Lashed Out: Experiencing Eyelash Extensions at Brow Chic
Brow Chic's Northeast location
When it comes to my beauty routine, I consider myself relatively low-maintenance. On any given day, I wear a light foundation and concealer, a brush of mascara, and a sheer blush and lipstick with lightly filled-in brows. For me, more is less. (Though I’m prone to wear a bold shade of red lipstick when I go out at night.)
So the idea of getting eyelash extensions had never crossed my mind, until I recently spotted them on the face of Wide Eyed Legless style blogger Madelynn Furlong—who describes her beauty routine as “minimalist.” She said of the extensions, "They make me feel pretty. I don't have to wear any mascara, and I'm not waking up with raccoon eyes."
I was surprised by how natural they looked. It turned out she’d gotten them done at Brow Chic, which opened in November 2011 in St. Paul. The salon—which specializes in facial waxing and threading, brow and lash tints, lash extensions, and airbrush makeup--opened its second location last fall in the historic Broadway building in Northeast Minneapolis (also home to 612 Brew and Spyhouse Coffee). Its tagline says it all: “No hair. No nails. Just faces.”
Brow Chic owner Kae Kozlowski had a decade of salon industry experience under her belt—primarily at St. Paul salon Estetica—before deciding to open her own business dedicated solely to the face. Locally known to be one of the best in the business, she seemed to be the go-to person for this first-timer. And based on Furlong’s results, I knew I would be in good hands (literally).
As an eyelash-extension novice, I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I arrived at the Northeast location—which makes great use of the historic building's exposed brick and high ceilings—I was given a laundry list of warnings (potential allergy to the products used during the extension process) and things to avoid (namely, mascara and getting the lashes wet). But after being led to the salon bed by Kozlowski, I laid back and closed my eyes for what turned out to be an entirely un-scary (and even relaxing) experience.
Brow Chic uses products from Chicago-based product line Lashe (Heidi Klum swears by them) for their lash extensions. After securing the bottom row of lashes, Kozlowski and her team go through and add an extension lash to the end of every lash, row by row. (She told me I had a row and a half of lashes; she said a person can have up to six rows, which can alter the amount of time and cost involved in the process.) She used a mix of synthetic lashes—hollow inside, they are incredibly lightweight—and mink lashes, which give a plush, luxe appearance. The irregular combination of the two styles makes for a more natural look, she explained. The entire, painstaking process took about an hour and a half for me. Fill-in appointments are suggested every three weeks for maintenance, as the lashes begin to naturally fall out.
At the end of the service, I also took advantage of Kozlowski’s brow services, getting my brows tinted to a more neutral shade (to better go with my dyed-silver-grey hair) and slightly cleaned up. The full-service treatment always includes a makeup touch-up, which Kozlowski says is a small but important gesture—after all, who wants to leave the salon with reddened skin after getting their eyebrows waxed? She touched me up using products from Brow Diva and high-end cosmetic line Ellis Faas, the full line of which Brow Chic carries at both of its locations.
I left looking like a perfectly natural version of myself—only feeling prettier, and more polished—and with a handful of products to try, including lash cleaning gel, clear mascara to pin down my coarse eyebrows, Brow Diva brow powder to fill in my brows and a spiffy new angled brow brush, and some foundation and lip color samples from Ellis Faas. And best of all, my beauty routine has been streamlined significantly—no longer do I have to perfectly apply mascara, nor do I have to remove my raccoon eyes every morning.
The one drawback for the service? The cost. With a full set of lash extensions starting at $300, and fills costing around $85 to $135, it’s somewhat cost prohibitive. While other salons in the Twin Cities offer lash extensions for cheaper, I believe you get what you pay for—and they don’t get higher-quality, more perfectly applied, or more natural-looking than Brow Chic. If you're considering trying lash extensions, I say do it right with Brow Chic, or don't do it at all.
Brow Chic is located in St. Paul at 179 Snelling Ave. S., 651-340-0292, and in Northeast Minneapolis at 945 Broadway St. N.E., Mpls. 612-354-7384, browchic.com
Here's me, after the service (I neglected to do a "before" photo, but trust me—my lashes are naturally small, blonde, and few and far between):
And more shots of the Northeast Brow Chic location:
[All photos by Jahna Peloquin]