Annette Pecora will never forget the first time she ever got eyelash extensions.
“I was getting older and I felt like I needed a lift,” she said. “From the minute I looked in the mirror with the lashes on, I felt so pretty I wanted to skip. There is something lashes do that is transforming.”
Pecora’s love of her long eyelashes led to The 60’s Beauty Lash, the Winnetka eyelash extensions studio she opened last month with her business partner, Gia Amato-Miller.
“I’m definitely a lash addict,” said Miller, a former Oprah executive who spent 10 years working for the show as the staff spa and fitness center director. “It illuminates you. It makes you feel pretty. People walk out of here smiling and giddy.”
Pecora, who spent six years as a model in New York City ended up in Chicago in the mid-1990’s when her agent sent her here for a shoot, and she met her now husband, Ted. She was the spa director for Mario Tricoci Hair Salon & Day Spa for eight years, where she met Miller.
“We always knew we were going to do something together, and that it would be some type of beauty business,” she said.
Pecora, who also founded and co-owned Spa Source, a spa consulting company whose clients included Oprah, The Four Seasons, and Kiva, sold her share of the business a few years ago, right around the time Miller left Oprah.
The two said they came up with the idea to open The 60’s Beauty Lash on one of many drives they would make downtown to get their lashes done.
“In the last 5-8 years, lash studios have popped up everywhere in the city,” Miller said. “Driving down there was an all day event. No one has opened up a freestanding lash studio in the suburbs. This is the first.”
The 60’s Beauty Lash, which got its name because of both Pecora’s and Miller’s love of the 60s and its beautiful women, offers custom eyelash extensions that are either classic or dramatic.
“It was all about the lash in the 60’s,” said Pecora, who named daughters Grace and Natalie after Grace Kelly and Natalie Wood. Incidentally, Miller’s daughter, Sophia is named after Sophia Loren.
With décor that is both pristine and beautiful, including walls decorated with photos of 1960’s models and actresses, The 60’s Beauty Lash caters to women in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s whose lashes have gotten shorter, lighter and thinner.
“We want this to be part of your beauty lifestyle,” said Miller, who is one of four licensed cosmetologists and estheticians who work at the studio. “Just like you get your hair and your nails done.”
A client’s initial set of lashes takes about two hours to apply, during which time the extensions are glued onto the client’s real lash. Miller said the extensions are light and feathery, so they don’t weigh down the lash or cause damage to it.
It is then recommended to return to the salon every two to three weeks for a “lash fill” to maintain the beauty and quality of the lashes.
Jill Mickey of Lake Forest recently became a client and said the extensions make her feel and look 10 years younger.
“I’m a really natural person and I don’t wear makeup,” said Mickey, a mom and a seventh-grade teacher. “This seemed like an easy way to have a little bit different of a look, so I gave it a try and I just love it. It’s really opened up my eyes and brightened up my face.”
“This isn’t just for girly girls,” said Miller. “You just wake up naturally pretty.”