Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/3/2009 (3051 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Now that eyelash batting has advanced to the major leagues, mascara is no longer the heavy hitter.
The current craze for peepers that pop -- likely fuelled by doe-eyed celebrities sashaying down red carpets fluttering impossibly long and lush fringes -- has sparked a demand for Bambi lashes, minus the risk of Rocky Raccoon eyes.
And falsies have stepped up to the plate.
But false eyelashes have come a long way from the bulky strips women glued to their eyelids (after securing their beehives with a can of Aqua Net hairspray) in the '60s.
Rather than trying to compensate for nature's stinginess with the tiny equivalent of a bad toupee, many women are now opting for eyelash extensions.
Think hair extensions applied with tweezers -- one strand at a time.
Individual synthetic eyelashes are bonded to individual eyelashes with a medical-grade adhesive (the same stuff surgeons use for suture-less stitches) so they won't pop off and land in your martini or get blinked askew like the false fringes of yore.
And they look real -- unless you don't want them to. (Some companies offer party colours and lash gems, for eyes that truly sparkle.)
Lace Vondracek has come to Lash-Love today seeking what the Academy Road studio bills as "maximum drama."
"I am crazy about my lashes," the 18-year-old Winnipegger says. "I wear a lot of mascara to make them longer, bigger and fuller, but sometimes it clumps."
Over the next two hours, Vondracek will have up to 90 per cent of her natural lashes enhanced.
"She wants to go glam -- meaning the longest (15 mm), thickest ones we have," says Angela Ruiz, a licensed esthetician who opened Lash-Love last January.
As we head into the treatment room, I start thinking about the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Malcolm McDowell's eyes are pried open with metal clamps and...
"They usually fall asleep," Ruiz says as her client reclines on a massage table, eyes closed.
First, she places collagen eye patches over Vondracek's bottom lashes to protect them from the glue. Then, using two sets of tweezers -- one to separate the real lashes, the other to attach the extensions -- she begins the painstaking, hair-by-hair process. Each synthetic lash is dipped into the blob of black adhesive, then used like a paintbrush to coat its natural counterpart. They bond in seconds.
The extensions do not touch the rim of the eyelid. "I leave a tiny space between so they won't irritate the eye," says Ruiz.
Provided she follows a few basic rules, Vondracek's new fluttery fringes will stay soft and bouncy -- and, most importantly, intact.
"The application won't damage the eyelashes, but things people do afterward can," Ruiz warns.
That means no rubbing, picking or tugging; no oil-based cleansers around the eye area and no waterproof mascara.
"Waterproof mascara should be outlawed. It's dehydrating and breaks your lashes," says Lesley Kwiatkowski, owner of Dermagraphics at Lesley's on Portage Avenue.
The esthetician, whose salon specializes in permanent makeup and skin-rejuvenation treatments, started offering eyelash extensions a year ago and is currently an educator for a company that has three factories in Vietnam working 24/7 to meet its demand.
"This is so advanced," she says of the technology. "For blonds and redheads, we can just give them length and colour, which still translates into a very natural look.
"Without mascara, these people have no eyelashes."
Be warned: Eyelash extensions are high maintenance. And they're not cheap -- anywhere from $140 to $475 for the initial application, depending on how dramatic you go. Since we continually shed our eyelashes and grow new ones, you'll have to return every month or so for a fill (30-45 minutes, around $45).
Apparently economic ugliness hasn't put a damper on the beauty business.
Ruiz, who got her eyelash extension certification in Salt Lake City last January (the two-day course cost $1,600), is currently looking for a larger studio space.
"Just because I'm booking up so quickly," says Ruiz, who is also in negotiations with a Korean manufacturer to develop her own Lash-Love line and possibly branch out into training.
Yvette Spencer, president of Xtremelash Canada, says eyelash extensions became the "it" beauty treatment in Asia eight years ago and are finally catching on here at home.
"There's a huge market," says Spencer, a national trainer based out of New Market, Ont. "In the last few years, lashes have totally taken over my business."
For more information, go to www.lash-love.com.
Windows to the soul
gotta have nice frames
"ö Humans grow a new set of eyelashes about every five weeks.
"ö A healthy human eye has between 100 and 150 eyelashes on the upper eyelid and 50-70 on the lower lid.
"ö They're made up of three per cent water and 97 per cent keratin, the same protein found in nails and the top layer of our skin.
"ö Human embryos develop eyelashes between the seven and eight weeks.
"ö The medical term for loss of eyelashes is madarosis.
"ö Ancient Egyptians used kohl, a preparation made of ingredients such as soot, copper, lead and burnt almonds, to darken their lashes .
"ö Eyelashes are sensitive to touch, much like a cat's whiskers. So besides protecting your eyeballs from dust, pollen and other particles, they can warn you when something is moving toward your eyes, so you can close them.
"ö Latisse, a new drug that promotes eyelash growth, has just been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It contains the same active ingredients as the glaucoma drug Lumigan and was developed (by the company that gave us Botox) after patients taking Lumigan reported eyelash growth as a side effect.