Pre-Vacation Beauty Must: Lash Extensions And A Gel Manicure

Your hands and eyes can look gorgeous the whole time--even through surf and sun--with basically no effort. SO worth it.
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Your hands and eyes can look gorgeous the whole time--even through surf and sun--with basically no effort. SO worth it.

Before I left for Mexico, I thought, Hmmm… what do I need to do to look decent with the most minimal amount of effort on my part?

Lash extensions and a gel manicure, naturally. 

THE GEL MANICURE

Gel manicures are a no-brainer: they're meant to last, and they do. I've only had one gel manicure previously, at a dodgy, too-good-to-be-true-priced nail bar years ago. That manicure lasted a hot minute before it started to peel off. Luckily, my experience with Charise at the Queen West location of The Ten Spot was completely different. 

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Charise was amazing. She was extremely knowledgeable in all things beauty, and we talked about everything from nails to parasite cleanses, which apparently is a thing

Apart from giving a killer hand massage, Charise was also meticulous about shaping my nails. As they were growing out, they surprisingly kept their lovely shape, which was a first for me.

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I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive about gel manicures because of all the controversy regarding UV lights, but after a bit of research, I slathered my hands with some SPF and threw caution to the wind (I'm wild). The Ten Spot also uses newer LED lamps, which cure more quickly, minimizing the time of exposure.

The Professional Beauty Association states, "Independent studies have shown that UV lamps are safe and the equivalent of only a couple of minutes exposure to sunlight." Other studies say exposure from a UV lamp nail service would be about as much as you'd experience during a typical day around indoor fluorescent lighting. So I went with it. That said, I still wouldn't get them all the time. But who needs to when they last forever?

Onto the results, which conveniently double as obnoxious vacation background snaps.

Day 2

Day 2

Day 4

Day 4

Day 5

Day 5

Day 7

Day 7

This was a game-changer for me. Usually, with any other type of manicure, my nails are ridiculously peeled and horrible by day two, so if you're on the fence about gel nails and need to look immaculate for a little while, go for it. 

THE LASH EXTENSIONS

Next were the eyelashes. I went to MYNC Yorkville, a cute little lash bar that does eyelashes, brows and makeup. I got the Pretty In Mink option, and at $175, it doesn't come cheap. 

But let me tell you, If I could afford this treatment regularly, I'd be getting it ALL THE TIME. 

Four weeks later and these lashes are still looking good. Sure, they're not as thick as they started, but they're still so much better than my natural lashes, which is all a girl can ask for.

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Ivy, my aesthetician, couldn't have been more of an expert. She made me feel completely at ease, which is good, because sometimes getting individual synthetic mink eyelashes glued to your lash line feels pretty over-the-top, y'know?

I had the choice of either a sultry cat eye (elongated at the edges) or a more doe-eyed, dolly look (longer in the middle). I went for doll, naturally. 

The lashes were applied using "medical grade, latex-free, formaldehyde-free adhesive" directly to each of my own natural lashes. Ivy expertly applied each individual lash with precision, and the only discomfort I felt was a slight stinging of the eyes when I opened them at the end, which subsided almost immediately. 

After the appointment, I was given a little brush to brush out the lashes, and a little care card. Basically, the lashes can't come in contact with water for 24 hours. They recommend washing your face while wearing goggles, which I followed for two days before giving up. 

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Here are the results:

An old lash pic so you can get an idea of the tragedy of genetics I am working with.

An old lash pic so you can get an idea of the tragedy of genetics I am working with.

Day 1 of the vacation, Day 3 of eyelashes. Yes, there are sparse brow patches. Yes, they're too long. Yep, I'm growing them out. Eyebrow police, come at me.

Day 1 of the vacation, Day 3 of eyelashes. Yes, there are sparse brow patches. Yes, they're too long. Yep, I'm growing them out. Eyebrow police, come at me.

Day 5: wet from the ocean.

Day 5: wet from the ocean.

Day 8

Day 8

3.5 weeks

3.5 weeks

Honestly, I was not careful with these lashes. I showered, swam in the ocean, rubbed them when ocean water got in my eyes, etc. I don't recommend doing all these things, but I am amazed at how well they held up! Ivy is an actual eyelash genius. 

All in all, both these treatments are definitely great vacation go-tos, especially if you want to look polished with minimal effort.