Winter Glam: Eyelash Extensions

20121130-104924.jpg For the upcoming holiday festivities, I splurged on a luxury item that some may think is ridiculous, but I absolutely love – eyelash extensions! Being Asian means that I don’t win out on the genetic lottery of being born with thick long eyelashes. Nope, mine are pretty short. So short that they’re pretty much impossible to curl. I’m grateful that at least I have something. Some of my friends barely have any eyelashes to speak of at all. Mascara doesn’t do much for me except make them a bit darker. Better, but hardly justifies the additional cost.

Last year I discovered eyelash extensions. Unlike false eyelashes where the lashes are on a strip and you glue them on to the base of your eyelid, each individual extension is glued to a single lash. Et voila! Natural looking long eyelashes!

The first time I had it done, I immediately went to dinner with a gay friend and demanded if he noticed anything different about me. He casually looks over and yawns, “You got eyelashes.”

Impatiently I demanded, “Do I look like a drag queen?” I was terrified that I would end up looking like one so I had been debating about getting it done for a few months.

He answered, “Honey, the eyelashes aren’t long enough and you’re not wearing nearly enough make-up.” Satisfied, I moved the conversation to other topics.

20121130-104932.jpgAlthough there are a bevy of choices in New York City of where to get this service done, I always go to JJ Eyelashes. Although pricey, they were the first in the city to offer the most reasonable price for eyelash extension and they offer great service and product. The first time you go there, they will sit with you and consult which type of lashes you should get. The J curl is recommended for a natural looking lash. The C curl is recommended for those who want more curl in their lashes. My consultant firmly stated that I needed a C curl because not only were my lashes short and straight (you gotta love Koreans and their directness), they were pointing down, so the J curl would only get into my line of sight.

20121130-104937.jpgThe we talked about length. I wanted something natural looking, so she recommended 10, 11, and 12 mm lengths (they use different length lashes again to achieve a natural look). Since then I go for a slightly longer lash, so I now get 11, 12, and 13 mm.

Finally they discuss if you want natural or a cat-eye look. I’ve gotten both, and frankly, on me, neither one makes much of a difference. Both looks look the same to me. The difference may  be starker in someone with a differently shaped eye or if you’re getting longer lashes.

You lie down on a massage table. They lay a blanket to keep you warm. You close your eyes and relax. The process begins. They recommend you bring some music to listen to because it takes about an hour. At some point, you’ll receive a nice little foot or hand massage. It’s all very relaxing.

Because each lash is glued on individually, the lashes do eventually fall off when the natural lash does at the end of its cycle. According to the website, the extensions can last as long as a month depending on care and the person’s lash cycle. Me, I find that my extensions are pretty sparse looking by the end of two weeks.

JJ has two different locations (Midtown & Soho). The Midtown prices are much cheaper, but the location isn’t quite as nice as the Soho one. The Ruby set with 80 lashes is $120. The Diamond set with 100 lashes is $150. Refills are cheaper than when they need to put the whole set in. They priced the refills in a way that the shorter the time period is since the last visit, the cheaper the refill is. So one week in between is cheaper than two weeks in between.

At these prices, this is really an indulgent luxury – one I reserve for special occasions. I always keep an eye out on various sites, like Groupon or Living Social for when there are specials, so I can get them at a discounted price.

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