my hobbies include skin-care

I Went From Fake-Eyelash-Curious to Full Convert. Now I’m Eyeing These 5 Pairs.

Photo: Hannah Whitaker; makeup by Robert Reyes at MAM-NYC; product images courtesy of retailer

Your favorite beauty influencer (humor me here) has been on a little hiatus. Life can be overwhelming, and I needed time to probe my soul for answers to the Questions. We all know what they are:

1. If a 1.7 ounce jar of La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream costs more than $500, then why does it make me firmer and lift-ier, but not happier?

2. Am I the only one who thinks that the bloom came off the rose when Costco — yes, Costco — offered a special on La Mer moisturizer?

3. Where is the federal aid for us skin-care addicts who are helpless to ward off temptation? Is it really necessary to have a Sephora, Bluemercury, or M.A.C on every block of every town and city in America with a population over 2,000? If it is, can’t the salespeople at least be rude and unknowledgable? AND GET RID OF ALL THAT INCREDIBLE PACKAGING!

And probe I did, at least for a little while. Then I thought, Fuck it — let’s get eyelash extensions!

The process has been around since the late 1800s, when Parisians sewed hair into their lashes (oh, those clever French). Thanks to the Darwinian evolution of vanity, extensions with artificial eyelashes are the current rage right now, and where the rages go, I must follow. I was intrigued by the possibility of fuller volume and slightly longer length, and particularly liked the idea of a mascara look without applying mascara, which clots and clumps and makes my eyes look like the victim of an oil spill. There are different ways to go about this. One is to go to a salon and have a professional do the application — the lashes will last longer and you will avoid the potential at-home unpleasantness of applying fake eyelashes and gluing your eyeballs shut. But the salon method is expensive, and there are some good at-home products available (more on those later).

For my inaugural fake eyelashes, I went to a place called the Lash Loft near Union Square in Manhattan. It is a second-floor walk-up, which in New York always makes me nervous and wonder if I should be packing heat. But inside I found a warm and cozy place tricked out with wine and munchies. I was content to just stay in the waiting room and get drunk and fat, but the aestheticians ushered me in right away, leaving all the goodies behind. My “lashtician” was remarkable — after discussing the options, we agreed that as a first-timer I should go with the “Full Natural Classic” because the lashes were more subtle; I wanted people to think I had extensions, but I didn’t want them to know I had them. Using both hands with incredible dexterity, the lashtician applied a single extension to each of my existing lashes with a smidgen of glue to keep everything in place. The process was easy and absolutely painless, and I was sort of sorry when it ended.

I loved the look afterward. My lashes really did look fuller and longer, but not too extreme, with the exact mascara effect I wanted. The biggest problem was the aftercare (if correctly cared for, Lash Loft says its extensions will last up to three weeks). You have to keep the lashes dry for 24 hours, which made showering and washing my hair somewhat problematic, even when I wrapped a towel around my head. It seemed like a really smart idea, but I still had to get my hair wet, which meant the towel got wet, which meant my face got very wet. I also forgot to not rub around my eyes when using my daily cleanser. Sleeping doesn’t help either, given the texture of most pillowcases. So you can either stay awake all night, or perhaps try a silk pillowcase or the satin lash extension pillow by Lash Affair, which also sells a sleep mask that promises not to harm your eyelashes. Who knew?

While applying eyelash extensions at home may not yet be for me — I consider glue a weapon of mass destruction — members of the Buzz Bissinger Beauty Influencer Hobbyist Influencers Advisory Board (BBBIHIAB for those who forget, including me; I had to look it up) do apply their own extensions, and directed me to some of their favorite pairs. Needless to say, I trust them a lot more than myself.

Board member Dana Bissinger is an advocate of eyelashes by M.A.C, with the caveat that if you are not patient, you might find killing yourself an attractive alternative. She recommends the 4 Lash set, which is natural in length and natural-looking, with just a touch of wispy. These are very similar to the extensions I got in my Full Natural Classic treatment.

If you want longer length and more volume, I say be bold and go for these extensions that M.A.C created in collaboration with K-beauty influencer Pony of @ponysmakeup, which have an intricate crisscross pattern. (Pony is not a BBBIHIAB member — yet.) If these are too bold, M.A.C has about a dozen different fake-eyelash offerings to fit every mood.

Dana also likes false eyelashes from Benefit, specifically the Daily Darling, which she says are another particularly good pair if you are looking for something classic and subtle like I was.

Board member Gila Waels, meanwhile, touts Ardell. In addition to affordable multipacks like this well-reviewed “Natural” lash extension set (which comes with an applicator), Ardell has a series of totally cool offerings for Halloween. If you want to live a little, go with the Spooky Spider Web.

Waels also recommends the lash extensions from HudaBeauty, including the Lottie: a luxurious set of silk lashes that are fuller and longer in length. Go for these if you want something generally more regal-looking than the more subtle eyelash sets above. As for me, I’ll definitely be getting more eyelash extensions, and am determined to extend their life even longer the next time. Even if that means not showering or sleeping for two weeks.

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5 Sets of Faux Eyelashes for the Fake-Lash-Curious (Like Me)