Forget gel manicures, the latest beauty trend is gel eyelash extensions

Are your eyelashes making you look older? It wasn’t something I had considered until I met acclaimed eyelash technician Camilla Kirk-Reynolds to try out a new “gel” lash extension technique, which instantly erased five years of hair loss. my face.

Gel manicures took nails to the next level a few years ago. Will this long-lasting lash technique do the same for our eyes?

I visit Camilla Lashes, as her A-list and royal clientele call her, in her unbranded rooms in Notting Hill, London.

It sounds very clandestine – his name isn’t even on the doorbell. In fact, Camilla is the soul of secrecy, not least because she is bound by so many nondisclosure agreements.

Victoria Woodhall (pictured) visited acclaimed eyelash technician Camilla Kirk-Reynolds to try out a new ‘gel’ lash extension technique that instantly wiped five years off her face

While she’s happy to name the actresses she’s worked with on film sets – Kristin Scott Thomas, Renee Zellweger, and Jessica Chastain – she can’t speak to her royal clients other than to say, “If you’ve watched. marriage, you saw my eyelashes. . ‘

As one of the few people in the UK and under 50 in the world to offer new ‘gel’ eyelash extensions, she is in high demand. So what makes this new technique so much better?

This is partly because it can be tailored for each client, giving aging eyes a very natural boost.

But what women really love is that these extensions last 30% longer than conventional extensions, won’t fall off when in contact with oil from your makeup or skin care, and they don’t cost much. than a fraction more.

Camilla says her time-constrained clients love them so much that 90% of them have switched to them.

I come from a family with thick eyebrows – my mom and grandmother had an eye lift at my age, 53, and it was something I had planned for “someday”. Could gel eyelashes give me the illusion of being lifted without the knife and needle?

VICTORIA BEFORE EYELASH TREATMENT: Gel manicures took nails to the next level a few years ago.  Will this long-lasting lash technique do the same for our eyes?

VICTORIA BEFORE EYELASH TREATMENT: Gel manicures took nails to the next level a few years ago. Will this long-lasting lash technique do the same for our eyes?

Camille is confident. “One of the biggest compliments my clients get is when people ask if they’ve had Botox because they look so much fresher.”

The downside is that you have to spend two or three hours in a chair with your eyes closed. Camilla tells me it will all be worth it for the time I save in the morning and evening, without having to put on or take off mascara or eyeliner.

Age matters for our eyelashes, as aesthetic doctor Pamela Benito explains. “When estrogen levels start to drop [with the menopause] the eyelashes become thinner and shorter, due to the destruction of the hair follicles. As a result, our eyes will look tired, smaller and older.

A sagging eyelid can make our eyelashes disappear, says oculoplastic surgeon Dr Sabrina Shah-Desai. It makes your lashes point downwards, “making it look like you have less or almost no lashes.”

It would be wonderful if the treatment helped me look younger, but I’m worried it could damage my eyelashes and leave me bald.

We all love gel nails, but varnish can seriously damage the nail surface when peeled off – it should be safely removed by manicurists with a special acetone-based remover. And what about the UV light used to cure the nails? I don’t want this near my eyes!

Camilla reassures me that Gel-Lys (pronounced “jealous”) uses safe, low-level LED light, which is often used in facials.

There is also no fear of eyelash damage – gel lashes are actually softer than conventional extensions as they use gel rather than traditional glue, ensuring the extension adheres flexibly. The glue makes the eyelashes more brittle.

Camilla asks me what kind of look I’m looking for. “More awake,” I said. She is used to correcting flaws and asymmetry. “Every face is different. I’ve never designed two sets of identical lashes, ”she says.

I lie down on his heated spa bed under a blanket. Many clients doze off, but I’m reluctant to have my eyes touched and find the eye pads I have to wear to cover my lower lashes (it only makes the top) uncomfortable.

Because I’m nervous, Camilla does one eye at a time, unlike her usual method of switching between the two. She allows me breaks and puts me at ease.

With watchmaker precision, she spends the next three hours dipping around 250 lashes per eye in glue and applying them one at a time, fixing them with an imperceptible beam of LED light.

VICTORIA BEFORE LASH TREATMENT: Each of Victoria's lashes had two extensions glued to it, making it three times thicker and creating volume

VICTORIA BEFORE LASH TREATMENT: Each of Victoria’s lashes had two extensions glued to it, making it three times thicker and creating volume

Each of my own lashes will have two extensions glued to them, which will make them three times thicker. This creates the volume that gives the appearance of mascara. I can’t see or feel anything.

I am sent home with an eyelash brush to keep them tidy and lint-free cotton swabs to wash them. I have to avoid flannels or cottons on the lashes as they create lint that can get stuck in the hair – if you try to pull them out you will likely pull the lashes out.

Camilla also asks me to replace my sleep mask with one designed not to touch the eye, but only the area around it. If I can, I should sleep on my back.

The next morning is a revelation. I feel like I slept with my makeup on, but somehow it holds up perfectly. I spray my face with water, add a little concealer and lipstick and go.

My new lashes look like mine on steroids, natural but noticeable. I can see a marked increase, almost cat-like, in the outer corners where the lashes are longer. My eyes also look pleasantly larger – this expensive eyelid surgery can wait.

I text Camilla the next day to reserve my place in her crammed diary for £ 260 ‘refills’ – touch ups I need every five to seven weeks, as opposed to the two to four week refresh for. conventional eyelashes.

If I continue, I will never have to come back for a full set.

Over the next few days, I’m still delighted with the way I look and have a much shorter makeup routine. It’s not cheap, but as someone who never spends money on a manicure, brushing or waxing, it’s a salon treatment that will make me waste my money.

Beauty treatment that saves time and goes backwards is something I can invest in.

GEL-LYS lashes cost £ 460 for a full top lash set and £ 260 for top lash refills (camillalashes.com).


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