It took approximately 36 days of living in Dallas for me to cave and get eyelash extensions.
For the uninitiated, eyelash extensions are this super boujee phenomenon in which you pay a stranger to glue little hairs to your face. Not to be confused with the practice of eyebrow waxing, in which you pay to have hairs ripped OFF of your face. Femininity is beautiful.
Never one to be left out of a trend, I was really curious about lash extensions.
My dreams came to a screeching halt when I called around and found out your first set of lashes can run anywhere between $150 and $300. Are you kidding me? I make $12 an hour. No.
As if your lash startup costs weren't astronomical enough, spoiler alert—your lashes fall out every few weeks and you have to get them "filled." Most places recommend every two weeks, and each refill ran between $50 and $75.
To me, this sounds like a far more expensive version of my manicure maintenance routine. I was feeling discouraged.
Nobody said being extra was easy (or cheap).
But I didn't give up. Through a pathetic amount of searching, I finally found a woman in Dallas who charged $100 for your first set and $50 for every refill afterward.
If you still think this is exorbitantly high and ridiculous, congratulations. You are correct. But vanity comes at a price, and for me, that price was forgoing my daily Fuzzy's Tacos lunch in favor of a mushy homemade PB&J. #Sacrifice.
Anyway, here are a few things to consider before building an eyelash routine into your beauty budget.
They're going to fall out.
And it's going to freak you out. You lose a couple every day, and if you're like me, you'll hold a small funeral for each—it's like watching dollar bills fall off your face.
You can't sleep with your face in the pillow or rub your eyes. Like, at all. I woke up in the middle of the night rubbing my eye and panicked, only to turn on the lights and see a small lash graveyard on my pillow.
Oily skin can also make them fall out more quickly because the natural oils dissolve the adhesive over time. I typically try to make sure I gently wash my eyelids when I wash my face, even though I'm not taking off any eye makeup. You also can't use any oil cleansers with eyelash extensions, for the same reason.
This is why the biweekly fills are a thing—because as they fall out, they begin to look more and more sparse. On the whole, though, they look a little TOO full in the beginning, so around the two-week mark they just look super natural and pretty.
You don't have to wear eye makeup.
This was the main selling point for me. I love how eyeliner and mascara are no longer a necessity. Furthermore, you can go entirely makeup-free and still look fairly put-together.
My makeup routine got cut in half, and I liked having that time back in the morning. Not to mention: no more ugly raccoon eyes when your mascara bleeds onto your skin, or having to take off waterproof mascara. I even read somewhere that lash extensions (when applied properly) can enhance your natural lash health because you aren't rubbing them nightly trying to get mascara off. Jury's out on that one; I think the whole "gluing hair to them" may negate that benefit.
You can't get them wet for 24 hours.
Nobody told me this, but I read it online, asked my lash lady and she confirmed. (Sidebar: Doesn't it freak y'all out when you read watch-outs for beauty treatments and realize nobody would've told you had you not researched?)
You can't get them wet for the first 24 because the adhesive is still curing. I'd advise showering immediately before you go so your hair and face are clean and you can just take a careful body shower the next day.
After the 24-hour period, though, you should get them wet and gently wash them when you wash your face. Emphasis here on gently—any amount of rubbing will make them fall out faster AND increase the likelihood of damage to your natural lash.
You'll also get a spooley (a tiny eyelash/eyebrow brush) from your lash tech to brush them (which sounds hilarious) but it helps keep them from getting wonky.
You're going to get addicted to them.
I've only had them for three weeks and I already look at pictures of myself without them and think I look weird. Truly, you get so accustomed to seeing yourself look like a baby deer all the time that you'll probably be reluctant to revert to your pre-boujee lifestyle.
This is important if you don't think the lashes are financially possible for you. Like I said, I don't make much money—but I made room in my budget to accommodate them because I wanted to make it work. I can't spend nearly as much money on restaurants or clothes now, but to me, it's a worthwhile swap.
In my opinion, despite all the watch-outs and high costs, the lash extensions really do transform your face. If you're curious like me, I'd say find an affordable, reputable lash tech in your area and go for it.
If you're a Dallas local, I'd be happy to give you my lash fairy's information. :)
All things beauty.
The fine print: