Cluster Lashes: An Outdated Technique to Avoid at All Cost

cluster lashes 1

The eyelash extension industry is constantly evolving as our knowledge improves. It is important to keep up with the most updated information and state of the art technique if you want what’s best for the health of your natural lashes. In this case, cluster lashes (also called flare lashes) were popular 10-15 years ago, but we now know they should be avoided at all costs. But why are cluster lashes bad for you?

Cluster lashes will cause damage to your natural lashes because they are too heavy and attached to multiple natural lashes at once. Because too much glue is used for the application, when the cluster lashes fall off, they will pull out your natural lashes. This will cause your natural lashes to thin and create bald spots.

In this article, we will explain what cluster lashes are so that you can run away as fast as you can if your stylist proposes this method. Don’t be fooled, cluster lashes and volume lashes are two very different things!

What Are Cluster Lashes

Cluster lashes (also known as flares) were popular over 10 years ago. 5 to 10 fairly thick extensions, usually 0.15s were tied together at the base, and the fan shaped “flares” were glued onto 2 to 3, sometimes more, natural lashes.

5 cluster lashes on a white background

For example, using 10 cluster lashes that are made of 10 thick extensions would result in 100 extensions attached on one eye. It was a quick way to achieve great density in a short period of time.

Many lash salons loved it because it would increase the number of clients they can take, and thus their sales, while achieving a dramatic look. The technique was a lot easier compared to single eyelash extensions application as it does not require precise isolation of the natural lashes. Cluster lashes were not as time consuming as the single lash extensions.

Why Cluster Lashes Are Bad for You

Because cluster lashes were attached to multiple natural lashes, and often all the flares on an eye were glued together to form a big fan, the flares would interfere with the growth cycle of the natural lashes.

Also because so much glue was used for the application, when the flares fell off, it would often pull out quite a few natural lashes, causing the natural lashes to thin, and create bald spots.

Back in the day, the eyelash extensions industry was still new, and most eyelash stylists had no knowledge of eyelash growth cycle and how natural lashes could potentially be damaged through eyelash extensions procedure.

Some salons and uneducated eyelash stylists still use this technique today, but thankfully, it is becoming increasingly uncommon.

Some eyelash stylists claim that cluster lashes do not cause any damage because of the technique they use, but because of the weight of the “fan”, the damage to the natural lashes are inevitable even if the flare is carefully attached to only one natural lash. No matter what technique one uses, flares will cause thinning of the lashes if a client were to wear them continuously for a few months.

Cluster Lashes vs Volume Lashes

Volume lashes, like cluster lashes, are multiple eyelashes attached together to form a fan. However, volume fans are much safer than cluster lashes since they are lighter and applied to one single natural lash at the time.

A volume fan uses 2 to 5 extensions with a diameter of 0.05 to 0.07 mm and could even use 6 to 16 extensions with a diameter of 0.03 to 0.05 mm for mega volume.

Moreover, volume lashes have much stronger and longer bond time. As you can see in the picture below, a volume fan will surround the natural lash and therefore enjoy a higher surface bonding area.

Volume fan representation with a natural lash

Finally, volume fans give a much cleaner finish than cluster lashes.

Real-Life Story

We cannot tell you how many time we’ve heard:

“You guys were fully booked so I went elsewhere because I didn’t want to not have lashes!”

“I was desperate for lashes so I went to a salon near my place…”

“I needed lashes for an event and so I went to this place in the mall.”

“I thought doing them at the nail salon would be convenient because I would get everything done in one place.”

And every single time we make similar discoveries. Flares used as “volume fans”, getting lashes applied with their eyes being pulled open (true story coming soon)… A messy application… Damage that will take months to repair.

A client came to Divine Lashes and had a similar phrase to the ones above and resorted to a different salon. We immediately knew that she had visited elsewhere… Many of her extensions were stuck together, and her lashes looked like pre-made fans. Below is an example of a flare we removed from her lashes.

Cluster lash on counter

This is not a fan.

We repeat: this is not a volume fan!

Well, this is not a proper fan, and this is also a sticky. So this was glued onto one natural lash. You can see they look pretty bulky because they are thick.

Her natural lashes are indeed damaged, (sad face) and we had to remove her “fans” so her natural lashes would not be further damaged. Her natural lashes did recover in two months and she was able to continue getting volume extensions.

Final Thoughts

I hope you can now see the difference between cluster lashes and volume fans. More importantly, why this technique should not be used now a days.

Have you had any bad experiences with cluster lashes? For technicians, have you had to remove those from your clients?

Let me know in the comments below!


    1. Hi Rita,

      Thank you for your comment! Here are a few things you can do when you are looking for a lash place. A referral from a friend is a great way to ask them questions and their experience. Check out their yelp or google business page, you can read through the reviews from other customers. You can also visit their website to get more information such as their values, services offered etc. I hope you’ll find a great place for your lashes!

  1. I’m a lash technician at Sara’s nail salon in East Bay Area in California. And I totally agreed that cluster is not healthy for your lashes. Individual give you more natural look as long as you have enough lashes to use. And volume sure give you the glam look

    1. Hey Uyen,

      It’s awesome to get another lash stylist view on cluster lashes. Hopefully no one will use them ever again.

  2. I’m a lash tech and I’ve never had a client come in with clusters. If they did how would I even remove them?

    1. In recent years its rare to have clients come in with cluster lashes. If the clusters were applied with eyelash extension adhesive, you can either use a gel remover or a cream remover. Make sure that the clients eyes are closed the entire time. Coat the base of the cluster extensions with remover generously on the front and back. The remover should be applied without touching the skin. Allow that to sit for about 5 minutes, this will soften the bond. You will need to be patient as you will need to tackle the clusters layer by layer. Continue to reapply the remover as you need it! In my experience, a removal of a full set cluster lashes took me approx. 45 minutes! I hope this was helpful 🙂

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