Wedding Wednesday

Road Test: Wink Lash Extensions

Learning to love my eyelashes.

By Laura Cassidy April 11, 2012

A before and after example from Xtreme Lashes, the product used at Wink Lashes in Bellevue.

I might be one of the most unfussy, ungirly wedding or style editors in the history of wedding and style editors. I rarely get around to putting makeup on, and I prefer high tops to high heels. Don’t get me wrong: I totally admire and enjoy other women who are flawlessly put together on top of our four-inch heels, but I guess I just have other stuff to do. Still, I’m not immune to being bummed out by my short, blonde eyelashes and how hard it is to find a mascara that doesn’t goo and clump and sit on top of them like a ton of tar.

So when a woman whom I perceive as similarly unfussy told me one night at an event that if by chance I ever wanted to try eyelash extensions to let her know, because she goes to the best place around and the woman who does hers is really amazing and does a lot of brides and (this is the part that got me) having them doesn’t mean you’re going to look like you’ve got tarantula legs on the end of your eyeballs. Wink off Main Street in old Bellevue, she told me, and I filed it away for another day.

You and I are here right now because I eventually made my way to Tova Edwards at Wink and I want to share what I learned about extending your lashes—for the big day or for, you know, whenever.

1. The first thing to know is that it’s important to set a common vocabulary. In fact, tear images out of magazines if you’d like—we do it with haircuts, after all. When I first went to see Edwards I took it for granted, because of my conversation with our mutual contact, that she knew that I did not want that super long, super thick Kim Kardashian thing. We talked about my look and what I’d like to build on, and I mentioned that I often go all day without a lick of foundation or anything else, and she mentioned that several of her clients are professional women who really sort of need a subtle look. Very good, then, I figured. But two hours later—lashes are applied one by one to your natural set; Edwards works quickly and efficiently but it’s not something you can rush—I realized that people who see people with eyelash extensions all the time start to develop a different idea about what ‘natural’ looks like. My first set of eyelash extensions were way too long, way too thick, way too black, and way too curly for me.

2. Which leads me to another important lesson: you have options. Lashes come in different sizes and colors. In fact, they come in different materials, too. Mink, silk, synthetic. Wink’s are the latter. Ask to look at them, or to look at before and after images of different styles, and then be really clear about what it is you’re hoping to achieve.

3. If you’re not happy with the results, speak up about it. Any aesthetician worth her tweezers wants you to be beautiful and happy. Obviously, it’s not a genius use of anyone’s time to have to redo a set of eyelash extensions, but Edwards was happy to do it when I indicated that I wasn’t comfortable with what I was winking with.

4. Clearly, who you know is as important as what you know. Eyelash extensions have become super popular in the last two years and lash extension parlors are practically as ubiquitous as Starbucks. Edwards and her crew are extremely proud of the extensive training required of them by Xtreme Lashes. When you’re looking for someone to glue tiny appendages to surfaces that surround your eyeballs, you want to be really picky about who you end up with. I have no qualms about recommending Wink, not just because Edwards is completely professional and meticulous and way beyond pleasant, but because …

5. Two weeks into my lighter, softer, more subtle set of lashes, I’m feeling somewhat addicted. My makeup passivity is awesomely balanced by the fact that I wake up in the morning looking like I found the secret to clump-free, lash-extending mascara, and I go to bed without having to scrub some weird product off my eyes. It’s pretty wonderful.

6. But it’s not going to last forever. Once you get the initial set of lashes, you’re then beholden to a maintenance schedule (unless you want to get them all removed once they start to fall off with your natural lashes). Most women are in and out of Wink about every two or three weeks getting fills. This process takes about half as long as the initial application, and costs about one-third as much.

7. In addition to working periodic lash procedures into your schedule, you’ll have to make a few other adjustments. After the initial application, you have to keep your lashes dry for 48 hours, and for the duration of your eyelash upgrade you need to use oil-free products on your face. You’ll also need to watch out for sideways lashes and random wanderers, but running an eyelash comb or brush over your lashes every few days is no big deal, especially when you consider the codependent relationship that some women have with their DiorShow applicator. (Is there a tube in your purse right now? Just wondering.)

8. You might get addicted to Wink’s other services as well. While you’re there on the table having your eyelashes done, you can also arrange for a simultaneous manicure, pedicure, waxing, or bronzing. Time management, friends. These days, it’s the way the game is played.

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