03 .06 .15 Eyelash Extensions: My Foray into the Fringe

I had never even considered getting eyelash extensions. My natural lashes are not too shabby, actually. Especially with great mascara. But one day, I met my beautiful friend A. for lunch and she was all eyes: fluttery, feminine and fabulous. I had to have them. So, in the name of journalism and beauty research for mothers everywhere, I went to JJ Eyelashes in midtown Manhattan to get my fringe on.

The process for the initial set took a little under an hour. Clients lie down on a comfy little bed, and are given blankets and a complimentary ten minute foot massage (heaven). Eyes are gently taped closed while JJ’s exclusively trained aestheticians apply silk and mink lashes with surgical glue and meticulous hands, one by one. I think I actually fell asleep. When I sat up and opened my eyes, I was stunned at the result: natural, long and lush with not even one eyelash out place. I was instantly obsessed.

For over four months, I went back every week or two for a “refill,” which took about 40 minutes. Same bed, same foot massage and same gorgeous result every time. I don’t know how they do it. These women are artists.

The Lowdown: JJ Eyelashes offers ten different lengths of lashes with two different curls and thickness. There are three levels of lash sets, each set more dramatic as the number of lashes per eye goes up. I stuck with the most natural set, the Ruby, at 80 lashes per eye. I chose a round shape, also the most natural, with a mix of thick and thinner lashes. What I love about JJ Eyelashes is that they truly customize each eyelash set to each client.

The Pros: Eyelash extensions saved me time! No mascara necessary (or allowed). This saved me time in the morning as well as when I washed my face at night. I looked more awake and bright eyed with less makeup. I felt prettier.

The Cons: Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! Some weeks my lashes lasted longer than others. I think it depended upon how my own eyelashes grew, how much I exercised/sweat and how careful I was when showering and rubbing my eyes. In general, the lashes have very good staying power but are susceptible to lifestyle. They must be handled with care.

I knew I would be taking a break from the lashes over the summer because I wouldn’t be in town to keep them up. The big question—and I think the big deterrent for many women to starting the lash process at all—is how much do the natural lashes suffer? I heard all the scary stories of women being left with hardly any lashes and I was pretty panicky when I went in for the removal. But I’m happy to report that my own lashes are well intact. They might be a little less full but there’s certainly not a devastating loss. I think the reality is that you get so used to the look of the extensions that your own lashes seem anemic by comparison and it takes some time to adjust to having a mere mortal’s flutter.

I definitely plan to resume my extensions in the fall.

Perk: If you’re in New York City, JJ Eyelashes is offering a 20% off an initial set to BeautyMama readers.

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