I love wearing false lashes.  Having not been very blessed in the lash department, I feel like lashes give a makeup look the finishing touch that pulls everything together.  However, as much as I love wearing falsies, sometimes they can be a complete pain.  Depending on the day, they might not want to cooperate, they can look uneven, they can take quite a bit of time to put on, and the glue might unstick halfway throughout the day and you could end up looking like a total hot mess.

I've been hearing about eyelash extensions for a while now and was very intrigued, but never really knew who to contact, where to go, or really anything about the extensions or the process itself.  Lucky for me, the wonderful Gabe from iLash NY recently reached out to me and asked if I would like to come in to try out a set of lash extensions! Of course, I was so excited and said yes, and I am soooo happy that I did.

iLash NY recently moved into a brand new location and I love how light and bright and open it feels inside, yet it's still super cozy.  iLashNY opened its doors in 2007, however, Gabe took ownership in late 2012 when she decided to purchase the business and grow the brand. She was trained in lash extensions by the previous owner of the business and after becoming a client of hers, she approached her with the idea of taking over ownership. The idea of being able to have a positive impact on the beauty industry and create an environment that supported women, while building a legacy for her family really excited Gabe, and the rest is history!

Gabe loves that she is able to have an impact on the lives of so many women; not only all the beautiful clients who come in, but also her team. Their mission statement is, "iLashNY is a premier eyelash extension studio dedicated to quality artistry with a distinct passion to allow natural beauty to radiate from the inside, out".  She has the ability to come alongside so many people to encourage and support them in so many different ways.  Not just by applying lash extensions, but also by providing meaningful conversation in an uplifting environment.

To start off our appointment, Gabe did a quick assessment of my eye shape and my lashes, deciding on a lash style that would best compliment my features.  I reclined in that giant chair, and let me tell you, that was probably one of the most comfortable chairs that I have ever sat in.  She told me that some clients actually do fall asleep during their appointments, and I can totally see how that can happen!

She then placed these awesome eye pads under my eyes which contained collagen (so they were great for the under eye area) and were super cooling and refreshing on my skin.  At that point Gabe started to work her magic!

You can find all of the information that you need about lash extensions and the process on their website, but here are a few of the most important ones:

How do eyelash extensions work?

We adhere semi-permanent eyelash extensions using a very carefully manufactured adhesive that is safe for being placed near the eyes.  Each natural lash is completely isolated from its surrounding lashes before receiving an extension, in order to maintain the health of the individual's natural lash growth.  Typically, we place somewhere between 75-90 extensions on each eye during a Full Set appointment (depending on the number of natural lashes the individual has).

How long does the process generally take? A Full Set of Classic Lashes takes up to 2 hours and a Full Set of Volume can take up to 3 hours (sometimes a little bit more) each depending on the condition of the individual's natural lashes.

Do they hurt? NO. When properly applied you should not feel them at all. They are lightweight and feel totally natural.

How long do they last? Lash extensions can last up to 6 weeks when not being maintained with followup appointments.  Each individual's natural lash cycle is different, however, and therefore we recommend coming in for a touch up appointment within 2-3 weeks.  When your natural lash is ready to cycle out and shed, the extension that is adhered to the natural lash will fall off with it.  Many of us don't realize that we can shed about 5 natural lashes on a daily basis, so touch up appointments ensure that we are maintaining a full look at all times.

How do I take care of them? It may seem like a lot to remember, but eyelash extensions are very easy to take care of. The most important thing to be aware of is that “oil is the enemy”. Oil will break down the bond of the adhesive and cause premature loss of the extension. You want to make sure there is no oil in anything you use near your eyes. (foundation, eye creams, makeup, etc.) You do not want to get them wet for 24 hours. Never pull on them. Avoid running water on your lashes. Avoid sauna or hot steam. Use only water based makeup remover. Do not rub your eyes. Do not use a mechanical eyelash curler. Do not sleep on your face. When shampooing or conditioning, do not allow them to run over your eyes. iLash NY sends you home with a home care kit and instructions so you do not have to remember all these “do’s and don’t’s”.

What are the benefits of having eyelash extensions? No more mascara! I've said this so many times that I've even had a t-shirt made with the phrase, "I miss wearing mascara ... said no one ever!"

There is something to be said for a naturally stunning but super low-maintenance look.  Having lash extensions has cut down on my morning routine (I've been able to "86" the lash curler and 3 coats of mascara) as well as my nighttime routine (no more scrubbing to get all of that mascara off from under my eyes).

We're able to customize the shape of our lash extensions to every individual's eye shape in order to make the eyes POP.  We've even had women scheduled for eye lifts who have postponed the surgery after seeing the benefits of their lash extensions.

Can I swim, shower, exercise or visit a spa while wearing lashes? Yes, if these activities are not done excessively. Our special adhesive allows you to shower, swim, exercise, sleep and spa while wearing extensions. You can enjoy your lash extensions with little need to adjust your lifestyle. Please do not swim or spa (even steam from your shower) for 48 hours after your lash procedure to allow the bonding agent to fully cure. The main thing to remember with these activities is that you just want to make sure the extensions are not excessively exposed to heat and moisture.

How do I take them off? You can either let them grow out, or have them professionally removed by a trained professional. Please do not attempt to remove them yourself-we have lash extension remover. It will not harm your natural lashes.

How do I prepare for my appointment? 1.  Be sure to have all makeup removed from the eye area. The more time we spend doing this for you, the less time we have to apply lashes! 2. Do not drink too much caffeine before your appointment. This can make your lashes flutter which makes it difficult to apply lashes. 3. Please put your cell phone on vibrate or silent. 4. If you would like, bring your ipod to listen to. 5. You may want to visit the ladies room beforehand.

My appointment lasted a little over two hours, but honestly the time just flew by.  It was so relaxing and it was great chatting with Gabe about her business.  It's so refreshing to talk to someone who is so completely passionate about what she does and is all about growing and always up for learning something new.

Although they specialize in Lash Extensions, they also offer facial waxing and sugaring, as well as Makeup Application services for special occasion and bridal.  In the past couple of years they've had an increasing number of requests for makeup tutorials so they've also added Makeup Workshops to their menu.  They hold classes quarterly, during which an instructor (usually Gabe) demonstrates a specific makeup look to a group who will then complete the look on themselves during the demo.  They keep the classes pretty small in order to ensure that each participant can receive hands on, individualized instruction.

Gabe said that she would love for the iLashNY brand to continue to grow within the Western New York beauty community.  She strives to provide a studio that emphasizes education and artistry and her hope is for consumers to realize that is what sets them apart.  She plans to continue to organize lash training and education to artists in our area while growing her team and further developing their artistry.

And now, the moment you've been waiting before and after photos!

Here is my before photo. I never realized how sad my lashes actually were until now  :(

Annnnnnnnddddd here is the wonderful AFTER!

Yes, hello gorgeous, beautiful, full lashes. Where have you been all my life?

So having these lashes for two days now, I can say that they've completely changed my beauty routine for the better.  I didn't wear any shadow or liner at all yesterday, but I still felt beautiful and polished.  Today I'm just wearing a little bit of black shadow smudged against my lash line and that's all I really needed!  I'm absolutely going to be keeping up with these bad boys.

Thank you SO MUCH Gabe for an amazing experience.  I can't wait to continue my lash journey with you.

iLashNY is located at 4764 N French Rd in East Amherst, NY.  Visit their website for more information.