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Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

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Don't blink: Students at Kubota Beauty and Hairdressing College in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, learn how to apply semipermanent eyelashes. KYODO

Women going mad for eyelash extensions


By RYOKO ANDO
Kyodo

No longer the preserve of celebrities or teens, eyelash extensions have become a popular beauty procedure among women across all ages, and salons with beauticians specializing in the treatment are surging.

Amid the boom, the government and the industry have pointed to the need to strengthen training for the people who apply them.

Adhesives used for false eyelashes can cause irritation if they are not applied properly, licensed beauticians say.

Because professional skills and knowledge are required, the beautician law stipulates that only qualified people can perform eyelash extensions, and only at certified salons.

"We are hoping that customers, for their part, will also be cautious about receiving the service and make sure their beautician has a license," he said.

She said semipermanent eyelash extensions are far more popular than nail art among middle-aged and older women.

"I think women today are strongly conscious about maintaining their beauty, even if they are busy working or even if they get old," Miura said. "Eyelash extensions make them look gorgeous and it seems they can't stop wearing them once they get them."

Amid the boom, the government and the industry have pointed to the need to strengthen training for the therapists who apply them.

There have been reports in which unlicensed people performed procedures that left customers with damage to their eyes or skin. Adhesives used for false eyelashes can cause irritation if they are not applied properly, licensed therapists say.

Because professional skills and knowledge are required, the beautician law stipulates that only qualified therapists can perform eyelash extensions, and only at certified salons.

In the first six months of this year, four cases were reported of unlicensed practice in violation of the law, according to the National Police Agency.

Against this backdrop, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to conduct inspections on a total of 3,500 dermatologists and ophthalmologists to find out if there have been any related incidents.

In the meantime, the beauty industry has stepped up efforts on teaching professional techniques and training to students at beauty schools.

Kubota Beauty and Hairdressing College in Nakano Ward, Tokyo, introduced a special curriculum for eyelash extensions in April 2011.

The course load includes classes that delve into knowledge of medicine and chemistry — content that goes beyond the traditional beauty education curriculum.

All students specializing in the beauty course are required to take these classes, according to the school.

Kazuki Oishi, a student at the school, said for her it was a career-building move.

"The number of beauty salons offering eyelash extensions has recently been increasing, so I'm expecting that the lessons will help me find a job," she said.

Katsuyoshi Osawa, director at the school's instruction department, said this direction in education is a challenge for the beauty industry.

"We are hoping that customers, for their part, will also be cautious about receiving the service and make sure their therapist has a license," he said.



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