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Lash on, lash off

Erica Mayyasi is a Red Sox fan in Manhattan. After stints at various magazines she now works full-time in public relations, though she continues to write for a number of sites including her blog etsymay.blogspot.com.

Faux lashes are real sexy

Thick, luscious lashes are always in style as they can be dressed up for a glam look or down for a laid-back, bring-out-your-eyes look. Whichever look you go for, it stands true that most women want dramatic, full lashes. Mascara has been the go-to staple for look-at-me lashes, but why not step out of the box and try fake eyelashes? We've got great tips from experts with the lowdown on falsies.

Fake Eyelashes

Fake eyelashes

Fake eyelashes are the more common, quicker and less expensive of the two options. Celebrity make-up artist Guy Guido, who often uses them in his work, gives the lowdown:

Fake eyelashes come in a variety of forms, ranging from individual lashes to strips that cover the entire lash line.

Individual lashes

Guido recommends individual fake eyelashes for most people because they provide a much more natural look and are easier for you to apply on your own. They can also be used to fill in naturally thin spots or placed just in the outer corners, he says.

However you want to use them, you can certainly benefit from Guido's fail-proof steps for application:

  1. Start by squeezing a glob of glue onto a disposable surface (he suggests tin foil or a paper plate).
  2. Holding a lash with tweezers, dip the end of it in the glue.
  3. Blow on the glue and let it set for five seconds.
  4. Apply it in place and release, "Apply it as close to your natural lash line as possible," he advises.

Full eyelash strips

Full strips of lashes are available in a wide variety of lengths, thicknesses and styles. Guido recommends starting on the conservative end of the spectrum. "They look much fuller once applied," he says. "If you go with really full ones, you may look like you have caterpillars on your eyes."

To apply strips of lashes, follow his tips:

  1. Check the length of the strip against your eyelid. "If it is too big, trim it from the inside of the lashes," he suggests.
  2. Apply a modest amount of glue to the edge of the strip.
  3. As with the individual lashes, give it five seconds to set.
  4. Apply the strip starting at the center, placing it as close to the lash line as possible.
  5. Next press the strip into the lash line at the inner corner of your eyelid and hold it there for two seconds.
  6. Then do the same with the outer corner.
  7. Return to the inner corner and press the strip into the lash line again. Then do the same with the center and the outer corner.

A partial false eyelash strip

There are also partial strips of fake lashes made to apply to the outer corner of the eyelid. Guido says they are a "nice compromise between the singles and the whole strip" as they are still reasonably simple to apply.

In terms of brands, Guido recommends Ardell for both individual and strips of fake lashes, though when it comes to the glue for individual lashes he suggests Ardell, but glue for strips he likes Duo. (Both brands are available at most major drugstores)

The salon alternative: Eyelash extensions

Eyelash extensions are synthetic lashes that are individually bonded to your natural eyelashes. They are considerably more expensive -- however, while fake lashes are temporary, eyelash extensions are semi-permanent.

Furthermore, quality professional application ensures a flawlessly natural look. Susan Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of Uptown Girl, the New York City salon specializing in hair and eyelash extensions, shares her expertise on the budding trend.

How much time and money we're talking

At Uptown Girl, a full set of extensions takes two hours to apply. They last approximately 6 to 8 weeks -- however, with touch-ups every 2 to 4 weeks, they can be kept up year-round. Touch-ups at Uptown Girl take 30 to 60 minutes to complete and cost $60-$120. The initial full set of extensions costs $400. Cunningham says that she's seen prices elsewhere range anywhere from $200 to $800.

What to look for in a salon that does eyelash extensions? Cunningham says that you should make sure that they are certified by a reputable eyelash extension brand (such as NOVALASH or Lavish Lash) and hold an estheticians or cosmetology license in their state.

"Where eyelashes are concerned, practice makes perfection," she adds. Thus, she recommends that you look for someone who really specializes in lash extensions by asking how long and how frequently they have been doing them. Once you find her, you can really lash out -- and love that luxe look!

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