EXPECTATIONS: I’ve seen eyelash extensions on other people and am always shocked by how natural they look. It’s your lashes, but way, way better. At the same time, they seem like they might be uncomfortable and a little bit unnecessary—like, mascara is not that hard to put on. Still, I’ve always wanted to try them out myself, but could never reconcile the price tag—basic lashes typically run $130 to $210—with my social calendar, which is certainly not packed enough to justify the glam indulgence. But while my trip to the island didn’t call for glam, I knew I’d be out and about all day in the heat, and in the end was so tempted by the idea of not having to wear makeup or do touch-ups, that I decided that it was worth it to try them out.
PROCESS: I went to Raon Zena in New York City. My friends go there and had recommended it to me; it’s important to go somewhere you’ve researched, so get recommendations and look for great reviews.You don’t want anyone who isn’t properly trained and using completely sterilized materials touching your eyes. A few weeks of Bambi lashes are not worth going blind! When I arrived for my appointment, I was surprised that there was a mandatory consultation. I didn’t realize there were so many choices: different lengths of lashes, different curves in the lashes, and different materials. I opted for a short and natural length and a thin synthetic material because I’m not about that mink lash life. They brought me into a room with a massage bed where I lay for nearly two hours with my eyes closed while a very gentle woman glued over 100 lashes to my eyelids. The process is entirely painless, except for the fact that my back was pretty sore by the time I got up. You might want to request a half-time stretch. Lying that still for that long can really wear you out. When the service was done, my eyelashes looked incredible. Full, thick, curly—yet not fake. It mostly looked like I was wearing a ton of mascara, which is exactly what I wanted. I was so relieved I didn’t look like I was about to get on stage in Vegas. I felt like a low-key vixen as I left the building.
RESULTS: There were a lot more precautions than I expected. There are many things you can’t do if you want to keep the lashes on for the full two weeks. Washing your face and showering is difficult because every time you get your lashes wet, you lose a few. You can’t wear eye makeup because you’re not allowed to rub your eyes to get it off, which was fine for me because I was having a bare-faced vacation anyway. That said, they looked amazing throughout the week. Even after snorkeling and spending a whole day underwater, there were still more than enough lashes intact to make me feel done up. However, going on a 14-hour flight where I couldn’t wear an eye mask was difficult. And worrying about them while I was in the water was difficult, too. I wouldn’t get them again for a beach trip because it’s too much anxiety. Instead, I’d just get a lash tint, which has much fewer aftercare guidelines and is a fraction of the price. That said, I’m totally going back to get lashes for the holidays. I won’t be submerged in water, and they really did look natural yet glamorous.