Eyes, eyes, eyes: the good and the bad of extensions and color contacts

By Yuki Nakajima
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY

Most women want beautiful eyes; thus, eyelash extensions and color contact lenses have become very popular. These products certainly change how eyes look but may cause trouble for people who are not properly educated on how to use them.

Eyelash extensions

Harumi Branch, the owner of Savvy Cosmetics, started an eyelash extension service two months ago. She took training sessions twice, received a certificate, and spent half a year practicing techniques. Branch decided to learn the eyelash extension skill because lots of her Asian customers requested eyelash extensions.

“Many Chinese and Vietnamese customers came into the store and asked me if I offer eyelash extension services. They are sensitive to the latest Japanese fashion,” Branch said. “Everyone wants to have long eyelashes.”

Eyelash extensions are artificial eyelashes that stick to natural eyelashes to make them look longer and thicker.

Branch said she puts the artificial eyelashes about 1 mm from the hairline so that the artificial eyelashes and glue don’t touch the eyelid skin. When she applies the artificial eyelashes, she chooses from three different glues based on her client’s skin sensitivity. All glues she uses are for medical treatment.

Though it is easy to find places that offer eyelash extensions, customers need to be aware of those who apply them. NaturaLash offers a variety of training workshops, including online training and private one-on-one training classes.

Licensed esthetic and medical professionals teach the private classes, and about 50 students take online classes every month. Brett Baker, a spokesperson of NaturaLash, said lots of estheticians underestimate how difficult it is to properly place eyelash extensions.

“In order to make clients happy, [their eyelashes] have to look good. That’s why the training comes in,” Baker said.

“Proper training is very important. It also helps with safety [and] sanitation issues.”

Applying eyelash extensions can be dangerous. However, it is easy to find out if estheticians have had proper training or not. Baker says customers should always ask to see a certificate, proof of insurance, and before-and-after photos. He also says customers can call NaturaLash to see if someone is certified by the company.

Another concern with eyelash extensions is the cost. Baker said lots of estheticians charge cheap prices, but customers need to make sure that they get a full set of lashes: 40 to 100 eyelashes per eye.

“Some people might charge $50, but they only apply 10 to 20 lashes per eye. We teach 40 to 80 lashes or more per eye,” Baker said. “It usually takes at least two hours — three hours at the most. That’s one thing the consumer needs to know: how many lashes they are going to get and how long it’s going to take.”

Color contact lenses

Eyelash extensions are not the only fashion product that causes eye problems. Dr. Roman Hamasaki, an eye doctor at Eye Q Vision Care, said color contact lenses, which are very popular with young women, will cause problems if people don’t properly take care of their lenses.

“Even though people need to throw the contact lenses away after using them for two weeks, they keep using it for a month. Some people don’t take off the contact lenses before going to bed,” Hamasaki said. “These behaviors usually cause conjunctivitis.”

Color contact lenses became pobular about 10 years ago. Hamasaki said many people buy FreshLook color contact lenses sold by CIBA Vision because they have more colors to choose from. His clients buy the color contact lenses because they want to look different, or they try it “just for fun,” he said.

“The color contact lenses need to be worn under a prescription. They can be found at some beauty stores, but it’s not safe to buy from them,” Hamasaki said.

“They have to be taken out and washed every day. The contact lenses are not harmful if people take care of them properly.” (end)

For more information, please visit savvycosmetics.com, www.naturalash.com, and myeye-q.com.

Yuki Nakajima can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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