What you need to know about eyelash extensions: how they work, what they cost
Natali Cespedes knew the next big thing was lash extensions.
After applying eyelash extensions on clients for eight years out in California, she wanted to open her own business somewhere where trend hadn't quite taken off, yet.
"I've always wanted to move here," said Cespedes. She opened Lash Addict Studio in January 2016 and her business grew so fast she had to move to a bigger place almost immediately. In the last year and a half, she has brought on more lash technicians, who are "always booked and busy."
Women have wanted full lashes since the dawn of time. Mascara and falsies have been the go-to quick fix. Now you can walk into a lash studio and leave with lusciously long lashes that last for a few weeks at a time. Lash extensions look a little more natural, because a stylist glues individual synthetic lashes onto your real ones, and the whole process can take up to two hours. But it'll certainly make getting ready each morning that much easier.
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
We sat down with Cespedes, a licensed lash expert, outside her new studio next to the popular burger joint Engine No. 9 in downtown St. Petersburg.
What's your beauty secret?
Lashes. Seriously, that's all I do. When I got it done the first time, I was like, "Oh my god" because I never liked wearing makeup, or putting anything on my face at all. When you have lashes on, it feels like you're wearing makeup. When I don't have them, I feel like I look sick or depressed or something. I'm so used to seeing myself wearing them.
What beauty trend do you hate?
When people overdo their lips, it looks really weird. Though I don't see it so much here. People are more natural. Some (women) get their lips done all the time, and I'm like, "Your lips look like they're about to explode!" But that's what happens. You get used to (the look), and you want more. It's hard to create a balance. They look too fake.
Let's talk lashes.
There are lots of looks. Some people really like a natural look, and some people want it to look fake. Sometimes it's really hard to know because people will come in and say they want them to look long. But then they're like, "They are way too long!" Well, you asked for long!
What are the different kinds of extensions?
There are different curls and thicknesses. There are really curly lashes, or more natural-looking. Thick ones, thin ones. It depends on the look you're going for.
What material are these made out of?
Most of them are synthetic, but there is one that is real mink hair. A lot of people say that they have it, but they really don't. They're so expensive to get. And the other thing that's not good is that they're using animals for that. Second, it doesn't keep the curl. When they get wet, they get super straight and spiky and it doesn't look good. We have a mink imitation at the studio, and it keeps the curl.
EVE EDELHEIT | Times
What is the process like?
There are two techniques. There's the classic one extension per eyelash. Then there is the volume technique — that's the newest one — where you apply two to seven per eyelash. It just creates more volume and it's really good for people who have really sparse lashes and need more fullness, and they don't have enough real lashes to apply one by one.
What are some misconceptions? Will glue get in my eyes?!
People think it's going to hurt. It doesn't. People worry about their lashes falling out and not growing back again. And that's not going to happen.
Are my real lashes going to be harmed in the process?
Everybody asks that! Basically, if you get them done properly, there will not be any damage to your lashes, unless you're pulling your lashes. If you pull them, it will pull your real lashes out because it's really glued in there. I've been getting my lashes done for eight years and my lashes are totally fine.
What's the maintenance like? After I get them done, can I use mascara or other eye makeup?
No mascara, no oil, no steam. Stay away from tears. So if you have a lot of allergies, if you cry for whatever reason, it's going to break down the glue. Crying is almost worse than oil. Usually everybody says don't get it wet for the next 24 to 48 hours. I mean, you can shower, and wash your face, just don't get water around your eyes.
How long do they last?
Everybody's different. If you have oily skin it's not going to last as long. Lashes have a cycle so if they grow really fast, they're going to fall out faster. Most clients come back every two to three weeks. Some can get away with coming every four to five weeks. But a majority comes every three weeks. Some people even come weekly if they want them full all the time.
What's the average cost?
We charge anywhere between $65 to $120 for touchups. It depends on how much time is needed and how full you want them.
Is there anybody who shouldn't get lash extensions?
Well, if you know you're going to be picking on them, you probably shouldn't get them. If you have really watery eyes, you probably shouldn't get it because it won't last as long and it's going to cost you a lot to maintain them. Unfortunately, a lot of people who call to ask about lashes are cancer patients (who have suffered hair loss) and we can't really work on them unless they have actual lashes.
This Q&A has been edited for clarity.
Lash Addict Studio
908 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 201-8461; lashaddictstudio.com
Hours: Mondays and Saturdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesdays-Fridays 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; closed Sundays
Cost: Full volume set $250; natural set $175; touchups begin at $65.
Know someone in the Tampa Bay beauty industry we should interview for this feature? We'd love to talk trends, tips and business. Email Brittany Volk at email@example.com.