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Japanese eyelash perm

March 10, 2013 Reviewed by admin 4 Comments
I woke up this morning to an email from Yelp: $22 for a Japanese eyelash perm that normally costs $50. I had never heard of the procedure before but my curiosity was definitely piqued. After all, long, thick, luscious lashes are highly coveted by the TIA community, so the Japanese eyelash perm seemed worth checking out.

First, it’s important to know what the perm is not: an eyelash growth stimulator or thickener. You’re definitely working with the lashes you were born with and are not adding any extensions or false eyelashes. A Japanese eyelash perm is literally a perm for your eyelashes. It appeals mostly to people who are addicted to their eyelash curlers or who find that eyelash curlers don’t quite cut it. While the procedure is strictly for curl, it does enhance and dramatize lashes, giving them the appearance of being longer and thicker without the use of an eyelash curler or even mascara.

There are several different rod sizes available to choose from; smaller rods get you curlier lashes, while larger rods will leave you with straighter ones, similar to the way a hair perm works. Lavilash, the New York City salon that is hosting Yelp’s deal, boasts 42 different rods, all of which fall into one of three eyelash “designs:” I curl (which curls straight up), C curl (if you want that dramatic look) and J curl (a more forward, natural curl).

While not all salons offer the exact same options, you can expect a relatively standard procedure anywhere you go. First, rods are glued to your eyelids, followed by each individual eyelash being glued to the rod one by one (pictured). A chemical solution is applied to the lashes, followed by another perm solution. Finally, a conditioner is applied and the rods are removed. The whole process takes approximately 40 minutes, and results last anywhere from 3 – 6 weeks.

The major benefit of the Japanese eyelash perm is that it pretty much guarantees a more dramatic set of lashes, without the use of growth products that may or may not work, and may very well be risky to use. The perm is also probably a better option than extensions are, at least when it comes to practicality; extensions fall out and move around. Even sleeping the wrong way can mess up extensions. But that is not the case with the perm.

Still, there are several drawbacks. First, there seem to be just as many negative reviews as there are positive reviews of the Japanese eyelash perm. One major complaint is that eyelashes end up being too curled and come off looking unnatural. This can be remedied by using a larger rod instead of a smaller one, but if there is a large selection of rods it may be hard to pick the perfect size. Another common complaint is the opposite problem: a barely noticeable curl.

My immediate reaction to the idea of perming eyelashes was to wonder how using chemicals that close to the sensitive eye region could be safe. Lavilash states honestly that the salon cannot say that “no damage” occurs during the perm, as chemicals are being used to alter the structure of the hair. Still, while a bad hair perm can ruin your tresses for years, eyelashes have a relatively high turnover rate. Even if they are damaged by a perm, new lashes will grow in quickly.

A more pressing concern is whether the chemicals used in the perm can damage your eyes, as that is something that may not be reparable. Although I couldn’t find an exact list of the chemicals used, I did discover that eyelash perming is illegal in several states. Colorado, for example, banned the procedure because the FDA reported that chemicals used in regular hair relaxers and perms have caused serious eye injuries in the past. In addition, the FDA reviewed an eyelash perming product in 1989 that the agency labeled as “a potential moderate-acute health hazard, producing corneal damage which may interfere with visual acuity.” The FDA has not approved any eyelash perming products as of yet.

While I don’t think that the FDA is necessarily the ultimate authority in cosmetics, I personally would not risk putting any sort of chemicals near my eyes. What about you – would you consider perming your lashes?
  • August 7, 2011

    by Vivian

    Donna, have you tried waterproof mascara? My eyelashes go flat after curling them with an eyelash curler, if I use regular mascara. Waterproof mascara dries faster, so it keeps the curl before it has the opportunity to weigh the lashes down.

    Lipocils has never worked for me. Sounds like you've had more luck with the product than I.

    I may have considered perming my eyelashes ten years ago, but now I'm so efficient with my eyelash curler and mascara, that I don't think it'd be worthwhile. It doesn't last long enough, and it sounds too laborious.

  • April 30, 2011

    by donna

    I think my main concern with the lash perm is what's mentioned in the review about the curl being too tight. If I get sloppy and clamp down too high up on my lashes with my eyelash curler I get that freakish overly-curled look--definitely not what I'm going for! I really just want my lashes lifted up so I can see them, not curly.

    I recently watched a video on youtube by Lisa Eldridge, who's a makeup artist, where she goes to a salon in London to get a LVL lash "lift" (as opposed to lash perm). She also got a lash tint at the end of her treatment and with regard to possible damage, she said she was given some sort of cream to take home to apply to her lashes post treatment (I suppose kind of like the tube of deep conditioner that comes in a hair coloring kit to use after coloring). I do share in the misgivings about the strong chemicals being so close to the eye area, but I also have to admit Lisa's lashes looked really gorgeous to me. Her lashes looked really dark and perpetually freshly curled even without mascara!

    As someone who's lashes are board-straight and point completely downward, I don't leave the house without using my Shu Uemura lash curler (I could really relate to the bit she said about being naked :) But the effect I get with my curler doesn't last even an hour and when I wear mascara it just makes my lashes heavier and even if I've used one of those curling mascaras my lashes are back to being flat as a board in no time. I've given up on wearing mascara (it always gets smudged & makes my eyes itch anyway) but have been using Talika Lipocils lash treatment for over a year now. It's definitely made my lashes longer but not at all darker. The tip ends of my lashes are actually transparent, so they appear much shorter than they are. So, for the lack of staying power & lack of pigment I'm very intruiged by both the lash lift and the lash tint. I looked at the LVL site, which is the brand used on Lisa (stands for Length Volume Lift) and disappointingly found that evidentally this particular treatment isn't yet available here in the U.S.

    Anyone out there in Europe who's had the LVL "lash lift"?

    I've also recently found that Talika makes a supposed new & improved version of their Lipocils that claims to darken AND curl lashes. Has anyone tried it? I'd be very interested to know your opinions!

  • April 13, 2011

    by patrice

    I've given myself lash perms several times. One eye at a time. Love it. I also have performed them on clients. Using the utmost caution etc., never leaving the client alone. But it is labor intensive, due to the constant focus you must attribute to the process.

  • February 10, 2011

    by barrie

    Maybe I was born too soon. But YIKES. NEVER.

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