1 The Most Vain Thing I Have Ever Done Cost Me $96 And I Regret Nothing | The Billfold

The Most Vain Thing I Have Ever Done Cost Me $96 And I Regret Nothing

mirror mirrorIf you were to have looked at my calendar yesterday you would have noticed a 90-minute lunchtime meeting titled “Important Meeting.”

What this means is that a coworker and I got our eyelashes blinged.

First: I am not a girl-girl. I do not really know what to do with most makeup. Sometimes, I smear it on and think I am getting somewhere but mostly it’s like, “Oh, you have once again woken up with your deathly pallor, I think that could be improved with some of this two-year-old pink blushy-blush.” This past year I turned 30 and so I bought some face serum that comes in a pretty blue bottle and while it doesn’t make me look like my skin is made of fetus, my forehead is a little softer now, so overall, a win.

But I do not do treatments or get blowouts and I have never tried threading. I have a very particular and compact wheelhouse that makes me feel like enough of a non-monster person to leave the house each morning and all of that was fine until my coworker showed up at work looking like a goddamn Incan princess with lashes I stared at so intently during meetings that I was fairly certain I was on my way to a really awkward conversation with HR until finally another woman asked her, “Oh, did you get your eyelashes done again?” My head exploded because apparently getting your eyelashes done is a thing you can do.

And so I did.

At Bling Lash on 14th Street in Manhattan they will attach 50-100 tiny individual lashes to your eyelids with semi-permanent glue that, with proper care, will last up to three weeks. I opted for the “Synthetic Mink” option in “natural” (other style choices: “sexy” or “cute”), and it took the very sweet technician roughly an hour to affix them to my own paltry, worthless, garbage lashes. The woman next to me snored loudly. Someone—I have no idea who, as your eyelids are taped shut—gave me a lovely complimentary hand and food massage during the treatment. I listened to This American Life and when I opened my eyes, my life was changed irrevocably.

This magical event set me back $96, plus tip ($120 for the set, but you get a 10% discount as a first timer, plus another 10% if you book online and pay in cash). This is not an insignificant amount of money to me. It’s more than I spend on a haircut. It’s less than I spend feeding my cat for a month. My coworkers didn’t say anything while I batted my eyelashes in their faces, but when I brought it up they assured me I look amazing and one of them made her own appointment for later in the week. So is it worth it?


My lashes


Some things to know:
- Do some stretches before you lie down on the table. You’ll be there a while.
- Bring headphones.
- Shower before, because you won’t be allowed to for 24 hours afterwards. (Also you’re not allowed to “sweat,” which: hahahaha.)
- For $1,125, you can get a set of “sable” lashes, which I can only imagine comes with your own endangered sable who delicately plucks his finest hairs for you with his own tiny sable claws and then drapes himself artfully around your neck for the next three weeks of bliss.

Has anyone else done this? Am I the last one on this glam train? Is there any way to justify this financially? I’m saving the 90 seconds I spend curling my lashes and applying mascara in the mornings, but I’m not sure how to quantify that. How do we celebrate our own beauty without subscribing to the patriarchy? What beauty treatments do you shell out for, and are you able to do this guilt-free?

And how great do my eyelashes look?


Meghan Nesmith lives in New York and writes a column with her dad.


39 Comments / Post A Comment

Aconite (#6,401)

Every month I go and have my eyebrows and eyelashes dyed, then my eyebrows shaped by an expert Lithuanian lady. It is £28. It is a joy. I am rubbish at applying makeup and extremely lazy, so a big plus is that it enables me to wear absolutely no makeup at all.

@Aconite Oh I’ve thought about trying this! I don’t want the extensions, I just am curious about tinting my eyelashes as they are pretty long but also light at the ends.

Aconite (#6,401)

@Punk-assBookJockey I recommend it highly. My eyelashes are also long and thick, but in their natural state very light blonde so it looks like I don’t have any at all. I go for super duper darkest black for the lashes, so with the dye it looks as if I’m wearing mascara, ALL THE TIME.

AllisonLouise (#2,194)

@Punk-assBookJockey I used to tint, but it is nothing compared to the extensions. Tinting always burned my eyes, and it didn’t give me the definition/length i wanted-i always had to put mascara on anyway. I don’t have to wear ANY mascara on my top lashes with extensions.

i mean, they do look pretty great

aetataureate (#1,310)

I got threaded yesterday in fact! Total cost: $6 plus $2 tip plus $4.77 for Taco Bell after-reward.

bgprincipessa (#699)

@aetataureate $6??!!

aetataureate (#1,310)

@bgprincipessa I don’t know what the right answer is. Is that cheap or expensive seeming?

Allison (#4,509)

@aetataureate cheap! I feel great about my $8 threader (that I haven’t been to lately because lazy.) and coworkers were in awe that a place near my office (off Michigan Ave) does eyebrow waxing for only $12

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Allison My place is in Skokie and it’s magical. I hadn’t been for a couple of months (because grad school) but it still only took like 2 minutes.

jenny0 (#6,933)

@aetataureate There’s a place by my house [nyc] that does it for $4! AND, they’re clean and do a great job. Amazing.

Allison (#4,509)

I see ads for it on a lot of salon type places, generally with a bridal slant. DON’T YOU WANT TO HAVE GREAT LASHES FOR YOUR BIG DAY???

I once had a lady at sephora say “your lower lashes are longer than my upper lashes” so I don’t think it’s for me? (/humble brag) but getting my brows waxed or threaded is KEY to my face looking like an adult lady face and not a teen boy’s.

Also I lost my mind over the intensity of Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara last week.

andnowlights (#2,902)

@Allison I need more information about this mascara! I’m looking for a switch!

nell (#4,295)

@andnowlights I also love ‘They’re Real’!–I also like that you can get a smallish tube for $10, because I cannot justify spending 20+ bucks on something you’re supposed to chuck after 3 months.

CeeEm (#5,833)

When I started reading this, I was worried you might NOT include the picture. They look amaze, 10/10.

ceereelyo (#3,552)

I have not gotten my eyebrows threaded in like two months because I am trying to grow them out, so they are unruly but also I got through spurts whre Idontgiveashit so it’s summer, whatever. I also on the beat of Benefit cosmetics finally learned how to pencil in my eyebrows without looking like a crazy person! I completely owe it to the eye brow pencil (I have to buy a new one tonight! yay!)

I was going to do something like this when I got married last year since my lashes are short but then my cousin glued some fakies on and it was fine. I also am a little finicky with people so close to my eyes.

soogee (#689)

Your eyelashes look phenomenal! I have the opposite “problem,” but when you have lots of long thick eyelash hairs you probably also have lots of long thick eyebrow hairs and lots of long thick upper lip hairs, so, grass is greener and all. My beauty expenses amount to threading twice per month. One time costs $7 + tip, which is normally $10-$15 total, depending on how overgrown I let my face get and how guilty I feel. So $20-$30 per month.

guenna77 (#856)

@soogee yup, i’m on your end of that spectrum. my money gets spent on waxing, thanks to dark, fast-growing leg hair

BillfoldMonkey (#1,754)

I’ve never done this, but as a stubby-lashed person I have been sorely tempted. They look amaze and are inspiring me to grab the next groupon I see.

A-M (#4,317)

My aunt who lives in Southern California was informing me at the latest family gathering that *everybody* in her neighborhood has at least enhanced eyelashes, and she went and got hers done and I swear they are four times as thick as yours. She has refused to do more extensive altering to her body but I think it is much more A Thing out west. My aunt in Texas was informing me how she went and drove several hours to get her eyelashes done but probably wouldn’t be doing it again because her husband didn’t trust the doctor or something like that.

Despite the wonders it would be of not having to deal with mascara rubbing off when exercising/swimming, I am too chicken and too cheap to do it myself.

Meghan, would you report back in three weeks on how well they held up, please? If they last the full time (or longer!) I might be swayed to do this. Of course, I probably should spend the money on getting my hair professionally colored, but that’s no fun…

ronswansonluva (#6,465)

They look amazing!! This gives me hope: I used to get my eyelashes did but it cost $250 for the inital set plus $75 every three weeks (both numbers not including tip). They looked AMAZING, and I’d definitely do it if I had a job where I felt like my attractiveness -> success (e.g. I used to lease apartments, and that would have made it worth it). Ahh now I want to find cheaper options and get back on that eyelash train!

Dinosaur_Senior (#1,526)

Meghan, I’ve had these before and love them. One important point- eventually, they will start to get sparse/fall out. If they do pls go back to the salon and let them remove them. They are glued to your eyelashes so if you’re tempted to pull them out, your real eyelashes go too! I had a partially bald eye and it looked like crap.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@Dinosaur_Senior whoa “PARTIALLY BALD EYE”

DalelyDale (#7,363)

I have been wanting to do this so badly! This may be the inspiration I needed!

AllisonLouise (#2,194)

So worth it! I’m a blonde with very light eyebrows and lashes. I live in fear i will be transported to colonial times, live through zombie apocalypse, etc. and have no mascara available. I’ve been getting lash extensions for about 3 years now. It is the one extravagant luxury i allow myself. I have a long lash cycle, so i can get away with three weeks. Most people can’t. Yes, once a year i take them all off and let my lashes fill in a bit-mine do get sparse. But, i switched lash ladies about 9 months ago and i haven’t had that problem yet. Case in point: shop around for the best lady you can find. An extra $10-20 can mean saving your lashes.

Marille (#5,933)

I used to get my brows waxed ($20, not inc. tip), but ever since I taught myself how to do it, I don’t trust anyone else! But I also can’t quite justify spending $60+ on a wax heater and relevant supplies, so I just sort of let my eyebrows look a little unkempt. Occasionally, I will use my dark brown shadow as brow powder, so they look a little more put together. As for lashes, I absolutely LOVE false lashes, and would wear them every day if I thought I could get away with it (I can’t, because I love the insanely thick, kinda tacky ones).

jquick (#3,730)

@Marille Why don’t you just use tweezers on your eye brows?

I got my brows waxed yesterday by a tiny little lady who groaned, “Is like old man” when she took her first look at them. She also seemed personally upset by the coarseness/intractability of the individual hairs and exclaimed in delight every time she successfully plucked a straggler. Scottish genes! You are going to be covered in thick red hair and you’re going to LIKE IT.

andnowlights (#2,902)

Literally, my best feature is my eyelashes (they look like your after and make it hard to find sunglasses that let me blink without brushing up against the lenses), but this is TOTALLY something I think would be would doing. I mean, I’m not ruling out just going EXTREME LASHES and trying it myself, but great eyelashes really help the eyes pop… or whatever.

We’re not going to talk about the last time I got my eyebrows waxed because I think it’s been a year and I can’t bring myself to care.

j a y (#3,935)

Man, if there were stuff that could improve a guy’s features like that, I would TOTALLY do it. (Except that I’m lazy and can’t keep my eyebrows under control.)

Natalat (#7,519)

@j a y I would love to have the luxury to be lazy about my eyebrows… But it is something that can greatly help your overall look. Even just spending five minutes a week to clean up your brows could help. My guy cleans up in the middle and a few stray hairs above the main brow and it takes him no time at all.

Christy (#3,892)

I get my eyebrows, upper lip, and chin waxed. I usually hold out for three months, but I’ve just decided that it’s worth it to do regularly, even if I have to drive up to Baltimore to see my waxer. I’ve been waxing my eyebrows since I was 11 (which is really a terrible comment on beauty standards), and I can only really recognize my face when my eyebrows are done. I didn’t realize how happy it made me on a macro scale, so now I’m going to make more of an effort to keep it up. It’s worth the $42.

jquick (#3,730)

Seems most people commenting here get their eyebrows waxed. Doesn’t anyone use tweezers? Seems to me it would save time and money to just follow what the waxer did.

Natalat (#7,519)

@jquick it’s not the same thing at all. Tweezers works well for grabbing individual hairs and fast maintenance but most women that I know need more than that to get clean brows. For myself, I have thick eyebrows that also grow very long. If I didn’t wax every two weeks, it would be a mess. I have a $350 yearly pass that I pay so I can go as frequently as I need to. Eyebrows are easily the most time consuming and costly beauty thing I have other than a hair cut every 8 weeks.

jalmondale (#6,721)

@jquick I use tweezers, and I have crazy thick eyebrows. But, I don’t go for the pencil-line-thin look, which I could see being tricky to get on your own. That said, I also don’t really do the salon/beauty treatment thing (makeup is for special occasions like weddings, and I get my hair cut every year or so), so maybe I just look unkempt and don’t know? Sounds like I save a bundle by my obliviousness, though.

Aunt Scar (#5,377)

@jquick I have very thick dark brows and poor eyesight. It would take copious amounts of vodka, better lighting, and witch hazel, and wouldn’t be as nice as a chat with Paulette who knocks it out in 15 minutes. I can barely keep up with my chin and the worst of my lip area.

willpower (#7,520)

Prolly writing about it is the most vain thing you have ever done. And let’s hope that you’re not calling your co-worker an Incan princess to her face because then HR is def getting involved.

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