Some people invest in fur coats, fur couch throws, or fur boots. But my most extravagant fur splurge came from a trip to the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City, when I got my very own set of mink eyelash extensions. And yes, when I say mink, I am talking about eyelashes made of real fur. And yes, it completely changed my life—or, at least, my eyes.
My eyelashes are relatively dark and lengthy to begin with, so I wondered if the falsies would make a noticeable difference, but I still wanted to get in on the mink obsession. Not going to lie though—I was a little freaked out to think that I’d have some poor animal’s hair superglued to my eyelashes, but the promise of having longer, thicker lashes for up to three months pretty quickly wiped away any of my initial weird feelings. That, and the warmth of Monika Crouch, the salon’s resident eyelash expert, who instantly assuaged any of my doubts as she led me to a cozy alcove in the salon.
After removing all of my eye makeup, Crouch adhered pads to my lower lashes to keep them from getting stuck while she glued on the top lashes, explaining that the reason mink lashes are currently getting so much buzz is because they actually look like real lashes, but infinitely better. Unlike their shiny, polyester counterparts, mink lashes are insanely soft, curly, and lightweight, meaning you can layer them up to get maximum volume and still walk away with a highly natural look. All of which sounded exactly perfect to me.
But, of course, excellent results require tedious precision, leading to a 90-minute process that involved me lying down with my eyes closed while Crouch dipped each individual mink lash (which she initially chose based on the thickness and length of my own lashes, along with my personal preference in the final look) in glue before attaching it to my lash line. I allowed myself to doze off—it really is that painless—and only once or twice during the process was my delightful nap disturbed by the fumes from the glue, which, I’ll be honest, kind of irritated my eyes and smelled like burning death.
But it was definitely a small price to pay, since as soon as Crouch was finished, I was shocked. I looked glamorous in a subtle, old-Hollywood way, and you couldn’t even tell that I had extensions on. Not only did strangers compliment me on my eyes, my already-complimentary boyfriend could not stop gushing about them, filling our time together with random outbursts of, “your eyes look insanely sexy,” and “those lashes are so damn pretty!” I was hooked.
The only downside to extensions is that don’t last forever and ever. At best, they’ll fall off with your natural lashes (which go through three-month shedding cycles), though most tend to fall off between two-to-three months, or even faster, if you don’t treat them delicately. And here’s where the not-so-fun facts come in: Eyelash extensions are high-maintenance. You can’t rub your eyes with cotton swabs (bye, makeup remover), you have to comb them daily with a spoolie, and, according to crouch, you need to avoid glycol, an ingredient used at salons to remove extensions, like the plague. Unfortunately, glycol is found in a ton of makeup removers, soaps, and face washes, so check your labels carefully before slathering anything on your face.
If all of that sounds like an expensive-as-hell headache (they set me back about $500—did I forget to mention that?), then never fear: You can still get the look at home with faux mink lashes, like the Sephora Collection Mink False Eye Lashes, or the KISS Lash Couture Faux Mink Collection, which apply with normal lash glue, and cost a whopping $9 and $6, respectively. No, you won’t get the exact same natural-looking finish as you would with real mink extensions, but for a glamorous night out, or, you know, just for the hell of it, temporary faux mink lashes are the way to go. At least your wallet will thank you.