If you’re looking to become a certified lash tech, then look no further! In this article, I will outline the 5 steps that you need to take to achieve certification.
I will also cover your eyelash extension state requirements to make sure your legal basis is always covered since most states in the U.S. also require a license to perform lash extensions.
Becoming a certified eyelash extension technician has been extremely rewarding and was an important stepping stone in my career. I hope to share everything I’ve learned along the way in this article.
So, let’s get started!
Eyelash Extension Certification vs License: What’s the Difference?
A license is required by most states in the U.S. to legally work in the field of lash extensions and is issued by a governing body such as the State Board of Cosmetology. On the other hand, a certification is not legally required and is given by a private institution to further enhance your skills and knowledge.
Most lash techs will pursue one or several certifications in eyelash extensions after completing their cosmetology license. You’ll typically seek a:
- Classic lash certification
- Hybrid lash certification
- Volume lash certification
Eyelash Extension State Requirements
Each state in the US has its own requirements and legislation. Some do require a license to practice lash extensions and some don’t. For that reason, it’s crucial that you validate your state before starting your journey.
I’ve put together the table below to help you narrow down the requirements for your specific situation with links to the appropriate governing body.
|Alaska||Hairdressers, Estheticians, Medical License||https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/portals/5/pub/bah4193.pdf|
|Arkansas||Cosmetologist, Aestheticians, Barber, medical license in a medical facility.||https://healthy.arkansas.gov|
|California||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, those working under physicians.|
|District of Columbia||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Medical License||https://dcregs.dc.gov|
|Florida||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Full Specialist, Facial Specialist, Medical License||https://myfloridalicense.com|
|Georgia||Master Cosmetologist, Esthetician, medical license in medical facility||https://sos.ga.gov|
|Hawaii||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Barber||https://hawaii.gov|
|Iowa||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Must be performed in licensed salon||https://law.justia.com|
|New Hampshire||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://gencourt.state.nh.us|
|New Jersey||Cosmetologist (must be working in a salon). Medical license under a doctor||https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/|
|New York||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://dos.ny.gov|
|North Carolina||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://ncga.state.nc.us|
|North Dakota||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://legis.nd.gov|
|Ohio||Cosmetologist or Esthetician||https://codes.ohio.gov|
|Oregon||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Medical License||https://www.oregon.gov/oha/|
|Rhode Island||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://health.ri.gov|
|South Carolina||Cosmetologist, Esthetician||https://scstatehouse.gov|
|South Dakota||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Must be performed in a licensed salon||https://dlr.sd.gov/cosmetology/default.aspx|
|Texas||Cosmetologist, Esthetician, or Eyelash Extension Specialist||https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/|
|Utah||Cosmetologist, Barber, Esthetician||https://le.utah.gov/|
|West Virginia||Cosmetologists, Esthetician||https://wvbbc.com|
How to Become a Certified Lash Tech (Step-by-Step)
Step #1: Find an Accredited School That Offers Eyelash Extension Training
The first step is to find an accredited school that offers eyelash extension training. The certificate you’ll get at the end of your training will have as much value as the name of the school behind it. So you need to make sure the school is well known and credible to future employers (if you want to go that way — starting your own business is a great path too).
The instructor you choose is just as important as the school, if not more. Don’t hesitate to ask for your teacher’s name before booking and look into their credentials and past student testimonials.
If you’re just starting in the industry, you should first get certified in classic eyelash extensions. At a minimum, a good course will cover the following topics:
- The basics: eye anatomy, natural eyelashes, growth cycle, etc.
- Health and safety: sanitization and sterilization, ergonomic station and posture, allergies, etc.
- Eyelash extension service: consultation, styling, proper application technique, prepping the lashes, etc.
- Product theory: lash extensions, glues, tweezers, eye pads, etc.
Some certifications might even cover business topics such as registering a company, marketing yourself, pricing theory, and more.
Now, there are more advanced certifications available for volume lashing. However, I find it’s a mistake to get started with these. You can’t learn to run before you know how to walk.
In this case, you need to have mastered the basics and have impeccable isolation skills (when you isolate a single eyelash to apply an extension) before thinking about dipping your toe in volume lashing.
Step #2: Purchase a Starter Kit
Most eyelash extension certifications that I know of will offer a starting kit included in the price or as an add-on.
A starter kit will usually include the basics to get you started:
- Eyelash extensions
- Mascara wands
- Eye pads
- Glue holder
- Lash PrimerLash remover
Now, you don’t have to buy one, they’re optional. However, I think they are absolutely worth it. Most academies will give enormous discounts on their starter kits for their students. They are usually given at cost or even lower. That’s not where academies make their money and they certainly don’t want that to be a barrier to entry.
Step #3: Attend Your Training and Practice, Practice, Practice
The big day has arrived and now is the time to absorb as much knowledge as you can.
A typical classic eyelash extension course will be broken down into two components: theory and practice.
For the theoretical part, you’ll usually be handed a manual where the instructor will cover topics such as the growth cycle of a natural lash, tools, and application theory.
You’ll then move to the practice segment of the course and that’s where the magic happens.
You’ll learn how to properly hold your tweezers, how to isolate a natural lash, how to pick an extension from the tray and apply it to the natural lash, how to check your work and so much more!
At the end of your training, you should feel confident in your ability to advise clients on their styling options, apply lash extensions safely and effectively, and use your tools properly. Don’t worry about speed, that will come with time.
Now, the industry and clients have certain expectations when it comes to how fast you can lash a client. For instance, no one would pay to get 50 extensions per eye done in 5 hours. But at this point, speed should be the last of your priority.
Learning the art of eyelash extensions takes time!
I have to do a quick reality check here…
You will not be a star lasher after learning lashes for a few days.
That’s the truth.
Practice makes perfect!
After your certification, you’ll have to practice, practice, and practice again at home with friends or family members to improve your skills and speed.
Step #4: Take and Pass the Certification Exam
The Certification exams always require the completion of a full set of lashes on a model. In addition, you might be asked for a minimum number of hours practicing lash extensions before you can earn your certification. Lastly, some schools may require a written component to the exam but that is less common.
1. Written Exam
Most eyelash extension certifications provide a manual that covers all of the information that will be on the written exam so it’s important to read and re-read everything inside that precious book before the exam.
The written exam will usually cover topics such as lash extension theory, application techniques, safety, and sanitation.
2. Hands-on Exam
For the hands-on portion, you will be given a model (or asked to bring a friend) and will be required to apply a full set of eyelash extensions. You might be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Client consultation
- Cleanness and sanitization
- Lash type selection
- Lash styling selection
- Application method
- Overall lash health
Some schools might also have a maximum allowed time for this part. If that’s the case, make sure you’ve sufficient practice and can meet that threshold. From my experience, these thresholds are usually very low since academies know and understand proper technique is more important than speed.
3. Completed Number of Hours
An online course may ask for a minimum number of hours before handing in the certificate. If that’s the case, simply record your hours in a log.
In-person courses typically don’t ask for this. I’ve rarely seen a course given, then ask the student to go home and practice X number of hours, then come back for the exam.
The exam is normally taken immediately at the end of the in-person course.
Step #5: Get Clients!
Now that you are certified, it’s time to start building your clientele!
But wait, how can you do that? Here are a few ways to get you started:
1. Word of Mouth
The best way to get started is to tell your friends and family you just got certified and you can do their lashes for free. This lets you get a ton of experience under your belt.
2. Online Directories
There are many online directories (like Yelp and Google) where you can list your business and services. Personally, I’ve had a lot of success with Google Business. It’s really easy to get started and once your business is registered with google, you can start showing up in your local map area.
3. Social Media
I think this goes without saying, but social media is key for aspiring lash artists. The best places to show off your work and attract new clients are Facebook and Instagram. For my business, Instagram performed much better than Facebook and we regularly get clients from there.
If you’re curious, check out our Instagram to see what it looks like.
Once you are active on social media, you can leverage the power of paid ads. This is a great way to get started by targeting your ideal customer in your local area. Running ads is a completely different beast, so if you’re interested in it, please let me know in the comments of this article and I’ll publish a resource for it.
4. Join a Professional Association
Joining a professional association is a great way to network with other lash artists and stay up-to-date on the latest eyelash trends.
Some popular associations in the U.S. are:
- The National Eyelash Association
- The American Lash Association
- Lash Inc.
5. Get a Job in a Reputable Salon
So, you have two options once you’re certified:
- You get a job in a salon
- You start your own business
Having said that, if you want to start your own venture, don’t exclude the possibility of working in a salon right away.
I find that starting your career in a salon is a great way to get exposure and build your skills. Once you’re comfortable enough with the quality and speed of your work, then you can start thinking about starting your own business.
You can even start it on the side (you should be honest with your employer). Most will be completely OK with it. As an employer, I really appreciate it when a stylist lets me know these things and I don’t mind it as long as it doesn’t compete for the same clientele geographically.
How Long Does It Take To Become a Certified Lash Tech?
Some certification programs can be completed in as little as 2 days, while others might take up to 2 weeks.
What makes it vary so much?
First, it depends if you choose a classic lash or volume lash certification. Because volume lashing is reserved for experienced stylists, the educator can skip all the basic stuff (lash theory, application, isolation, sanitization, etc.). The course focuses strickly on volume concepts.
As such, these courses are typically shorter than classic courses. Moreover, the classic ones are usually aimed at beginners so it’s expected to take more time to learn a new skill.
Online certifications are a bit different. Because you’re not physically in a classroom, you can take as long as you want. Having said that, some schools will put a deadline for you to pass the exam (for example 90 days after your registration date).
How Much Does It Cost to Become a Certified Lash Tech?
Entry-level programs that focus on the fundamentals such as the classic technique only are generally less expensive. You can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $1500.
The reputation of the institution, the instructor, and the starting kit included in the course fee all affect the overall cost.
As a lash artist, you can charge more for a volume set than a classic set therefore investing in learning these advanced techniques could be worth the investment.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $3000 for an advanced volume course.
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Certified Lash Tech?
Getting certified is extremely rewarding but also very beneficial for your career. Some of these benefits include:
- Boost your confidence as you will have the knowledge and skills to provide a professional service.
- Set yourself apart from non-certified lash artists as clients will be able to see that you are certified.
- Gain access to exclusive products and training that are not available to the general public
- Have a network of certified lash artists that you can connect with and learn from.
- Set higher prices than your non-certified competition.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest lash trends and techniques.
Other Countries Regulations
So far, we’ve only addressed the regulatory landscape in the United States. But I often talk to aspiring lash artists in Canada and the U.K. as well so I wanted to take a look at these countries too.
Do You Need a License to Do Eyelash Extensions in Canada?
In Canada, there’s no federal legislation regulating the eyelash extension industry. However, some provinces have their own set of rules and regulations.
The table below provides the exact requirements for each Canadian province.
|British Columbia||No Regulations||N/A|
|New Brunswick||Lash and Brow Technician||https://www.canb.ca/en/|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||No Regulations||N/A|
|Northwest Territories||No Regulations||N/A|
|Nova Scotia||Specific License for Eyelashes||https://novascotia.ca/lae/fair-registration-practices/documents/CANS-Progress-Report-2020.pdf|
|Prince Edward Island||No Regulations||N/A|
Do You Need a License to Do Eyelash Extensions in the UK?
The United Kingdom doesn’t require a specific license to apply eyelash extensions. There are however some general guidelines aspiring lash artists should follow:
- Completing a certified lash course
- Maintaining liability insurance
- Following all health and safety regulations
What do I need to bring to my eyelash extensions certification course?
Some courses will ask you to bring a model for the hands-on portion of the course which will be specified at the time of purchase. Other than that, make sure you come with a thirst for knowledge! Your institution will provide the rest.
Can you teach yourself to do eyelash extensions?
While you could in theory have a DIY approach to learning lash extensions by reading blogs and listening to videos on Youtube, I strongly discourage it.
Lash artists are using semi-critical tools in close proximity to the eyes of clients. They need a strong understanding of the anatomy of the eye and the proper application techniques to provide a safe and professional service.
Last but not least, certification from a reputable institute is required by insurance companies. Therefore, without a certification, you’re not insurable.
How can you ensure that you’re working with a certified or licensed lash tech?
Simply ask to see their certificate. Certified lash artists should be able to provide you with their certificates as well as the name and contact information of the institution where they were certified.
They should also be able to show:
– Before and after photos of their work. Certified lash artists will usually have a portfolio that they can show you upon request.
– A list of the products they use and where you can purchase them.
– References upon request.
– A list of the lash extension courses they have taken.
– A list of the lash competitions they have participated in.
I remember when I first got certified, I felt like the world was my oyster.
If you’re new to lashing, becoming certified is a great way to start a career in the lash industry. And if you’re already experienced, getting advanced certifications is a must to keep-up with the latest trends, techniques, and ideas.
Keep in mind that even if certification is not required in all provinces or countries, you should always consider it. It’ll make you a better artist and make you eligible for insurance.
If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments below! I will share my thoughts and experiences getting certified.
– Asako 🙂
Additional Readings on DivineLashes.ca: If you want to bring your lash career to a whole new level, check out my articles on the average prices of lash extensions per state, how to choose the best lash bed or the best lash pillow for your studio, what’s the best light for lash extensions, and how to clean lash tweezers. Also, make sure you know how to treat red eyes from eyelash extensions.
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Asako Ito is the Co-Founder of Divine Lashes and a certified eyelash stylist. She has garnered acclaim for her cutting-edge techniques in the lash industry.
Holding multiple certifications and licenses, including Luxury Eye, THE LASH SHOP, World Microblading, and The Lash Bible, she has a constant thirst for knowledge. These credentials reflect her commitment to excellence and staying at the forefront of lash and brow artistry.
With over 10 years of experience, Asako continuously increases her knowledge both as a technician and educator by collaborating with top lash artists worldwide. You can read her full bio here.