Today’s blog post is a personal one. An informational horror story turned fairytale.
Brides, are you worried about crying on your wedding day? Moms, worried about mascara running down your face as your baby walks down the aisle? Maids, worried the heat will melt your mascara, and for tears to run it down your face watching your BFF get married? I’ve always coached my BJBrides towards Eyelash Strips to OOMPH their lashes on Wedding Day without a ton of mascara (and my Seniors, Headshots, and Boudoir wives too), but these are BETTER! WAYYYY BETTER!
LASH EXTENSIONS are the way to go! Seriously one application lasts 2 to 3 weeks (they shed off with your natural lash shed cycle), so think of not having to worry about mascara running! Think of not having to take those “bare lash” honeymoon images so many of your friends have had to take because either there’s not much time to maintain mascara in and out of the water, or island hopping. NO mascara needed, but yet you still have lashes!!! It’s possible, and here’s my story on how I FINALLY got my dream come true….albeit I took an unnecessary long route to get it.
I’ve known about eyelash extensions for a few years. Being an AVID strip eyelash wearer for over 10 years (started when I first sold Mary Kay wayyyy back in the day, and am now selling it again because I just loooove the stuff…ESPECIALLY the eyeshades!!!) the idea intrigued me.
I know…I know…most of you who’ve seen me would never would’ve guessed, but I suffered from eyelash shame and envy! I hate my natural lashes! I mean they just make the eyes POP when they’re long and lush…so I faked em…and I faked em goooood!
I’ve ALWAYS had sad, tiny, thin, blonde , SHORT natural lashes, and wearing tons of mascara only gunked them up into those “spider leg” looking messes you’ve probably seen on others who over do it. This resulted in a MESS if it was hot or I got them wet.
Strip lashes were good, but having to tack the edges back on every 2-3 days so I could wear them a few days longer was a pain…and again getting them Wet was NOT an option (even if the glue says “waterproof”)!
Being a photographer of course I’m photographing most of the time out in the heat, sweating, scrunching my eyes, for hours, even all day at weddings, so hoping and praying my strips weren’t coming literally unglued was always a small worry in the back of my mind! I mean who wants to be the professional photographer with BANGIN eyelashes one minute, and the next have them almost falling off?
Fast forward to my awesome Pastor’s wife Karen moving her Massage Therapy business into the Gallery Salon & Spa across the street from my downtown Athens, TN studio. She got them done months ago, and one day I noticed her eyes popped more than normal soooo being my nosey, inquisitive self I chimed “are those your real lashes?”
She copped to the truth immediately singing the praises of one of the Salon gals who was certified in Xtreme Lash Extensions…Angie Dixon! I heard the price and initially I had a little “Sticker shock”…fast forward again to a little more than two weeks ago.
I’d FINALLY saved up the “mad money” to do it, and for a couple of fill-ins, so I called….Angie was booked out to the end of April…I was IMPATIENT! I had the cash…wedding season was coming FAST like a train on the tracks….I wanted them YESTERDAY!
SO, the conversation in my head goes something like this… “Oh I’ll go get them done in Knoxville, and I can Angie do my fill ins!” I set out on my lash extension Google search, and THREE HOURS LATER I had paid my deposit, and booked an appointment for Tuesday (one week before Angie’s first available). These were going to be DOUBLE the price of Angie’s Initial Extensions+First Fill In. Again my thoughts went: “Oh that’ll be great! I’m paying more, but at least if I’m paying double in a bigger town I know they’ll be as good as Angie’s!”
Fast forward one.last.time. After 2.5 hours of being told just how “bad” my eyelashes were…how “short and fine” they were…how “difficult” they were…AND then a FIFTEEN MINUTE session of “combing”…I was permitted to see THIS with a hand mirror…
Per this company’s website these lashes are applied “…by a certified Eyelash Extensions Stylist for a NATURAL look and feel.” Is there anything “NATURAL” about this….???? They don’t even go all the way to the corners, there are huge gaps…and I don’t want to focus on the CROOKED-NESS!
My nerves were SHOT! I KNEW there was no way these were coming off easily…or fast…I was panicking…shaking…and panic-stricken! “I’m NOT paying for THIS!” I was screaming in my head as I took a closer look in the bathroom.
As I walked to the front desk “to pay” my “certified lash stylist” was already busy with another appointment so I asked to speak to the salon director who tried to excuse the shoddy job with “well the lashes take on the shape or direction of your natural lashes”. I exclaimed my natural lashes DO NOT look like the Mad Hatter and pulled out the “before” image below….
Do those lashes look like they have lashes running all sideways across my lash line? Huge GAPS between them? Ummmm..NO! She was very polite, even as I was still trying to just hold it together. She offered to have them removed right then (ANOTHER HOUR) by the same gal who’d just put them on, and assured me “She’ll do it with a smile, and without begrudging you!”
I declined, and asked for an appointment another day later in the week to come in and have them removed…they issued my refund, and I’ve never been back! I sent pictures to Angie and she called me later with advice on how to get them off since our schedules didn’t align for me to come see her and her remove them…I was STUCK looking like THIS for a WEEK! And all because I was impatient!
I did the best I could to make them look semi-“normal” that next week, but I wore A LOT of sunglasses…even at night…to hide my HORRIDEOUS mess that was supposed to resemble something like “eye-lashes”. Even following the advice I was given to remove them on my own FAILED 😦
Tuesday the 29th at 9:20a.m. I entered The Gallery to have my poor little lashes babied by THE BEST…and THE BEST resides in a tiny little town btw…not a big city!
She busted up the CLUMPS of glue that were holding those pieces of junk to my real lashes, and after all was said and done my little lashes were a lot worse for the wear. I now had BALD SPOTS where the previous “certified lash stylist” had glued 3 AND 4 of my lashes to ONE extension…but yet their website states “…single synthetic strands of eyelashes applied ONE by ONE directly to your individual eyelashes with a medical grade adhesive…”
This was the “After” when all the junk was removed….
Two Hours later (removing the trash and applying the new ones!) I was allowed to see something I’d wanted ALL.MY.LIFE…LASHES!!!! I squealed! I.HAD.LASHES!!!! ME!!! And they FINALLY looked NATURAL!!!!!!!!!!! (Sorry not sorry for all the !!!!! I was and still am sooooo ecstatic!!!!)
Top: What Angie was stuck removing…and then working with… Bottom: Lash Extension BRILLIANCE! *She’s even trained how to handle crooked natural lashes…or in my case…GAPS/BALD SPACES!*
So, to all my Brides-to Be, and any gal really, I want you to know not all Lash Extensions are created equally, and you DEFINITELY need to research and INSIST on seeing MULTIPLE before and afters the stylist has done! Angie has TONS she’s ready to show at the drop of a hat…the other salon’s website only have what look to be stock images…and only TWO total at that.
I should’ve known better! I tell potential clients, and Brides in general, to make sure they see samples of entire wedding portfolios (i.e. EVERY image they deliver to a wedding client) to make sure they have consistant quality, retouching, and edit style to ALL images delivered, so I should’ve forced that issue and demanded to see proof of this “certified” status. Instead I assumed just because the price was higher, in a place that does skin rejuvenation, botox, and more, and in a “big city” that these would be “awesome”…well they were awesome….awesomely HORRIBLE!
Xtreme Lashes are required to have true certification by completing classes, and this other salon was NOT a certified Xtreme Lash Salon (they did at least tell me they “don’t use Xtreme”, so that should’ve been a small warning!) Now I’m not saying Xtreme are the only way to go, but here in my experience so far their people are THE BEST! SO, do your research, demand to see samples they themselves have done, and look to smaller towns for top of the line, but less expensive, ROCK STARS like our own Lash Diva Angie Dixon.
Seriously I cannot say enough about this gal!!! She’s at the Gallery Salon on North Jackson Street, and if you tell her Braska sent you you’ll get a special New Client rate 😉 Seriously though IT’S FANTASTIC…and so will your lashes be!!!