Photography: Steve Dement
Article written by: Rachel Brownlow
With an interesting mixture of scientific precision and creative artistry, Ize Calina, owner of Austin-based eyelash extension boutique Elluminize, is on a mission to brighten the eyes of Austin, one lash at a time.
Awarded the 2011 Best of Austin: Most Over-the-Top Beauty Treatment for its mink eyelash extensions, Elluminize is quickly gaining popularity as one of Austin’s premier businesses for cosmetic enhancement services.
Though Calina assists women from a variety of different demographics, the service is most popular with mature businesswomen who yearn to feel youthful and alluring, but do not want to spend ample amounts of prep time applying mascara and other eye makeup products.
Invented only seven years ago, eyelash extension application is still relatively new, but Calina, a licensed cosmetologist for more than 15 years, has been practicing extension application artistry for more than five. She estimates that in that time, she’s applied “hundreds and hundreds of lashes.”
Typically, the process starts with a one-on-one consultation where Calina gets to know the client’s ocular history, preferred eyelash extension material and reasons for seeking lash extensions. Once she’s determined which extensions to use, she takes the customer into a comfortable, private studio and gets to work.
During the session, Calina tailors each set of eyelash extensions to the specific client, taking into account the client’s style, eye shape, facial structure and level of physical activity.
“I love the artistry of it,” said Calina, who considers herself an eyelash extension technician, but frequently hears clients refer to her as an eyelash extension artist.
Typically, Calina will apply between 120 and 300 lashes per eye. Because each eyelash extension must be glued individually to a natural lash, sessions can last between two and three hours to apply a full set.
At first glance, the length of the session may appear a significant time commitment, but clients have estimated that the procedure saves them 20 to 30 minutes per day in makeup application time.
Possibly more impressive, Elluminize’s lashes have a reputation of lasting five to eight weeks, longer than the industry standard of two to three. Calina attributes this success to three things: the type of extensions, the brand of adhesive and her own highly developed skill set.
Calina knows that the right eyelash material can mean the difference between healthy and brittle lashes. Because lighter, thinner lash extensions cause less stress to the natural lashes, Elluminize uses only .15 mm synthetic or mink extensions, an ideal choice when considering the look and feel of the lashes.
After experimenting with eight different adhesives, she found the safest, most highly performing medical adhesive on the market. Now Elluminize customers are free to exercise, sleep, shower and even swim in their extensions without worrying about excessive eyelash shedding.
But these two product strengths – extension materials and adhesives – would be nothing without Calina’s expert knowledge and painstaking craftsmanship, which have earned her the nickname, “Eyelash Whisperer,” among clients.
To her, even the extension application itself is a creative science, and she uses a variety of eyelash lengths and curvatures throughout the design for each eye. The result is a naturally voluminous look that will last until the natural lash sheds.
Calina also suggests that clients cleanse their lash lines daily. This simple technique takes less than two minutes to complete and can add weeks to the longevity of the eyelash extensions by preventing the extensions from prematurely slipping off the natural lashes due to excess body oil.
In fact, each of three these strengths – extensions, brand and, well, Calina – not only ensures longer-lasting lashes, but also gives clients a healthier, brighter and more natural-looking appearance.
“Instead of looking like they’re wearing false lashes, clients leave looking fresh and sophisticated,” said Calina, who strives to create lashes so beautiful and natural looking that casual observers think the customer was born with them.
Elluminize strives to enhance clients’ natural beauty, not to overtake their appearance with fake, conspicuous extensions. “Often, my clients will tell me how many compliments they’ve been getting,” Calina said. “But most of them have nothing to do with the lashes!”
After the treatment, it’s not uncommon for clients to get compliments on their hair, outfit or overall appearance. “People may notice that something’s changed, but they don’t know what.”
Just take a look at Elluminize’s Facebook page: It’s filled with glowing recommendations from clients who appreciate the company’s professional, personable and safe atmosphere almost as much as their gorgeous, sophisticated-looking lashes.
“I was really nervous about getting lashes,” wrote one customer in a testimonial, “but [Calina] made the whole process totally comfortable.”
Another client described the service as “relaxing” and “pain-free,” pointing to the fact that customers of Elluminize were given their own private rooms during lash extension sessions.
According to Calina, the name Elluminize is derived from the Latin word for “heavenly light.” Combined with the traditional proverb that the “eyes are the windows to the soul,” Calina knew she’d landed on the ideal name for her company.
Like Calina’s approach to her work, the Elluminize name is the perfect blend of fact and fancy.
Please visit Elluminize website for additional information www.elluminize.com.