News & Politics

False Eyelashes

An eye-opening guide to faking great eyelashes.

Think your lashes don’t measure up? Photograph by Matthew Worden

Just as Bette Davis made false eyelashes glamorous in the 1940s, Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan have fueled a flutter of interest in eyelash extensions.

“All the celebrities get eyelash extensions,” says Jennifer Fitzpatrick of DC’s Piaf salon—where the eyelash-challenged can get extensions for $300.

Unlike caterpillaresque falsies of years past, these can pass for the real thing. Each extension is attached to a natural lash, one lash at a time, with tweezers and glue. (Extensions are for upper lashes; during the procedure lower lashes are taped down so they don’t get glued to the uppers when you blink.)

Fitzpatrick considers her work artistry: The color of the lashes she uses, the angle she glues them, and how many she extends depend on what a client has naturally.

New treatments lengthen, curl, and dye them. Photograph by Matthew Worden

At Erwin Gomez Salon in Georgetown, Gomez applies extensions to every lash—about 40 in all. The process takes three to four hours and costs $400.

You can’t use mascara with extensions, but they’re dark enough that you won’t need it. Because they fall out just as natural lashes do, touch-ups are recommended every few weeks—at $50 an appointment.

Not ready for extensions? How about a lash perm? At the Four Seasons spa in Georgetown, the $95 process involves wrapping lashes around a tiny curler and applying a chemical for ten minutes—much like an ’80s hair perm. The curl lasts up to six weeks. Add a $30 color tint, and you won’t need mascara.

There are always false eyelashes, which have come a long way since their debut when movies were black and white. Beauty chain Sephora offers a variety of fakes, from rhinestone-studded to feather-adorned. Between $7.50 and $18, they’re cheaper and less controversial than the fox-fur lashes Jennifer Lopez batted at the 2001 Academy Awards.

Piaf, 1023 15th St., NW; 202-783-3334;

Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa, 1519 Wisconsin Ave., Georgetown; 202-333-7290;

Four Seasons Fitness Club and Spa, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave., Georgetown; 202-944-2022;