For today's post I wanted to share an updated hair curling tutorial, and also answer some of your questions on eyelash extensions (scroll down below)! After experimenting quite a bit with hair curling over the years, this video shows my current routine for my everyday hair. And for special occasions, I've been too lazy for updos lately so usually just secure curled hair off to the side and add some "poof" up top. What I forgot to mention in the video is that as an alternative look after bobby-pinning the top poof, you can twist all the curled hair into a low side bun and secure with spin pins to get the simple look I wore here - I like that one to show off garments with special back detailing.
I'm using a clamp-less ceramic curling wand (I have the bigger 1 to 1.5" one) because I can't seem to work clamps without leaving crimps in my hair. However, it's a little easier to burn yourself with clamp-less since one hand gets close to the hot barrel (beginners, please be careful and take your time!). Amongst the sea of iron choices, I find that ceramic barrels make a difference and leave my hair visibly shinier than when using metal barrels. I got my very affordable one after reading tons of positive reviews, and have been pretty happy with it thus far!
I use a 400 degree heat setting for my thick hair, but definitely recommend starting out lower, especially if you have fine hair. I usually use drugstore shampoo + conditioner but do splurge on repair / conditioning treatments like this Shu Uemura one, because I feel like I put my hair through so much with regular high heat styling.
Onto the fun topic of lash extensions...after seeing them so often on others (usually identified by gorgeous lashes that look a little too natural too be falsies but a little too striking to be natural), I finally decided to try them out earlier this year. The biggest factor holding me back over the past few years was the fear that they'd damage my real lashes. They also cost a pretty penny - most places I researched in Boston started at $200 to 250+ for an initial full set, with refills at $80-100 every 2-3 weeks. However, I value every minute of sleep in the mornings and it takes me ages to do my lashes, so the convenience and effort saved for me is worth it. It could also be a good option scheduled strategically before a slew of special events, parties, or for a wedding. I've gotten several questions about my "falsies" lately, so figured I'd share some more thoughts on the process!
Before (top) & After (bottom) lash extensions
Some of my lessons learned in the process:
- The state of your natural lashes will largely dictate how full your extensions can look, since extensions can only be attached to existing lashes. They don't have the same drama as falsies on me, but achieve a look that regular curling and mascara could never get to on my natural lashes. It feels amazing being able to roll out of bed and apply minimal makeup before leaving the house.
- I found this article to be very helpful about the different curvatures, lengths, and widths of lash extensions. My first visit, I didn't know what to ask for so requested shorter extensions (pictured above) but I started getting them a tad longer on the outer half. The biggest difference for me is in the profile view, which I unfortunately don't have a comparison pic of. My natural lashes are stick-straight, short and downward pointing, whereas the extensions are perpetually in an upward curl which look nice from the side.
- Most of the cost is for your technician's time and likely not the lashes themselves. The process is pretty painstaking with 1 extension being adhered to each individual lash. If you get the newer "volume" or Russian-style lashes (lighter and fluffier), they can supposedly apply three or more to 1 lash which will look fuller but take more time & cost. My first full set took about 2 hours and refills are about an hour.
- They're probably not worth getting if you like to regularly take steamy hot showers (may loosen the adhesive) or sleep with your face buried in a pillow. Many a days I've woken up face-down and mourned some smooshed lashes.
- As your natural lashes grow, the extensions will grow with them and get a little longer in the weeks after being applied. When applied right, they should feel just like your natural lashes and not be painful or heavy.
- Lash appointments are the perfect excuse to unwind in the middle of a busy day because your eyes have to stay shut ; ) I used to doze off, jerky leg twitch and all, and embarassingly pretend like I was "stretching." Now I just give in, bid my technician goodnight and enjoy the powernap!
For Boston-area ladies, I've been going to Lash L'Amour on Newbury & in Newton after doing lots of research and Yelp reading. I've been very happy with their service and clean facilities so far. Their prices -albeit not low- are on the lower end of several places I looked into nearby, and a little bonus is they have a free touchup service 1 week after any full set if you want adjustments to be made. They also have a refer-a-friend program, so you can tell them I referred you to get 25% off a first set (I'll get a discount as well on my next appt).
To be honest, I'm still not certain about whether extensions are damaging to natural lashes. I agree with the article above that it likely depends a lot on the care and finesse with which extensions are applied and glued on, not to mention your own maintenance of them. I personally love how they look and the convenience, but am currently taking a break from more refills just to let my natural lashes rest a while before starting up again.