Japanese women stick to extensions for lusher lashes

Tue Dec 9, 2008 3:49am EST
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By Linda Sieg

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - From twentysomethings trying to emulate wide-eyed manga heroines to middle-aged housewives seeking an elegant look that lasts, Japanese women are fluttering the latest in luscious lashes -- and they're artificial.

Not to be confused with false eyelashes, a do-it-yourself option that lasts for a day or evening, extensions require a real commitment, since they are glued one-by-one to natural lashes.

The process can take 45 minutes or longer and cost from $40 to $100 and more, depending on the number of lashes and the skill and training of the beautician.

Still, the extensions are smudge-free, last for weeks and are said to be immune to a dip in the pool or a visit to the sauna.

"I do it for fun. Your eyes look so much wider and bigger," says 24-year-old Asuka Miyajima, an extension aficionado who works for a fashion firm. "It looks like mascara but lasts about two weeks. And you don't have to put on too much make-up."

At Glamour Eye Salon in downtown Tokyo, Makiko Kurokawa, 26, plies her trade with the precision of a skilled artisan.

In a demonstration on an assistant reclining on a narrow bed, Kurokawa first covers the lower lashes with tape to protect them, then applies a criss-cross of tape from the eyelids across the eyebrows to create tension so that the real eyelashes protrude.

After brushing out the natural lashes with a cotton swab, she takes up tweezers and glue and delicately begins attaching the extensions, in this case 25 strands between 10 mm and 11 mm long (0.4 inch), one by one to individual natural lashes.   Continued...

<p>A staff member of the Glamour Eye Salon undegoes an eyelash extension treatment in Tokyo December 4, 2008. JAPAN-EYELA</p>