How to Get the Most Natural-Looking Lash Extensions
This story originally appeared on Allure.
Lash extensions are everywhere right now, and for good reason. As we make our way into the season of sand, surf, and seriously sweaty days, the last thing anybody wants is to fuss with runny, smeary mascara. Lash extensions can give the added oomph of your most volumizing mascara while streamlining your morning routine (and taking midday mascara smudging out of the equation). The problem is that, like a bad haircut, bad lash extensions can totally ruin your look for weeks to come. With that in mind, we asked Christian Zamora, the lash-extension expert for cool girls like Hannah Bronfman, Caroline Vreeland, and Vanessa Hong, how to get truly natural looking faux lashes.
Step 1: Do your research. Just as you do when picking a new hairstylist, you should spend some time looking into a lash-extension technician before you schedule an appointment. "Research websites and social media and check the work of the lash artist," says Zamora. Considering that lash extensions can last over a month, dedicating a few extra hours to finding the right person to apply them will definitely pay off.
Step 2: Know what to ask for. If you're making your first foray into the lash-extension world, Zamora recommends asking for a "classic" application, which he says gives the most natural-looking result. "It's one extension applied to one eyelash, slightly longer and thicker than the natural lash," he explains. "Further, avoid terms like 'volume' and 'fans' for the first time unless you're pretty daring and want the look of strip lashes." But the most important thing to ask for? Exactly what you want, even if it means overexplaining or bringing in pictures. "The best and only way to ensure you get the look you want is to clearly communicate with the lash artist," says Zamora. "Don't be shy!"
Step 3: Know your materials. When it comes to picking out the kind of lashes you want, there are two major choices—natural or synthetic. "The natural hair or mink lashes obviously look natural, but they can easily lose their shape once they're exposed to heat and water. They can also shed faster because they're usually finer than synthetics," warns Zamora. Length and shape also play a role. "Extensions come in several sizes of curls. B and C are the most natural looking. If a client curls her lashes before applying mascara then I would use a C and D mix. Ds have the most curl," says Zamora, though he notes that to get the most natural result, you'll want your artist to use a variety of sizes to mimic your natural lashes.
Step 4: Take care of them. Since lash extensions progressively wear away as your real lashes shed, exactly how long they last varies from person to person. Four to six weeks is pretty standard, with the look getting slightly less dramatic over time. To maximize your lash-extension payoff, take good care of them from the get-go. "Not wetting the lashes for 24 hours after application is very important, but even more important is avoiding contact with eye and facel creams," Zamora says. "To ensure maximum longevity, the extensions should be cleaned daily with a lash cleanser and brushed thoroughly after each cleaning." Zamora is a fan of Borboleta Lash Cleanser, and he suggests a mix of baby shampoo and water as a good DIY alternative.