Long and Thick Lashes in a Flash, for Real

By Farah Merani

lashesI’ve always been proud of my eyelashes. Thanks to genetics, they’re long, dark and pretty thick. My biggest gripe is if I don’t curl them and they scratch the lenses of my glasses. That, and I’m constantly shedding eyelashes. First world problems.

But recently, when I was prepping for a Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) event, my makeup artist, Dyane Campbell, asked me if I’d ever considered getting extensions. I genuinely I thought she was joking. Extensions are the last thing I’d ever considered. Dyane is the owner of Emerald City Beauty Bar in Yorkville, an upscale, trendy section of Toronto. She has been doing eyelash extensions for over five years. Since she has that kind of experience and expertise, I took the opportunity to ask her some burning questions: What are they? What is the application process like? And why get them? Here’s what she had to say:

Extensions come in three varieties: Silk, Real Mink, and Synthetic Mink.

Silk Extensions are the most commonly used and the least expensive option, because they’re synthetic and durable. They come in different colors, lengths and widths, and are hypo-allergenic. Perfect for creating a dark, dramatic and eye-popping look.

Real mink are just that, made of real mink fur. They can be ethically sourced but are “not so cruelty free,” Dyane says. “Also, they are very expensive in comparison to other type of extensions. Mink extensions are not hypo-allergenic, so most places don’t carry them.” These extensions are also just like a fur coat in the fact that wetting or curling them has permanent affects. On the up side, they do give a very natural, fluttery look.

Synthetic mink lashes are made from synthetic materials and have a similar texture to real mink, without any of the downsides to real hair. “They cost a bit more than silk, but they have a softer texture with less shine, which makes them the perfect hybrid,” Dyane tells me. They also come in several colors, textures and lengths, just like silk.

Dyane finds that the most popular applications are the “Russian Volume” and “Traditional” techniques. The “Traditional” technique involves applying one extension to every natural lash in varying lengths and sometimes widths, creating an enhanced natural look. For a more dramatic look, popularized by the very people it’s named after, the “Russian Volume” technique means that three to five very fine extensions of the same length (in a fan shape) are applied to one eyelash, creating dramatic volume and length.

“Extensions can benefit everyone!” she says with much enthusiasm. They are smudgeproof and waterproof, and you don’t need to touch them for months. “Why put on and take off mascara (or give up and just not wear it) when you can lie back for 60-90 minutes a month on a plush memory-foam bed and have someone gently apply individual lashes for you?”

Sounds like a good time to me. I’m sold. Stay tuned for a follow up!

Prices generally range from $100 to $200 for a full set; many estheticians offer fill-ins for a much lower cost.

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