure, Philosophy, and Pureology to name just a few. I recommend checking it out as another beauty store option and for salon and spa services, too.
My appointment was last Sunday and I arrived early to fill out and sign some paperwork, then started reading the client home care information sheet I was given. Kristyn came out and introduced herself and when she was ready, she walked me back to her room and talked to me about the general state of my lashes (I explained the weirdness) and what kind of look I might want to achieve. Then it was time to take off my boots and lay down on the table. I closed my eyes while Kristyn placed gel pads directly under my eyes and took a closer look at my lashes to see what she would be working with. She also consulted with another lash expert to discuss the appropriate size and placement of the extensions.
Once the consultation was over, it was time for me to settle in for a long winter's nap… Okay, not really, but I did lay there with my eyes closed for a little over two hours while Kristyn worked her magic on my lashes, carefully attaching the last extensions (Lash Savvy Professional Eyelash Extensions to be exact) onto my natural ones with a special, semi-permanent glue. I didn't fall asleep, although she assured me it would be just fine if I did. I was close to nodding off a few times, given how relaxed I felt, but I knew I might snore and that wouldn't have been pretty.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when Kristyn was finished, but when she handed me a mirror to take my first look, I immediately let out some kind of an exclamation to the Lord above because holy crap, they looked absolutely amazing. I instantly felt beautiful, even while looking at myself upside down without a stitch of makeup on. My new lashes were dark, curled, and dramatic without looking ridiculous, like having all the benefits of false lashes without the anxiety of putting them on and getting them to stay. And the lash weirdness was gone; Kristyn had done an excellent job making my lashes even and more uniform. To say I was pleased with the results is an understatement.
I rushed home right after my appointment to get ready to go back out to a concert that same evening and didn't have much time to do my makeup, but it honestly didn't matter because of the little extra bit of oomph the lashes gave me. Foundation, concealer, brows, blush, and lips - I was done in about 10 minutes and felt just as lovely as if I'd spent an hour or more putting my face on.
It's been almost a week and I honestly didn’t expect to love my extensions as much as I do. I haven’t worn any eye makeup since before my appointment, which has cut down on the amount of time it takes me to get ready in the morning for my 9-5 job, and when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I love seeing my long, black lashes. It's perhaps conceited (okay, it's totally conceited), but the boost of self confidence I get makes me feel fierce, with or without makeup.
Of course, I've been taking daily care of my extensions with the utmost care - rinsing them with water and gently patting them dry, brushing them out with a spoolie one or two times a day, not rubbing my eyes or lashes, and avoiding getting any products with oil or silicone near my eyes. I'm also doing my best to sleep on my back. It may sound like a lot to maintain, but it's no more or less than the eyelash curler/mascara/eye makeup remover ritual I used to engage in on a daily basis. I also went ahead and made a maintenance appointment right after Christmas for a lash fill. My extensions should continue to look their best for at least 10-14 days, but of course, my own lashes will continue their natural growth cycle and start to shed. If I didn't get a fill, my extensions would be gone in about four-six weeks.
My full set of lashes were a reduced price because I agreed to be a model for Kristyn's training, but a first-time full set of lashes done by a trained esthetician like Kristyn at a reputable spa such as Beauty Brands will often start at around $150-160, while one-three week maintenance appointments start around $50. These are all important factors to consider when deciding whether or not eyelash extensions make sense for you, your lifestyle, and your wallet. I've also listed some additional helpful tips below.
I 100% recommend lash extensions to anyone interested in trying something new for their beauty routine or looking for a daily boost of confidence. And even more so for someone with smaller, hooded eyelids like mine; it automatically opens up the eye and the darker lashes provide natural definition to make the eyes pop with no additional makeup. And I would absolutely recommend Kristyn as the lash professional to go to. Book an appointment with her by calling the Westlake Beauty Brands store at (440) 401-2280. And if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes!
Here's to more beauty adventures in the new year!
Yours in beauty,
Lady Bon Vivant
Before Your Appointment
- Remove ALL of your eye makeup.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- Arrive with a clean, makeup-free face, if possible.
- Wear your contacts, if you'd prefer.
- Be prepared to lay still with your eyes closed for at least two hours, maybe a little more. It's a great time to ponder the mysteries of the universe or plan your menu for the coming week.
- There are no bathroom breaks during the procedure so don't drink too much water or coffee before you go, but also make sure your lips are hydrated. I know it sounds weird, but my lips were already dry when I got to my appointment, so they felt super mummified after two hours.
- Leave your cell phone in your purse or bag. Your eyes will be completely shut and unless you can operate your phone with the power of your mind, there's no point. I know, I know. It's tough to let go of your security blanket for such a long amount of time, but those lovely, fluttery lashes will be absolutely worth the momentary withdrawal.
- Read the after-care instruction very thoroughly.
- Avoid getting lashes wet for at least 24 hours, and saunas or steam for 48 hours.
- Avoid using products around the eye that contain oil or silicone.
- Rinse lashes with warm water and gently pat dry. Stay away from cotton balls or eye rounds so you don't get a bunch of cotton floaties in your lashes.
- Brush your lashes everyday with the spoolie your technician gives you.
- You won't need your eyelash curler for the time being and should only use mascara sparingly as you start to shed some of the extensions. NO waterproof mascara, though, as it contains oil.
- Enjoy seeing that foxy, long-lashed lady staring back at you everyday when you look in the mirror.