If you were one of the many missing a fuller flutter in lockdown, the time has finally come. As salons reopened this week, lash treatments, including extensions, were finally back on the menu. Stubby lashes, be gone!
A semi-permanent treatment, eyelash extensions are achieved by gluing individual lashes onto your existing lashes to create a fuller, longer flutter.
There are several options available in terms of what the lashes are made from (mink, silk, cashmere) and what shape they are cut to (for more information read our guide on the 10 things you need to know about getting eyelash extensions), but a good therapist should be able to make all these selections for you by analysing the thickness of your hair (and therefore the weight it can take) and the shape of your face.
One thing you do need to choose is whether to opt for a full set or a half set. A half set covers the same area of lash line just using a lesser number of lashes, therefore achieving a more natural look. If it’s your first time getting eyelash extensions and you’re unsure of the fullness or style of lashes that would suit you best, a half set is a great place to start. Plus, a half set takes around an hour to apply, whereas a full set can take 1.5-2 hours, which is quite a long time to sit in a chair with your eyes closed if it’s something you’re not used to doing yet.
Whichever you choose, there can be no doubt that a set of lash extensions is an amazing way to make your eyes sparkle and generally give your face a bit of a lift. And with proper care, they can last three to six weeks, before falling out with your natural lashes.
Wondering where to get them done? The ES team have tried and tested four of the best in London. Here’s what we thought.
Nails & Brows, Mayfair
Treatment: Half set lashes, 60 minutes, £110.
The venue: Whether it’s the super central location or the fact its rumoured to be a favourite haunt of Meghan Markle’s, this cute and cosy salon set just off Berkeley square is always jam packed.
As the name suggests, they have two main areas of focus, with lashes coming in a close third.
The experience:After an initial look at my lashes my therapist advised that, as mine are short and soft, it was best if we went for a mixture of mink (it’s not real mink, just the industry name – I checked), silk and cashmere falsies, that wouldn’t be too heavy on my existing lashes. She went for a combination of lash lengths (10, 11 and 12) to create a natural look.
The actual process of attaching them was painless and took just under an hour. I have to say though I found it a weird (and not entirely pleasant) feeling keeping my eyes shut for that long. Once the results were revealed though, it was immediately worth it. My face looked transformed.
This salon is professional and the staff are very capable, yet it’s worth noting I was given very little introduction about the treatment before we began and next to no instructions on how best to care for my lashes after the treatment, so it’s perhaps not one for novices.
The verdict? My lashes were really natural looking and yet they lifted my overall appearance so much I not only didn’t need to wear eye makeup, but I really didn’t feel the need to wear any makeup at all.
That said, I found having to keep them dry a bit of a fiddle when it came to washing my face (you have to approach a face wash in two halves), and the one time I put liquid eyeliner on I found it tricky to remove without damaging them.
31 Berkeley St, Mayfair, London W1J 8EJ, nailsandbrows.me
Edy London, Oxford Circus
Treatment: Full set lashes, 90 minutes, £200-£300 (in salon).
The venue: Former celebrity makeup artist Edy Kurowska, aka @edylondon, shares the flower-adorned treatment space on Market Place, just off Oxford Street, with a host of nail technicians, hair stylists and extension specialists, making this your perfect one-stop shop for post-pandemic pampering. Bonus points to the prosecco that flows freely.
The experience: Edy, who is the go-to lash expert for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Mel B, Jodie Kidd and Trinny Woodall, is renowned for delivering ultra natural-looking results and it’s all down to her unique method. Using cruelty-free either silk or synthetic mink lashes, she applies incredibly fine lashes - rather than volume lashes - one by one to each individual natural eyelash, which she says minimises the risk of damage if you’re getting them done regularly.
I am prone to dry eyes, so in the assessment beforehand, Edy suggested we use a sensitive glue to avoid any irritation. The process took around 90 minutes, but length will vary depending on the thickness and texture of your hair. I was also offered a sheet mask to enjoy during, so next time I’ll be sure to come makeup free. Lashes should last between four and five weeks.
The verdict? I was genuinely taken aback by how subtle the results are, yet I haven’t looked so alert and alive in, well, at least a year. As promised, it really does look like you’re just wearing the best mascara in the world, plus I couldn’t feel that I had them in at all. But the devil really is in the detail, or rather the curl and how she artfully fans out the lashes to match the exact shape of your eyes. Getting your lashes done, can be nerve-racking, particularly as it’s such a sensitive area, but you’re in good hands with Edy. Finishing things off with a bouncy blow dry from Moe at the Beauty Club London was the ultimate treat.
28 Market Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8AW, salon.edy.london,
Blink Brow Bar, Selfridges, Oxford Street
Treatment: Half set of lashes, 60 minutes, £85.
The venue:Blink Brow Bar is all about the eyes so there’s no better place to get your lashes done. There’s so many different options to choose from: full, half-set, flirty, classic, that you know you’re in good hands. If you’re not sure which are the lashes for you, then the website has detailed before and after images so you can find the ones you’re most comfortable with.
The experience:If you’re looking for efficiency when it comes to an eyelash appointment, then Blink Brow Bar do it extremely well. I arrived, was whisked straight away into a chair, had my current eye make-up removed (only mascara) and we were ready to start in a matter of minutes.
It was surprisingly soothing to lie back in the chair and listen to the sounds of shoppers going by in Selfridges for an hour. BBB’s therapist Cho was incredibly gentle too; I expected to feel some discomfort with someone faffing around my eyes but my eyelids stopped fluttering so much after a while, once they had become used to the sensation.
The verdict?I’ve had so many compliments on them and I am certainly enjoying not having to wear eye make up every day. If it weren’t for the long appointment times, one hour for a half set, I think I would be fully sold.
Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB, bbb-london.com
The London Dolls, Hackney
Treatment: Flash Lash Full Set, 75 minutes, £100.
The venue: Set in the trendy Monohaus building on Mare Street, a stone’s throw from London Fields, Beth Camilleri’s salon is super ‘grammable, with abundant hanging plants and pink beds decorated with boho throws and cushions.
The experience: Before I arrived for my treatment, Beth asked me to do a patch test to make sure I wasn’t allergic to the glue she uses. I wasn’t, but I have to admit, this being my very first lash extension treatment, I was a bit concerned that they’d pull out my real lashes but Beth explained the falsies would just fall out naturally with my real lashes.
I went for a full set but asked for a natural look as I don’t wear mascara during the week and didn’t want something too dramatic. While Beth got to work on my lashes, Maki gave me a gel manicure, which made me feel utterly pampered.
The verdict? Beth did a fab job with my lashes, which she says could last me up to a month, so that’s the festive season sorted. They’re pretty natural looking but make my eyes pop without any mascara. I can see myself getting used to this…
20 Gossamer Gardens, London E2 9FN, thelondondolls.com