Beauty is pain: A new lash practice takes this literally

Amari Martinez (left and center) reclines for a hybrid lash extension application process. Ayannah Martinez (right) has a hybrid lash set on her left eye; her right eye is unlashed. (Photo courtesy of Ayannah Martinez and Gabriela Salinas / Caplin News)

The beauty industry is taking lashing to a new extreme. Now, it entails women laying down with their eyes taped closed for two hours or more getting extensions glued to each of their individual lash hairs. 

Over the years, the beauty industry has introduced trends such as lip filler, fox eye procedures, or the latest one, eyelash extensions. Through word of mouth, social media posts, and celebrities, these trends become overnight sensations and give trends the boost they need to become the next big thing. However, while everyone is raving over lash extensions and craving the end results, regular maintenance of this invasive enhancement is often neglected until something goes wrong. A deeper dive into the lash extensions sheds light on the costs, styles, and allergic reactions associated with it.

Aesthetic enhancements to the eyelashes are not new, but the popular desire to have longer, fuller, and even colorful lashes on your eyes for weeks at a time created a new niche for them. Unlike adhesive strip lashes, lash extensions are individual hairs that are glued to a tip, creating a fan-like shape. These hairs, depending on the client’s desired density, are carefully placed and glued onto each individual lash of the client. This creates a look that is tailored to one’s eye shape, lash length, lash density, and even lash hair color. 

Tweezers and lash trays are tools used in a lash enhancing service by Tru Beauty Bar. (Photo courtesy of Tru Beauty Bar)

“I found my passion for lashing through being the client,” says the CEO of Tru Beauty Bar, Aidamary Pulido. “I fell in love with the many style possibilities, from length to density to the desired shape of my eye; I wanted to be the creator, which also gave me my entrepreneurial freedom.”

Tru Beauty Bar was established in August 2022 after much trial and error. Pulido chose an unconventional route, according to her. Her journey began during the COVID-19 pandemic, a critical obstacle that unknowingly shaped the path she would build for herself. Doing high school virtually gave her the ability to work more, sparking a thirst for career success. At 16 years old, she worked a variety of jobs, from a customer service associate who sold airplane engines to an accounting assistant for a medical office. None of these showed any promise of growth in the field she was passionate about. 

She worked and studied tirelessly, often earning only $10 an hour. “I felt like I was going nowhere and needed a way out,” said Pulido. 

From one day to another, Pulido took a two-day, $600 lashing course and never looked back. “I must admit, I barely learned what I know now from the course; it was a matter of if I wanted to learn and be my best. I had to practice, practice, practice,” she said.

From mannequin heads to friends and family, Pulido worked hard to perfect her craft. Learning every aspect of lashing, from the application itself, to learning her clients and working around each person’s necessities. Lashing can be a two hour process or longer, so Pulido makes sure she can work around needed bathroom breaks, clients snoring, twitching, and more. Her goal was not just to have returning clients but to have her lash work last on her clients for more than a week while also maintaining their lash growth. 

Now, lash courses and certifications can reach the $2,000 price range. Because social media saw the fast money and beauty in lashing both as a client and service provider, the niche industry grew oversaturated. This means that uncertified service or, in some cases, irresponsible service providers slip through regulations and provide lash enhancements that damage their client’s eyes and their idea of the service itself. 

“Without the right practice, training, or knowledge of what you are doing, it is very, very easy to hurt the client,” says Pulido. There are many steps lash technicians take to safeguard your eye and the products used on it. Besides actually applying each individual lash to the client, there are many moving parts to this service. 

Lash technicians use eye patches to comfort your eye when taped shut. Why does your eye have to be taped shut? Well, this prevents any lash that won’t be worked on and keeps it away from the glue. This also allows your eye to be protected from the fumes given off by the glue. “As lash techs, it’s not just lashing we worry about; it is the temperature of the lashing room, so our glue can be preserved correctly, its the aftercare of the service, and so much more,” says Pulido.

Lashing was the exit for both the technician and the client. 

“I have been getting lash extensions for two years, and once you start, it’s very difficult to stop because they are so convenient,” said Gisselle Dieguez, a long-time user of lash extensions. For the client, this offers an extra touch to their everyday look but also saves them time in extra beauty upgrades like daily makeup routines. “The only con to lash extensions for me is having to lie down with my eyes closed for two hours, which could get a little uncomfortable, but having a great lash tech helps,” said Dieguez. 

Why two hours, some may ask?

When booking one’s lash extension service, the density selected pre-determines the estimated duration of the service. Between the classic, hybrid, and volume densities, the client who wishes to have a more natural look may choose classic for a lighter density, which means a shorter duration. 

“How long a client must sit through their service is also dependent on other things like the lash technician herself, or if the client comes in with makeup on or dirty lashes, which adds an additional lash bath step to your service,” said Pulido. The lash technician providing the service plays a significant part in the outcome and health of one’s lashes. Yet, even then, the client is just as responsible.

The client must be extra careful to ensure a lash enhancement service does not lead to the next viral social media video of lash dandruff or lash mites. So, yes, lash extensions give you the freedom of waking up with no makeup on and being ready for the day, but there’s a catch. Washing one’s lashes must be done with a non-oil cleanser, brushing through the lashes must be done consistently throughout the day, sleeping face-down should be avoided, and, of course, plenty of research should go into selecting which lash technician will provide the service.

So, the question remains: beautiful or botched? Well, the beauty of it is up to the users to decide.

Gabriela Salinas is a bilingual student journalist at Florida International University pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Digital Journalism on a pre-law track. She has gained experience in the legal and communications field through internships at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.