Hi. I'm Annamarie Tendler, and I love eyelashes. Well, let me be clearer, I love glamorous eyelashes—like Audrey Hepburn's, or Sophia Loren's, or Kim Kardashian's. My own lashes are very straight however, so to get remotely close to having the lashes of my dreams I require an eyelash curler, false lashes, and oh, like, 10 coats of the darkest mascara I can find. When I was in my teens and early 20s I was down to partake in this over-the-top beauty regimen almost daily, but now that I'm fast approaching 29 (someone explain to me how this happened) I'm simply too busy to go through all these steps just for thicker lashes. I am also very lazy.
Imagine my overwhelming glee when a friend told me about eyelash extensions. "So, you're telling me," I said, "for a couple hundred dollars I can go have some lady glue false, silk lashes onto my own lashes, and it will look completely natural AND last for months?!"
"Yes," she said. "That's literally what I just said to you."
I knew then what I had to do: convince someone to pay for me to get eyelash extensions. So I, along with the help of MTV Style, went to see the Beyonce of eyelash extensions—Courtney Akai, who owns and runs her own eponymously named lash boutique in midtown Manhattan. The whole experience was weird and great. Courtney was one of the nicest women I'd ever met, and although it's next to impossible to get an appointment with her, you can definitely book with one of the other eyelash technicians working at her boutique. Worried about not seeing the "Lash Khaleesi" herself? Don't be. Courtney personally trains all of her technicians for months before they can start seeing clients. In short, everyone at Courtney Akai Lash Boutique can give you dope lashes.
The whole process was quite long—my appointment lasted over an hour and a half—and when I was finished, my head felt kind of swimmy and out of it from lying on my back for so long. It's not a bad thing, you just might not want to have your lashes done and then immediately go run a strategy meeting. In the end, I had full, dark, curly lashes that had me waking up each morning looking camera-ready. It's literally a busy person's dream. Also, a vain person's dream. Also, good for me because I'm lazy.
If you don't live in or near New York City, I'd recommend thoroughly reading reviews of lash extension boutiques in your area. Don't be afraid to ask technicians how long they have been applying lashes and look for ones willing to give you a detailed consultation of what will happen during your application. If someone is legit, they will be concerned with maintaining the health of your natural lashes and will advise you on how long, thick, or curly you can go. If the technician is like, "We can do WHATEVER YOU WANT, NO LASH IS TOO THICK," then maybe turn and run.
In the interest of karma, I'd like to admit here that a barista at my local coffee shop and a guy who lives in my building told me I had "such beautiful lashes" and asked if they were real. I lied and said yes, and they believed me.
Annamarie Tendler is a makeup artist, investigative reporter for MTV Style, and author of the forthcoming makeup book The Daily Face, due in stores Fall 2014.