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Waking Up Like This: My Eyelash Extension Adventure

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For someone who spends a good portion of every day researching and reporting on all things fashion and beauty, my own personal routine is admittedly low-maintenance. This is a fact I'm made painfully aware of as I'm frequently invited to events where twentysomething stylists and fashion bloggers in body-con dresses and expertly blown-out locks tend to be in the majority.

That said, I'm not ashamed of my barely brushed waves and five-minute-face (a little CC cream, concealer, and gel blush and I'm basically ready to roll), which is why when I was first approached with the offer to try out a set of lash extensions I was all, "Thanks but no thanks!" But after sitting with the idea for a bit, it actually made sense for someone like myself to indulge in such a glam beauty treatment—one I imagine gals on Bravo reality shows often get on the reg—purely for the juxtaposition and to let ladies like myself know what taking them for a spin is truly like.

lash-extensions-before

My set came courtesy of makeup artist and lash guru Arianna Montazem, who asked me what my desired result was ("very natural," I replied) and spent about an hour's time (which I'm told is pretty quick work) applying individual NovaLash extensions to each of my own lashes with a water and oil-resilient adhesive. My sensitive eyes were ready to be done with the necessary poking and prodding and when it was all said and done, Arianna handed me a mirror that surely once belonged to Belle from Beauty and the Beast and let me check out her handiwork.

;ash-extensions-during

When I saw my reflection I involuntarily squealed, "I look like a princess," still unsure of whether this was a good or bad thing. I felt immediately that I could hang with the Kardashian Klan—or at the very least, the Dash Dolls—positive that my newly lengthened lashes looked totally out of proportion to my otherwise minimally made-up face. Arianna sent me home with instructions on how to care for them (keep 'em clean and moisturized and brush regularly) and a disposable brush, and off I went into the world.

lash-extension-after

Despite my mixed emotions on my newly upgraded look ("Do I need to start wearing lipstick? Am I superficial? Who am I?!") one thing was certain: daaaaaaaaammmmnnnn they looked great in a photo, a fact I realized after taking incessant selfies. Practically no one was able to detect my little secret, either; mostly I received questions about whether or not I had changed my hair and several other folks simply reported that I looked "really pretty." Even my fellow low-maintenance friends—with whom I disclosed what I had done—admitted slight envy at the mascara-less result. I just batted my lush new lashes.

The real beauty of this treatment came first thing in the morning; lash extensions must have been on Beyonce's mind when she penned the lyrics "I woke up like this." In fact, despite my initial hesitation about whether or not they were "me," I continued on with my minimal routine. I didn't need to catch the rest of my face up with my lashes. Rather, I just enjoyed the little boost.

lash-extensions-week-4

In regards to the lifespan of the lashes, Arianna suggests going back for "fills" during the few weeks they last—which I opted out of for the sole purpose of seeing their natural progression. The lashes fall out with normal wear and tear, though the less you mess with 'em the longer they'll stay put. A few times I woke up with some wonky ones post-nap and accidentally plucked out a bald spot (note: they're attached to your REAL lashes!), so I would advise avoiding the urge to prune them yourself and opt to gently brush them back into submission. And personally, I loved their more natural look as a few started to say goodbye.

Presently, I'm about 4 weeks in and still have a good amount of lash left. But my bald spot (currently disguised with a snippet of falsies) forced me to face the inevitable truth: one day I'd be back to my old self. And that begged the question: is this the new me? I think an old friend said it best when I unexpectedly ran into her at my highest point of luxe lashness. After I immediately launched into an explanation that I was "researching for an article" and that they were "totally not me," she retorted with a smile, "Actually, darling, I think they are. I think they most definitely are."

Learn more about Arianna's lash services and more or book an appointment via her website here. A classic full set (like I got here) is $200, but for presently you can take advantage of her discounted holiday special, $75 off for new clients.