published Friday, February 28th, 2014

Looking for lashes: Extensions add length, thickness (with video)

Hall’s eyelashes before and after the extensions were applied.
Hall’s eyelashes before and after the extensions were applied.
Photo by Erin O. Smith /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
  • photo
    Isana Yen Hall dips synthetic eyelashes in glue before individually placing them to the client’s natural eyelash one at a time.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
    enlarge photo

  • photo
    Sylvia Hall’s synthetic eyelashes have a natural curve and can be worn with or without mascara.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
    enlarge photo

Extension information

• Extensions are weightless and won’t interfere with swimming, showering, exercising or sleeping.

• The use of mascara is optional.

• Available in various lengths, thicknesses, curvatures and colors.

• Looks natural.

Source: Xtreme Lashes

Sylvia Hall never leaves home without wearing makeup — foundation, powder, blush, lipstick, eye shadow and mascara.

It’s the mascara, though, that’s the most important, she says.

“My eyelashes used to be long and dark but, as I’ve gotten older, they have lightened and thinned out dramatically,” says Hall, 73, a volunteer at Erlanger hospital. “I used to curl them, but I haven’t in years because I’m afraid of pulling them all out.”

Then she heard about eyelash extensions.

It was Hall’s daughter-in-law, hair stylist Isana Yen Hall, who convinced her to undergo an eyelash extension treatment, a procedure that attaches semi-permanent extensions composed of single strands of synthetic eyelashes. They are applied with surgical-grade adhesive directly to individual eyelashes. One at a time. With tweezers.

“I have been doing this for three years,” says Isana, who works at Grande Salon in East Brainerd and received training and certification for the procedure in Atlanta. “It is important to get proper training because the procedure is very technical and intense.”

Hall says the extensions are attached to individual eyelashes on the eyelids only. The initial procedure takes about 90 minutes to three hours.

“We don’t do the lower lashes because the eyes must be closed the entire time and there is no way to get to the lower lashes,” she says.

Sylvia Hall says that, at first, she thought she was too old to get the extensions.

“But once I saw what they did for the eyes, I wanted to do it. I care very much about how I look and, though it’s a new thing for me, I’m excited,” she says.

The day after her procedure, which took about two hours, Sylvia says: “I love them.”

“I’ve had so many compliments already, and most of them are from people who didn’t know what I had done,” she says. “Even my 90-year-old cousin was impressed.”

And so was Hall’s husband.

“He says it makes me look younger,” she says.

The extensions last with the life of the natural lash, Isana Hall explains.

“We recommend refills every two to four weeks because a person’s natural lashes have a two- to four-week lifespan,” she says. “The suggestive length [of the extension] is two millimeters longer than the individual’s longest length. Clients make the decision on what length and thickness they would like.”

Because the extensions are very similar to natural lashes, mascara can be used. And you don’t need to use an eyelash curler on the extensions, Isana says, “because it comes with curves.”

The initial cost averages about $200, while refills range from $50 to $75.

“The procedure originated in Texas and and was created by a nurse,” Isana says. “It is getting popular because people want instant beauty that is convenient, affordable and low maintenance.”

Men and women of all ages, particularly those in their 40s, are getting the extensions, she says.

Dr. Gary Gesualdi, owner at Affordable Botox of Chattanooga, says eyelash extensions offer instant gratification, but they have other issues.

“Eyelash extensions have a place for instant results and good for special occasions, but are not safe for repetitive use as the gluing process can leave lashes brittle and broken,” Gesualdi says.

He recommends Latisse, a prescription treatment that claims to grow eyelashes longer, fuller and darker. He says it’s “still the safest and most popular way to enhance lashes and can be used daily without harming lashes. It also works for thinning brows.

“However, Latisse does require daily application for the first four months and therefore may not be ideal option for some women.”

The cost of Latisse is about $75 to $100 for a two-month supply, he says.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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