Sunday, 2 September 2012

Black Lash

Continuing my journey into new-found girliness, a couple of weeks ago I decided to give lash extensions a go. These are clusters or single lashes glued to your existing lashes which stay in for up to a month. Sounds fun, right?

Now don't get me wrong, I do alright in the lashes department but I've always wondered what it would be like to have TV lashes all the time, from the moment you wake up. You know, loading the dishwasher looking Hollywood-fabulous.

I like false eyelashes (the ones you remove when you take off your make up) but I'm crap at applying them. If you've never tried it, it's like wrestling a spider.

A couple of make up artists had recommended lash extensions to me so I thought, I'll give it a whirl and went to Browhaus on Floral Street in Covent Garden where I've started having my eyebrows threaded (which is another blog in its own right!)

I laid down in the chair and before the technician had even started to explain the procedure I blurted out 'I've never done this before!' as though I'd accidentally stumbled into a sex party and decided to stay.

She told me I could have two styles, one where the lashes are longer towards the outside so the eye looks more feline...  'yes!' I said.

She smiled sympathetically. I was panicking like I was having heart surgery without an anaesthetic. 'or you can have them longer in the middle for a more doll-like effect'. I opted for feline. I like cats, I thought.

We then talked about length (maybe it was a sex party). I had a choice between 8, 10 and 12 mm and also singles or clusters. Apparently the singles appear more natural but the clusters last longer and create a fuller look.

Jesus, I thought. Why is it so god-damn complicated? Just make my lashes look like Holly Willoughby's and let's get the lash out of here!

'10mm clusters' I said sweetly.

She then proceeded to tape down my lower lashes. I felt like Alex in a Clockwork Orange. Was I about to be bombarded with grim images to test my tolerance for horror - Boris Johnson - naked, David Gest kissing Liza Minelli, Jeremy Clarkson - doing anything. 

She asked me to close my eyes and I spent the next 20 minutes convinced this woman was part of some huge Dom Joly jape and she was actually sticking my eylids together.

Oh how we'd all laugh as I blindly crashed into the nail bar and stomped unwittingly into a foot spa.

Eventually she finished the very delicate operation of attaching these 10mm clusters of lash loveliness and told me to open my eyes.

I cautiously prized them open. Well the good news was, Dom Joly was nowhere to be seen. The bad news was, the fumes from the glue meant I had to shut my eyes immediately. I suddenly has a flash-forward of me running round the streets of Central London screaming, I'm blind! I'm blind! That torturer cow blinded me!

Tears started streaming down my face from all the fumes. Looking at me you would have thought Take That had called it a day - again.

I calmed down and tried once more to flicker my eyes open a couple of minutes later. Still I couldn't keep them open for more than a few seconds. The glue fumes were just too strong. I started thinking, do I need to stay away from naked flames?? I could go up like a Roman Candle here.

The technician didn't seem phased - at all. I was panicking like an MP caught on camera at a fancy dress party dressed as a nazi.

I had a show to do that night! Was I going to have to do it with my eyes closed. 'Good evening Bradford. Great to see you, well actually....'

I started to muse that perhaps all those people I'd seen on tv news footage from war-torn countries suffering from what I thought were the effects of tear gas, had actually just had lash extensions applied that morning.

Finally, after 10 minutes, though my eyes were still streaming, I could at least open them.

The technician assured me this was normal. Yeah in your world, I thought, you heartless, pretty torturer.

Finally I took a look in the mirror to survey the damage. Was this going to be like at the hairdressers where they make you look like a moron and you say 'Great job! See you next month once I've started to look vaguely like a homo sapien again so you can fuck it up once more'.

She held up the mirror and I thought... not bad. My eyes were a little sore but the lashes actually looked rather lovely. I'd worried they'd be a bit OTT, making me look like Ermintrude from The Magic Roundabout but they looked quite nice.

The technician/ torturer rattled through the after-care* which felt a little like that scene in Death Becomes Her where Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn drink the elixir giving them eternal life and only then are they issued a portentous omen, Meryle Streep shrilling, "Now, the warning??!" Anyway, with that, I was done. By the time I got to work the fumes had all but evaporated and I was left with the lash loveliness I'd envisaged that morning. 

They felt a little uncomfortable at first but I got used to them and kept them in for about two and a half weeks. Would I recommend them? Well here are my pros and cons:

Look really good and natural
Less eye make up required
Lasts a long time if looked after

you have to have then taken out in the salon
You lose A LOT of lashes in the removal process
They get gunky as you can't rub them too vigorously when removing make up
Make up application and removal becomes quite a delicate operation

Bottom line, some girls have a higher tolerance for the discomfort of beauty procedures and products. For me I'm happy to settle for what God gave me and Love What I've Got!

*no rubbing them, don't try to remove them yourself, don't apply make up within 24 hours (like that's gonna happen), don't cross the steams etc

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