TWO thousand years ago, Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher, author and naturalist, claimed that frequent sexual activity caused women's eyelashes to fall out and become shorter. Ever since, women have been obsessed with keeping their lashes long and lush not only for optics, but to prove they were not promiscuous.
In the centuries that followed women found creative, often ridiculous and risky ways of making their lashes appear longer than they were. Over the last century, with the invention of the television and the showbiz industry that it brought with it, lashes became almost a necessity for actresses. Not only did they create the sultry effect that movie directors wanted when the leading ladies batted their lashes, but they were believed to protect the woman's eyes from the glare of the electric lights.
Today, false lashes are popular not only among actresses and TV personalities, but just about any woman walking on the street. And with the advancements made in the products and application procedures over the years, they are sometimes so discreet that you won't even notice.
Odessia Benjamin is a trained aesthetician who installs lashes on a number of her clients at her Hollywood Glow Beauty Studios at 8 Hillview Avenue. She believes that while there are still some risks associated with applying falsies, when done correctly these are minimal and the results are worth it.
“Lash extensions are designed to thicken and lengthen your lashes, giving a totally natural feel and look. You can't feel them,” she told All Woman.
“Extensions can be individually attached to your natural eyelashes using a medical-grade glue specially made for this purpose. Once used correctly, it will not irritate or damage the natural eyelashes. These lashes can last up to six weeks,” she said.
She pointed out that there are various styles that can be achieved when applying eyelash extensions.
“During the consultation the client is given a choice of looks whilst considering which style best complements their eye shape,” she said.
She explained the most common styles of lash extensions:
The cat eye — which has a sweep of longer lashes at the outer canthus of the eyes, giving the look of having an exotically shaped eye.
The doll eye — which focuses on interchanging between longer and shorter lashes. The mixing is done using graduated spikes of lashes.
The open eye — as the name suggests, this style is wonderful for opening your eyes to make them appear larger. It is achieved by placing longer lashes in the middle of the eye.
The natural eye — this look is achieved by following the natural lash line, and is great for every eye shape.
Benjamin said that while lashes are growing in popularity and application usually has no adverse side effects, there are some not-so-glamorous risks associated with having them done.
“Fake lashes and the glues used to attach them can cause the eyes to become irritated or red, and cause inflammation or swelling,” she cautioned. “A few persons may also experience an allergic reaction and some may experience loss of eyelashes from constantly pulling or picking their eyelashes when they install extensions.”
She said that too much tension on the hair shaft from using extensions that are too heavy can also cause loss of natural lashes.
“In order to minimise the risk that comes with getting eyelash extensions, one must ensure that the technician carrying out the procedure is properly trained and certified,” she warned. “It is also vital that a patch test is carried out before the procedure to prevent possible allergic reaction. And ensure your aesthetician practises good hygiene — from proper handwashing to sterilisation of equipment.”