Eyelash extensions have always appealed to me, but I'd never got round to actually having them done until this summer. Part of it was the fear that my natural lashes would be ruined, would fall out and never grow back again, while the other was the worry that the extensions would look too OTT and just not me. Plus, who has the time to go back every month to reapply? But brushing my concerns away, I made a visit to Blush and Blow in Fulham, where I can gladly say I was proved wrong.
The swanky west London salon ticked all the boxes in terms of great service, relaxing atmosphere and their variety of beauty treatments. But let's face it – I was there for the lashes. After an hour and ten minutes of lying down on a massage bed, with my eyes shut for the whole time, I was thrilled when I was allowed to peel my eyes open for the first time to see my new lashes fluttering away, perfectly framing my lids. They looked completely natural, thicker and oh so long, they didn't feel one bit uncomfortable and the whole process had been extremely pain-free. The extensions added that bit of drama to my eyes (and my photos!), without making me look fake. I can safely say I'm a lash convert, but if like me, you had a tonne of questions before going in, read on for the do's and don'ts of having extensions done…
Do get a patch test – the salon requires you to have a patch test 24 hours before any treatment, so make sure you factor that in to avoid disappointment on the day.
Do relax and wear something comfortable – you'll be lying down on a massage bed for over an hour depending on whether you have a half set or full set of semi-permanent lashes, so make sure you don your comfiest clothing.
Don't wear mascara to the appointment – it's best to arrive without eye makeup on to save time having to take it off.
Do think about the occasion – as a first-time lash user, I opted for a more natural look. I just wanted thicker and more luscious eyelashes and because mine are naturally quite straight, my stylist recommended going for the natural-looking extensions over the curly, more dramatic ones. Are you a bride-to-be going for a natural beauty look, or are you about to go on holiday and really want to make your eyes pop?
Don't be nervous – the room where I had my treatment done was very relaxing and my light-handed stylist made the whole process pain-free. It didn't feel uncomfortable having the extensions glued on, I could hardly feel them going in. The only uncomfortable bit was at the beginning when you have a patch applied to your eye bags to protect your lower lashes.
Do be patient – my lashes took about an hour and ten minutes, but they can take up to an hour and a half or even longer. You might even drift off for a bit, what with the comfortable bed and your eyes being closed the entire time.
Don't open your eyes during the process – it can feel a bit daunting having your eyes closed for the whole treatment, but after five minutes I was used to it and didn't feel any stickiness around my lids. My eyes were a little bloodshot when I opened them for the first time but the redness went down very quickly.
Don't wet your lashes for the first 24 hours – aftercare is extremely important to give your new lashes the best chance of staying in. The salon advises not to get your extensions wet for the first 24 hours, so avoid your eyes when you're washing your face, and maybe leave washing your hair that day!
Don't use oil-based makeup remover – the oil will weaken the glue and only encourage your extensions to fall out faster. Use water-based makeup remover instead.
Don't worry about your eyelashes falling out – it's completely normal that a few of your natural lashes will fall out with the extensions, but, like all your other body hair, your lashes will grow back so don't fret too much. You won't be left with big gaps in your eyelashes, I promise!
Don't rub your eyes – if you tend to rub your eyes when you're tired, ditch that habit as it can cause damage to both your natural hair and your extensions.
Do use the mini brush to separate your lashes – the salon will give you a plastic brush to take home, to straighten out your lashes and make sure they don't clump together for when you're applying mascara.
Don't expect your extensions to last for weeks – I was told my lashes would last for two to three weeks. By the end of the first week, I found a good proportion had already started falling out, but my eyelashes still looked completely natural and not patchy at all, so don't worry about having bald-looking peepers! It's advised to have the extensions reapplied every month or so.
A half set of semi-permanent lashes at Blush and Blow costs £85 while a full set costs £120. Visit blushandblowlondon.com for more information.