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Adventures in Eyelash Extensions
From back room hack jobs to bald spots, Bianca Teixeira has seen it all and learned a few lessons

Pretty in the City‘s Lash Room

As a fashion and beauty writer, I get access to a lot of wonderful samples and treatments. I rarely turn anything down since a) it’s always good to try new things and b) hey, who doesn’t love a freebie? Especially on a writer’s salary.

At a recent preview, I was offered the chance to try out lash extensions from one of Toronto’s top lash and beauty bars, Pretty in the City. But this one made me hesitate. The reason? Approximately seven years ago, I got extensions from the only place around town that offered the procedure. And. They. Sucked.

However, in the spirit of investigative journalism (shut up, this totally counts) I subwayed to visit Veronica and have her expert hand apply falsies to my lids. While I lay on a white cushioned table, I told Veronica about the horrors of my first attempt at celebrity-inspired lashes.

I was sixteen and crazy about experimenting with beauty. Following a bad experience with glued in extensions (cue three days of combing out clumps of grey glue), I decided to make it my mission to find a place to get these eyelash extensions all the celebrities were talking about. I finally found the mythical procedure in the back room of a crappy little nail salon in Scarborough. I went in all bright-eyed, asking to see pictures of the different sets they offered. Nope. The salon was working on a one-size-fits-all rule and, if I didn’t like them, she could always take a scissor to my eye to make changes. The procedure itself wasn’t so terrible except when the technician actually used pieces of paper to separate my upper and lower lashes and I had a panic attack thinking I’d hiccup and get a paper cut on my eyeball.

Forty-five minutes and sixty dollars later, I had eyelashes that Cindy Lou Who would be jealous of. Besides being voluminous (never a bad thing), the lashes extended way too far out and reached past my eyebrows when I looked up. No matter how much I pleaded with the technician to trim the lashes to a believable length, she refused and continued to reiterate how “natural” they looked. So, like any other girl with Party City-esque eyelashes and nary a care, I went home and trimmed them myself… to a blunt, craptastic length. After a few weeks had passed and they had all fallen out, to my abject horror I was left with A BALD SPOT right in the middle of my left lash line. It has since grown out (just in case you feel like standing too close in an attempt to spot it), but I still have nightmares.

So almost a decade later, I stopped by Pretty In The City thinking maybe I should get the least amount of lashes possible just in case. However, Veronica assures me that these lashes will cause no such harm. I’m impressed quickly enough when she sits me down and inspects my lashes to decide which application will look best. Five types of fills are offered here: Flirt (25 lashes per eye), Natural (35 lpe), Demi (45 lpe), Full (60 lpe), and Superlush (75 lpe). We decide on a Demi set, but Veronica isn’t done with me yet. More questions follow about the amount of mascara I use daily, how I like my lashes curled and the shape I want to achieve. By the time I lie down, I’m positive that Veronica knows exactly what I’m after.

While we chat about eyelashes gone wrong (she’s the victim of a bad experience too), rude customers, and impossible roommates, she’s hard at work on my eyes. Instead of the dreaded eye-slasher piece of paper, two half-moons of a gel pad are affixed to my bottom lashes to keep them out of the way. She attached five hairs to show me the length we were working with and off she went. In what felt like no time, I had a set of not-too-long, not-too-short, just-right eyelashes. Painless and perfect, my new falsies feel weightless. 

My eyes. Top: Before. Bottom: After.

In addition to getting me hooked on a new procedure, Veronica was able to dispel some lash extension rumors that had a hand in keeping me away all those years:

1) You won’t have a (eeeeek) bald spot: “If your extensions cause your lashes to fall out, they weren’t applied properly,” Veronica says. “We attach them individually to ensure natural growth cycle of lashes are not affected.”

2) Sleeping on your face won’t ruin them: “Obviously, it’s not good for your skin if you sleep on your face,” she says as I listen guiltily. “But if you accidently roll over and smush your lashes, just stand in a hot shower. The steam will reset your lashes back to position.”

3) You can wash your face: “For the first 24 hours keep all water away from your eyes,” Veronica cautions. “After that you can still wash your face but just don’t stand directly under the shower jets. If you can try washing your face with a cloth. You get the added bonus of exfoliation.”

4) Lashes are for everyone: “It depends on your natural lashes,” she tells me. “If you don’t have a lot of them, we can’t weigh you down with more than one extension per lash, it’ll ruin them.”

I’m happy that eyelash extensions have evolved from back room secrets to their own beauty bars and technicians. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to commit to their upkeep (refills should be done every 3-4 weeks), but they are definitely a treat. And the best part: I was able to 100 per cent believe Veronica when she said “they look natural.”    


Bianca Teixeira writes about style for Toronto Standard. Follow her on Twitter at @BeeLauraTee.

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