There’s a new competitor to professional lash extensions in town! Or is there, really?
At first, I was skeptical when I first heard about DIY lash extensions. After all, applying individual lash extensions requires safety training, certification, and years of practice. How could DIY extensions be anywhere near as good?
After trying a couple of pairs for a few months, I wanted to share my thoughts on them and everything I’ve learned from how to apply them, how long they last, the pros and cons, and which ones I preferred.
I came to realize that DIY lashes aren’t a replacement for professional individual lashes since both have their own unique merits – some people will appreciate the affordability of DIY extensions, while others will prefer the unmatched customization, natural-looking, and long-lasting effects individual lashes can offer.
Let’s dive in!
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What Are DIY Lash Extensions?
DIY lash extensions are false lashes that can be applied at home without the need for a professional. They come in strips of synthetic eyelash fibers rather than as individual lashes, and they attach to the natural eyelashes with a semi-permanent adhesive that’s not nearly as strong as the adhesives used by professionals.
In that sense, I think they’re a lot more similar to false lashes (strip lashes) than they are to individual lash extensions.
That said, there are a few details that make them unique when compared to strip lashes:
- Almost all false lashes and extensions attach to the lashline from above, but DIY lash extensions attach from below.
- DIY lashes come in several short strips that will be applied to your lashes. On the other hand, strip lashes come in one single strip of false lashes.
- DIY eyelashes can be worn for several days before removing them.
Now, let’s see how they’re applied!
How to Apply DIY Lash Extensions
These are the general steps to apply most DIY lash kits. You may need to make a few small changes to your process depending on the kind of DIY lash extension system you’ve picked up (more on the best ones later).
- Always start with clean skin, clean hands, and clean equipment – You don’t want any surprised infection here.
- Carefully peel all of the DIY lash clusters away from the container – I found it a little tricky with some brands. I like to use my fingers for this step (not the tweezers) as I found it’s the best way to avoid damaging them in the process.
- Plan ahead as to what order you’ll apply the lashes in, especially if you have a kit with lash strips of varying lengths. This step is often referred to as “lash mapping”. I prefer a cat-eye look with the shorter strips on the inner corner of the eye and the longer ones near the outer corner.
- Apply the lash adhesive – This step is truly innovative. Most manufacturers supply a “lash bond” that is applied exactly like you would use mascara. It coats the eyelashes with adhesive. Now the trick is to wait 10-30 seconds for the adhesive to become tacky. This will allow the lash strip to secure strongly.
- Starting with the inner corner of the lash line, pick up your first lash strip. Look downwards into a mirror, and carefully line the lash strip on your upper lashes, but coming from the bottom. This step is very different from other false lash applications. You want to apply the DIY lashes from below and not from above! Make sure to leave a 1-2 mm gap between the lash band and the base of your lash line. I like to start from the inner corner since that allows me to “stack” the lash bands when I start reaching the outer corner (pro technique here).
- Apply the next strip so that it joins with the band at the base of the first strip. I generally avoid stacking the bands for my inner corner but as you move toward the outer corner, you can start stacking them a little for a more dense effect.
- Repeat this with the last few strips until you’ve finished one eye, then move on to the next eye.
- Once you’re done, use your fingers or tweezers to press the extensions and your natural lashes together so they’re well-bonded and blend together nicely. You can hold them together for 5 seconds before releasing them.
- You can also apply a final “sealer” which many lash brands produce. These sealers can help get rid of tackiness from the lash adhesive.
Are DIY Lash Extensions Safe?
DIY lash extensions can be safe if you are very cautious when applying them. There’s nothing new or dangerous about the materials involved (aside from the small risk of adhesive allergy). Having said that, I can make educated guesses about what could go wrong.
First of all, it’s incredibly important to keep things clean and hygienic during the entire application process. Otherwise, you run the risk of introducing bacteria and mites very close to your eyes – even closer than with other types of lash extensions, since DIY lashes sit on the underside of your lashes and closer to your eyes.
That’s why it’s also important to wash your extensions on a daily basis, much as you would with professional lash extensions.
Another major safety and lash health issue I foresee with them is that they attach directly to multiple lashes at once. If you’re familiar with professional lash extension techniques, you know that’s a big no-no (we only apply an extension to one natural eyelash at a time – an extension is never supported by several natural lashes).
Because DIY lashes are attached to several natural lashes, my concern is that wearing them for more than a few days could interfere with the eyelash growth cycle. For example, an eyelash in the anagen phase might pull on an eyelash in the telogen phase if they’re both bound to the same false lash strip.
Additionally, your follicles won’t be able to shed lashes that are ready to fall off, and therefore you won’t be able to grow new ones healthily. Plus, even with regular cleaning, some debris is still going to collect in the space between the extensions and your lashes, and it won’t be as easy to clean as with individual extensions.
I don’t think it’s not a big deal if you’re wearing the lashes for two or three days, but some brands claim you can wear the DIY extensions for over a week, which is definitely going to be problematic, especially with regular wear.
How Long Do DIY Lash Extensions Last?
DIY lash extensions can stay put for a shockingly long time, but just because they can doesn’t mean they should. If you want to keep your natural lashes healthy, I highly recommend you avoid wearing them for longer than 3 days in a row, even if brands promise one or two weeks of wear.
As I mentioned above, I think it’s irresponsible of brands to advertise such long wear times, especially without robust evidence to prove these extensions won’t cause eye problems or lash loss.
You can reuse the lash bands themselves, but most of the lashes I tried were pretty delicate, so probably no more than once or twice. Of course, you should make sure to sanitize and store them in a clean container before reusing them.
Can You Sleep With DIY Lash Extensions?
Yes, and that’s one of their major benefits. If you sleep with your face pressed into the pillow (which I did one night while wearing them), you’ll probably lose a band or two, so I recommend sleeping on your back.
Pros and Cons
There’s no denying that DIY eyelash extensions have appealing benefits. Having said that, there are drawbacks you must know before you give them a try.
- Multi-day results: With just one application you can enjoy a few days of glamorous lashes.
- Affordable: They cost about the same as strip lashes. There are some high-end options, but they’re pretty affordable for the most part.
- Balanced versatility: The cluster format allows you to partially customize your lash map with different lengths and densities. It’s not the same level of versatility as using individual lashes, but it’s a good balance between customizability and ease of use.
- Seamless: One unique benefit of the “lashes from below” technique is that you don’t have a visible band showing above your lashes. I found that with a bit of practice, these lashes looked very seamless.
- Very new: Strip lashes and individual lash extensions have withstood the test of time, so we know how to use them safely. We don’t have as much evidence with DIY extensions.
- Pressure on lashes: DIY lash clusters are light but not weightless. They put a bit of pressure from below the natural lashes, pulling them downwards just a bit.
- Risky if worn for too long: Again, this is partially an issue with how new they are. We don’t have evidence that multi-day wear is safe, and I think that wearing this type of extension for more than three days could lead to lash loss.
- Not very compatible with makeup and skincare: They don’t play well with oil-based skincare, makeup products, or makeup removers.
- Take practice: Even with steady hands and a ton of experience, it still took a few tries to feel like I got the hang of applying them.
Best DIY Lashes
If you’d like to give DIY lash extensions a try, these are the brands I’m most impressed with.
Lashify is the first DIY lash extension brand, with the most robust portfolio of different lash styles, adhesives, and accessories. This brand is pricier than others, but the lashes are stunning and very lightweight.
I appreciate the Control Kit, which gives a few lash options, rounded applicator tweezers, all the necessary adhesives and sealants, and a sleek storage box.
2. Kiss Falscara
If you’re on the lookout for a budget-friendly option, Kiss has some very affordable, beginner-friendly DIY lash extension kits. This special edition kit is my favorite because it includes a few clusters with different lengths. It’s very much designed both for short-term and long-term wear, with adhesives of varying strength levels.
3. Lilac St.
I like that Lilac St. specializes in DIY lash extensions. This brand has a really fun vibe, a ton of beautiful lash styles, and it’s much more affordable than Lashify. I’m enamored with the starter travel kit, in large part because of the carry-on shaped container it comes in, but also because it lets you pick three different lash sets of varying styles and lengths.
The Bottom Line
So despite a few issues I have with some of the recommendations out there, I can still appreciate DIY lash extensions for what they are!
Are they a replacement for individual lashes? I don’t think so. There’s a big difference between the incredible look of a custom-designed set of individual lashes and the more generic DIY lashes. And that’s without even getting into the fact that you only get 3 days of wear from them vs the 4 weeks you get from professional individual eyelashes.
But hey, I guess I’m a little biased here!
But if you’re not big on lash enhancement but you have a special weekend coming up, they can be a convenient way to enjoy longer and denser lashes for a shorter period of time.
Have you heard about DIY lash extensions yet? What do you think about them? Comment below and let me know!
– Asako 🙂
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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.