Do You Have Adequate Eyelashes? (I Thought Not.)

My 600-hour adventure in esthetics school. Learn more about the project, and catch up with Week 1.

Flower Eyelashes

In case you haven’t noticed, eyelashes are having a bit of a moment right now.

Brooke Shields is very concerned about them. You might not have thunk it, given Brooke’s eyebrows in the 80s, but she suffers dreadfully from hypotrichosis, the almost-a-real-medical condition of “having inadequate lashes.” Brooke thinks you might too, in which case you’ll also want to pay $120 per month for Latisse, a glaucoma drug that sounds much sexier  now that pharmaceutical company Allergan is marketing it for its lash-enhancing side effect instead.

Meanwhile, everyone from Lancome to Maybelline has taken a cue from lady razors, and ah, other lady devices, coyly introducing a plethora of vibrating mascaras. Miss Jenny has no patience with this: “We’re taking things a little too far now.”

Nevertheless, Beauty U prides itself on a cutting edge curriculum, so tonight we watch Miss Stacy demo eyelash extensions on Kirsty, one of the senior students. These are individual false eyelashes that an esthetician glues to your existing lashes to make them crazy long and fluffy. They can last up to a month, even withstanding swimming and contact lenses.

Applying eyelash extensions is finicky, pokey work: First your esthetician tapes your lower lashes to your face, so they don’t get in the way. Then you close your eyes (smart move, you), while she uses the world’s longest tweezers to pick up each individual lash and dip it in glue with one hand. With her other hand, she uses the world’s second longest tweezers to separate your top lashes and guide the first pair of lash-holding tweezers in place.

The entire procedure can take at least 90 minutes, depending how many lashes you need and how experienced your esthetician might be. Miss Stacy works deftly, grumbling about the crappy eyelash glue, but nevertheless securing a row of neat lashes in place. Then we all get a turn. Meg takes a pass because the whole thing creeps her out. When I pick up the world’s longest tweezers, all I can think about is Kirsty’s eyeball, millimeters from the tweezer points. She thinks the same thing at the same moment, and starts blinking madly.

I spend ten minutes attempting to secure one lash, while thinking about the time I had my wisdom teeth pulled and the intern dentist took ten minutes to place my IV, leaving my arm bruised and tracked up like a heroin addict. At least that was deemed medically necessary by someone other than Suddenly Susan.

I decide to hand the tweezers back to Miss Stacy.

The whole deal with eyelash extensions is that you’ll pay $150 for them if you’re a client of Beauty U (where, um, someone with a few months of schooling on me will wield the tweezers) and upwards of $300 at a real salon. The cost to you is on par with Latisse, minus the side effects like your irises or eyelids potentially turning brown, though plus the risk of someone poking you in the eye or you having an allergic reaction to the glue.

The cost to the salon is about $5 per procedure. So I guess we’re all pretty grateful to Brooke for getting out there and spreading the word on hypotrichosis.

Miss Stacy pinches one, precious, glue-dipped lash and points the world’s longest tweezers aloft, Circle of Life style. The esthetics lamp glows like the sun.

“There’s an awful lot of money in this,” she says.

[Photo credit: eBay]

Filed under Beauty Schooled, Makeup

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11 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Dan
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Vibrating mascaras? Seems a wee bit like an accident waiting to happen. Nothing is more appealing than an eye injury caused via a wildly oscillating mascara brush.

    I’ve never understood the vibrating pointy (ala the mascara) or sharp (ala razors) trends.

  2. Posted November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Fascinating. When I first saw that commercial I was in a bit of disbelief – I didn’t know it was a glaucoma drug side effect. Not that that makes it any better.
    Beauty takes a lot of time. Sheesh.

  3. Jim
    Posted November 15, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Slight quibble: the product cost is $5 per procedure, but there must be some associated overhead (i.e., one hour+ of an esthetician’s time, at whatever prevailing, upsettingly low, rate). So the profit margin is only almost entirely ridiculous, not quite entirely ridiculous.

    And, must say that the XTremeLashes site is tremendous – it has a supremely useful demonstration of what $300 x 5, 10, and even 15 is!

  4. Posted November 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The REAL question is: How do I get my eyes to grow flower petals for lashes, like the chick in that picture?

  5. Posted November 25, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Oooh, okay so I got lash extensions for a NY Mag story once, and it was so awful! They would be all tangled when I woke up each morning and I had to brush them. Also, my cardio instructor said, “Who you trying to impress in all that makeup?” when I first came to class with the lashes. I could NEVER not look like a cupie doll!

    That said, I also got a sample of Neulash (like Latisse) and it worked WONDERS and looked really natural. If I could afford that habit, I’d keep it up.

6 Trackbacks

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  6. [...] and can tell us whether these are legit medical terms or the in the same Fake Medicine category as hypotrichosis (“having inadequate eyelashes” as diagnosed by Brooke Shields). Actually, I don’t [...]

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