The Surprising Benefit of Lash Extensions You Never Realized Before

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Growing up, I wore whatever drugstore mascara I could get my hands on, using every last bit I could get out of each tube (probably way past the three-month expiration). As a result, I'd constantly have flakes and smudges under my eyes, and so I developed a bad habit of rubbing my under-eyes throughout the day, paranoid something was there. My mom would tell me to stop, saying, "You're gonna have bags when you're older." 

That's stuck with me ever since, so when the opportunity to get eyelash extensions came up at work, I thought, well if I wear extensions, then I don't need mascara, and if I don't wear mascara, then I won't rub under my eyes. So naturally I said yes. Fast-forward four months, and I'm still hooked. Here's why.

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Not only do you get to wake up looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to go, but you also don't need to remove your mascara at night (or worry about going waterproof on vacation, or crying during a movie—you get the point). And there's another MAJOR benefit to lash extensions I hadn't realized before: they're anti-aging in more ways than one. Yes there are some critics who say a fluffy fringe isn't worth the risks—when done by someone who isn't a licensed and certified professional, it can damage the natural lashes or cause irritation to the eyes—but when applied properly, they can take years off one's appearance.

"Many of my clients say their lash extensions make them look up to 10 years younger," says Clementina Richardson, founder of New York–based Envious Lashes, where I've become a regular as of late. "It's almost like having an eyelift without going under the knife. Plus, fuller-looking lashes can enhance the beauty of your eyes, making you appear more youthful and alert."

New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD agrees. "Many older women who have a bit of skin laxity on their upper eyelids experience a little lifting effect when they get extensions," she says. "The curvature and length of the lashes can also cover the lid a bit more, camouflaging the lax skin. Additionally, our natural lashes get thinner and shorter—and sometimes even gray—as we age, so making them look thicker, longer and darker can give a youthful look to the face. When done by a qualified expert, extensions can be a great option."

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Another anti-aging upside to falsies? "Because you no longer need to wear mascara or use a mechanical eyelash curler, you won’t be removing as much makeup or pulling at your lashes like you did before," Richardson says. (As you can imagine, this really resonated with me. No more rubbing to remove mascara or eyeliner at night—yes!)

"Eyelid skin is the thinnest and most sensitive on our bodies, so harsh chemicals in many makeup removers can leave it red, dry or irritated," says Dr. Peredo. "Avoiding this irritation and unnecessary rubbing of the area may result in less fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, although it hasn't been studied. And if you wear waterproof makeup, you're most likely using even stronger makeup removers and more rubbing." It all makes sense!

Interested in giving extensions a go? Click here for some tips for first-timers from the pros.