August 29 2014

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Eyelash Extensions: The Makeup-Free Answer To An East Coast Heat Wave


In case you’ve been cooped up in an overly air-conditioned New York office all day, let us loop you in on what’s going on outside: It’s hot—like, really, really hot. It’s days like today (97 degrees with 40 percent humidity) that the idea of applying makeup, mascara specifically, is simply confounding—which is presumably why eyelash extension appointments are booking up like mad right about now. “People want to do less—and this is so easy; you get up and you look great,” surmises Soul Lee, the recently named grooming specialist at Kiehl’s and one of the city’s first legit lash pros (Soul gave us our first eyelash extensions in the summer of ’08 and we’ve never looked back). Explaining that an influx of summer weddings is also contributing to the mad dash for lashes, Lee is quick to point out that there is a right and wrong way to add depth, density, and darkness to your lash line. Here, she breaks down the do’s and don’ts so you can get the best, most natural-looking flutter—and kiss your mascara tube goodbye until the summer swelter comes to end.

Don’t…Fear Synthetic Hairs
“A lot of places use mink lashes now, which look much thinner than the [silk and synthetic] ones I use so you don’t really get the volume that you want. If you have lashes that are really thin, the mink lashes stay on better. But glue has gotten better, it dries faster, and stays on longer, and silk and synthetic lashes hold a curl better.”

Do…Vary the Length of Your Lashes
“I used to see crazy extensions, but lashes from the other places are getting better. You need to make sure [your aesthetician] has an eye for beauty, though; if you don’t have that eye and you put the same length all the way around, it looks fake. It has to look like your natural lashes but better. I usually mix about 3-4 lash lengths depending on the size of your lashes. I usually try to make the outer corners stand out for a winged look. But if you have smaller eyes, ask for longer ones in the middle.”

Do…Make Regular Maintenance Appointments
“Extensions stay on between 2-4 weeks. By the fourth week they look sparse. You should come in every 2-3 weeks for touch-ups. Sometimes people come in earlier to do a touch-up so they don’t have to sit as long for a full set.”

Don’t…Rub Your Eyes
“The glue is waterproof so you can wet your extensions [after 24 hours], but you don’t want to rub them, because they are synthetic and they could get tangled. If you use eyeliner or eye shadow, just soak a Q-tip in an oil-free makeup remover and dab around them.”

Don’t…Peel Off Your Extensions
“Your lashes go through 90-day growth cycles. Extensions won’t break your lashes, but if you catch the cycle when new lashes begin to grow in, your lashes will be shorter when the extensions come out. Lashes ultimately come off with face washes, from the natural oil on your lids, and some of them will just fall out. The ones that stay on, though, I really try to have my clients come in and have me remove them with a lash removal solution. It’s safer than peeling them off yourself, which is like peeling split ends in your hair; if you try to peel them off when they’re not ready to come off, you might break the natural lashes.”

Do…Consider Tinting (If You’re Blond)
“With really blond lashes, extensions might not be the best idea because the contrast is too big. I have a client who’s getting married and her lashes are really blond. She has her lashes tinted and extended and the two processes work well. The dye they use in the city is a vegetable dye so it won’t damage your lashes.”

Soul Lee at Kiehl’s Spa 1851, 157 East 64th St., NYC; for more information or to make an appointment, call 888-SPA-1851 or visit

Photo: Eric Maillet for Vogue China, February 2010



  1. Citygirlinred says:

    I wish I could wear them, I have a hard time because I really like wetting my skin during my nightly cleanse, and we are not supposed to get them wet. But you do wake-up looking gorgeous first thing in the morning, in reality all we need is healthy skin and long lashes!

  2. Chershot says:

    These are so cool! I love the way they look. If you live in Omaha, check this out

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