Lash Out With Extensions
Eyelash extensions are a sure way to enhance your peepers. Here’s how to flutter without fear.
Longing for lush lashes that draw attention to your eyes? When mascara isn’t enough, resort to the next best thing – eyelash extensions. Unlike the creepy dead spider impression of false eyelashes, lash extensions not only look natural but won’t hang loose or fall in your soup.
Celebs from Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez to our own local TV stars are all flattering their eyes with customized eyelash extensions. Looking like the real thing because individual hairs are attached to your own lashes, eyelash extensions are also easier to maintain than false eyelashes. You can decide on length and volume and not worry about playing sport or looking good at the beach. Sweat and water-resistant, eyelash extensions let you swim, play tennis, and wake up looking like your lashes are genetically endowed. With care, they can last a good two months.
In fact, lash extensions have become such a must-have that eyelash salons have mushroomed all over Japan and South Korea. Tiny Singapore boasts over 20 eyelash salons to cater to the growing number of fans who’ve added eyelash extensions to their grooming routine of hairdressing and manicure .
An example is Ms Linda Koh, 30, who can’t do without her lash extensions. She says, “Having lash extension is as important as oxygen to me. I started getting them three years ago and would feel naked without them. My lash extension adds a thick dash of ‘eyeliner’ to my lash line, slashing the time needed to create almond shaped eyes by half.” .
Can’t wait to bat longer lashes? The pros are overwhelming but do note the cons. Know what you’re in for and arm yourself with a checklist to minimize the possibility of problems marring your experience.
Know the dangers
Generally speaking, rubbing eyes is a bad habit that should stop in childhood. Whether you have contact lenses or eye makeup on, touching your eyes can lead to irritation. What more with eyelash extensions that can scratch the cornea? Then, there’s the possibility of infection, and losing your precious real lashes. To keep you pretty-safe, MedHatter gathers the facts.
In Japan, a steep jump in eyelash extensions has driven an increasing number of women to doctors’ clinics. A report from the National Consumer Affairs Centre of Japan shows a rise from two cases in 2004 to 137 in 2012.
In Japan as in many other countries, regulation cannot keep up with the proliferation of cosmetic procedures. For instance, glues for attaching the lashes are a concern. A Japanese study found formaldehyde concentrations in some glues to be above the standard threshold level. Low levels of lead and benzoic acid were also detected.
Dr. Gerard Nah, Medical Director of W Eye Clinic:
“When lash extensions are not glued on properly or proper aftercare is not observed, the risk is they might get trapped in the eye and cause cornea abrasions. The stiff and long fake lashes might also prevent users from closing or blinking fully and this might lead to dry eyes. When removing the strips of false lashes or lash extensions, natural hair might fall off too. The loss is likely to be temporary as like hair follicles, lashes have a cycle of growth and renewal. Unless there is undue or excessive tension placed on the hair shaft, it is not likely that lash extensions can cause traction alopecia.”
Mr Yap Tiong Peng, Senior Consultant Optometrist at IGARD Group:
Dr Lim Lee Hooi, Consultant, Oculoplastic Service at the Singapore National Eye Centre:
“if the lash glue is applied too closely to the base of the hair follicle, it might become clogged and this could lead to eye infections.”
When lash is more
Despite the scares, women have been undeterred. In the pursuit of beauty, what matters are the results and the precautions.
We checked with Ms Nao-san, Founder and Eye Lash Stylist, Graceous Eyelash Salon. Her skills have been trumpeted by customers and popular beauty bloggers such as Ms Yina Goh and Ms Tricia Ong. Her naturally lovely lash enhancements sweep up compliments and she maintains stringent hygiene standards.
Since starting at Mohd Sultan Road in 2012, the Japanese salon has gained such a cult following, it recently opened a second branch at Purvis Street.
They were one of the first Japanese eyelash salons in Singapore to offer an extensive lash extension service menu. Clients can take their pick of J Curls, L Curls and C-curl, 9-11mm or 3D coloured eyelashes. Adopting a “holistic and customised” approach, Ms Nao who trained in Tokyo, Japan believes in designing and creating unique looks for her clients. “It is important to assess the shape of the eye, and the length and thickness of the lash before making a recommendation. Women usually prefer the C-curls for a sexy and feminine look.”
Everything you want to know about the process and the maintenance of eyelash extensions
MedHatter asks Ms Nao-san of Graceous Eyelash Salon
1. Is the process painful? How safe is it?
Applying eyelash extension should be a painless experience. Always check that the stylist is certified and experienced. Otherwise, you might end up with clumpy, unnatural looking lashes and even eye infection and damage to your natural lashes.
“The first complaint might be discomfort during the application process which leads to tearing. This should not happen in the hands of a skilful therapist who is gentle and patient. At Graceous, we eliminate the chance of allergies and contamination by sterilising all our equipment and using only medical grade products in our salon. Graceous is now developing our own eyelash serum, a beauty product that is designed specifically to strengthen and condition lashes.”
2. What makes a good eyelash stylist?
A good lash therapist or stylist is not only capable of creating a natural and beautiful eye but will be able to do so with minimum discomfort. The most experienced eyelash stylists will be so gentle that you probably will not feel any discomfort. Prior to starting, we use a prewash to clean out dirt and cosmetic residue. Secondly, check that the stylist is certified and the establishment is reputable by reading the online reviews and scrutinising the before and after pictures. Lastly, observe if your stylist practise proper hygiene and sterilises her tools. A good eyelash salon should also be bright and airy.
3. I tend to tear easily as I have sensitive eyes. Am I still suitable for eyelash extension?
Eyelash extensions are applied to the lashes one at a time using a specially formulated, semi-permanent glue that will not irritate the eye nor damage the natural lash. However, since allergic reactions are possible, there are different types of glue based on one’s sensitivity. In the hands of a trained and licensed lash stylist, it is not likely an infection will occur, but if you’re allergic to glue, you will react. If you are unsure if you are allergic to eyelash glue, it is advisable to undergo a patch test to check for allergic reactions. At Graceous Eyelash Salon, we use only medical grade eyelash adhesive with low levels of formaldehyde.
4. What happens if glue gets in your eyes?
Keeping your eyes shut when the lash extensions are being applied will ensure no glue gets into your eye. At Graceous, we use a top quality glue that is safe for eyes. It contains the lowest level of formaldehyde. While infections are rare, some may develop an allergic reaction, which is different from an infection.
- Do not let the eyelash glue come into contact with your skin. It should only be applied to individual lashes.
- Never open your eyes during treatment.
- Alert your stylist immediately if you feel any itchiness or irritation.
5. How long does it take?
Applying an unlimited number of lashes can take up to two hours. The benefit is that you can achieve dramatic eyes through different lengths, styles and thicknesses. Most clients prefer the C-curl lashes, a more curved lash that gives a wide-open, round eye look. A more current look is to incorporate tinted featherlight silk and mink lashes to achieved a 3D effect.
Love your lash extensions by always doing proper cleansing. While having lash extensions can cut down your beauty routine time, it is important to thoroughly remove eye make up. Use mascara to gently shape your lashes in the morning. Stay away from heat, oil-based cosmetics or rubbing your eyes. Like hair follicles, our eye lashes will shed naturally so regular touch-ups are recommended every four-eight weeks. During the first 24 hours, avoid swimming and sauna.
- Use a mechanical eyelash curler which may break the adhesive bonding on the lashes.
- Lash extensions are easily caught in fabric, be careful when using a towel.
- Rub your eyes excessively as it may cause the the extensions to break off
Dr Lim Lee Hooi is a Consultant at International Specialist Eye Centre (ISEC) Singapore and also a VisitingConsultant at Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). Dr Lim practises general ophthalmology in areas of cataract surgery, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macula degeneration and glaucoma screening.
Dr Gerard Nah is a Senior Eye Surgeon trained in the sub-specialty of Cornea, Refractive Surgery and External Diseases. Dr Nah founded the SAF Vision Performance Centre as its head and established Singapore’s own Military Corneal Refractive Surgery programmes. As such, he is a designated ophthalmologist to Singapore’s elite.
Yap Tiong Peng is a Senior Consultant Optometrist at IGARD Group in Singapore. Mr Yap is a part-time lecturer at the Singapore Polytechnic – University of Manchester Optometry Degree Programme. He is currently also a visiting optometrist at the university medical centres of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).
River Valley Outlet 9 Mohamed Sultan Road #03-02(Attic level) 238959 / T: +65-6837-0552
Bugis Outlet 26A Purvis Street Singapore 188603 www.graceous.com / T: 65-8799-2454