Article and Photos by Michelle Farnsworth

As I write this column, the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang are in full swing. Athletes who have trained for years compete at the ultimate level for gold. But I bet you a gold medal, you didn’t know the eyelash extension world is equally as competitive, fierce, and trending right now.

Running my own makeup business, I have a little experience with eyelashes, mascara, and wanting those long, lush lashes. Women and young ladies want their lashes longer, thicker, and darker—they want to stand on the podium. They want to WIN! They want to bat their lashes like Betty Boop and be noticed.

So of course I had to check out the lash revolution for myself and try what’s trending: lash extensions.

I was lucky enough to find Danielle Kunz, Master Esthetician and Lash Extensionist, now practicing in Mandan, North Dakota. Danielle was previously living and working in Denver, Colorado and attended the School of Botanical and Medical Aesthetics in 2015. She continued her studies and enrolled in the LashBlvd program to become certified in volume and classic lash extensions.

While I was lying on her lounge lash chair, covered by a cozy blanket, fireplace dancing at my feet and soft music playing in the background, the lightbulb went on and I had to interview Danielle. (By the way, interviewing this way is my new preferred method of journalism.)

Q and A Lash Session:

Michelle: How did you get started in the lash industry?
Danielle: After getting my licenses at the School of Botanical and Medical Esthetics in Denver, I was determined to keep up with the beauty industry, and lashes caught my eye. (Wink-wink.)

M: What’s the favorite part about your job?
D: The best part of my job is the instant gratification from the results and watching my client’s facial expression after they wake from their lash nap!

M: Tell me about the detailed work and how you handle the long sessions.
D: The work is tedious because lashes are so small and if the extensions aren’t placed right, that can ruin the natural lash. Each eye has 90-150 eyelashes that get an extension. The glue dries in one to two seconds; the smallest amount is more than enough. Too much glue can cause clumping and damage the natural lash. A full set takes about two to two-and-a-half hours, so a relaxing atmosphere is key when my day is full.
(This is where I snuggled in and warned her that I might fall asleep and possibly even snore.)

M: Do you follow industry trends or do you just do what your clients want?
D: I follow the trends, but also do what is healthiest for the client’s lashes. Each customer’s needs and wants are different, so I mix in the trend along with what’s best.

M: What’s most popular?
D: Hybrid is the most popular type of set that I do because it adds thickness, dimension, and is an everyday sassy look. So it’s a mix of classic—which is one extension to one lash—with volume, up to five smaller lashes on one lash.
M: I like sassy, let’s do that for me!

M: Hey, are there lash competitions and do you see yourself ever competing?
D: I would love to compete in the future, but right now I’m just focusing on my business.

Speaking of that competition part of lash extensions, I had to investigate for myself, and I found a whole new section of the beauty industry that I didn’t even know existed. For instance, Eye Lash magazine is the industry bible, giving extensionists everything they need to know about trends, competitions, skills, training, new products, and lash business tips.

The Lash Global Competition Montreal 2018 takes place in May and features challenges in everything from mega volume to fantasy art designs. There are glitter lashes, rhinestone lashes, and colored lashes! (Maybe I’ll choose glitter next time?)

During a lash competition, there are different categories for beginner, master, and expert extensionists, and then they break them down further into different rounds of “Classic Look,” “Double Volume,” and “Dramatic Volume.” It’s the industry’s very own Olympics and it’s taken very seriously. Gaining fame at a lash competition can propel your business to the next level.

Although I was not competing for the gold, my hybrid of classic and volume turned out beautifully. And Danielle was correct about my reaction. When waking from my slumber, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Full, thick, and seductive lashes were now my own. And yes, later in the comfort of my own vanity, I stood on my podium and thanked my fans.   

Michelle Farnsworth is a local writer and owner of her own Younique Makeup and Skincare business. Two humans, one fur baby, and her husband, Richard, occupy her free time.