Photograph: Hannah Louise F
MAC Halsey lipstick*
Hi, my name is Millie Cotton and I'm an eyelash extensions addict.
There, I said it. Can I go now?
If you had told me a year ago that I'd be sat writing about my eyelash extension reliance, I'd have never believed it. "Me, the girl who's crap at make up, addicted to eyelash extensions? Never."
Yet, here I am. My second beautiful set from Vanessa at Beauty and Grace in Soho very much intact and fluttering away as I blink, far longer and fuller than I could ever have dreamt of from my own.
Second set doesn't sound so bad, does it? That's a bit of a white lie obviously. This is my second set from Vanessa, who I found in Soho after my usual eyelash guru cancelled on me. A quick glance over my email bookings and it looks like I've now been getting eyelash extensions for 7 months - doesn't time fly!
First things first, in all honesty, the thought of seven months sends a shiver down my spine - the depletion that would have had on my bank balance, ouuuuuch.
Eyelash extensions and their up-keep is fairly expensive. Although Vanessa kindly gave me my second set for free, usual rates for a full set of Russian Volume lashes come in at £90 for a full set and £75 for half a set. Russian volume eyelash extensions are the more expensive option - several thinner, lighter lashes are applied to each individual lash. There's also the option of a set where one individual false lash is applied directly to one of your own lashes. This is slightly cheaper at £60 for a full set and then £40 for infills.
The treatment takes around two hours for a new full set and then an hour or infills every 3-5 weeks, depending on how well you look after your lashes, keeping them away from oil based products and not rubbing your eyes.
Finding a beauty therapist who suits you is key. If you're after lashes that are full, long but still leave you looking fairly natural, Vanessa is the one! We've nattered for hours about London, our favourite restaurants, where we dream of travelling, our families...the list goes on. When someone is going to be literally in your face - well, staring at it for a solid couple of hours - it's important that you feel comfortable with them.
So is the time and money worth it? In my opinion, most definitely so. The time saved applying mascara and removing it over the course of a month would easily add up to the two hour application time. Justifying the money spent on it is a little harder - should I be short on cash one month, it would be the first thing I'd cut back on. It's a luxury but one that means I get up in the morning, wash my face, chuck on my gym kit and feel entirely comfortable with no make up leaving the house.
Like strong eyebrows, long, full lashes make such a difference and no matter how much mascara you may achieve, you'd never be able to create the same effect.
Don't knock it until you've tried it and if you manage to swerve addiction, more power to you.
To book in with Beauty and Grace, you can reach Vanessa on 07713410449.