Social Encore: Extending your lashes

Sep. 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser

As someone who operates in pageant, modeling, photography and television circles, staying beautiful is important to me.

Even though my eyelashes are pretty long, they aren’t as full as they used to be. Every time a lash falls out, I pout because I know it will be a while before another one will take its place. For special occasions I rely on temporary lashes glued onto my eyelids for a fuller look, but I’ve always wanted a solution that would give me the look I wanted without all the hassle.

Leanne Kirk, owner of Luxe Lashes Hawaii at Waterfront Plaza. (Courtesy photo)

Leanne Kirk, owner of Luxe Lashes Hawaii at Waterfront Plaza. (Courtesy photo)

Eyelash extensions are a growing trend in the beauty world, but I wanted to learn more about the process before trying it myself. Recently, I sat down with Luxe Lashes Hawaii owner Leanne Kirk to get educated.

Kirk started modeling at 15 and said her experience working at a fashion show for Chanel exposed her to hair and makeup professionals who intrigued her. After high school, her interest in the beauty industry grew and she became more curious about skin care, so she enrolled herself in esthetics and makeup artistry classes.

Always wanting to keep up with the latest industry trends, Kirk attended a huge trade show in Vegas and came across eyelash extensions. After being educated and certified in the process of applying them to others, Kirk was hooked. After working in the corporate world she wanted to be her own boss.

“I was tired of feeling like employee number 101 and not being appreciated for the quality of work I was doing,” she said. “I wanted to own a business that would be more for the cause rather than the applause.”

After hearing Kirk’s story, I knew my lashes were in good hands. But then I had to decide which type of lashes I wanted, their length, look and color, and if I wanted to have glitter applied with them. At Luxe Lashes, located at Waterfront Plaza, they are committed to customer satisfaction and offer an array of possibilities.

There are two different types of lashes: Prime Silk or Authentic Siberian Mink lashes. Prime Silk is the most popular because there are different diameter and thickness selections for each individual lash, offering lengths from 7mm to 19mm. Kirk said clients who want to go bigger and/or have a more dramatic look tend to choose Prime Silk.

Authentic Siberian Mink lashes are 100% organic mink fur that is sterilized and hypoallergenic. They emulate the natural weight and texture of your eyelashes, and because it’s real mink fur they tend to feel softer.

An example of the work done at Luxe Lashes Hawaii. (Courtesy photo)

An example of the work done at Luxe Lashes Hawaii. (Courtesy photo)

BEFORE UNDERGOING the process, Kirk suggested the following:

» If you have previously permed your lashes, wait until your lashes have lost it’s perm/curl. If the base of your lashes are too curled because of the perm, the lash extension adhesive will not stick.

» For your first appointment, expect to be at the salon for about two hours. Lash extensions take time because each one has to be individually glued on.

» Do not drink coffee or tea before your appointment. Consumption of caffeine will cause eyes to become jittery.

» Do not drink a lot of liquid right before your appointment. It will help avoid any unnecessary bathroom breaks.

» Discontinue mascara and/or false strip eyelashes use two to three days before your appointment.

Kirk at work applying eyelash extensions. (Courtesy photo)

Kirk at work applying eyelash extensions. (Courtesy photo)

» Come with a clean face. Moisturizer and sunscreen is fine, but avoid putting it on your eyes.

» Do not wear contact lenses. If you do, put them in a case during your appointment.

» You will not be able to get your lashes wet for 12-24 hours after your appointment, so you may want to wash your hair the night before.

Kirk said the first 24 hours after your appointment are important. To preserve the longevity of your lash extensions, she suggests taking the following precautions:

» Avoid getting the extensions wet or near extreme heat for the first 24 hours. Try to lay on your back while sleeping the first night, if possible.

» Even though the lash glue is dry immediately afterward, it takes 24 hours for it to cure and the natural lash to completely bond to the extension.

» Avoid any oil-based products around the eyes, as well as touching the extensions with your fingers. Your fingertips generate oil, which will cause the glue’s bond to weaken.

» Avoid curling your lashes, which will cause damage to the extensions. Kirk said there is no need for an eyelash curler or mascara, which will weaken the bond of the glue and cause extensions to fall off prematurely.

» You can still wear makeup on your face, but avoid using eyeliner or oil-based makeup remover. Kirk said lash serums are okay to help with eyelash growth.

“Lash serums such as Latisse or Lash Food compliment extensions because they not only nourish the lash to make them healthier, stronger and longer, but they also help to keep the natural lash at its adult phase longer before it’s time to cycle out,” she said.

An example of a bad eyelash extension job, according to Luxe Lashes Hawaii owner Leanne Kirk. Substandard applications like this cause eyelashes to prematurely fall out and can cause follicle damage.(Courtesy photo)

An example of a bad eyelash extension job, according to Luxe Lashes Hawaii owner Leanne Kirk. Substandard applications like this cause eyelashes to prematurely fall out and can cause follicle damage.(Courtesy photo)

WHAT I LOVE about Kirk’s salon are the stylists who sit down with their clients to educate them on what to look out for when it comes to eyelash extensions.

Kirk told me to look out for flared lashes in your current stylist’s previous work (three to four synthetic lashes in a bunch). Flared eyelashes mean faster appointments, but the increased volume puts too much weight on individual lashes, resulting in excessive glue usage and clumping.

When extensions are done wrong, they can cause a person’s natural eyelashes to fall out as well as follicle damage. This will result in new lashes growing back very weak and sparse, or not at all.

Here are two common myths about eyelash extensions and Kirk’s thoughts on each one:

Myth: Lash extensions will make your natural lashes fall out.

“Your natural lashes go through a cycle every 30 to 45 days, just like the hair on your head,” said Kirk. “On average, you lose about three or four lashes per eye per day, with a new lash taking its place.”

Myth: Eyelash extensions are bad for your natural lashes.

“If the technician does a poor/incorrect application, this is true,” Kirk said. “But if the extensions are applied correctly, one extension to one natural lash (1mm away from the base of the lash line) and the glue or extensions never touch the skin or eyes, a person’s natural lashes and their cycle will never be affected.”

The author's before and after pictures with Mink extensions. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

The author’s before and after pictures with Mink extensions. (Courtesy Jermel Quillopo)

Kirk’s quality of work, salon decor, comfy beds and even her music selection/knowledge created a relaxing ambience during my appointment. I was so relaxed I fell asleep!

Kirk said she loves what she does and had a heartfelt moment when two clients randomly met each other. One client’s face was affected after being in a car accident. One day, she was approached by another lady who was also Kirk’s client and they began complimenting each other’s eyelashes.

According to Kirk, the client who was in the accident said, “I’ve had such a hard time finding confidence in myself after my accident, but after getting my lashes done by Leanne, for the first time in a long time, I feel pretty again.”

Kirk said she started crying because she was so overwhelmed with happiness.

Other services Kirk’s salon offers include waxing, sunless tanning and makeup artistry. Lash extensions start at $250 with refills starting at $70.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.

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