What inspired you to become an eyelash extension specialist?
So let’s see... I got my BA in art, didn’t really care for it just because there was nothing to do here for art. So I was working at a bank, and someone said “you should become a makeup artist, ‘cause you have a steady hand.” So I went to beauty school, graduated 2007… didn’t like it. I did not like working in spas, I did not like doing facials, it was incredibly boring for me. So I went back to school to study illustration, that was all online, and went back to working in a restaurant because the money was better. Ended up moving to California to be with Mike (Mike is her husband! We love Mike), and I was still working on my masters. Still working at restaurants. I started doing mobile spray tans again, and I ended up meeting a lady that owned a spa / salon. She did lashes. So I knew that she taught them, and across the street from where I worked was a school that had a sign for teaching lashes. So I went to her, did a one-on-one class, started practicing in my house on people that I knew. Went on a trip to Europe, and when I came back I ended up getting hired at Blink Bar. I worked there until I got pregnant and we moved back here, and that’s kind of where I started. I knew there was money in it, but back here… no one was doing it. It wasn’t as popular yet. So I was like, “great I have this kit, no one does it, what am I gonna do.” So I graduated with my masters and I didn’t work for about a year, until I came back here and got hired in at Flawless.
Can you share some of your top tips for maintaining beautiful lash extensions?
You have to clean them. The cleaner your lash, the longer it’s going to stay. If you wear makeup and don’t clean your face it’s going to build up on the lash line and the lashes won’t adhere. Then they won’t stay. It’s a constant battle I’ve had with clients. I can see the makeup. I know when they’re lying about it. “I clean my lashes,” or “I don’t wear makeup,” but I can see the glitter in the lash line.
What's the most satisfying aspect of being an eyelash extension specialist at our salon?
Their reaction at the end. The, “oh my gosh! I look so young!” Or, for people who I’ve seen for a while, it’s “oh I look like myself again! I feel better now.”
Do you have a favorite eyelash style or extension type that you often recommend to clients?
I like to keep it more natural. I have always been taught to accentuate the eyes. You want the eyes to match the face, you don’t want to overpower all that on your eye, it’s more about natural beauty. So I really like the natural shape, which is a little longer by the brow arch, with a C or CC curl.
How do you stay current with the latest trends and techniques in eyelash extensions?
Instagram, social media, going on YouTube and it’ll kind of just throw you down the rabbit hole. It’s a really great way to keep up.
What's your typical day like as an eyelash extension specialist?
It’s pretty… I mean normally I’m booked solid. Back to back. I usually listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I work.
Emily: What are you listening to right now?
Shauna: I just finished one by VA Paris, it’s called “The Breakdown.” Just finished it. It was really good. Now I’m listening to a podcast called “We don’t want to grow up,” and it sticks with that 80s / 90s nostalgia. Right now they’re talking about Gremlins. I saw it as a kid, it terrified me. I didn’t watch it again until probably my late 20s, because I was really scared of it. [laughter]
Can you describe the most common challenges clients face with lash extensions, and how you address them?
The most common challenge is “I don’t know why they’re falling off.” I can go through the checklist, and… I think the main one could possibly be stress. And it’s really hard to try to fix that. That’s my biggest struggle.
So you just mentioned that the first fill is the hardest because they’re getting used to the extensions, can you go into a little bit more detail there?
They want to touch them. They want to touch them, they’re not sure how to take care of them, they want to do… basically everything you said not to do, they’re gonna do, and they’re gonna come back with less lashes on. And they’re gonna either not come back because of that, or get angry at the fallout, or they’ll never correct it.
How do you customize eyelash extensions to suit each client's unique needs and style?
By health. The health of their natural lashes. I’ll tell them I can’t go that long. We can do what we can, if you don’t like it it’s not permanent, so we can always go longer next time. Let’s keep it on the low end and kind of build up. It’s easier to build than it is to take away. Then I go by their natural eye shape. So if someone has deep set eyes, I’m going to use an LC on her so it will pop out and not get lost in the shadow. Same thing with hooded eyes, or anyone with super straight lashes.
Are there any new lash extension products or trends that our readers should be aware of?
I feel like classic is coming back. It’s coming back but the wet look is still very popular too. So the wet look kinda looks more classic, but it’s a fuller look. You’re still getting a bit of fullness.
Emily: Interesting. I didn't think classic would come back. I remember when everyone was first training on volume lashes.
Shauna: It’s coming back, people don’t want that heavy look anymore. I don’t know if it’s the weather changes where you want minimal makeup on your face. I feel like COVID exposed a lot, it exposed a lot of chemicals in products, and people are seeing what’s going on, so they’re trying to do more of a normal look, and that could be it too. Oh, and lash lifts. I’ve been seeing a lot more of those. So classic lashes, wet look, and lash lifts. Less volume.
What is the biggest misconception people have about eyelash extensions, and how do you clarify it?
They think they’re permanent. That they’ll never fall off. And I have to tell people that you naturally shed lashes, you just don’t see it. You notice it more when you have extensions because they’re longer, darker, thicker.
Can you walk us through the process of applying eyelash extensions for a first-time client?
Sure, I’ll pretend you’re a client and go through what I’d say. So you’re going to lay on the bed, I’m going to clean your lashes so they’re nice and clean, then we’ll put the eye patches on so I don’t glue you together. Isolate your lashes, use a primer so there’s no oil, then I’ll map out my lash map. I tell them that if there’s any discomfort it’s probably the eye pads shifting and I’ll ask them to let me know. I’ll tell them it’s not the glue, and then I check on them periodically if they’re not asleep to make sure they’re comfortable.
Emily: and you’re using a two-glue method right now?
Shauna: Right now, yeah. The weather is so weird. I don’t know who discovered that, Acadia? I think. You do the Eden first, then you use the EE, and the Eden makes the EE dry faster. So that’s what I’ve been trying and it’s going well.
Are there any DIY lash care practices you recommend for maintaining the health of extensions?
I always tell clients to do their skincare routine a couple hours before bed. Then the reaction is, “I don’t put it near my eyes.” No, but even if you don’t put it on your eyes, if you do it right before bed as soon as your head hits the pillow it’s going to travel. So that’s one that comes up a lot. Don’t brush them while wet. Another problem, as we get into winter especially, is when people do at-home spray tan stuff that they put all over their face. There are oils in there that make the lashes come off and you don’t really think about it.
How does our salon contribute to the overall client experience when it comes to lash extensions?
I think our consultation is really, really good. Where I worked before we did a checklist and the client would sign off on it, but it was kind of annoying because you have to tape them up, then you put two lashes on each eye, untape them and ask how they like it. Then they’d say yes and sign off on it. The consultation here is just way better.
Emily: Can you walk me through the consultation?
Shauna: I always start with the shape that they pick and what they’re looking for. Then I look at their eyes and see if that would be a good fit, and then I pull out the book–
Emily: The book that you put together for us :) (Pictured below! If you've seen this book, you have Shauna to thank for it)
Shauna: Yep! I show them my work and I say, “is this kind of what you’re looking for?” And I show them the shadow box we have with lash types so I can explain the difference between classic, hybrid, volume, make sure it’s the level of fullness that they are looking for. Then I ask about the length and curl and we go from there.
Emily: How do you help people who have no idea what they want? Or does that not usually happen?
Shauna: That doesn’t usually happen, a lot of people bring in pictures. So they’ll show you what they’re looking for.
What's your favorite part about being an eyelash extension specialist, and how does it benefit our clients?
I like making people happy! It’s very mellow and relaxing. And I get to stay creative, and I love that.
Are there any unique self-care rituals or practices you recommend for clients? Not necessarily for lash extensions, just in general.
I’m a big fan of oil. I do the oil with the gua sha in the morning and I’ve done it with lashes and they’re totally fine. I don’t do cold therapy but I should, I know that’s fine for lash extensions too. Like cryotherapy or putting your face in an ice bowl.
Emily: Wait, why are we putting our faces in ice bowls?
Shauna: So it actually gives you the energy that you need for the start of your day, and it’s kind of like taking an ice bath but just on your face. So you take a bowl of water with ice and you just do it for five minutes. 30 seconds in, then 30 seconds off. A few of my clients told me about it. It’s supposed to help with moles on your face, too. Like it sort of shocks them, in a way.
How important is proper aftercare for clients with lash extensions?
It’s super important. I go over the aftercare with all of my clients. You can get them wet after, that’s a myth, but avoid steam for 24 hours. The glue is still drying and the steam will loosen it back up. But you can get them wet because we already used the sealer and the mister, so they’ve been wet. Steam is the first one. Another thing is the oil, don’t get oil on your lashes. Don’t brush them while they’re wet, don’t pick at them, you have natural oil in your skin so it gets on your lashes. No mascara. You can still use eye drops, those are fine, but that’s mainly it. Do your skincare routine a few hours before bed and avoid steam. Those are the two big ones.
What advice would you offer to someone considering a career in eyelash extensions?
Practice. Just keep practicing.
Can you share any exciting developments on the horizon for our eyelash extension services?
I think color lashes are getting pretty popular right now.
Emily: Awesome, tell me about those.
Shauna: Well people just want a speck. They don’t want a lot. I think with Halloween right here, and going into Christmas, it’s fun. It’s a fun look.
Emily: Honestly, if I were not allergic, I’d want that. Full color lashes. That would be so fun.
Shauna: I think it’s really pretty! Like the blue, and you see it in a certain light, and it just looks pretty. But you can’t really tell unless you see it in a certain light, and it makes you wonder, “wait are those…?” And it’s fun and pretty for people to try something different. One of my clients has some blue lashes, and one of Acadia’s does a lot of purple.
Is there a signature lash style or experience that clients can expect when visiting our salon?
I don’t think so. I feel like we all do different stuff. We all have different strengths. For example, Lauren and I have a lot of the same styles, but I cannot lash like Bre. I just can’t do that super dramatic extra long, extra volume look. She does such an amazing job with that, whereas I think my skill level aligns with more natural looks.
Tell me about you. Who are you outside of the salon? Tell me about the Shauna behind the Shauna.
I’m a mom. Right now all of my free time is going to this Halloween party for my son Logan, I’m going to have 21 kids at my house all aged 7 and below. So I have 12 games planned, and that’s where all my free time is going. [Follow up: the Halloween party went well! There were 24 kids that showed.] And on my days off I’m either painting puppy portraits or running around doing errands. I like to work out, I try to stay healthy, try to get my kids to stay that way too. I like to volunteer at the school. I don’t know, haha.
Emily: No, it’s awesome, we can talk about all of this. You were just baptized, too? Christian, or..?
Shauna: Mhm, I go to a Baptist church. So that day was really cool because I decided I wanted to get baptized, and because I decided my grandpa jumped on the bandwagon, and since my grandpa did it my mom did too. So that day was a three-generation baptism. The pastor keeps talking about it, it’s pretty cool. “That 90-year-old-man came up here,” yeah it was really fun.
Emily: That’s awesome! So I was a kid when I was baptized, can you tell me about the ceremony a little bit?
Shauna: For sure. I was baptized before too, it kind of depends on your religion, but like with mine it doesn’t count because it wasn’t your decision. So I went and decided to declare, in front of everybody. It was cool. But I was scared, because… you do see those videos of… I don’t know if they’re acting or what, but you see those videos where people have demons in them and they get baptized, and I’m like “oh my god what if that happens to me,” but then I’m like “No I’ve been Saved, that can’t happen,” but then you get scared you'll fall or something else that's silly, haha.