The final verdict: I love my NovaLash extensions, but we’re going to take a break for now.
What is NovaLash?
Before I dive into my review of this popular eyelash extension solution, let me tell you what it is. NovaLash is a company that makes a brand of eyelash extensions that have to be applied onto your lashline by a certified NovaLash professional. Unlike falsies, where you apply a row of lashes onto (or above) your lash line at once, with NovaLash, each eyelash is adhered to your lashline one hair at a time. The extensions are actually glued onto the roots of your natural lashes, so as your natural lashes organically fall off, so do the NovaLash extensions.
How long have I worn NovaLash Eyelash Extensions?
Since January of this year, which means I’ve been wearing eyelash extensions for about 4 months. My hair generally grows quickly, which means my natural lashes grow out and fall quickly too. So for maintenance and upkeep, I’ve had to make “touchup appointments” every 2-3 weeks — the idea being that you touch up and get new extensions before too much of your lashes naturally grow out.
What are eyelash extensions appointments like? What happens?
So there are two types of appointments: your first appointment where you get a full set of extensions applied and touchup appointments where you only fill in in areas where your extensions have grown out.
The two appointment types are generally the same, it’s just that your very first appointment takes longer, because there are more hairs to adhere. Your first appointment ever will probably take up an entire hour. Touch up appointments tend to be 30min to 45min, depending on how much time has passed since your last appointment and the rate at which your hair grows.
Here’s what happens during either appointment types:
- You lie down on a table (or in a chair that reclines).
- The certified NovaLash professional positions herself at the head end of the table so s/he can apply the lashes comfortably.
- S/he will apply a Vaseline type of creame on your under eye area. This is to make sure that the tape s/he uses in the next step doesn’t adhere too much onto your skin for painless removal later on.
- S/he will take what looks like a thin 1/4 inch piece of tape. You’ll be asked to look up and open your eyes as s/he tapes the strip directly onto your lower lash line. I think this is to make sure the lower eyelashes don’t get in the way during the adhesion process.
- Then you can close your eyes, and you’ll probably end up falling asleep as s/he individually adheres one lash at a time to your natural lashes, using glue.
- Once all your eyelash extensions are in place, s/he gently removes the tape from your lower lash line.
- You keep your eyes closed as s/he takes a mini fan and blows some air in front of your eyes. This is to help the glue to dry quicker.
- After you check yourself out in the mirror, you’re done!
Does the procedure hurt?
No, not at all. However, it does take some getting used to. For instance, at my first appointment when she tried to tape the strips onto my lower lash line, I found it hard to keep my eyes open when I saw her hands moving towards me. Also, I had to get used to closing my eyes with a line of tape on my lower lash line. It doesn’t hurt at all; I just wasn’t used to it.
And when the whole procedure is complete, make sure you take the time to let your eyelash professional fan your eyes. The glue can sting a bit and cause your eyes to tear, which is why it’s helpful to speed up the drying time.
What do you think of the resulting look?
The lashes look great! They definitely open up my eyes and give my lash line much more density — to the point where I can comfortably go out without using any eyeliner on days when I’m feeling lazy. The eyelash extensions themselves are also permanently curled, so the lashes are always curled up, providing a nice doe-eyed effect. I think the NovaLash company likes to describe the effects as an “instant pretty” look, and yes it’s true.
Are there different type of lashes — length, thickness, color?
Yes, these lashes come in all different shades so you can match them against your natural color. They’re also available in different levels of thickness, as well as length. Because I’m Asian and I wanted a very natural look, I’ve always opted for the thinner hairs that aren’t super long. My friend, L, who is Persian has very long, thick lashes to begin with, so she gets extensions that are much longer and thicker, and they still look natural on her.
Are there rules you have to follow to keep your eyelash extensions at their best?
Yes! There are a few rules:
- You can’t use mascara: The lash hairs are not made to withstand additional formula and eye makeup remover. But given how thick and long your extensions are, you won’t feel the need for mascara anyways.
- You can’t use an eyelash curler: Remember, these lash extensions are permanently curled. Using a curler on them would ruin that curl, so you have to just leave them as they are.
- You have to be gentle with your eye area: This applies to when removing your makeup, washing your face, and using eyeliner on your lashline. These extensions are glued to your natural lashes, so you want to make sure you’re a bit careful when cleaning/washing your eye area so you don’t accidentally pull out a lash.
- You have to separate regularly: Given the length of your new lashes, they’re bound to get a bit messy or “tangled” at times. All you have to do is take an eyelash brush and run it through your lashes in the morning to make sure they’re properly separated.
If you love your NovaLash extensions so much, why are you taking a break from them?
A few reasons.
- I know these lash extensions are relatively light weight, but I have no doubt that they could have consequences later on, like impeding eyelash growth. So I want to give my lashes a good rest.
- Having these extensions are super convenient in terms of they’re accentuating the lash line, but I wear eyeliner on most days anyways.
- I miss wearing mascara. I know it sounds odd to miss an added step in my everyday makeup routine, but I miss having the flexibility to have really soft lashes one day and to do a super dramatic, thick lash look for special evenings.
I don’t plan on never using NovaLash extensions again. I just want to give my lash line a break for some time, and I’ll probably continue using extensions on a per occasion basis.
How much does an eyelash extension appointment cost?
The price of this service ranges by quite a bit, depending on where you live and who you’re talking to. I’ve heard that appointments can cost upwards of $200 in New York City.
Thankfully, I found a great certified pro here in the Bay Area through a personal referral. She charges a discounted price on weekdays that I’ve made use of. My very first appointment (longer session) cost $95, and my touch up appointments cost $45. My pro is great, and she’s been nice enough to give me free brow waxing during my appointments.
If you live in the Bay Area too and want to know the contact info of the person I go to, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll send you details.
Here are photos of the After. Sorry, I don’t own a camera, so these pics were taken off my iMac’s webcam.
Notice the density
Notice the doe-eyed effect I mentioned?