Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jacque Rojas gives Karla Wong's eyelashes more oomph with semi-permanent lash extensions that help some to shave time off their morning makeup routine.

Eye spy

Lash extensions are a hit for
those seeking eye-popping style

A surgeon's steady hand is a must for finishing fall's face with the requisite flurry of lashes.

I can see it now: disaster waiting to happen with clumpy lumps of dried, runaway glue, top and bottom lashes that stick together, and lines of hair jutting up from lash line to eyelid.

For those without the patience or skill to master false-eyelash application, there is hope.

Just as hair extensions exist to give hair more length and body, eyelash extensions can transform puny specimens into power lashes, with lengths from a delicate 6 mm to audacious nightclub-ready 15 mm.

Since Jacque Rojas added eyelash extensions to her arsenal of salon services six months ago, she's been transforming about 10 people a week.

"It's just crazy," she said. "There's no one group coming in. They're young, old, professional women, anybody.

"They'll come in if they don't have a lot of lashes, if they want their eyes to look bigger, if they want to save time. They're looking for whatever they can eliminate from their morning routine.

"They see it's really full and they get that instant gratification. They'll say, 'I feel so beautiful,' then call me up later and say, 'I'm so in love with myself. I love my lashes.'

"I like to make people happy; that's what it's about."

Stubby lashes go glam, above, with the help of extensions.

Rojas charges $150 for a full set of top lashes, $50 for touch-ups. The going rate in Honolulu is about $150 to $300 for a full set, which might be considered a bargain compared with the price in Los Angeles, at $350 to $500 for a full set.

Rojas just returned from L.A. for training and certification in the Nova Lash system, and said extensions are "very popular with actresses and models. They almost have to use it because their images are magnified. They can't use false eyelashes because you can see it."

INITIAL APPLICATION runs a labor-intensive two hours because individual nylon lashes are glued to the wearer's individual hairs with tweezers and a tiny spot of glue. The professional glue is formulated to withstand Hawaii's high humidity, especially during a crucial 24-hour setting period.

After that, individuals can go about their normal activities, from shopping to swimming, although the extensions do require maintenance that might involve changing some habits.

"You have to be careful when you wash your face. You can't curl them. You can't use waterproof mascara. You can use a water-based mascara at the tip, but constant application will shorten its life," Rojas said. "Most people opt not to use mascara because it looks fine without it.

"You can't rub your eyes. You have to limit the use of oil-based products around your eyes. In the shower you can't let water drip down on your lashes. And it would be good if you could sleep on your back."

Each extension's longevity is tied to the fate of an eyelash's natural life cycle.

"They don't fall out all at once, but people will shed their lashes anywhere from two weeks to three months," Rojas said.

She typically has clients return two weeks after application to determine their cycle, then puts them on a touch-up schedule.

"People get hooked. It's one thing for them to see pictures, then come in and get it done to them. ...

"It's very enhanced but still a natural look, because they don't want people looking at them and going, 'Ooh, you got extensions.' They want it to be their little secret."

Jacque Rojas can be reached at 955-5600. She will
be starting training sessions for Hawaii esthetician licensees
interested in the Nova Lash system.

E-mail to Features Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com