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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 1, 2006

Flutter those lashes ... add more if required

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu client Lina Viengkhou has eyelash extensions applied. Each lash is individually attached in the 55-minute process.

JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Before you make an appointment to have eyelash extensions applied, ask the salon professional these questions:

  • How long have you been working with eyelash extensions?

  • What kind of glue do you use? (If it's not FDA-approved, beware.)

  • What do you charge for a full set, and for maintenance or fills?

  • How long does it take to complete a full set?

  • Do you charge for a return visit within a week or 10 days in case I make a boo-boo and accidentally pull some out?


    An eyelash extension comes with a "fill" restoring lashes that become dislodged or grow out. Among O'ahu's most prominent salons performing the service are:

  • Ampy's Day Spa, Ala Moana Center, 946-3838. Full set: $150, fill: $25-$50 depending on amount of work that needs to be done.

  • Bellagio Salon-Spa, Windward Mall, 234-0500. Full set: $120, fill: $20.

  • Etch, 1020 Ke'eaumoku St. at Young, 591-0101. Full set: $150, fill: $30.

  • Heaven on Earth, 1050 Alakea St., 599-5501. Full set: $150, fill: starting at $50.

  • Marsha Nadalin, Kahala Mall, 737-8505. Full set: $150, fill: $75.

  • Paul Brown, Ward Centre, 591-1881. Full set: $200, fill: $25.

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    Eyelashes before extensions have been added. Clients can choose among several lengths, applied with medical adhesive.

    JEFF WIDENER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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    Eyelashes after extensions have been added. Salons may offer a "fill" at extra cost to restore lashes dislodged or grown out.

    Courtesy of Etch

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    Ask a woman what makeup item would be her desert-island must-have, and there's a good chance she would say "mascara."

    Long, lush lashes are what we yearn for, and they are the height of luxury this summer as they take center stage on runways, in fashion magazines and around celebs' carefully made-up eyes.

    We're not talking about the latest curling-thickening-lengthening mascara. It's eyelash extensions that will help beach bunnies look their best, whether sunbathing or surfing, as schools empty out and the shore fills up with summer-ready bodies and faces.

    Eyelash extensions are individual lashes, made of human hair, silk or synthetic fibers, that are applied with medical-grade glue painstakingly, one at a time, to the lash line. They last anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on your lifestyle and how you treat them. Pulling, rubbing or yanking are no-nos with these delicate, oh so delicious long lashes.

    While eyelash extensions are still quite new to most salons in Hawai'i, Helen Lee, owner of Etch at Ke'eaumoku and Young streets, has been applying them for three years. The demand, she said, is rapidly increasing due to media exposure and word of mouth.

    Eyelash extensions are one of those subtle changes in appearance that cause friends and family to say, "Something looks different. Did you lose weight? Is that a new dress? Are you in love?"

    Advertiser Fashion Forum member Audrey Hoo of Kahala swears by her lash extensions she loves how they open up her eyes and require no effort or upkeep and reports that she'll continue having them applied. Water is not a problem, she said; human error (pulling or tugging) can be.

    Edy Gawiran of Mililani has had eyelash extensions for three months and plans to continue. "They last four weeks, and I don't have to wear mascara. The only thing I have to be careful of is to pat them dry when toweling off rather than rubbing them. Even when my 17-month-old son, Parker, jumps up on me and pulls at them, they have survived."

    Lee believes that eyelash extensions originated in South Korea. After learning how to apply the lashes here, she undertook nine months of further study in Seoul.

    We recently watched as Lee applied eyelash extensions on client Lina Viengkhou of Punchbowl for the first time.

    It's a four-step process:

  • Ointment is applied around the upper lashes to protect the delicate skin.

  • Tape is used to cover the bottom lashes so they don't get in the way while Lee applies the top lashes.

  • Lashes are applied, one at a time, with FDA-approved Novalash glue. The glue dries quickly, so experience and precision are important.

  • The lashes are blown dry for a minute or two.

    The entire process took 55 minutes.

    Viengkhou's reaction? "Wow! What a difference!" They look natural but super long.

    Lee prefers the synthetic lashes because "they are stronger, more realistic looking and when you have them, you don't need mascara or an eyelash curler." Silk and human hair, which she also has used, she explained, are thinner, more delicate and cannot hold a curl.

    The extensions range in length from a quarter-inch to two-thirds of an inch. Women opt for something in the middle while men (yes, men get lash extensions, too) usually choose the shorter length and go for volume. The longest are a bit va-va-voom for everyday looks.

    There also is a color choice, from conservative brown or black to reds, blues and greens.

    Not ready for lash extensions? There also are a host of false eyelashes on the market now. Neiman Marcus recently introduced Shu Uemura's Lash Bar, complete with dozens of lash lengths and styles, from conservative to Madonna-esque glam with rhinestones ($12 to $25).

    At Sephora, Makeup Forever offers over-the-top diva lashes of cobalt-blue feathers, hot-pink dyed synthetics and glitter galore ($14). Still need help? Sephora has an applicator kit to help those who are false-eyelash-challenged ($12).

    If even these are beyond you, at least double up on that mascara, OK? This is, after all, the season of lush lashes.

    Reach Paula Rath at prath@honoluluadvertiser.com.