The first time I ever donned a set of false eyelashes, I was a senior in high school taking a full load of honors courses plus two freshman college courses, was editor of the yearbook, captain of the drill team, and student council treasurer. And although I was born Type A, all of that brought on enough stress to make my already nonexistent baby blonde eyelashes fall out. I mean, being a fair-skinned-redhead, I was already at a disadvantage when it came to lashes but wanted to keep what little the Lord gave me. I did not need nor want to be completely bald-eyed! I was about to resign myself to this fate when my mom’s own high school girlfriend came to my rescue.
Miss Marilyn lived up to her glamorous name. To this day, her sweet husband has never laid eyes on her unmade face. Your quintessential east Texas lady, she had big blonde hair, a golden tan, manicured pink fingernails, glossy lipstick, and l..a..s..h..e..s.. for days. False ones, of course. She was mom’s immediate solution to triage my lash emergency. So off we went to Miss Marilyn’s – STAT – for an emergency lesson in how to apply fake eyelashes. The tiny individual ones. The little sprigs. With glue. And tweezers. It. Was. Tedious. I later tried the strip lashes, but they take a steady hand and too much patience, and inevitably one end of them will not stick and ends up flapping in the wind.
Fast forward about 20 years of false eyelash struggle. I am six months pregnant and confined to my sofa, on mandatory bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy. The man who owned my hair salon was toying with the idea of adding a day spa and brought in a lady who was learning to do lash extensions. In 2009, these were still a relatively luxe item, and one that I could not afford. Lucky for me she needed guinea pigs to practice on. Since I was bored out of my mind, as well as immobile, she was dispatched to my house for the longest lash session I have ever endured. The final product was fabulous! But it took hours since she was just learning. What did not take long was for my little 4-pound bundle of joy to make his arrival seven weeks early. Those long luxurious lashes were still intact and turning nurses’ heads when I wheeled into the hospital. I credited “those prenatal vitamins” for them and never admitted a thing. Since then, lash extensions have been my number one recommendation to all moms-to-be. You will never get a better in-hospital photo, which has become more and more important in the influencer world! Best thing I ever did, aside from giving birth to my son, obvi.
Since then I have done lash extensions in spurts, trying different studios and technicians but never being able to justify the expense. Until I met Ebony. Ebony is magic. I am loathed to tell you more because her client list is quickly filling up and I need to keep my regular weekly spot! Yes, you read that right. The best 30 minutes of my week, every week, is lying on Ebony’s table at Salon Bellezza in Lakeway, snoozing away while she quickly works her magic on my fringe. I stumbled across their “lash club” a few years back, where you pay $119 a month and go once a week for a half-hour; or every two weeks for an hour. Genius.
If you are a real redhead like I am (yes, the drapes match the carpet), or a real blonde (you know who you really are), you know the plight of the invisible eyelashes and peach fuzz woes. I have likened my appearance sans eye makeup as that of a naked mole-rat and I am not far off. All my brunette friends have always rolled right out of bed, pinched their cheeks, powdered their noses, and swiped on some lip gloss, and they are good to go. Meanwhile, my morning routine took a solid half-hour longer, with two types of eyeliner, two types of mascara, and the eyelash curler alternating in between layers. And God forbid you sneeze somewhere in the process. Then it is back to square one and you are late for work.
Then there is the unwanted body hair, AKA, peach fuzz. We are lucky in this department in that at least it is blonde, but it is there nonetheless, and unfortunately is resistant to laser hair removal. Thank you science for being correct about that whole dark colors absorb light and light colors reflect it thing. Therefore it is vitally important to find a good aesthetician. My recommendation is to find one with a similar skin type as you as they will understand what works and what does not. My fair, freckled sensitive skin reacts to waxing in a different way from my brunette friends’. Enter Emily at Magnolia Wellness. A fair-haired girl herself, she knows how to pamper tender skin while eliminating the finest and most invisible of hairs. No matter where they are.
But back to the lashes. Eyelash extensions have been like manna from heaven. They were my greatest loss during quarantine. You may have read in Quarantine Beauty Queen about a static sticker set I tried out and had mixed reviews on. They will do in a pinch, but now that the State of Texas has reopened the salons, I can visit Ebony for my weekly nap – I mean fill – again.
I have had a lot of questions about whether they fall out, how do I wash my face with them, can you get them wet, how do you sleep in them, etc.? Here are my tips to keeping your lashes lush:
- Yes, you can get them wet. I tried places that told me not to get them wet or in steam (read shower) for 24 hours…. Well, I have never had those instructions from my guru, Ebony, and have never had any trouble
- I use either Neutrogena Oil-free Eye Makeup Remover or Lancome Bifacils (my favorite since high school) and a Q-tip to remove my eyeshadow and any liner. Bo gentle so you do not get any little cotton fibers stuck in your lashes
- Every time you get a fill, they give you a little clean mascara wand. Stash them everywhere. In the car, in your purse, next to bed, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, the office, wherever. Use them to comb your lashes regularly. They will get tangled as you sleep or clump together when you get them wet, and these wands allow you to gently brush them back into line. This also helps you safely shed any lashes on their way out
- You naturally shed lashes every day. You just do not notice when it is your own natural lashes. So please do not freak out when a few fall by the wayside
- I sleep with a miracle pillow a friend gave me called “Save My Face.” It was designed as an anti-wrinkle pillow but by happy accident, it cradles your face, perfectly protecting your lashes. I have told the lash salon they should stock them as an add-on!
- By nature, I am not a face toucher, which helps. Keep your hands off your eyes. Good advice in these days of COVID anyway
If you are looking for a way to shortcut your morning routine, or just brighten your eyes for a little added drama – or the ever-present Zoom meeting – I highly recommend giving lash extensions a try. It’s definitely worth the investment. And much easier than Miss Marilyn’s stick on ones!
Images by Breezy Ritter Photography