Why a Lash Lift Is a Bride’s Chicest Alternative to Extensions

Photo: Michael Govea

“Try to steer clear of a heavy donkey lash,” I overheard a well-known makeup artist offer to a trusted friend before her big day. “Donkey lash?!” I thought to myself, at once shocked and enlightened by the image that immediately flashed into my mind, guided by a dozen Bachelor rose ceremonies and Instagram makeup tutorials gone wrong. We’ve all seen it: the heavy, unnatural shelf of false eyelashes that’s become an everyday norm for some, thanks in part to social media’s constant “more is more!” pressure to sculpt a perfect selfie. If such heavy cosmetic artillery is being used on an average Tuesday for the Instagram aficionado, how does the natural-leaning bride maintain a camera-ready gaze without stepping into ultimately regrettable and theatrical beauty territory?

Rather than pushing the limits of length and density to the max for one of the most highly photographed occasions of your lifetime, why not dial back the drama and embrace the angelic, ethereal fringe that already graces your face? Annette Pecora and Gia Amato-Miller of The 60s Beauty Lash, the airy boutique salon that’s cemented a reputation over the last few years as Chicago’s go-to location for a believable fringe, have perfected a new technique called the “Lash Lift” that’s gaining buzz from organic Brooklyn hubs like Shen Beauty to southern charmers like Austin’s Volume Salon. “We like to say that our brides are naturally beautiful, we just lifted them,” Annette shares of the modern treatment that has fans booking their pilgrimage every eight weeks for a top-up.

The Lash Lift has revolutionized from an old-school perm using rods on each strand to the current method of molding lashes over gently curved silicone discs to deliver a more authentic arch. It’s no longer a trend, it’s a beauty necessity!”  Gia says with a laugh of the technique that she artfully practices on my real-life lashes just days before my own spring wedding. “If lashes are healthy there is no prep!” she shares of the process. “If they need attention, we will send clients home with a nightly regime and lash enhancer to get them in better condition.” In my case, I’d been painting NeuLash’s hormone-free, vitamin-packed enhancing serum onto my roots for over a month before the treatment, causing my lashes to grow so long (and unfortunately, straight down) that I needed a perm to see clearly past the fringe, for the first time in my life.

1) With eyes closed as I lay flat with a cozy throw placed over my legs, Gia began the lift portion of the treatment, where she individually placed each of my lashes, one by one, onto a silicon form (I asked for the gentlest lift option that offers a slight curve rather than a tight curl).

2) Next, lashes are processed on the silicone-domed shield with a formula that lifts from the root. The liquid stings a bit if you aren’t careful to keep your lids tightly shut, but the sensation passes quickly, and the results make it seem like a blip in the experience.

3) A nourishing serum with botanical ingredients like aloe leaf juice and grape seed extract is applied to preserve the longevity of both the lashes and the lift.  

4) Ask for a European tint if it isn’t already included in the treatment, which gives fringe a dark navy dye job that approximates the look of a first coat of mascara, with the added bonus of being completely cry-proof for any touching moments to come.

The result is a set of inky, artfully curled lashes that won’t straighten or smudge as the emotions roll in surrounding your nuptials. The lash lift is effortless—it’s the natural lash nourished and curled, and perfect for a bride!” Annette and Gia enthuse. And with impact that lasts for four to six weeks, its $125 price tag (with an extra $20 spot for the tint) seems like a steal for the opportunity to shelf your eyelash curler (and possibly mascara wand), all while winking touched-by-an-angel fringe in every carefully photographed memory frozen in time.

—Arden Fanning Andrews