By Malini Bartels

Eyelashes have an essential function. They protect the eyes from dust and debris by sweeping foreign particles out of the way. As a bonus, they are also a universal symbol of beauty, enhancing our appearance and batting attention.

Look Like a Million Bucks

Human eyelashes have roughly an eight- to 12-week growth cycle.

Eyelash extensions are synthetic lashes that are individually applied with medical grade, semi-permanent adhesive to existing natural lashes. They are intended to increase the length and fullness of human eyelashes. Ideally, extensions remain intact from three to four weeks and do not require daily removal, as with strip lashes or “falsies” that are worn for up to 24 hours.

Advanced Aesthetics of Northern Colorado, a boutique spa in Old Town Fort Collins, offers lash extensions using the NovaLash® system of eyelash extensions with surgical grade adhesive.

The entire process takes about two hours, including a consultation, says master aesthetician and boutique owner Christina Verg. Each set of lashes is customer based depending on what the client wants. Each eye requires between 75-100 extensions for a full set.

“Separation of each lash is the most crucial part of the process,” says Verg. “I usually separate each individual lash at least three times in one two-hour session.”

If you already have lash extensions, you can get a “fill” every three to four weeks. A fill just replaces the extensions that have fallen out. While the process is the same, the time required for a “fill” is much shorter than a full set of new lash extensions.

“You start a fill by making sure all the extensions are attached really well,” says Verg. “Sometimes an extension has not fallen out, but is partially disconnected from the natural lash. I go back and forth between applying and separating. There is also a drying and curing process. I blow-dry the lashes with air to dry, and mist with water to cure.”

Home care for lash extensions is quite easy. Simply run a clean mascara brush through the lashes and apply a small amount of oil to keep them soft and prevent them from getting brittle. You can absolutely feel your lashes function normally, but just avoid twisting them.

“You don’t have to wear mascara, but you can wear regular eye makeup,” says Verg.
The lash artist notes that extensions are available as curly or flat.

“Some people want a subtle look and don’t want anyone to know they have extensions, and some people want full-on glamour.” says Verg.

The lash extensions trend has recently gained popularity because of its affordability and simple, painless application process. “It’s a small investment and little effort for a dramatic change,” says Verg.

At FoCo Lash & Beauty Bar, owner and lash artist Kelly Smith enthuses that lash extensions allow you to wake up feeling gorgeous.

“Who wouldn’t love to cut down their get-ready time in the morning?” asks Smith.

The specialty salon offers classic and volume lash extensions. Classic lashes are a 1:1 application—one extension is placed on each natural lash. Volume lashes are a much thinner extension, which allows the lash artist to place multiple extensions on each natural lash, thus creating a fuller and fluffier look.
“The future of lashes is definitely in volume!” says Smith. “Volume lashes give the lash artist more flexibility and creativity to create the perfect design for each eye shape. Volume lashes also sit lighter on the natural lash and wrap at the base which results in better retention.”

In addition to extensions, which require periodic fills, many salons also offer “lifts” and tinting, a less-expensive, albeit less- dramatic result.

Flirting With Fabulous

But what if you have trouble growing lashes in the first place? After all, in order to apply extensions, an adequate amount of lash growth must already exist. For people with inadequate or not enough lashes, there is an FDA-approved prescription that can help. Latisse® is a medication that fosters lash growth and then extends the natural life cycle of the lash, allowing them to stay in longer. The serum is applied to the base of the lashes on the upper lid for a possible change in eyelash length, thickness, pigmentations and number of hairs.

So, the next time you find a lone lash on your face, just make a wish…and then call a lash artist. Although life may be short, your lashes don’t have to be.

Malini Bartels is a lifelong creative working at The Music District in Fort Collins.