In case you’re suffering from major lash envy, we’ve got you covered with today’s beauty interview. We’re chatting with Courtney Buhler, founder and CEO of Sugarlash PRO, who explains everything you need to know about lash extensions!
Have you ever found yourself staring at another woman’s eyelashes wondering how on earth they’re real? They look longer and thicker than anything mascara could accomplish, but don’t have the same chunky look of a traditional strip lash. Well, to solve the mystery—she’s most likely wearing eyelash extensions. A true beauty game-changer. Read on for expert advice and tricks of the trade from lash pro, Courtney Buhler.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! When did you get started in the industry?
I got into the lash industry when I was 19 years old. I was a newly single mom and I wanted a job that gave me the flexibility to be at home with my baby. After getting my own lashes done, I fell in love with the confidence it gave me and asked my lash artist a million questions at every appointment until she finally said, “You just need to go take a course and do this for a living! I’ve never seen someone love lashes like you.”
And that was it! I took a few courses and began my little lash business. From there, it grew so fast that within six months I had multiple staff, which then turned into a six-person full-time operation out of my home (my neighbors weren’t too happy with 40-plus people in and out of our neighborhood every day!). The move to a commercial space was very natural (also required by law), and when we moved into our beautiful space we continued to expand until we were a 10-staff operation, fully booked weeks in advance and charging three times the average rate for my city. But, I knew I needed to do more for the industry.
Because of the salon’s success, I had tons of people asking what products I used, and if I would train them. It took me a while to come to terms with divulging my trade secrets, but I realized one day that I could provide far more influence and inspiration to the industry I love by sharing what I had learned through the years. That’s how Sugarlash PRO was born—it was me letting go and realizing my success would now come from others’ success, instead of just my own.
What are some things to look out for when selecting a lash salon? Any red flags or salon must-haves?
Lash extensions should only be applied by a professional. However, because the industry is so poorly regulated, you’ll need to do your research before selecting an artist. The consequences for going to an inexperienced or careless artist can be severe. Lash extension providers are required to have a cosmetologist or esthetician license in most states, but individual lashes aren’t usually covered in cosmetology/esthetics school. Your lash artist needs to take an in-depth lash course and dedicate themselves to practicing the precise art for optimal results and safety. It’s great if your eyelash extension artist is licensed and has a certificate (or five!), but the absolute best thing to do is to research your provider and look for a few key things:
- Look at their website and portfolio. If your lash provider is using stock photos or photos that aren’t actually their work, it is a HUGE red flag. Great lash artists will have a professional portfolio of their work. Instagram feeds are even better because you know these applications are real life, everyday clientele. Lash artists are just that…artists. Some will be better than others so make sure you like their style and results before jumping in. Look at their work, and look at their style. This is what you will be walking out with.
- Check reviews! Read reviews on Yelp, Google, their social accounts, etc. Sometimes, lash work can look pretty at first, but after some time when the natural lash begins growing out there can be discomfort if not applied individually to each lash. If lashes are not done properly (too much adhesive is used, each natural lash is not isolated), clients will likely report it via review sites.
- Ask your lash provider what education they have. At a bare minimum they will have their license (if required) and a specialty eyelash extension certificate. Many serious lash providers have three or more eyelash extension certificates, and continually attend lash conferences, expos, etc. to keep learning.
- Ask your provider what product they use to apply eyelash extensions. If they are using high-end product, they will be proud of it and will be happy to answer and tell you about it.
How long does a set of eyelash extensions typically last? Any advice on prolonging their life?
A good lash set should last around three to four weeks depending on your lifestyle and your natural lash cycle. To extend the life of your lash extensions, don’t pick or pull at them, and don’t grind them into your pillow at night! Keep them groomed with a clean mascara spoolie, and gently wash them daily. Avoid using oils and oil-based products within the orbital bone (eye socket). Oils break down the adhesive bond over time, often making extensions shed prematurely.
Are there any beauty products to avoid while having lash extensions? How do they affect a typical skincare and makeup routine?
Avoid using oils and oil-based beauty products around the eyes when you have lash extensions. Oils are found in many skincare products, so it’s important to read the ingredients if you’re not sure whether or not your makeup remover, face wash, eye cream, etc. are oil-free. Other than making those swaps, lash extensions will cut your beauty routine in half! No runny mascara, no scrubbing off eye makeup at the end of the night or peeling off falsies, no lash curling—simply wake up and go with perfect lashes! Although you won’t need mascara with extensions, if you have a special night out and want an extra touch, mascara (non-waterproof as waterproof mascara has oils) can be worn on the tips of the eyelash extensions only. However, wearing mascara regularly will require more wear and tear on the extensions to remove it, and can also gunk up and clump the extensions.
What’s the most challenging part about having eyelash extensions?
Lash extensions require monthly upkeep to keep them full, which is an expense. I would encourage you to try them and see the difference they make in your life. I can almost guarantee you’ll be addicted to the #nomascara team!
What makes Sugarlash PRO’s lashes unique?
Sugarlash PRO is focused on two things: product quality and creating a supportive culture of ongoing learning for lash artists around the globe. Our brand is different than most because before I got into the product development side of things, I was a full-time lash artist, and the owner of a specialty lash and brow boutique. What I wanted as far as professional product didn’t exist, so I decided to source and work directly with manufacturers to develop ultra-fast performing adhesives, and eyelash extensions that had beautiful tapers, realistic finishes (not plastic-looking), and a true black finish (not blue-black like what was available at the time). As a lash artist, and a lash lover myself, I knew exactly what the industry needed as far as products and training, and brought my unique flair to the industry.