To Lash or Not to Lash

By Kierra Steil

It is said the eyes are the windows to our soul.  They express so many emotions and are a focal point in our daily life through verbal and non-verbal communication with others. There are so many different ways we can enhance our eyes, and almost all of them involve some sort of embellishment to our eyelashes.    

All of us are familiar with mascara. A mixture of dark pigments, oils and waxes that we apply to our eyelashes and wash off daily (I hope). At some point in our lives, we’ve all fallen victim to raccoon eyes, or have had to apply our mascara while stopped at a red light. Better yet, while being the passenger in a car driving down a road filled with potholes.  Have you ever experienced the sharp jab of a mascara wand in the eye? Not fun, and I can’t be the only one.

While mascara is and always will be a popular go-to for all of us, there are a lot of other options out there.   These options include strip lashes, which can be applied with adhesive and a bit of patience, and magnetic lashes, which are a newer variation of strip lashes that bond together by, you guessed it, magnets or magnetic eyeliner.  Magnetic eyelashes, although extremely hard for some to master putting on, are a great option for people with a lot of sensitivities. Both of these options are temporary ways you can enhance your eyelashes on your own with little commitment and expense.

I want to focus on the growing trend of eyelash extensions and lash lifts.  Both of these very popular enhancement methods should always be done by a properly trained professional.  Here’s what you need to know before you make this type of investment: 

Eyelash extensions are a semi-permanent answer for making your eyelashes look “complete” without having to use mascara daily. When lashes are correctly applied by a skilled professional, they are a safe, convenient and easy way to enhance the volume, length and color of our natural lashes. When incorrectly applied, or if poor quality lashes and adhesives are used, they can cause discomfort, eye infections, and permanent lash loss.  Eyelash extensions should never hurt. In fact, you shouldn’t feel them at all. That being said, it also works the other way.  Your lash artist can apply the most beautiful set of lash extensions, but if they are not properly cared for by you similar results will happen, and you will ruin your investment.   

Unlike temporary strip lashes, which attach to the lid on a single strip, eyelash extensions are applied to each individual natural eyelash, one by one. This process takes a lot of practice and skill to perfect. The initial application of eyelashes or a “new set” can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete, or longer depending on the type of eyelash extensions being applied. 

Eyelash extensions are designed to remain on the natural lash for the average growth cycle of your lashes, which can be anywhere from six weeks to two months. The average person sheds two to five natural lashes per day which is why maintenance or “lash fills” are required every two to three weeks to keep the extensions looking their best.   Most lash artists would require that you have at least 50% of your extensions intact when coming in for a lash fill. 

As someone who is passionate about what I do, and the fact that I have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years, I find it necessary to educate not only my students but my clients as well.  They need to be aware of certain things when seeking out popular, or trendy, services being offered in any clinic, spa or even at-home business.  Although I am trained and perform many different esthetics services, eyelash extensions are definitely the service I do the most.  However, because eyelash extensions are so popular, and in my opinion always will be, they are also one of the most potentially damaging esthetic services if done poorly or improperly.   

Be prepared to maintain your eyelashes.  As I said before lash extensions need to be filled every two to three weeks. Trying to push it longer to “save” money will only cost you more in the long run.   

Practice good hygiene with your lashes. Wash and brush them every single day! Believe it or not our eyelashes weren’t put on our eyes just for beauty purposes, that’s a bonus.  They are there to protect your eyes from debris and other particles.  They act as a sensor.  If they are not properly washed on a regular basis, they collect oil, dead skin cells and other “gunk” that we don’t need to get into. This collects at the base of the lashes and can cause poor retention of lashes.  In the long run possible infections and permanent damage to your lashes may occur. I see this all the time with clients. 

You know how your dentist tells you to floss daily.  Most of us don’t.  We may do it a few days before our actual dentist appointment or even just the day of, but the dentist knows we haven't flossed in the past 6 months.  The damage is already done.  It’s the same with our lashes.  Wash them! Your lash artist and your lashes will love you for it!  You lash artist should provide you with instructions on how to properly maintain your lashes.  

There are a few times when I suggest clients do not get eyelash extensions. For example, anyone who suffers from a lot of seasonal allergies may not be the best candidates for lash extensions and should proceed with caution.  Often it can make you more sensitive to the adhesive used. Also, your eyes can water a lot causing you to rub your eyes, which in turn will cause your lashes to shed off earlier.  Also, if your eyes constantly flutter, or you can’t sit still for long periods of time without talking, lash extensions may be challenging for you.

I also suggest that if you are pregnant it may not be the best time for you to try lash extensions.  You are prone to a lot more sensitivities plus it is hard to lay on your back for long periods of time.  Also, if you have had a reaction to lash extensions in the past due to poor application or a sensitivity it is most likely going to happen again even with a skilled artist.  This is something you should be aware of if you make a decision to try them again.   

If lash extensions aren’t for you. Maybe because of the frequency of appointments, allergies or just not wanting the upkeep, that’s ok!  This is where the lash lift and tint comes in.  This is a service that can be done in about an hour.  It essentially “curls” your natural lashes in place for about six to eight weeks and adds a pop of color. You won’t get the volume or length that you get from extensions but it a great alternative with very low maintenance. I also highly recommend the use of a lash growth serum to enhance the effect of the lash lift. 

I hope I have shed some light on the eyelash world?  Remember to do your research and make sure you are comfortable with the lash artist you choose and Maintain your lashes properly, as they can be such a life saver for a lot of women.  Not only will they make you look and feel fabulous, but they can save you so much time every single morning. Just think, your appointment will be your rest time.  Once every two to three weeks you go for a nice long nap and come out with beautiful lashes off to conquer the world! 

About the Author

Kierra Steil is a fully trained and certified Aesthetician as well as an Educator and Master Lash Artist in Edmonton, Alberta.  She has over 20 years of experience in the industry and her goal is to always pass on her knowledge and expertise to her students and clients, with the highest degree of integrity and standards.  To learn more about Kierra and the services she provides by visiting her website

Instagram @ksteilesthetics

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