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EYELASH EXTENSIONS / Lash Lift & Tint / Exmouth , Exeter , Devon

Everything You Need to Know About Lash Lifts (and Why They're Better Than Lash Extensions)

My lashes are stubborn. They're short, straight, and fall downward over my eyes. I've tried all the top-rated curlers on the market, yet no matter how much I train them to stay up, the lashes inevitably drop after a single coat of mascara.

I've tested lots of different solutions.

Sometimes I opt for a strip of falsies. And before I go on a long vacation, I get lash extensions.

Extensions are especially addicting—they add volume, curl, and length without the fuss of glue and self application. Plus, no one can even tell you have them on since silk or mink individual lashes are bonded at the root of your natural ones. Makeup takes only a couple of minutes because your face already looks done-up upon waking. But, in my personal experience, they can come at a price. Not only can they cost upwards of $200 on a set, but I've found my natural lashes suffer. When I've tried extensions, my lashes were left thin, brittle, and even shorter than before. On top of that, it's tiring to have to be extra conscious not to rub my eyes, sleep on my side, use a sleeping mask, use mascara, or a number of other no-nos.

Just as I was about to accept defeat and a lifetime of sad lashes, I got introduced to lash lifts. They give you the best of both worlds: You get the semi-permanent lift and curl of extensions while keeping your natural lashes damage-free. Three weeks in, I'm so floored by the results I may never go back to getting extensions—or even using a lash curler—ever again.

Ahead, Courtney Buhler, founder of Sugarlash PRO, breaks down everything you need to know about getting lash lifts.

A lash lift is like a perm for your lashes.

Like old-school perms from the '80s, lash lifts set the shape of your natural lashes using a chemical solution. "A lift is essentially what your lash would be doing with a really good mechanical curler, so [giving] a nice shape upward and a realistic curl," Buhler said.

There is no preparation necessary.

"The only thing that we recommend is if you want a more dramatic result, then going on something like a lash serum to grow your lashes as long as possible is a great option," Buhler suggewsted,"But we can work with any lash type."

You can customize your results.

The first step during a session is to consult with your lash artist, who will ask you questions about your goals and style (for example, whether or not you wear mascara everyday, like lashes high upwards to your eyebrows or more fanned out, etc.) Based on your answers, your technician will pick a curl size for your eye shape.

Your lashes are glued down to a silicone shield.

After cleansing the lashes and separating your bottom lashes from your top, a silicone shield gets stuck on the skin using a gentle adhesive (similar to the glue used to apply false lashes). Adhesive is applied on top of the shield as well, then lashes are combed up to take their shape. Here is where eye-safe perming solution is applied.

"The perm solution acts as a softener so that's going in and softening the bond of your hair so that it's moldable," Courtney explained. Sugarlash PRO uses CurlPerfect™ Perm Lotion, which is made up of organic compounds thioglycolic acid and emacol for breaking down and softening the lash to adapt its shape.

The perming lotion is left on for six to 12 minutes.

It depends on your hair type. "If you have a hard time curling the hair on your head, let technicians know that when doing lash lifting," Buhler said. It makes sense—the hair on my head is naturally straight, thick, and has a hard time holding a curl without a ton of product so my lashes act the same. It took two rounds of 12 minutes for me ("that's probably the longest in history," Buhler commented). Then, a setting solution and oil are applied.

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