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Eyelash Extensions: Here’s Why I Can’t Quit Them

During these masked up times, fake eyelashes are having a moment. Here's what happens at a "lash bar" and how Jeannie Ralston got hooked on the look--and the feeling.

This is how it happens. Or at least it did for me. You see a friend whose eyes looking particularly alluring. What’s different? You wonder. Why can’t I stop looking at them? It’s not an eye lift or Botox, you surmise, because her crow’s feet are still appropriately visible.

You ask her what she’s done to her eyes and she gives a cat-eating grin. Then she begins batting her lashes like a flapper in a silent film.

“I got fake eyelashes,” she says finally. “I wake up like this.”

Read More: Eye Candy: My Obsession with Falsies (Lashes, That Is)

Why Didn’t I Think of This Before?

When I heard this from one of my friends, I didn’t waste any time making an appointment for my eye overhaul. I am newly single, so God knows I needed help in the alluring department. And here’s the other thing: I’ll never be getting Botox; not because I have some moral disdain for it. It’s just that for all my adult life I’ve been weird about what I put in my body (except for wine, of course). But this–getting fake eyelashes–seemed about as unobtrusive as you could get.

It seems I’m not alone in my sudden hankering for dramatic fringe.

It seems I’m not alone in my sudden hankering for dramatic fringe. “In our age of ring-lit TikTok stars, masked mouths, and new brands such as Jenna Lyons’s LoveSeen, there’s no putting a lid on the fact that eyelashes—false, extended, treated, lifted—are having a moment,” read the blurb for a story by Linda Wells in AirMail. I worked for Linda for years at Allure, and I must admit that I was often way behind any story the magazine was reporting. I have always been a very low makeup gal. Imagine my surprise–and yes, satisfaction–when I read her new story after I got my own first set of enhanced lashes. I was, for once, on trend. 

Mainly her story focused on fake eyelashes you apply yourself or on serums that are supposed to plump up the volume. Me, I went to a the Haute House Lash Bar in Austin for my hedge against invisible eyes.

Doing the Eye Work

classic eyelash extensions

The author’s new fringe.

I’ve seen women, even respected professional women, with Kewpie doll eyes, and knew that wouldn’t work for me. Fortunately, I was able to choose a “classic” set, which gives you lashes that are a little longer, thicker, and darker than you could achieve with mascara. They are not obviously fake, though my in-the-know niece spotted them for what they were right off the bat.

I’ve seen women, even respected profession women, with Kewpie doll eyes.

The first set took about three hours to apply as the aesthetician glues on new lashes, hair by individual hair. The cost was about $250. Pretty steep, I know. But every month I go back to replace the little buggers that have fallen off on the job. That requires an hour of my time and cost about $85. Much more manageable. And the bonus is that I am guaranteed a nice little nap as the aesthetician does her gentle work.

The Boost

My new eyelashes do more for me than enhance my eyes. They give me a psychic lift as well. That’s because I don’t flinch in shock any longer when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Even if I’ve just gotten out of bed. The me I see more closely matches the me I feel like inside.

There’s no risk of scaring a man in the morning with smudged, crumbly mascara.

Now that I’m dating again, I’ve got to think of this benefit too: No risk of scaring a new man in the morning with smudged, crumbly mascara all over your eyes. And I can laugh till I cry, which I did the other night with a particularly entertaining prospect, and have not a care in the world about black tear stains.

In the last few weeks, friends have come up to me and asked me about my eyes. I’ve offered a cat-eating grin and batted my lashes, and they’ve ended up with appointments for their own extensions. So, it continues.

Read More: Skimpy Eyelashes? Sun Spots? Thinning Hair? Here Are Treatments That Really Deliver

By Jeannie Ralston


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