May 31, 2011

Posted in Health/Beauty, Parenting | 0 Comments

Lashing Out: My Japanese Eyelash Perm

When I first heard about Japanese eyelash perming, the first image that sprang to mind was this scene in A Clockwork Orange. Not that I’m much of a beauty daredevil, but since many beauty rituals like Brazilian waxing, chemical peels and working out involve some degree of pain, I was just used to the idea of beauty = pain and suffering. And in that spirit, I also thought – Bring it! However, the reality proved to be much less torturous than imagined, as pictured below.

I’ve had lash envy for as long as I’ve been wearing makeup. When my sons were born, I swooned over their tiny corn kernel-sized toes and fingers like every new mom. But I also sighed with envy over their ridiculously long, lush eyelashes inherited from their dad. Like many Asian women, I suffer from stubbornly straight, short lashes that persist in growing downwards. It’s a particularly cruel twist of fate that all the BOYS (seriously, so unfair!) in my household have Maybelline lashes.

As far as makeup goes, I’m a minimalist at heart. Mascara, lipgloss, sunscreen and oil blotting papers pretty much comprise my daily beauty routine. As a busy mom, my primping days are long behind me. I briefly considered extensions, but the feedback I kept getting was that while it was great for special occasions, the expense, lifestyle adjustments, upkeep with fills and the potential for permanent eyelash damage made this a no-no for a regular routine.

When my young, like-minded cousin Yeojin from NYC informed me that she gets regular eyelash perms, she inspired me to give it a try on this coast. I discovered Brows by Victoria at The Beauty Box in Studio City based on overwhelmingly positive Yelp reviews.

Any worries I had about having chemical perming solutions applied on my eyelids dissipated under Victoria’s professional and knowledgeable hands. She used the Japanese perming rods on me (smaller rods suitable for shorter lashes, which she has to special order from Asia) and combed my lashes up and applied the perming solution. It smelled exactly like the stinky solution my mom used to apply at home. In fact, the scent provoked an unpleasant flashback to the early 80s when my mom gave me such a bad perm in third grade, I hid my head under the lunch benches and cried. I tried hard not to succumb to tears at the memory since I didn’t want to dilute the chemical solution.

My lashes were being stubborn and required additional tweaking and time to get curled. Normally, the whole procedure should take about 40 minutes, but my uncooperative eyelashes warranted a little extra time and took about an hour. But as a crazy-busy mom, any opportunity to lie down for an hour with my eyes closed counts as “me time.”  I found the whole procedure so super relaxing, I almost nodded off.

After applying a neutralizing solution for a few minutes, my eyelids were wiped down carefully and I didn’t experience any irritation or burning. She handed me a mirror and my short, spiky lashes were beautifully curly and perky. Victoria pointed out a spot in the middle of my right eye that wasn’t as curly as the rest. She’s such a perfectionist that she offered me a discount and a free do-over in two weeks when she returned from vacation. I was instructed not to get my lashes wet for two to four hours afterwards.

But that evening, I applied mascara and my lashes really popped, but still looked natural. I didn’t look like Mr. Snuffleupagus or a ladyboy – just me, only a little better. The results are supposed to last four weeks upon first application and then up to two months on repeat visits (which is about the time when your lashes naturally fall out to be replaced by new ones). Unlike eyelash extensions, your lashes won’t get any longer or fuller because you’re only working with what you have. But since I’m a natural kind of gal, that’s the selling point for me. Not only is mascara a breeze to apply, I don’t even feel the need to wear mascara as often because my permed lashes look longer now and open up my eyes.

Yet aside from pure vanity, my vision has improved because I don’t have the fuzzy halo of eyelashes in my way, especially when I’m looking downwards. It even makes putting on my contact lenses in the morning easier since I don’t have to tug on my upper eyelid to move the lashes out of the way anymore. I’m a total convert now. If you’re in the L.A. area, especially in the 818, definitely give Victoria, the lash guru a call! The going rate is $60 for an eyelash perm and $65 for the Japanese perm with the special rods.

LINKS: Brows by Victoria

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