Let’s Have a Conversation About Eyelash Extensions

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I’m not going to lie, I’ve always been terrified of lash extensions. I’ve heard all the horror stories: women losing all their eyelashes, visible blobs of glue, lashes sporadically sticking out left, right, and center – you get the gist. But when done correctly, lash extensions are actually amazing. You don’t need to wear a lot of makeup (nothing beats springing out of the bed in the morning looking fly), they open your eyes, and they literally make you feel like a superwoman. On that note, I’ve officially found the best salon in Dubai for lash extensions.

The Northern Quarter has fast become my little beauty secret, but it’s one too good not to share. Not only is its team comprised of leading experts in lash extensions with years of international training, but they also know everything there is to know about lashes – and they correct a lot of the horror stories I just mentioned (which happens a lot in Dubai due to a lack of training, unfortunately). There’s nothing they can’t do or fix, so who better to answer all the lash-extension questions you’ve ever wanted to ask? I tapped The Northern Quarter’s co-founder Sheryl Hanks to spill all.

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How do I prep for lash extensions?
You need to arrive at your appointment makeup- and moisturizer-free. If you wear contact lenses, remove them and wear glasses instead. Don’t use waterproof mascara 48 hours prior to the appointment as it will leave an oily residue on the lashes that will stop them from bonding. Let your technician know if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have had LVL ‘Lash Lift’ in the past six weeks. There are risks involved with every beauty treatment, and it can be possible to be allergic to the tools and glue used to apply lash extension. Talk to the salon and discuss patch-testing to rule out the risks of an allergic reaction.

How do I know if the salon I’ve chosen is a good one for lashes?
Do your research and go on recommendations. Look at its social media pages – they should be posting regular work and unedited pictures. Ask as many questions as you want until you feel comfortable. A fully trained lash technician will know the answer to everything. If not, then walk away!

What’s the biggest mistake women make with lash extensions?
Like with any treatment, you have to be realistic. A lash technician can only work with the lashes they are presented with. If you have short and sparse natural lashes, we can enhance what you have, but we can’t perform miracles! We can’t apply anything too long or too heavy as it will sag or damage the natural lash. So remember, bigger is not always better! Using too much length or weight can damage your natural lashes.

What can I do to help my extensions last longer?
– Don’t use any oil-based products on the lashes, as oils break down the bond of the glue and make them drop out prematurely.
– Don’t wear mascara on them, especially not on ‘Russian Volume’. Mascara destroys lashes!
– Clean them daily. It is a massive myth that you shouldn’t get them wet. Like anything on your body, they get dirty, greasy, and covered in makeup residue. This needs to be cleaned daily in order to keep your follicles healthy and prevent infection! Clean lashes last longer, as removing the oils helps with the retention of the glue. You can buy a specific lash cleanser, and most lash salons will retail this. It’s formulated to be gentle on the lashes and good at removing grime, as well as being delicate on the eyes.
– Never pick them. Picking them not only removes the extension, but will also likely result in you plucking out your natural lashes! If you aren’t happy with them or they’re at the end of their life, contact your salon and they will be able to remove them professionally for a small fee in five to ten minutes while retaining the health of your natural lashes.
– Brush them daily. Criss-crossed lashes put pressure on each other and can cause premature shedding. Brushing them keeps them neat, fluffy, and healthy.

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I’m scared all my natural lashes will fall out. Will this happen?
Not if you get them done properly! Losing all your natural lashes happens due to the following reasons:
– Picking out your extensions. The lashes are applied with a form of super glue, so if you pull them, you will pluck your natural lashes out.
– If the technician applies lashes that are too heavy for your natural lashes. This will cause the lashes to sag and potentially snap your natural lashes or cause them to shed prematurely.
– The technician used too much glue. Again, this adds excess weight to the lashes, causing them to snap or fall out too soon.
– Bad isolation. If your technician isn’t well trained and doesn’t isolate every natural lash when applying an extension, you will end up with a big clumpy mess that will rip your natural lashes straight out.

Does it hurt during application?
No, but it can be a strange sensation, especially for those who are sensitive around the eye area. The glue does have a slight vapor that can cause your eyes to sting if you don’t keep them closed properly, open them mid-treatment, or open them too quickly at the end before the glue has dried properly. If you feel any discomfort during the procedure, tell your technician and she can adjust her tools accordingly.

Do they feel heavy on the eyes? Can you feel them on?
Nowadays, we use very light lashes, so you shouldn’t feel them at all. You may be able to see them, but they should be almost weightless. If you feel heaviness, the technician may have applied lashes that are too thick for your natural lashes to support or too close to the eyelid so they dig in. A well-trained technician won’t do either of these things.

I wear contacts, so am I okay to get them?
Yes, it’s fine to get lash extensions if you wear contacts – just remove them before you go for your treatment. Otherwise, you can wear your lenses as normal!

Do I need to clean them?
Yes, daily! If we told you to never wash your hair, you would think we were crazy! Lashes get caked in everyday grime and grease, and this needs to removed to keep your natural lashes healthy and the follicles free to grow. Always, always clean them. This also helps your extensions last longer.

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Can I wash my face and use makeup as normal?
Absolutely, but you need to make sure you’re using oil-free products as oil is the one thing that totally breaks down the bond of the glue. Also, be gentle with them. Don’t scrub them. Wash them gently, rub cleaner in them with your fingertips, rinse them, dab them dry, and give them a brush.

Is there anything I can’t use on my eyes with them?
Oil and mascara are the two big no-nos!

How long does it take to do them? What’s the process like?
It totally varies from person to person. One person may have double the amount of natural lashes to another, so it’s never the same for two people. On average, individuals take around 1.5 hours to apply, while ‘Russian Volume’ takes longer – about 1.5 to 2.5 hours. The process is as follows:
– For individual lashes, we place one extension on every natural lash. We use different lengths to mimic the pattern of your natural lashes. We can add 2mm to 3mm of extra length and the lashes are black, so they add darkness and volume. We also have a wide range of curls from natural to super glam!
– ‘Russian Volume’ is slightly different, and a very, very skilled treatment if it is carried out correctly. With ‘Russian Volume’, we use super fine individual lashes, and we pick up two to eight of these lashes and manipulate them into a fan. This fan is then applied to each natural lash. This process is carried out whilst doing the treatment. True ‘Russian Volume’ does not use pre-made fans – they are handmade as we go.
– For both types of extensions, we clean the lashes, then apply a gel pad under the eye and a little microphone tape to hold them secure. This keeps the bottom lashes out of the way so they don’t stick together – this is the only part that might be a little uncomfortable. We then take the lashes and apply them one by one or fan by fan with lash adhesive. We finish by removing the gel pads and brushing the lashes through.

To book an appointment at The Northern Quarter, call (+971) 55 683 9469.

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