Ahh, I’ve coveted long eyelashes ever since I knew how to bat my eyes! Sadly, no matter which mascara or last growth product I’ve tried, my eyelashes remained stubbornly short and thin. Eventually, I gave up and focused on eyeliner instead, and wearing false lashes for special occasions.
It wasn’t until I went to China for a couple of work trips that I took to exploring Taobao and came across My Beauty Tool, a shop selling DIY lash extensions. They host around 8-10 hours of live-streaming classes on repeat every day to teach newbies how to use their products. The streaming also allows followers to ask questions, which are answered in real time by the instructor. After lurking on their channel for a few weeks, I bought a kit (around $40 AUD) and decided to try it out. Since I was in China at the time, I didn’t have to fuss around with international shipping. If you’re interested to check out their live-stream, I recommend downloading the Taobao mobile app. However, it is in Chinese, so if that’s not a language you’re familiar with, grab a Chinese friend to help translate!
My kit contained cluster lashes as that were recommended to be easiest for newbies. You can select 3 boxes of your own lash lengths from 8mm to 12mm, select thickness of the lashes (from 0.03mm to 0.07mm). and also select the density of each cluster (10D to 30D, or lashes per cluster). Mine were 0.03mm thick. 8/9/10mm long, 20D clusters. The lashes are imported mink hair and incredibly soft. It took me around 2 hours on my very slow first attempt (while following along with the store’s live-stream), but I’m so pleased at the result! Although far from perfect, it’s definitely more than passable and a huge saving. Expect to spend around $80-$150 for a single eyelash extension session done by a professional, versus the DIY $40 pack that has enough materials for around 10-15 uses.
The downside is , depending on skill, your eyelash extensions may not last as long as a professional session. Mine held around 3-5 days before they started to come off. As I used cluster extensions, there’s also a pretty obvious gap when one fell off, although I could always refill it myself. After a few practices, I was able to do both eyes completely in under an hour. If you don’t have steady hands, you do risk poking your eyes with the tweezers (which are quite sharp!), or using too much glue and end up sticking your eyes shut, so please please be very careful if you want to attempt this yourself! There’s no harm in watching a few sessions of the live-stream and setting aside plenty of time to practice and not be rushed. I asked the instructor heaps of questions while I was watching. Everything from the ingredients and sensitivity, to the angle for dipping into the glue.
Here’s a super NON-comprehensive summary if you want to get a gist of the basic steps I learned. As usual, be sure to do your own research and really understand the process before trying it out. No responsibility is taken from me for the irresponsibility of your own actions. I am also not a professional and only speaking from my own experience.
1. First I cleaned lashes with a micro applicator sprayed with some lash cleanser. This gets rid of any buildup (protein, makeup, etc) so the glue can stick better.
2. I used the tweezers to clamp onto the bottom half of an individual cluster and gently peeled it off the tray.
3. Placing the cluster in the palm of my hand (lashes pointing up), I adjusted the pointy end of the tweezers to point away from myself (no eye stabs here, thanks!). Then, I dipped the end of the cluster in a dot of glue up to 1-2mm deep.
4. I wiped the excess glue off the underside of the cluster onto the crystal disc. Having some tape over the disc made cleaning easier, since I can just rip it off afterwards.
5. Lifting my eyelid, I swiped the top side of the cluster along the underside of a section of my real eyelashes, from middle to ends. You can see how short my real ones are in comparison. *Cry*
6. The cluster is attached about 1mm off the root of my lashes. It’s important they’re not attached to the skin as this could cause irritation and is a great way to glue eyelids shut!
7. Clamp repeatedly down from the middle of the lashes to the end after attaching, to blend and stick real and falsies together.
8. Rinse and repeat from step 2. Literally, since there’s probably some residual glue on my tweezers by this time, so I have to rinse it in the tweezers’ cleanser before grabbing another cluster.
There’s two main styles for lash extensions, and I like the round style where it’s long in the middle and shorter on either side. I find this really opens up my hooded eyes. Depending on your eye shape, you might prefer a flared style instead (short to long from inner to outer corners). For my next purchase, I’m thinking of trying either the Y-shaped extensions or the “blooming” style. They require more skill, but does provide the most natural looking lashes and won’t look too obvious when they start to shed.
Admittedly, I’m still not used to lash extensions, so I find it a bit cumbersome during daily cleansing. It’s also much more noticeable when I go to rub my eyes, which I didn’t realise I unconsciously do so much. The good news is they’re easily removable with the kit remover once I’m over them. However, I do like the way the base of the clusters help act as eyeliner, meaning less makeup in the mornings!
What’s your thoughts on DIY eyelash extensions?
Would you be game enough to try this at home?