From the Pros: Are Eyelash Extensions Right For Me?

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We asked LA-based lash artist Mikki Bey and founder of Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions for the expert low-down and insider tips on this year's hottest lash trend.

No beauty routine is complete with out a few coats of jet-black mascara or a strip of false lashes to make your peepers pop.  But what if there was a way to get eye-catching lashes without any of that? 

The answer is eyelash extensions.

Semi-permanent lash extensions are quickly becoming a popular pick for a beauty girl's monthly maintenance regimen, but at a cost of $200 per session and $50 for a refill, it's not something to jump into without doing your research.  That's why we enlisted Mikki Bey, owner of LA's Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions, for expert tips on the hottest lash trend.

ESSENCE: How do you know if eyelash extensions are right for you?
Mikki Bey: If you have eyelashes, eyelash extensions are right for you. It's an enhancer that any woman can take advantage of, whether you are a full-faced glam or love natural beauty. All women can get them because it's a small enhancement that makes a big difference.  The number one thing that women want is for their eyes to pop and look beautiful, but you want the ease of "I woke up like this."  Eyelash extensions give you that. 

ESSENCE: How does the extensions procedure work?
Mikki Bey: First, you'll have a 15-minute consultation and we will talk about the look that you want to achieve and we will explain the process to you.  Then, we get started with the extensions, which are a lash-by-lash service. The lashes are not glued to your skin so that your natural lashes can still perform their natural functions of growing and shedding.  You will lay down flat on an esthetician bed. Then, your bottom eyelids will be taped down and your top lashes will be cleaned. We separate each lash and add each lash extension using a lash adhesive.

ESSENCE: How long does the process take from start to finish?
Mikki Bey: It can take up to two hours for a full set. It depends on how skilled your lash artist is.  Some stylists can finish in 90 minutes.   

ESSENCE: What are your do's and don'ts for maintaining eyelash extensions?
Mikki Bey:  The best maintenance tip I can give is less is more.  The less you do to your lashes, the better.  You shouldn't be picking them or applying heavy eye makeup.  Just let your lashes stand out and do what they naturally do. You also want to avoid oil around the eyes. Oil will loosen the lash adhesive over time, so be careful when applying eye creams and only blot it gently onto your lids.  Also avoid dousing your lashes in water.  In the shower, don't put your head under the shower stream because the water pressure can promote excess shedding.

ESSENCE: Do eyelash extensions affect your natural lash growth?
Mikki Bey: No, not when done correctly.  Your natural lashes are constantly growing and shedding so you're losing about two to three lashes per day. That process will continue with the extensions.  This is why after about two weeks, you'll need a lash refill.  In that two-week time frame, most women will have shed 40 or 50 of their natural lashes.  Your lash extensions will shed along with your natural lashes.

ESSENCE: Does the lash extension process hurt?
Mikki Bey: It should not be painful at all. You shouldn't feel anything.  If you do feel pain, there is something wrong with the procedure.  I've heard clients say that they felt stinging when they visited other salons, which is not good.  You should be able to fall asleep in the chair during the procedure and not really feel anything.  Make sure you do your research ahead of time so that you can find someone who is not just certified, but they are also an esthetician or a cosmetologist licensed by your state.  Also, look at consumer reviews on sites such as Yelp or Facebook and read what other people have to say about that salon. 

ESSENCE: What are the different lash textures you can choose from?
Mikki Bey: There is a synthetic mink and authentic mink lashes to choose from.  The mink lashes are 100% Siberian mink animal hair.  They are the most expensive and also the most undetectable because the hair is so fine and very lightweight.  With the synthetic mink lashes, they are slightly thicker and darker, but also more durable because it's man made.  The synthetic mink can be made out of silk, polyester or a number of different synthetic fibers, which affect the quality of the lashes.  You can get the same look with synthetic and authentic mink lashes, it just depends on the application and fullness.

ESSENCE: Can you wear mascara with eyelash extensions?
Mikki Bey: It's not recommend because mascara has oil in it and over time it is going to break down the adhesive.  Lash extensions are an investment, so you want to preserve them. The best way to do that is to avoid heavy eye makeup, mascara and wear them as natural as possible. The synthetic lashes come in jet black, which makes it appear that you have mascara on. 

ESSENCE: What precautions should you take when wearing eye makeup with your lash extensions?
Mikki Bey:  Be very careful with your eye makeup remover and be sure that it's oil-free. I love the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.  That's my go-to for remover.  You should also be sure to wipe your eyelid in an upward motion toward your brow, and avoid wiping downward over your lash line.  Avoid using cotton balls or cotton pads because the cotton will get stuck in your lashes and you won't be able to get it out.  Instead, use a cosmetic sponge wedge which are great because they have a straight edge that you can gently swipe right at your lash line without disturbing your lashes. 

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ESSENCE: What are the signs that eyelash extensions are not right for you?
Mikki Bey:  If you have a thyroid issue or are undergoing chemotherapy, you tend to have weaker lashes due to the medical treatments.  Check with your doctor before getting lash extensions to make sure it's okay. Also, if you are allergic to latex, lash extensions are not for you. Latex is everywhere in the service, from the tape we use to the glue. Be very careful to specifically request latex-free options, which some salons do offer.   

ESSENCE: How do you remove the extensions?
Mikki Bey: Your eyelashes will naturally shed, so in about a month to 90 days, the extensions will have naturally fallen out.  If you are not going to continue getting them refilled, come into the salon to have them professionally removed.  We offer free removal for all of our clients. There's nothing available over the counter to dissolve the lash extension adhesive, so you'll have to go to your salon for that service.  It's a painless service that takes about 20 to 30 minutes.


Mikki Bey is a licensed esthetician and owner of Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for all things eyelashes and skincare.

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