I wonder if Kim Kardashian ever gets red paint splashed on her by PETA? I mean, even if she doesn’t own a real fur coat, there is enough mink on her lashes to make a small cub! And I’m pretty sure somebody isn’t going around with a lint brush into a den full of minkeys and then re-selling the naturally collected hairs on the black lash market. Although, come to think of it, there probably is a solid business opportunity there.
Anywho… Despite the real possibility that a luxuriously soft animal may have been sacrificed in the name of beauty, today I got mink eyelash extensions. And I’ll be perfectly honest – I love them! The idea of not having to wear any mascara at all for up to 4 weeks is very appealing. And before you ask, yes, of course there was a voucher involved. While I didn’t go full out Kardashian, they are definitely noticeable, and are taking a little getting used to.
The process involves first of all leaving the house without any eye cream, makeup or mascara on your lids and lashes. Now, that might sound a touch vain, but as a naturally fair woman in this city, I tend to feel a little naked without furry little spider legs cradling my eyes. Nevertheless, I managed to drag my bare face over to Ooh La Lash…, which is tucked downstairs inside L’Squared Salon on College Street near Ossington. Natalie, the chief lash lady and self-professed extension addict, greeted me warmly, and put me immediately at ease on her comfy table with soothing nature songs, answering all my questions as she got down to business.
The session began with an undereye gel treatment, that felt lovely and cooling on my skin. Next, Natalie secured my lower lashes and upper eyelids into place with medical adhesive tape, which is not particularly sticky, but does a good job of keeping them out of harm’s way. After combing out my upper lashes with a soft mascara type of brush, she then began to glue individual mink hairs to each and every one of them using tweezers. While there are silk, synthetic and human (from corpses, may contain formaldehyde) lashes also available, Natalie is not a fan, and prefers to only use the mink hairs in her practice. My eyes remained shut during the entire application, which was both painless and relaxing. It took roughly 20 or 30 minutes per eye. That was it. Here is an example of the process, for the uber-curious:
Natalie then provided me with some specially formulated mascara (for use primarily on the lower lashes, should I feel so inclined), along with several guidelines to properly care for my new pets, especially during the first 48 hours, which is how long it takes for the glue to fully bond the follicles together. I’m sure I’ve already broken a few of the rules, as I do, but I’m trying my best to heed them, if only out of respect for the minks that generously contributed their hairs to the process. Do you think maybe the minkeys donate their extra hairs every spring, kind of like how dogs shed their winter coats, or some women grow their hair and give it to make wigs for cancer patients? No? Dangit. Well, here’s my before and after photos to distract you – sorry about the messy bangs… haircut’s coming tomorrow:
A few other tidbits about eyelash extensions that I didn’t know before today is that all eye makeup and cleansers with mineral oil should be avoided, as it loosens the glue, and is in fact what is used to take them off. You do not need to have them professionally removed; they will just fall out along with your own lashes in about 45-60 days. Ah, the circle of life. You should further not sleep on your face or even your side, as the lashes may rub against the pillow, and this particular type of friction in bed is apparently bad. Here’s another set of diversion photos, where I appear much more awake and alert than I feel:
Finally, a ‘filler’ maintenance session is recommended 2-3 weeks after getting a full set applied, to top them up, so to speak, which is priced at a considerable discount. Some clients are so paranoid about caring for their lashes that they even shower with goggles on to avoid getting them wet. Tanning beds and saunas should similarly be avoided, due to the steam, which can also contribute to them falling out prematurely. Now, if I can just get through the next 48 hours without rubbing my eyes with either my fist or a pillow, I will proclaim this beauty adventure to be a smashing success – stay tuned! Wink, wink (can’t help it, so much fun now!).