The eyelash extension is one of my favorite vain indulgences. Just as facial hair can change a man’s entire appearance, eyelashes (and eyebrows) can do the same for a woman. When I have a good set of “permanent” eyelash extensions properly applied, I feel much better going without makeup.
Seeking a lash expert, I found Lashtique, which focuses exclusively on lash extensions in both Manhattan and Greenvale. Since 2007, owner/operator and Certified Eyelash Extension Professional Ria Hountas-Pagliara has satisfied a wide range of clients, including housewives, busy executives and celebrities. Ria was warm and welcoming when I arrived at her Greenvale location. She examined my lashes and we discussed my desired results. For this application, I wanted my lashes to look as natural as possible.
I settled onto the treatment table, and as Ria examined my lashes again, she explained how she was going to address some sparse areas. She normally uses mink or synthetic lashes, or a combination, depending on the desired effect and the client’s natural lashes. After making sure I had no objections to mink, which she would use to fill in finer spaces, Ria placed pads under my eyes to hold down the lower lashes and went to work.
The application took a little longer than an hour, but I was so pleased when I finally looked in the mirror. The lashes were very natural looking, but longer and fuller than my own. She had applied fairly thin extensions using medical grade adhesive to attach each to one of my own lashes (not to the skin). Ria shaped them to be longer in the middle, rather than the cat’s-eye look with longer lashes at the outer edges. This created the natural-yet-enhanced look I was hoping for. She gave me a lash brush and demonstrated how to use it. My lashes could not get wet for 24 hours, she stressed, but after that I could wash gently with plenty of water. Touchups depend on the individual, but most clients need to come back every three to four weeks.
Formerly a nurse, Ria fell in love with eyelash extensions (as I have) and found she had a talent for applying them. She wouldn’t share all her celebrity clients out of respect for their privacy, but she did mention one who wouldn’t mind. If you’ve ever heard Kelly Ripa raving about her eyelash extensions, she was raving about Ria’s work. So I find myself in good company when I recommend this talented technician.
Sometimes, though, you will find yourself in the mood for something a little more dramatic. The owner of E Day Spa & Salon in Hampton Bays, Elaine Campbell-DeVito has been a Licensed Cosmetologist for 25 years and a Certified NovaLash Extensionist for three years. After Elaine examined my eyes, I told her I’d like something a bit more daring.
Elaine said extensions aren’t for everyone because of the maintenance required, but she does recommend them for special occasions and particularly for brides. “They give you the look of having your makeup done upon waking up…The lashes will shed off with your natural lash,” Elaine said, explaining that more temporary enhancers, such as cluster or strip lashes, don’t look as natural and will fall off when they get wet. Elaine said she chose the NovaLash brand because the glue is made in the US, which assures its safety. Apparently, the cheaper imported glues are not only inferior—they’re potentially dangerous.
As she worked, Elaine explained the importance of maintenance. “Cosmetics and cleansers that contain glycols, urea or high concentrations of alcohol should be avoided, as these can break down the bonds of the glue. Our NovaLash maintenance kit contains mascara, a lash wand, and cleansing pads. Lash extensions need to be fluffed every night and every morning to prevent tangling and flipping. Mascara is often not necessary, but the NovaLash mascara in the kit is perfectly safe. The cleansing pads are a 3-in-1 conditioner, cleanser and makeup remover. The pads are saturated with pomegranate seed extract to condition your extensions so they remain flexible and radiant.”
When she finished, I saw it was quite different from the natural look I enjoyed from Ria at Lashtique. Elaine used thicker lashes and crisscrossed some of them. This produced a bolder, more dramatic look for my eyes, which is exactly what I wanted.
Each application lasted longer than a month. I was extremely careful to follow all maintenance instructions and I was always very gentle with my lashes. While the maintenance could be an issue for some, I had no problem pampering these extensions. They enabled me to go sans mascara, which for me means no smudgy raccoon eyes. Another benefit is waking up looking much more alive and alert than I feel.