Lashes in LA-LA Land

Beauty Counter is being edited from California this week as I begin a whirlwind tour of the Golden State for a mandatory-attendance concert in L.A. and an equally compulsory wedding in Sonoma, with some Grass Valley family time in between. All of this is well and good, of course, except for one slightly unfortunate fact: I am painfully East Coast. That means I got some puzzled glances from the bikini-with-heels-wearing set around the Roosevelt Hotel pool yesterday (vintage sundresses are perfectly acceptable cover-ups, OK?!). It also means that I’m not as well versed in West Coast beauty goings-on as I should be. But I started righting that wrong yesterday with a trip over to Sandi Schroeder.

Schroeder, L.A.’s answer to New York’s Soul Lee or Mary Shook, does eyelash extensions and only eyelash extensions out of her tiny studio on Beverly Boulevard, and she is very good at her job. Like most of her acolytes, who include a host of stylists and their high-profile clients (a certain blonde reality star pays the price of beauty for Schroeder’s expert touch and good conversation skills), I heard about her services by word of mouth. The perfectly painted pout in question belonged to Gina Brooke, Madonna’s makeup artist and the new artistic director of makeup at Hourglass cosmetics: She swears by Schroeder’s patented mix of synthetic and mink lashes. A petite blonde who transitioned into the beauty biz after tiring of the Hollywood acting game, Schroeder is at the forefront of the increasingly popular lash augmentation game, having started her business out of her house five years ago. There were stints at the now defunct Tracey Ross boutique and the Argyle Salon as well, before she branched out on her own.

What I liked about Schroeder’s services was that she assessed my lash type before we started and devised a formula fit to my individual hair type (long and thin with sporadic growth patches) rather than opting for a uniform set. This meant longer strands in the middle of my lash line and softer, fluffy mink hairs toward the inner corner. Then there’s the fact that she can do the “natural” look, a skill that I’ve found eludes the increasingly saturated market of specialists. The point is to look like you’ve done something intriguingly unrecognizable to your face‚ “not that you’re wearing fake eyelashes. But yes, that’s right, new poolside friends; they are in fact fake and they’re spectacular.

Sandi Schroeder, 8217 Beverly Blvd., #9, L.A., (323) 687-4374.

Celia Ellenberg

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