Expert's Opinion

Eyelash Products: Now a Significant Category of Its Own

By Sophy Merszei, President and CEO of NovaLash, Inc. | June 21, 2011

Sophy Merszei of NovaLash weighs in on the eyelash treatment trend.

Prior to 2004, almost all cosmetic products focused simply on hair, skin and nails. While false eyelashes did exist, the introduction of natural-looking single-fiber, longlasting eyelash extensions eased consumers gently back into a growing interest in lashes than had not been seen since the 1950’s and 60’s.

True extensions differ from traditional forms of false lashes in that they must be applied in a salon or spa by a trained esthetician or cosmetologist, one hair at a time. The service can take up to two hours. When done correctly, the consumer should be left with approximately 50% of the extensions after one month. At this time, she returns for a touch-up treatment. In the U.S. the average price for the first full set is around $250, but prices in cities like New York and Los Angeles can reach up to $650. The average price for a fill in the U.S. is about $75.

The introduction of these natural-looking, long-wearing, waterproof extensions were an excellent substitute for mascara that also gave a subtle boost to length and thickness that mascara could not. While the products first became available worldwide in 2004 through NovaLash, Inc, it took some time for the trend to grow to the point at which the lash trend grew so strong that traditional strip and cluster lashes were no longer seen as dated or out of style.

While most cosmetic products and services used to focus only on hair skin and nails, we must now take notice of the category that WWD reported to be the only cosmetic category that showed growth during the recession. In fact, anyone who has recently attended an esthetics trade show might have noticed that within the past two years, these shows have shifted from skin care shows to lash shows. Vendors display products such as lash growth serums, conditioners, extensions, traditional strip lashes, cluster or flare lashes, feather lashes, dipping products, perms and tints.

While this all may sound like an easy money-making venture, the services associated with this category require significant training, especially the extensions. Extensions have the highest profit margin of any of the services, but they require a few months of practice to perfect the technique and acquire hand speed.

About The Author
Sophy Merszei is president and chief executive officer of NovaLash, Inc. and a former molecular biologist. She also received training in cosmetic chemistry at UCLA. She studied biology at USC and left a Ph.D program in Molecular Biology at the University of Houston to start NovaLash in 2004. She is considered the mother of the modern eyelash industry for creating the first biocompatible adhesives while still studying at U of H. She has received such awards as ICMAD’s“Cosmetic Innovator of the Year”, Professional Women’s Association’s” Woman of the Year” and many others. She is credited with beginning the first global distribution network for eyelash extensions and is working on publishing thefirst cosmetology school text book and curriculum for teaching the process.

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