For those of us who aren’t rushing out to get eyelash extensions in Phase 2 of circuit breaker exit, or can’t get an appointment at our favourite salons, we may be a little worried that our peepers have started to look a little worse for wear. Granted, no one is going to clock us for our unsightly lashes, but feeling good about ourselves can do wonders for our sanity in these trying times.
While lash serums can certainly help to strengthen and lengthen our eyelashes, waiting to see visible results can feel like you’re watching paint dry. So when a friend of ours, Joie Goh (@beautyatthebarre_), posted about her experience with DIY eyelash extensions, it piqued our interest.
We asked Joie to give us the lowdown on DIY lash extensions as she takes us through the whole process. Keep reading to see how it went and stay tuned for a few useful tips if you’d like to try it yourself.
Why she wanted to try DIY eyelash extensions
“Since early 2018, I’ve had eyelash extensions done consecutively each month. I wanted to try DIY eyelash extensions during the circuit breaker because my personal aesthetic is no makeup, BIG LASHES.
Being a fitness instructor, I also sweat a lot, so extensions are the only beauty enhancement that won’t run or smear. Since I’m still teaching my barre classes virtually and I want to look good (if not better) on camera, there’s no way I would get through CB without my extensions.
I googled ‘best DIY eyelash extensions kit’ and found Lash Collection Japan, which has a fairly simple and comprehensive beginner kit. The brand ships internationally too. I trust Japanese brands and I did my extensions at a Japanese salon for a long time, so I decided to give it a go.”
First impressions of the kit
“It was advertised as a 5-in-1 kit, but there were only four items in the packet. I definitely felt a bit cheated. The so-called fifth item was the instruction sheet. However, everything looked high quality and well-made – nothing sketchy or flimsy about it!
The steel tweezers had a good weight to it while the glue was sealed in a separate pouch. The lashes were in a nice case as well – not housed in cardboard boxes where you get cheap lashes in bulk.
Their instructions were easy to follow, for sure. I just had to dip the roots of each cluster lash in a dab of glue and place it on my natural lashes. Whether I had the motor skills to carry that out is another question!”
Before placing on the eyelash extensions
“Other than the packaged items – lashes, glue, tweezers, glue remover – I had gathered a few of my own materials. That included a lighted mirror, hypoallergenic eye wipes, surgical tape, and lots of cotton buds.”
“I started by removing the remnants of my professionally-applied extensions by using the provided glue remover. I had an inkling that it wouldn’t take “one to two minutes” as described on the packet, since professional glue is a lot stronger than at-home glue. The main reason why I patronise my current lash extensionist is because of the strong glue that has lasted me up to two months.
The whole process of removing 10 to 15 lash extensions took me about 30 minutes. There was plenty of lash glue remover, lots of stinging and burning in my eyes, and copious amounts of cursing.”
Trying on DIY eyelash extensions
“After the removal process, I wiped my eyes clean and used surgical tape to hold my bottom lashes down so they don’t get in the way. There weren’t proper instructions on how to tape them, so I attempted to mimic what my extensionist used to do. I also tried to tape my upper eyelid up, but I couldn’t figure out how to do that without exposing my eyeballs and making me tear up. So, I gave up on that endeavour.
Then came the glue. On paper, it seemed easy and all the YouTube tutorials I’ve seen made it look effortless. Just pick up a little cluster and dip the root part lightly into a drop of glue. Then, place it on the outer corners of your lashes and on top of the lashes itself.
In real life, the little clusters of lashes are more interested in staying on the tweezer than on your lashes. The glue will get everywhere, especially on the tweezers, no matter how carefully you hold the cluster. Just when you think you got the placement right, you pull your tweezers away and the lash cluster goes along with it.
When it finally does stick onto the lashes, even the simple act of just blinking will cause it to fall right off before the glue is set. Eventually though, once the first two or three clusters are finally set, adding on more clusters becomes easier. It’s much more manageable to glue and layer the clusters onto each other than onto your own eyelashes.
The whole project took three hours to complete.”
What she learnt from her experience
“Things went south as soon I tried to apply the very first cluster! It wouldn’t stick on, I kept dropping it, and the long tweezers were very hard to manoeuvre. In hindsight, I should’ve just used my regular tweezers since I’m more familiar with using it.
Despite being a glue that’s suitable for sensitive eyes, it still stung my eyes, so I was constantly tearing up. I used about half a tissue box just to blow my nose and wipe away my tears. Spots of glue got on my kitchen counter, where I was doing the experiment, and they are still there. I can’t remove them!
Honestly, if not for the fact that I documented it on social media and Instagram stories, I would’ve given up. But I had a lot of messages from my friends asking for updates and egging me on, so I forced myself to go through with the whole thing. It was quite fun in that sense, knowing that I had people invested in my misadventure.
However, the experience was very illuminating and I’m starting to plan my next DIY extension project when my natural lashes have regrown a bit more. I’ll research and order the proper materials based on what went wrong this first time.
For example, getting lashes that fan out from a single root instead of a flat cluster. I’ll be using my own tweezers next time too. I still have most of the glue left, and I’m a sucker for beauty challenges. Since it doesn’t seem like personalised beauty services are going to be reopened anytime soon, why not?” (Editor’s note: Joie shared her experience with us during Phase 1 post-circuit breaker. At the time of publication, we would have entered Phase 2 and beauty services will be available again!)
Tips and precautions before you attempt DIY eyelash extensions
“Cover your surface, have a small handheld fan ready to blow away the glue fumes, and maybe meditate beforehand to increase your patience.
Use the tools you’re most comfortable with, even if they aren’t standard. Most instructions recommend those long and sharp tweezers because they’re apparently more precise, but that’s only if you know how to use them. If regular, slant-tipped tweezers are what you usually use, then go ahead and use that. Prepare lots of tissues for blowing your nose and wiping your tears.”