Last Friday after work I got a real treat: A trip to the Pierre Michel Salon on the Upper East Side for quite possibly the most extravagant beauty treatment I will ever receive – mink eyelash extensions. Yes, when I say mink lashes, I am talking about real fur.
To be completely frank, I was a little freaked out to hear that I’d have some poor animal’s coat super-glued to my eyelashes, but the promise of longer, fuller lashes for two to three full months was worth the initial weirdness.
Monika Crouch, the salon’s resident eyelash expert, greeted me upon my arrival, and showed me to the cozy alcove where I would get to relax for the next 90 minutes. After removing all of my eye makeup and applying pads to my lower lashes so they wouldn’t get stuck, she got right to gluing. Monika explained that the mink lashes are by far the softest, curliest and most build-able out of all the different varieties of extensions, which allows her to achieve maximum volume and a highly natural look.
The process is a bit tedious (for the stylist, that is – you just have to lie there with your eyes closed!), since each of the individual extensions is dipped in glue, then attached to your lashes one by one. Monika determines the length and thickness of the mink extensions by each person’s own natural lashes, as well as the customer’s personal preference of how she wants them to look. A unique aspect of the mink lashes, as opposed to silk or other synthetic options, is that they are fine and lightweight enough to attach multiple extensions per lash.
My eyelashes are relatively dark and lengthy to begin with, so I wondered if the falsies would make a noticeable difference. I allowed myself to doze off, and only once or twice during the process was my delightful nap disturbed due to the fumes from the glue, which irritated my eyes and made my nose burn. It was definitely a small price to pay, since as soon as Monika was finished, I looked a million times more glamorous than I probably ever have.
I was so pleased with the results that I had to ask about ways to help them last. The extensions will fall off with your natural lashes, which go through a three-month shedding cycle. Although the maximum span you can expect the extensions to last is two to three months, Pierre Michel offers touch-ups between full sets to keep them looking their fullest.
The one key tip to longevity? Avoiding products that contain Glycol, which is the ingredient that is used to remove the lashes at the salon when you’re ready to shed them. Unfortunately, most makeup removers, soaps and face washes utilize Glycol, so Monika suggested that I use a washcloth or cotton swab around my eyes in order to avoid contact with the glue.
To be honest, the mink extensions took some getting used to. The first few times I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked a little ridiculous, like one of those creepy, old-fashioned porcelain dolls. But they grew on me within hours, and I have never gotten so many compliments from strangers in my life. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should also add that my already-complimentary boyfriend has not been able to stop gushing about them, and the last seven days have been filled with random outbursts like, “your eyes look insanely sexy,” and, “those lashes are so damn pretty!”
Now that I’ve raved about the mink extensions, I’m sure you’re wondering about the price, and they will set you back about $500. While that’s definitely expensive, if you’re looking to get noticed or want to get glam for a special occasion, I’d say they’re well worth the cost.
Pierre Michel Salon (135 East 57th Street, New York, NY 10022)
Photo courtesy of Chanel