Middle age kind of snuck up on me, and along the way I neglected to read the memo about thinning hair and eyebrows. One afternoon I was staring at my reflection in the mirror, wondering why everything seemed a bit… off. I looked like myself, only sparse and faded. Later I ran into a friend who’s a few years older. She looked so bright and awake. “I just had my lashes done,” she breathlessly informed me. “Don’t they look great!” She batted her eyes at me, and I had to agree she looked fabulous. Everything about her seemed more vibrant and intense. Of course you know what I did next…
After a 60-minute session that was surprisingly relaxing, I walked out of the salon with a full set of “permanent” eyelash extensions.
Carefully and nimbly applying individual fake lashes to my natural ones with a semi permanent adhesive, then running my Amex through for $120, I went home with instructions to avoid rubbing my eyes, sleeping on my stomach, or washing my face with a cloth. Following these guidelines I could expect my lashes to last about three weeks. I felt like a million bucks! My eyes looked large and sexy and dramatic – in a natural, no-makeup kind of way. I’m convinced I looked 15 years younger, and the perceived youth added a bounce to my step. Everything about my appearance seemed spruced up, and I swear my clothes fit better. I thought I’d discovered the fountain of youth.
Things were great for about a week. The lashes stayed on through daily showers, multiple hot yoga sessions and normal activities. Then one or two fell off… not too noticeable, but there were gaps in my dramatic sexy fringe. I began to feel dingy and slightly sloppy.
As a contact lens wearer, false eyelashes make your lashes heavy. I constantly felt I had a piece of dust in my eye, which could quickly become a boulder if it slipped under my lens. I began touching them, trying to remove the non-existent piece of dust. This loosens the adhesive, then the lash, creating the real problem with fake lashes: When they fall off, they can take your natural lash with them. And the real ones take forever to grow back – especially at our age.
The solution is to get replacement lashes affixed to cover the gaps. It’s a vicious (and expensive) cycle, and after four cycles of false lashes, I realized I was contributing to my own naked eye.
So I went cold turkey, even swearing off mascara for a month to prevent further damage to what was left. I spent a lot of time glamming up my look with bold sunglasses. It took six to eight months for my lashes to grow back to my pre-extension state.
I miss the dramatic, sexy, no-makeup eyes. I secretly long for that Cleopatra come-hither look that’s so empowering, but I prefer knowing I’m taking care of what nature gave me. Besides, come-hither can be exhausting at times! I wonder what Kim Kardashian looks like in-between lash applications – and what she’ll look like at 50 if she keeps using falsies – because clearly hers are fake. She must be suffering from the same fall out that befalls mere humans like ourselves.