Do your homework when choosing an eyelash technician, finds Annemarie Quill
Long eyelashes are no longer the domain of celebrity starlets, with more and more options for extending your flutter power from stick ons, glue ons and magnetic lashes to the more semi-permanent eyelash extensions.
I have been a fan of eyelash extensions for a couple of years and then went into eyelash mourning when my favourite lash technician moved overseas. It is easy to get addicted to the look extensions give your eyes and I felt eye bald and washed out without them.
I was soon to learn that not all eyelash extension providers are equal, in fact anything but.
I experienced a few duds before landing at Salon One The Cove where I was pleased to discover expert lasher Renee.
It is surprising to learn that for something that involves the sensitive eye area, there is no set requirement in New Zealand for training or standards for eyelash extension practitioners. This means that unless you check out a person's credentials, you could be letting someone loose with glue and tweezers on your eyes who has just learned their craft from YouTube.
Renee has seven years of lash industry experience and is trained and certified in both classic and volume lash. She is passionate and knowledgeable about her craft, is constantly retraining and keeping up with the ever evolving lash industry, attending events, conferences and recently judging in one of New Zealand's first lashing competitions.
Renee says that given the lack of a regulatory framework around eyelash extensions, people need to arm themselves with knowledge when choosing a lash technician.
"You should definitely do your homework on the technician before. Do not be afraid to ask questions - ask about their experience in lashing, how long, what training have they had, how long have they been lashing. Any authentic technician will welcome your questions and be happy to show you."
Renee recommends you look for training certification verification, and also check the trainer out. She is happy to give advice on this. She also suggests checking out their work on their Facebook page or Instgram but confirm that it is their work they have posted.
Be wary of budget options. Renee says it takes even a good experienced technician at least an hour to do a set of lashes, possibly more depending on volume and length.
If it's under $60 a full set and only going to take 30 minutes then move on. If I were looking for quality lashes, I would be looking for full sets around $90-$120 in Tauranga.
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Most trained, knowledgeable and experienced techs won't charge low prices, because the time it takes to perfect the craft of safe, quality and customised lash appliction takes time."
Renee has seen her fair share of people coming to her to fix poor extensions. The most common mistakes she sees include cheap glue and lashes, poor application and clumping of lashes.
"This can even cause pain or discomfort but often people do not realise there is anything wrong as they think that is just the norm and they do not know any different. Well applied quality lashes should not in anyway cause you discomfort and certainly not pain."
At the worse end of issues Renee has seen eye infections from conjunctivitis to blepharitis (swelling of the eyelid), loss of eyelashes and even eyelash lice. Agh yuk.
Renee stresses that if you go to a good quality lash technician, your own lashes do not suffer.
The treatment Renee starts the session by looking at your existing lashes and talking through options of your desired look. Some people want the full on volume lash, whereas others prefer a classic lash for everyday.
Renee will advise on what will suit. Her philosophy is that the best lashes will have people wondering if they are real. You can take into account your everyday look. If you wear makeup and dress up most days then volume can look natural for you but if you don't wear makeup and do, say, a lot of sport, you would be better off with a more classic look.
Eyes are comfortably taped for Renee to work on. Depending on the look, she will apply individual lashes or 'flared' lashes. The lashes are applied to your own lashes, not the eyelid.
We decide on a combination of classic and volume.
Each eye can take 30 minutes or more but the room is tranquil and it is relaxing. Renee says many of her clients nod off.
You need to avoid getting lashes wet for 24 hours then after that you should regularly clean your lashes with a diluted baby shampoo and brush them. Renee provides a brush and can also source eyelash cleanser designed specifically for extensions.
You can wear eye shadow but Renee advises against using mascara.
"If you use mascara it can cause the lashes to stick together - you will lose them quicker."
When removing eye makeup, use a non-oil makeup cleanser.
Renee recommends an infill every two to three weeks. I have mine after three weeks and a good number of the lashes are still on, but I decide I love the look so much I go for the volume.
My lashes look and feel natural. There is no discomfort - I don't even feel them at all.
With the eyes the windows to the soul, eyelash extensions are a wonderful way to 'dress' your windows. You will definitely notice the difference when you go to a very experienced technician.
Annemarie had eyelash extensions from Renee who operates her Lash Me consultancy out of Salon One The Cove, Fraser Cove, Tauranga. Call 07-571-2183 www.lashme.co.nz