It was a real eye opener. There I was with my skimpy pee-hole-in-the-snow eyes, while an increasing number of women at the gym were flaunting Bambi eyes, framed by dramatic lashes. The gym is cardio-heavy Quad Spinning, where the spin-rats couldn’t possibly be wearing conventional false lashes — they would have curled up and died at first sweat.
“Eyelashes are accessories,” Camara says
Love those Lashes
It was a real eye opener. There I was with my skimpy pee-hole-in-the-snow eyes, while an increasing number of women at the gym were flaunting Bambi eyes, framed by dramatic lashes. The gym is cardio-heavy Quad Spinning, where the spin-rats couldn’t possibly be wearing conventional false lashes — they would have curled up and died at first sweat. And it wasn’t mascara. There were no telltale raccoon eyes. I suspected lash extensions but with all the alternatives for enhancing eyelashes springing up, I couldn’t be sure. So I took a closer look at what’s available on the eyelash market conducting my research on sites like Xlash and their blog, these are my results…
Lash Curl Eyelash Root Perm is new to the market, courtesy of importers Ya Ya Beauty in Vaughan (905-417-5055). One Lash Curl Clip is placed over each eye, then Lash Curl Solution A is applied with a stick applicator on the top of the grooves of the clip. (The clips have built-in rubber barriers to prevent the solution from getting into the eye.) When the solution has permeated the lashes, both clips are removed.
A new set of clips are applied, then Lash Curl Solution B is added. After it is processed, the clips are removed, the lashes cleaned with a damp, cotton pad and lash thickener is applied to the tips of the lashes.
“It’s a clip, like a curler,” says marketing director Lisa De Angelis. “You can even do a perm first and then apply extensions. You’d need fewer extensions because your own natural lashes are curled and the curl fills them out.”
Even though the clip apparatus resembles a torture device from an old B-movie, Angela Alexiou, an esthetician at the Village Spa, swears the procedure is painless.
“It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t sting, it doesn’t burn and you don’t feel the solution at all,” she says. “You can even have your eyes open. When you get the semi-permanent (extension) lashes, sometimes you feel a sting.
“I’m allergic to a lot of things; I can’t have eyelash tinting because I swell up. I’m allergic to extensions. If I had to pick one procedure, I’d pick the perming because half the time I don’t have to use mascara.”
A more permanent alternative in this era of Nip/Tuck, eyelash implants are huge in Asia and are taking off in the U.S., where the technique was first confined to patients with burns or congenital malformations of the eye.
According to a Reuters story picked up by ABC News, about 80 per cent of implants are now done for cosmetic reasons. Only a handful have been done here in Canada.
This is “plug and sew” transplant surgery. A hair graft is taken from the nape of the neck. As many as 30 to 60 hair follicles may be needed and local anesthetic is used. Each follicle is sewn individually onto the upper eyelid.
Dr Jones, a physician in Oakville dedicated to Hair transplants explains that during the procedure the eye is protected by a cap, similar to a contact lens, and numbed with freezing. After the transplant, patients are “on antibiotics for five days and use an antibiotic eye drop,” to prevent infection, says Jones, who performed an eyelash implant live on Citytv last month. “It’s not painful. People can go back to work four days after the procedure.”
His website, www.drrobertjones.com, lists possible temporary side effects including purplish discolouration, minor itching and swelling.
“It’s not mainstream,” says Toronto hair transplant surgeon Dr. Paul Cotterill, president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery, a non-profit medical association of 700 physicians specializing in alopecia and hair loss through both surgical and non-surgical treatment.
“We do it (transplants and implants) because of trauma burns, congenital defects or trichotillomania, the pulling out of hair, usually (common) in young girls,” he says, adding he is cautious about eyelash implants done for cosmetic reasons because of possible risks and complications.
His organization “has concerns about infection, scarring, cysts forming, in-growing hairs, infections of the cornea and surgery close to the eye damaging the eye.
“One of the complications could be blindness but there are no good scientific studies because it’s not that common in North America,” says Cotterill, who has done two eyelash transplants — not for cosmetic reasons — in 22 years.
Lest you be tempted by the ease of permanency, implanted lashes are not maintenance-free.
“Those hairs grow at the same rate as they did at the back of the scalp,” Cotterill says. “(Hair) will grow half an inch a month. You have to clip four or five times a month or it will grow to your knees.”
Lash implants creep out makeup artist Dino Dilio.
“The part that really kills me is having to trim them every six weeks,” Dilio says. “Taking a pair of scissors to your eyes. Yuck!”
“What’s wrong with good old-fashioned fake eyelashes?” asks Toronto freelance makeup artist Dino Dilio.
Hollywood film director D.W. Griffith has been credited with inventing the false eyelash in 1916 for the film Intolerance. He wanted actress Seena Owen to have eyelashes that brushed her cheeks so a wigmaker wove human hair through fine gauze, which was gummed to Owen’s eyelids.
They were good enough for Diahann Carroll, who wears them in duplicate for day and triplicate at night. Dilio first worked with Carroll when she was in Toronto starring in Sunset Boulevard in 1995.
Vanessa Williams, who plays consummate fashionista Wilhelmina Slater on Ugly Betty, has the colossus of lashes. Via email, makeup artist Kate Best reveals the secret to Williams’ look.
“First I curl Vanessa’s eyelashes with Heidi Klum gold-plated eyelash curlers, then I apply mascara by Kiss Me, in tiny water-resistant tubes, around the lashes. It doesn’t run or smudge when using eye makeup remover. It just rolls off.
“Then to add drama, I add 3/4 lashes, #747 black from Friends store. Lashings of mascara top and bottom make a striking, defined eye.”
Adds Dilio: “False eyelashes look great and come off at night before you go to bed. It’s the same glue they use to put bandages on in the hospital. It’s benign.”
Eyelash extensions started catching on about 2 1/2 years ago, says makeup artist Carmen Camara, eyelash queen at Jeanet Spa & Salon, 140 Yorkville Ave., where she applies up to four sets a day.
“More and more places (that do extensions) are popping up but we were one of the first to do it,” she says.
At the three-day Women’s Show, held at the convention centre in October, Camara did more than 30 women back to back, ranging from a 15-year-old to a grandmother.
The lashes are either synthetic or 100 per cent sterilized human hair lashes. They are bonded to your own natural lash, one at a time using a duo surgical, latex-based glue that dries clear.
Some clients may experience stinging or senstitivity to the glue.
However, “adhesives have come a long way,” Camara says. “The adhesive in the ’70s was really strong and gummy and dried white — Cher even had jewels in her false eyelashes to cover up the white glue.
Camara uses lashes made of human hair, hair not taken from some covert eyelash bank but made of Asian hair (from the head), hand trimmed and shipped worldwide.
The lashes are curled and available in flares and singles: Flares are a cluster of four to six lashes woven together and designed for people with short, sparse lashes; singles are used for clients with a short, thick set of lashes. They can also be used in a combo blend.
“Eyelashes are accessories,” Camara says.
“The face is done without being done. Throw on some gloss or lipstick and go.”