Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ABC News: Extreme Eyelashes: Are Eyelash Extensions the Answer?

Xtreme Lashes

ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga and Tracey Marx report:

Long, luscious lashes are everywhere you look these days, from the pages of glossy fashion magazines to the red carpet to reality TV.

For generations, “it” girls like the supermodel Twiggy and the reality TV star Kim Kardashian have gone to extreme lengths to enhance their eyelashes.

Those “it” stars have inspired millions of other women to do the same.

“Eyelashes are like a universal sign of beauty,” Dr. Eric Schweiger, a New York City dermatologist, told “ Good Morning America.”

If Mother Nature did not bless with you with naturally long lashes, you can now get help.

“More and more people are trying to seek out ways to enhance their eyelashes,” Schweiger said.

Today, there are over-the-counter products to condition and strengthen lashes, mascaras that promise to volumize and thicken lashes, and disposable lashes that can be glued on for a bolder look. There’s even a medication.

“Latisse is a medicine you apply to the eyelash skin, and it actually increases the growth phase of the eyelashes,” Schweiger said, referring to the prescription treatment that is the first and only FDA-approved eyelash growth product. “You get longer, fuller eyelashes.”

But for women who want long-term lashes without the pain of daily care, there’s a new alternative: eyelash extensions.

They’re the latest trend to hit Hollywood and day spas alike.

“This is one of the most addicting services a woman can do,” Laura Reina, a lash-extension specialist at the Avanti Day Resort in Manalapan, N.J., told “GMA.”

“The one thing that is great about these is that you can shower, swim, sauna, you can do anything with these lashes and look like you are fully made up,” she said.

Audra Whisten, 36, is a full-time sales consultant and mother of three from Freehold, N.J., who used to spend half an hour applying her mascara before she began to use eyelash extensions.

“When you get up in the morning, they’re there,” she said. “You look like you have mascara on. “ Now, she said, her mornings are simpler.

“I put blush on, I put lip gloss on and I’m done,” she said.

Terri Balsamo is another working mom who can’t imagine life without eyelash extensions.

“It’s easy in the morning,” the 45-year-old from Holmdel, N.J., told “GMA.” “I’m busy with my kids and my business, and I always look good. I deal with people every day, so I feel confident about myself.”

The eyelash extensions are applied individually to each eyelash in an initial application, and need to be refreshed every two to three weeks for maintenance. An eyelash extension stylist helps guide wearers to select the right look, length and thickness for their individual face.

The initial price for a full set of extensions is around $200. Maintenance appointments cost around $75 each. That makes the total cost for devoted eyelash extension wearers like Whisten and Balsamo around $1,500 per year.

“It makes you feel like you don’t have to wear eyeliner anymore because of the thickness and the darkness,” said Christine Delello, an Xtreme Lashes Stylist at Jeunesse Medical Spa in Holmdel, N.J.

“No more mascara with these,” she said. You don’t have to curl them. You really just feel like you need some lip gloss and that’s it.”