If you are not familiar with lash extensions, extensions are synthetic lashes applied (glued) alongside your own lashes, they are placed near the root but not at the root as I understood they should not touch the skin. They last approx 2 to 3 weeks before needing a “refill” but this will vary on how long they last on you. Unlike false lashes that you can buy and apply yourself, the extensions are applied by a professional and are worn overnight. There are several types and materials but I only tried the most common and cheap ones. The finished style will depend on what you ask for and your eye shape. They should actually ask you what you want and eventually what your daily relation with make-up is, just for a better adoption.
Mascara is the most important yet frustrating step in my make-up routine, my lashes are short, sparse, when you can see them it’s because I have spent a while trying to make that happen. I occasionally use fake lashes but when I do, I prefer to use flares. Very rarely use full length because I don’t often go to events where these would be appropriate and because with my very round eyes I find them a pain to apply.
I went for synthetic lash extensions because :
- I wanted to try this technique for over a year but did not take the time to look for a place.
- I was going on holiday, best time!
- I found a fantastic offer.
- I wanted to report back to you, on behalf of all the 40+ community who have hooded lids 🙂 I am convinced it’s much easier on younger eyes to walk around wearing extensions or false lashes but what about more mature eyes ?
Here I am today reporting back on this experience with all the pros and cons I encountered!
BEFORE the lash extensions
Since my lashes require a lot of effort, I was using either the RMK Extra Deep W mascara (with the fibers), or the RMK curl, or also the Chanel Le Volume.
In the past and for a very long time I used Chanel Inimitable Intense. I repurchased that mascara probably 6 times -every 4 months approx- until I got two in a row that were of inferior quality or maybe they were not performing as good on my lashes… our eyes and lashes may change as time goes by so maybe that’s what happen.
Part of my lash “bar”:
The RMK Extra Deep W adds volume and length and the RMK focuses on curl and length. Curl on my lashes is way more important than volume but I love and use both types, not at the same time. If I am wearing a very dramatic smokey eye, I will pick the RMK that adds volume (thickness) so that the lashes stand out and frame the eyes. If I go for a more elegant look that has a light shade on the mobile lid (or a graduation), I will pick the curling one, this will open the eyes as you will be able to actually see the shadow behind the curl of the lashes and bring light to the eyes.
False eye lashes
Since this topic is rarely discussed when it concerns more mature eyes, I’ll share my experience maybe this can help someone 🙂
The full length false lashes are not something I love to use because they are a pain to apply and if something goes wrong and they partially unglue you will have part of it sticking out… yep been there… 😀 – using half ones or flares is not only easier to apply but also more natural and less risky if any accident occurs.
There is a video on Youtube from Loriover40 that I love and follow, link here, she is very funny and she talks about the issues you may encounter if you are not used to apply them and she addresses some questions you may have if you are… over 40 and are considering false lashes 🙂 If you are not used to it and if you start with full length ones, you may find that difficult at the beginning, you may also find that too fake looking.
I will just quickly show you an example with two different type of flares, the Ardell Duralash on the left, and my favs Shu Uemura on the right. You will see in the pics why I prefer the Shu.
The left column is my lashes totally bare, no mascara at all. In the middle column just one layer of mascara, this is just to prep them for the flares, I usually wear 3 or 4 coats of mascara. On the right column the flares, on my right eye the Shu Uemura on my left eye (to your right…) the Ardell.
If you have a closer look to the base of the Shu flares, you do not see the roots, they look gorgeous and natural. There are 10 in the Shu compact, I am wearing two of them side by side near the outer corner of the eye. I am not wearing any eyeliner at all so that you can see them on their own with nothing to hide their base. You can zoom on the pic if you click on it.
I start from the outer corner but I do not go all the way to the outer corner, just stop a few lashes before the end so that it lifts the eye. These Shu pair nicely with my own lashes and you don’t see when they start and when they end. Unlike the half ones I have from Mac for example, they are too long, maybe I will just cut them one day and still use them 🙂
I use the long Shu Uemura tool but only after I have placed them with a smaller one, I don’t mix the one I place them with and the one I “marry” them, working this way makes it easy for me and it takes me 30 seconds per eye…
With the Ardell, I use 3 or 4 flares in the outer corner, they don’t look as natural, they are too long for me and it’s not easy to have them look in the same direction… I only placed 2 of them here (approx 8 lashes per flare) to show you the roots because even though they look weird on me, you can see that the root is not obvious which is great. Ardell are on my left eye (to your right) :
I think wearing flares still makes a statement without being over the top. It is a good comprise if you don’t want to try lash extensions to start with and if you don’t want to struggle with full length false ones, so just give these type of flares a go and let me know 🙂
I know it’s not something you would do everyday, you may not have the time and energy to apply them often but, occasionally, it’s super fun to do so. After 40 (or even before!) and if you are in a relationship, you may face obstacles during the application, I mean, you need to be left alone to do that and the husband quiz may also trouble you… (are you going on a date??? or… do you think you are 20 again???) Hmmmm not easy to do that while someone is staring at you and not always fun to have to explain that you are actually wearing false lashes just for fun… BUT as I said before it’s worth it, it’s not a surgery operation and yet it changes the whole face quite a lot!
That’s why I wanted to try the “semi-permanent” lash extension option because I love how so little can do so much 🙂
Lash extensions : My fears
I have very hooded lids, specially recently, they got scarily heavy -now it’s getting a bit better- but I was considering chopping them off at some point… That was really bothering me and not only for cosmetic reasons.
I was scared that extensions was a stupid thing to do on my eyes at my age. You know, the fear of being “judged” at a beauty saloon when trying to do things that you have the feeling are more appropriate for younger women…
I was also scared to look like Betty Boop because I am not the most feminine woman, I admit I have big issues walking on heels, actually walking at all is something I don’t even know how to do with grace… Also I have very masculine taste, I prefer to purchase a motorbike jacket over a handbag for example, anyway, the lashes had to enhance my eyes but not be something that would look fake and embarrass me.
I was scared that they would fall as I was in the middle of a conversation. This may sound stupid but I was really picturing me with the lashes falling down like tree leaves in autumn…
Lash extensions : the process
The application method or prices changes depending on where you live. The price I paid is 129chf instead of 200chf (129chf=120usd) for the full row on the top lashes, which on me resulted in approx. 70 lashes on each eye, she decided to use same length from the inner to the outer corner (10mm) since she said that would suit me better due to the round shape of my eyes. That was a temporary offer, usually you cannot get them under 200chf.
The application process lasted 2 hours. It was long but very relaxing, when you are running all the time and suddenly you have no choice other than stay there and wait for it, without even talk, it’s weird at the beginning then it becomes pleasant and you want to sleep…. I think that at some point she even lost me and I fell asleep… She did 1 little layer on one eye, then 1 on the other, then when I thought she had finished she started again and did the same routine 3 times on each eye!
During the application the only thing that was painful was when she put some tape on the bottom lashes to isolate them from the top ones. Mine are very short and sparse and to actually see them and get them together it took some effort. At the end when she took the tape off that was unpleasant, I thought I had lost all my bottom lashes in the process but they were there, shy as always but still there.
I advise you to watch videos on how the process is done and gather more information on the lashes, the glue and the risks.
Her method was very silent, she never told me what she was going to do to me, how or when and since I arrived to the appointment a few minutes late I didn’t want to waste time asking questions (she later told me she thought it wasn’t my first time!). The only thing she asked is if I wanted to go full glamor or natural and I replied something in between.
She took all my eye make-up off and when she had finished she handed me the mirror.
I was disappointed… I thought “is that ALL?” I did not find them so dramatic, actually I started looking for them… where are they ?? but it’s probably because I was expecting to be scared and since I wasn’t, I thought they weren’t visible enough.
But they were. Longer, thicker, blacker but they were kind of facing downwards as opposed to Betty style. The lashes did not touch my eyebrows at all which is great. They did not bother my hoods but instead hide them quite nicely. The result was more natural and subtle than I had anticipated.
I was rushing to go back to work after the appointment and not worrying too much about it but after 2 minutes, a man tried to chat me up, waw, that hadn’t happen for a while!! No make-up on, just lashes and that actually was looking pretty on its own…
I didn’t feel like my colleagues or relatives were looking at my lashes, even my boyfriend didn’t notice, he just thought I had loads of mascara on.
I didn’t take that many pics I am afraid.. but I will show the ones I have. YES, these are the extensions AFTER application so imagine how short and sparse my own lashes are… You can see some glue when you zoom in but not when the eyes are open.
I think they look natural and I don’t think you can tell at all that these are actually synthetic!
I even think they could have gone more dramatic and thick, as you see in the inner part of the eyes there isn’t much and I find them too sparse and too long. Somebody kindly told me on Instagram to try mixed lengths and next time I do it, I will ask for that. You can also see that with my eyes open wide they still don’t touch the brows and I don’t look like Betty Boop 😀
Sorry it’s the only pic I took at the time of the whole face..
- Just after the lash extension you cannot wet your eyes, no crying, no rain (bring an umbrella just in case), and no showers for the rest of that day.
- Do not rub your eyes!
- Don’t take very hot baths (I took baths at normal bath temperature and that did not alter my lashes)
- If you are taking your shower and the water runs down the eyes, well.. don’t take the towel and rub your eyes (been there!!!) remember you have the lashes!!
- You cannot wear eyeliner during 24 hours but then you can, just remove it with a cotton bud and oil free make-up remover (good luck).
- You cannot curl your lashes anymore nor apply mascara! But you won’t need to.
- Apply them at least 48 hours before your trip if you are going somewhere, you need 48 hours to see if you will react to the glue and if you do, you have to be able to contact them so that you can remove them asap. Maybe some institutes will have special glues so discuss that matter with them if you are worried.
- When you sleep, try to sleep on your back, that will avoid messing with them.
- To remove your make-up, do not use oil based products this will react with the glue and they will fall. I asked her how would I know for sure, she said if you shake the bottle and it makes bubbles it’s because it contains oil… Near the lashes, use a cotton bud. But good luck with oil free make-up remover, it drives me insane as I feel my lids are not clean enough afterwards. I normally use Bobbi Brown Long-lasting make-up remover and that one contains oil and works really well but I could not use that one so I felt frustrated to not feel “clean” enough… I used that and even though I did not like it, it is oil free and did not mess with the lashes:
How they feel
It’s like wearing contacts, those of you who wear them will know how it feels: you know you are wearing lash extensions, you can feel them but they don’t bother you.
If one lash moves and gets into your eye, beware, that is painful!!! It’s like having a stick inside the eye, you have to remove it asap! When you have a natural lash inside your eye it’s no good, when you have a synthetic lash inside your eye, it’s very very bad! That happened to me several times and I was happy I wasn’t driving!
Every person will react and live with them differently. They told me I had to go back after 2 to 3 weeks. I waited 4 before I went and they could not believe how good they had hold on.
I starting loosing 1 or 2 after a week, then just very few, nothing alarming. They had told me they would fall with my natural lashes, as my natural lashes were “recycling”… Every time they would fall, I could see also my natural lash still glued with it. Got a pic with my phone at some point… 🙂
They will tell you the rhythm of the refills… for me at the beginning I didn’t need to go for 4 weeks, then I had to go every 2 weeks as they would fall more on one eye than the other so she had to calculate the refills on the eye that was needing it the most, even if the other didn’t require any at all…
The refill method will take 30mn or so.
No curling, so the only maintenance was done with this fantastic brush that I love, it’s the Dior N° 26 to push them upwards a little and organize them gently.
Pros and Cons
I didn’t need much make-up at all, you apply a little shadow and that’s it! You will be ready super fast! But then, when you have to remove your make-up, depending on what you applied, it will take much longer as you have to be careful not to mess with them. Using a non-oil based product was driving me crazy.
I could not do eye-washes any more, I tend to do this to clean the eyes properly once in a while, it’s not something I really needed as I was not using mascara anymore but still… I sometimes like to clean any particles that could have entered the eyes during the day.
I always had to carry a mirror with me, specially at the end between refills to check if some was looking the wrong direction… when they get more sparse, you will see some “antennas” and you have to keep on eye on them…
I felt happy to not have to use mascara any more! but sad because I missed wearing heavy looks that I wasn’t doing any more -because the removal process was so painful.
The application of eyeliner is so easy, because you just follow the lash till the outside corner, even their length did not bother me because the curl starts further down in the lash and does not get in your way. It’s just the removal that was a pain and I never felt like my eyes were completely “free from make-up”.
Overall it’s wonderful to see long lashes but when you get them removed, it’s a shock!! I did not get an appointment for mine, I waited until they all naturally fell, honestly just the last 3 days it looked really weird but since I did not had the possibility to go to the institute I had no choice other than wait.. Once they were all gone, my natural lashes looked terrible, so fine, so short, even shorter than usual. I was left with baby lashes, not that different from before but I think some of them recycled a bit too much or maybe not because you get used to see your long beautiful lashes and when they aren’t there anymore, believe me that is cruel 😀
It has been 3 weeks since they are all gone and my natural lashes got a bit better but you have to be ready for the removal (even more than for the application!), when your extensions will be gone, even if your own lashes did not suffer, you will be extremely sad!!
I was super happy with them, not at all embarrassed, if I could choose, I would do the refills every time and keep them but I can’t. I just don’t have time at this moment to go to town and do it every two weeks. For my next big trip I will probably do it again as I did enjoy it a lot, the feeling of waking up and feeling a bit glamorous in your pyjamas is fantastic, no, it’s freaking amazing 😀
Since I know how they are glued and exactly what they look like, I can detect extensions on somebody easily, if you haven’t seen them before it’s not easy to detect them. While I was in Japan, the amount of girls who were wearing them was insane but if I hadn’t experience the method myself, I wouldn’t have detected them at all!
I would like to find a serum or mascara that helps natural lashes grow, if you know one, please kindly share in the comments! If you have an experience with extensions, please also share, I am very curious to know what others have liked or disliked and I hope my experience will help you somehow.
Karima shared her experience with us link here and I recommend you to watch some Youtube tutorials if you are interested so that you can have a more balanced opinion on the topic.
Thank you for reading 🙂