by C. J. Hirschfield
I grew up in Los Angeles, where looks are, if not everything, then at least hugely important. And even though I left for good when I was 18, the imagined stigma of unloveliness remains with me. I am also a pretty frugal person and don’t want to spend a ton of money in pursuit of beauty. I do my own manicures and pedicures and have never invested in coloring my increasingly silver hair.
There is only one part of my body upon which I lavish my full attention: my eyes. I think they’re my best feature, so mascara, eyeliner, and eye shadow heavily populate my bathroom drawer.
For my entire adult life, my daily routine consists of using an eyelash curler in the quest to create the lush lash look. My husband couldn’t watch while I was engaged in this activity; said it looked too much like torture. Mascara application followed.
And then some months back, the Splash Pad News reported on a Grand Avenue business called Wink. They specialize in lash extensions, which need to be refilled every 2–3 weeks. You naturally shed between 2–5 natural lashes on a daily basis, the Wink website explains. Extensions seemed a bit much for me (though I might reconsider for a special occasion), but then I noticed that Wink offers two other services: lash lift and black tint. These are semi -permanent treatments to lift, curl, and color each individual lash in a way that suits your eyes. The lash lift/dye lasts for 6–8 weeks, takes one hour, and costs $120. I decided to go for it.Thanh Tran, a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Business Management Economics, is a licensed esthetician and the owner of Wink Studio. She gave up the corporate life to obtain her license and start a new career as a lash artist working to enhance her clients’ true beauty. What did she learn from her years in college that has helped her business? “I would have to say time management,” Thanh says. “It allowed me to do multiple jobs—marketing, admin, finance, and the actual job of performing the service.”
The end result? Perky, dark lashes without the use of my curler, or mascara.
The way I justify the expense has to do with both time and local love. I figure I used to spend at least four minutes every single day curling and coloring my lashes. That adds up to over 24 hours a year (one whole day!) I now have to pursue other more exciting (or not) interests. I also believe in supporting our local businesses during these crazy and difficult times.
And so, with eyes wide open, I’ve decided to just curl up and dye, and I’m not looking back.
C. J. Hirschfield recently retired after 17 years as Executive Director of Children’s Fairyland, where she was charged with the overall operation of the nation’s first storybook theme park. Prior to that, she served as an executive in the cable television industry where she produced two series, ran San Francisco’s public access channel, and advocated on behalf of the industry. She has penned a weekly column for the Piedmont Post for 13 years, and now writes regularly for The Oaklandside, EatDrinkFilms and Splash Pad News. She holds a degree in Film and Broadcasting from Stanford University. Hirschfield currently lives in Adams Point and serves on the programming team for the Appreciating Diversity Film Series showing free documentaries in Oakland and Piedmont, as well as on the advisory board of Youth Beat, a youth media training program that provides low-income Oakland students with the tools and opportunities they need to thrive in today’s workforce.