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Spas lay eyes on fashionable
Lash extensions moving from Hollywood into Valley

Maggie Galehouse
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 25, 2005 12:00 AM

FOUNTAIN HILLS - Incredibly, eyelash extensions are just what they sound like: synthetic or natural lashes, painstakingly glued onto existing eyelashes, lash by individual lash.

"You have to have extremely steady hands," said Dale Howard, a spa services specialist at CopperWynd Spa and the only cosmetologist there who does lash extensions. "It's almost like being a neurosurgeon."

For some women, it's a dream come true to wake up and avoid mascara and that tiny torture device known as an eyelash curler.

Since CopperWynd started offering lash extensions in late July, Howard, a k a "the lash doctor," has lengthened and thickened the lashes of at least one client every day, often two or three.

Gilbert Bodyworks, 323 S. Gilbert Road, started offering the extensions about a month ago, as well.

A growing trend in the movie industry in recent years, eyelash extensions are finally making their way to the general public via spas and salons, Howard said. He spent three weeks perfecting the procedure in-house before offering it to clients.

Using a fluorescent light, tweezers and a special epoxy, Howard glues extensions of varying lengths onto individual lashes, affixing them one to two millimeters away from the eyelid.

Typically, the new lashes extend eight to 12 millimeters. The procedure takes about an hour and a half.

"It's very, very relaxing," said Corrine Tomlinson, one of Howard's regular clients who got her first set of eyelash extensions Tuesday.

Tucked under a cushy blanket on a massage table, Tomlinson stayed still while soft music played and Howard worked on her lids. "It is feather light," she said. "You can hardly feel it."

The extensions last about three months, the same lifespan as a natural eyelash, said CopperWynd Spa director Marie Bernat.

"To me, the process is kind of like getting artificial nails," she said. "You get a full set that extends your natural growth, and then you come back in for fill-ins."

Unlike false eyelashes, she added, the extensions do not require the application of glue directly onto the skin.

A number of manufacturers make eyelash extension kits, although CopperWynd, 13225 N. Eagle Ridge Drive, won't reveal which product it uses.

Some of the bigger names include Lavish Lashes, 3-D Lashes and Prisma Eyelash Extensions, none of which is available in traditional retail beauty stores. Often, manufacturers require special training to use the product.

At CopperWynd, eyelash extensions cost $150 for the initial procedure, with fill-ins beginning at about $45.

Eyelash extensions are part of the current beauty trend that promotes a "natural, but enhanced" appearance, Howard said.

"The overdone look is over," Howard said. "It's not the Tammy Faye Baker look."

Reach the reporter at maggie. or (602) 444-6868.

eyelash extensions
Enlarge Image
Jack Kurtz/Scottsdale Republic
Dale Howard, who spent three weeks perfecting his technique, applies eyelash extensions to Corrine Tomlinson at CopperWynd Resort. Tuesday's session was Tomlinson's first.

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