Lift Off!

As someone who has worn eyelash extensions, I was curious about the newest look in eye fringe — lash lifts and tints, which are treatments for natural lashes that can lift, separate and add extra fullness. And all without the use of harmful chemicals, I read. Oh, I knew I had to try this one out.

First, here’s how lash lifts are different from eyelash extensions and fake eyelashes: Touted as a gentle and easy procedure (which I can attest to), a lash lift takes the natural hairs that line the lid and gives them a dramatic curl worthy of any cosmetic ad.

“When you first get this treatment done, it looks like you have really great mascara on,” explains Skyler Ishie, an esthetician at Hampden’s Charm City Skin spa. “Unlike extensions, you can rub your eyes, wear makeup and your natural lashes aren’t impacted.”

So how does the procedure work? It’s essentially a semi-permanent curl to your eyelashes. Ishie started by removing any makeup and natural oils surrounding my eyes before applying under-eye pads to keep my pesky lower lashes secure. Then, she determined the best-size silicone rod to use to achieve my ideal curl, based on my lash length.

She went with the medium rod for a curvier appearance, because the smaller the rod, the tighter the curl. Clients can think of this as using their most trusted curling iron, but for their lashes. Next, Ishie added a nontoxic perm solution and a setting solution from their Babydoll Lashes lash lift line and applied a warm cloth to help speed the process along for each step.

“It’s a chemical service, so you have changed the structure of the actual lashes. That’s why it’s able to last so long, roughly six to eight weeks,” she says. Once lashes are curled, customers can opt for a lash tint. I chose a black-blue shade.

“If you wear mascara daily, then you don’t necessarily need a tint,” Ishie says. “But for those people that are on vacation or they just want to have a more dramatic effect, adding a tint can add extra depth and darkness.”

Just keep in mind the tint only lasts about three weeks, she says.

At the very end of my service, she also applied a keratin serum, which helps to strengthen the lashes. “We are breaking down the lash structure and shape, and that causes you to lose some keratin. The oil replenishes what was lost and helps lashes become stronger,” she says.

Post-lift, the first 24 hours are crucial, Ishie says. Avoiding moisture is vital — this includes crying, so to be safe, make sure you skip “This Is Us” reruns or cutting onions the same day.

“The minimum time is around four hours. You need to avoid steam, hot showers and any aggressive oils,” she says. “But, I highly recommend all day, as long as you can stand to leave them alone. After the first day, you can pretty much live your life.”

Another benefit I discovered is that lash lifts are surprisingly low maintenance. While it required me to be a little more careful doing specific tasks —washing my face, sleeping a certain way, applying beauty products — I haven’t had to alter my morning routine much. I just wake up, add my favorite mascara, and I’m ready to start my day.

Lash lifts cost $75 to $120 depending on the salon. But I’ve found them to be more comfortable, more affordable and less maintenance than extensions of false eyelashes. I would definitely try this service again.

Originally published in Baltimore STYLE Magazine, Washington FAMILY’s sister publication.


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