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Great Lengths

How to give your eyelashes a boost with extensions

Amped-up eyelashes have become de rigueur on the party circuit, but they’re also a time-saving, humidity-proof solution that can take the place of makeup during those steamy summer months when you’d rather not wear anything more than you have to. A full set of eyelash extensions from a reputable salon will run you from $150 to upward of $300. But before you invest in a new set of fringe, here’s what you need to know:

Do your homework. Choose a salon that uses adhesive without formaldehyde, which can cause inflammation. If you’re allergic to latex, make sure it’s free of that, too. Inquire about the type of lashes you’ll be getting: synthetic is standard; silk and mink offer a more realistic look but are much pricier—and may not be worth the expense.

Expect your initial appointment to be about two hours. That time includes a consultation in which the artist takes into account your lifestyle, the shape of your eyes and the look you’re going for. Application is painless and relaxing—bring earbuds so you can listen to music or podcasts.

Learn the lingo. Lash artists talk in terms of length, curl and volume, so ask your aesthetician to show you options. “Classic lash extensions are one extension per natural lash, but there are also volume lashes—which are finer but include multiple extensions on each lash—that offer more dramatic results, similar to a traditional strip lash,” says Crystal Cabrera of Bliss Beauty & Spa in Rockville.

Isolation is key. According to Peta-Gay Llewellyn, owner of Bosch Beauty Bar in Bethesda, it’s essential to find someone who can meticulously attach one lash at a time, ensuring that “you don’t lose your next-door lash, too” when shedding a natural lash and the extension that is glued to it.

Plan to have refills. To maintain the look, expect to get refills (which cost about one-third to half the price of your initial application) every few weeks as you lose lashes as part of your normal growth cycle. The better you care for them, however, the longer they’ll stick around. Keep your lashes dry for at least the first 24 hours while the glue sets, and avoid rubbing them or washing with oil-based cleansers.


Where to Go

Here are some local options for eyelash extensions (prices are for a full set of lashes):

Crystal Cabrera at Bliss Beauty & Spa, Rockville, $200 and up.

Blu Water Day Spa, Kensington, $175 and up.


Peta-Gay Llewellyn at Bosch Beauty Bar, Bethesda, $275 and up.

BW Lash Studio, Bethesda, $190 and up.

The Red Door, Chevy Chase, D.C., $260. Call 202-362-9890 for an appointment.