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By Michelle Woo
Since the days of Cleopatra, eyelashes have been a woman's secret weapon in glamour, youthfulness and seduction.
7331 W. Garden Grove Blvd., Ste. A
Garden Grove, CA 92841
Region: Garden Grove
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Which sucks because mine are pretty much nonexistent.
Like many Asians, I've been cursed with lashes that are fine and stick-straight. I've tried giving them a boost with mascaras that have names such as Colossal Volume, Lash Injection, Illegal Length and L'Extrême, though the results are hardly Kardashian quality. False eyelashes are the bolder alternative—they're cheap and work well for special occasions, but I'm always a little paranoid that a big sneeze or gust of wind will somehow dislodge them, making it appear as though I have centipedes hanging from my eyelids.
A friend recommended I try eyelash extensions. She'd been getting them regularly and loved how natural they looked. I have to admit, she did have a certain radiance these days, even when coming straight from the gym.
So I took my sad eyes to the well-reviewed Beyond Beauty Lashes, a tiny, one-chair salon inside a Garden Grove warehouse filled with poker supplies. Jenny Tran greeted me and explained the different extension options: Lengths range from natural to tarantula-leg dramatic, and you can choose either a synthetic material or mink, which feels more like human hair. (The mink is harvested by gently brushing live animals.) I opted for the mink in a cat-eye shape—longer along the outer edges.
With slow jams playing in the background, I lay with my eyes shut under a light as Tran carefully glued tiny hairs, one by one, to each of my lashes—about 80 to 120 per eye. I didn't feel much of anything for the most part, but I did smell the adhesive fumes. The entire process took about an hour.
When she was all done, Tran removed the protective tape from underneath my eyes and showed me a mirror. Whoa. I had eyelashes! My eyes instantly looked brighter, more defined, sexier. I batted them in amazement.
The extensions can last four to eight weeks before they'll slowly fall out on their own. There's not a whole lot of upkeep—you're given a little brush to nudge any strays back into place, but they'll mostly stay nice and curled. I only notice that there's something foreign on my face when I'm about to go to sleep and when I first wake up, as they're a bit stiff.
Over the past week, I've gotten a couple of "You look pretty today" compliments, though no one has pointed out the lashes specifically. They're subtle, which I appreciate. A secret weapon, indeed.
Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.
This column appeared in print as "Secret Eyelashes."
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