Treatment of the Week: Eyelash Extensions

Georgina Heffernan tried out this fabulous treatment at Up to My Eyes in Greystones.

From a purely practical standpoint, your eyelashes are there to help keep dirt and sweat out of your eyes. But anyone who's ever wielded a mascara wand -- or applied a slick of eyeliner-- knows that they have another function: To make your eyes look pretty.

Don't discount this evolutionary perk. A little va va voom is what guarantees that the human species continues. And the newest way to get an eyeful of gorgeous lashes is eyelash extensions.
These aren't false eyelashes, which are glued to eyelids in a strip or in individual clumps for a day or evening and removed before bedtime. They're extensions of each eyelash. The point of eyelash extensions is to leave you with fluttering, flirty lashes 24 hours a day, no mascara needed. In a nutshell – you wake up looking gorgeous.

What’s not to love?

In the last year, this new beautification process - gluing synthetic or animal hair extensions to natural lashes - has picked up steam in salons and spas in Dublin and across the country. And it’s a very, very, very hot trend at the moment. Everybody from Lindsay Lohan to Jennifer Lopez has them. Madonna has ones that she puts on before a show that have diamonds on the ends. Most average women skip the bling, but even without diamonds, eyelash extensions still are very expensive. The semi-permanent lashes, which cost about €120 for a full application (depending on the salon), last up to two months.

The Treatment
Eager to try out the latest celebrity craze, I hot-footed it out to Up to My Eyes in Greystones - the Irish salon that has pioneered the treatment since it was first opened in May 2009 by Eliane McParland. Hidden at the back of the Mahon Point shopping Centre, Up to My Eyes specializes in eyelash extensions and brow grooming - and they have a separate entrance for men – who make up a sizable chunk of their clientele ( who would have guessed?).

So how does it work?
First decide which extensions you want: full set or outer corner, glamorous (thicker lashes) or natural (thinner). I fancied a thicker look with a bit of glamour and once I was lying on the treatment bed, lash specialist, Jessica Keating, set to meticulously bonding the individual false eyelashes to my own.
I’d expected this part to be quick and easy, similar to applying false lashes but it actually took an hour and a half, as she applied each individual lash to my waterline. The treatment was so relaxing that I almost nodded off but once the last lash had painstakingly been applied, I was giddy with excitement to see the final result.

“Wow!” I yelped, having witnessed the result in the mirror. “My eyes look enormous and I’m not wearing any eye make up!” I jumped up and down and clapped my hands like a five year old. “Yes, it’s fantastic.” Jessica replied, with a knowing smile. “We always get the same reaction,” she added, picking up my camera to record the moment: “Women just love the result, that’s why they keep coming back to us.” I kept turning away and, then, going back to the mirror for one last look at my lush, thick eyelashes, which were weightless to the touch. I had to force myself to stop, fearing that Jessica might just decide that I was, possibly, the vainest creature she had ever encountered - but, gosh, my eyes did look pretty and they had plenty of va va voom!

The Verdict
I am delighted with the result but eyelash extensions do require a good deal of maintenance. They don’t react well to water, oils or face creams, so if you want to keep them in good condition for a month or more, you have to be careful. Using products such as mascara are not recommended as they will cause the lashes to ‘clump’ and destroy the natural look of the extensions.

Result: A dramatic difference but you have to be prepared to maintain the look. Refills are recommended and they cost from €40 to €50 – depending on the style of lash you choose.

For more information go to; www.uptomyeyes.ie
I had the full set luxury mink at €120 for a set.