Q&A With Lash Expert Deneen Marcell

deneenmarcelDeneen Marcel is Philly’s lash queen. In her studio, she offers lash extensions, healthy lash treatments, brow shaping and tinting, and facial waxing services. If you want lash extensions applied by the best in the business, book an appointment with Deneen.

I visited her the day after she moved into a new studio to talk lashes and brows. The space itself is airy, clean, and flooded with natural light. (It’s in the same building as her previous studio.) There are currently three treatment beds and an additional private bed for waxing services. In talking with Deneen, I got the scoop on everything you need to know about lash extensions and brows, including a few tricks to make the most of your natural lashes and brows.

How did you get started in the business?
About 12 years ago, I went to visit a friend in Los Angeles and a woman at her job was talking about getting lash extensions, which I had never heard of. Once my friend’s coworker got them done, she invited us over to see them. It was a totally natural look; it looked so great. I’m originally a hairstylist and I thought, “I think I can learn how to do that, it’s going to be huge.” I went home and learned all I could about lash extensions, then I went back to L.A. and took a class and start practicing, because it takes a lot of practice. I kept going at it until I could perfect it enough to take clients. However, in our area, it didn’t become that popular at that time, so I went back to L.A. and  I worked there for about a year. It was very popular, and the stars had it, so it was an easy sell. Then I came back here [to Philadelphia], and I when I got home, my website was still up and Groupon had reached out to me to do a deal. That’s what got the ball rolling. I did Groupon, Rue La La, and Gilt. With that outreach, I was able to build my business, and it’s been three years and growing ever since.


Deneen’s new studio, which is clean, airy, and full of natural light.

Why should someone come to you or a reputable professional? What are the risks associated with lash extensions by someone who is untrained?
Well, first of all, the skill definitely plays a part in it. We have had clients come from other places, and we couldn’t do anything for them because their natural lashes were so damaged from places that don’t have the skill, cleanliness, or knowledge. I do a lot of research and the young ladies that work with me take classes. We spend a lot of time learning our craft. If you’re working alone, you don’t have anyone to talk to, compare your work to, or collaborate with. You need to really research the person doing your lashes.

More of Denee’s tips after the jump!

Improper application can damage natural lashes, right?
They can break, they can fall out, and you could get an eye infection. If the adhesive isn’t applied properly, you could have a real disaster on your lashes that lasts six months to a year.

Any products to encourage regrowth of brow hairs?
We sell RevitaBrow, which does that. If the follicle is open, [the hair] will grow back. If it’s not open, it will not grow back because it’s permanently damaged. But you can use fillers, powders, pencils…

How can you fill in brows on bare skin and still make them look natural?
We do brow tinting, which sometimes adheres to skin to give [the brow] a little shape, but that’s a temporary fix. Powder will adhere to the skin, as well as pencil, so even if hair is not there, you use those. One thing I like to do is once you get your brow shape in, take a little concealer that’s a few shades lighter than your skin, and [using an angled brush], outline your brow. It makes them pop, it dresses them up, it gives them shape, and it hides the little hairs that are growing in between shapings.

deneenstudio2What are your favorite brow products?
I like MAC. Their pencils [Eye Brows] are great because they’re thin and you can control them. I like their concealer in the pot [MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer]. One thing we just introduced is RevitaLash Hi-Def Tinted Brow Gel [that can be worn over makeup and in conjunction with Revitalash]. It’s excellent, and it’s very affordable.

How do you feel about Latisse?
Latisse is ok. It is a prescription…we use RevitaLash, which is comparable to Latisse and doesn’t require a prescription. It still has the properties in it that can darken the skin around the eye a little bit. We have seen great success with that. The lashes really grow, and even with lash extensions, it helps them grow out, it doesn’t break down the adhesive, and it helps the extensions last longer. It’s got a skinny little brush so you can get the product right where you want it, and it’s not dripping all over the place. The tube lasts about six months. It’s one of my favorite products.

How long does a full set of extensions take to apply?
About two and a half hours.

I know it’s very precise, and you separate each hair, right?
We isolate each hair and [attach an extension to] every lash we can get to. Sometimes lashes grow sideways or we can’t apply an extension, but we do every lash we can.

How long do lash extensions last?
We try to get people to come back every three weeks because you naturally shed lashes. Every day you lose about five to six lashes. After three weeks, the adhesive starts breaking down.

Any product restrictions after getting lash extensions?
You can’t use anything with alcohol. Be careful with oil. We do sell eye makeup remover that’s specifically made for extensions.

phytophanereWhat are your tips for healthy, lush lashes?
I recommend Revitalash. We also sell PHYTO Phytophanere supplements, which are good for your hair, skin, and lashes. It’s one of the first products I recommend for lashes. When I was a hairstylist, one our clients came in and I almost didn’t recognize her. I knew there was something different about her, and she said, “The Phytophanere is making my lashes grow.” That was six years ago, and since then, it’s always been a standard for me to recommend those vitamins. They work from the inside out. It’s a really good product because it fortifies your lashes. Before Revitalash, we worked with Phytophanere, so now, I try to sell them together because they work excellent together.

If someone wants fabulous lashes, but doesn’t want to invest the time or money, what do you recommend for false lashes?
MAC has a nice collection of strip lashes. My favorite is #7 Lash. It’s natural but still dressed up. It’s a very soft look, which I like.

I have to ask you about your skin, because it’s gorgeous. What are your skincare secrets?
I try to get a facial once a month with a glycolic peel, and I also do a microdermabrasion once a month. At home, I use Meaningful Beauty. I do it seasonally, so I use that in winter, and then in summer, I use Hylunia to treat my skin and make sure there’s no sun damage.

In addition to lash extensions, what other services do you offer here in the studio?
We do brow services (shaping, tinting), lash tinting, facial waxing, and some body waxing. We also are doing bottom lash extensions. We use smaller and sometimes thinner extensions. Some people want that Kim Kardashian look, with lots of lashes and thick hair, and we make them blend right in.

Deneen Marcel Lashes: 525 S. 4th Street, 3rd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19147. 267-386-6681. deneenmarcellashes.com

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