Eyelash Extension Types: A Helpful Guide

Eyelash tray with several types of eyelash extensions

You’ve decided you want eyelash extensions. Congratulations on deciding to look your best. But, have you thought about what type of extensions you want? How do you pick the right one? What are the common types of eyelash extensions available today? 

The most popular eyelash extension types are mink, silk and synthetic. Lash extensions can also be made from sable hair but these are very uncommon. most people who use fake lashes go for the synthetic option today because they are perfect, safe, low maintenance and produced without animal cruelty.  

Read on to find out more about the different types of eyelash extensions based on its materials (mink, silk, faux mink, faux silk, sable), lengths (short, medium, long, extra long), curls (C,D,I,L,U, and more) sizes (in mm), and colors. This guide will help you pick the right type of eyelash extension to achieve your desired look!

Let’s get started! 

Material

While lash extensions and treatments vary from one studio to another, there are three common types of materials that most eyelash extensions are made from. The first type is synthetic fibers and the other two are natural – mink and silk.

What Are Mink Lashes

Mink lashes are typically manufactured by shaving the fur off the body of the animal mink, before or right after its death. The only good thing about these lashes is that they look natural with their semi-matte finish. You can find mink eyelash extensions in colors ranging from light to dark brown.

What Are Silk Lashes

Original silk lashes are produced by boiling cocoons made by silkworms with the worm inside to soften and separate the threads individually. With that said, genuine silk eyelash extensions are a rarity. This is mostly because silk is too soft to hold the shape or curl for lash extensions. That’s why most of the silk lashes you’ll find are made from synthetic PBT fibers in actuality.

What Are Other Options For Natural Lash Extensions

Typically collected from Siberian Sables, sometimes sable hair is also obtained from minks, ferrets or weasels. Sable or Fox Fur is generally used for people with thin natural lashes because it’s the thinnest type of eyelash extension.

What Are Synthetic Lashes

Created from polished fibers that are thick, firm and strong, synthetic eyelashes are shinier than their natural counterparts. They are typically made from PBT (polybutylene terephthalate) fiber, which is a thermoplastic product derived from polyester by heating and molding into lash shapes. Synthetic fake eyelash extensions are also called acrylic lashes. 

Synthetic lashes are recommended for those with thick eyelashes as these are mostly heavier than natural fibers. As a reference, thick synthetic lashes radiate a bold look almost equal to 3-4 coats of mascara! 

Acrylic lashes are often called ‘faux’ and depending on the natural hair it mimics. Today you can get ‘faux mink’ and ‘faux silk’ lashes in most studios. The best thing about these are they are the only cruelty-free lashes available in the market. 

The Truth About Natural Fibers Vs Synthetic Fibers

While natural products are generally preferred over synthetic options in most industries, the opposite is true when it comes to the world of eyelash extensions. 

From allergens to ethical issues, natural fur is neck-deep in controversies within the cosmetics industry. If you want a safe and secure option that doesn’t hurt or kill animals, going ‘faux’ is the best choice for lash extensions. 

Even if an eyelash extensions brand advertises their lashes are ‘vegan’ or obtained without cruelty, most animals that are caged for obtaining fur go through endless suffering and abuse at the end of the day. That’s why many cosmetic brands like Sephora and Mecca completely banned fur lashes in 2020. 

This is the main reason we at Divine Lashes have always been against ‘animal fur’ since Day-One. To clarify further, under no circumstances do we promote or support eyelash extensions made from natural fibers.

Silk Vs Faux Silk Lashes

Silk lashes are shiny, soft and thin, but they rarely hold the curl. However, being more porous than synthetic fibers, they are flexible and guarantee a longer retention. Another shocking demerit of these false eyelash extensions is that they come under animal-cruelty. 

On the other hand, Faux Silk eyelash extensions imitate the shiny fibers of natural silk. They are sturdy, lightweight, firm and resistant to normal heat and cold temperatures, unlike natural silk.

Mink Vs Faux Mink Lashes

Lashes made from real mink fur are natural-looking with a glossy finish. Being lightweight, they are excellent for people with thin lashes. However, these fake eyelashes are high maintenance because they are straight and typically don’t come pre-curled. On top of it, mink fur lashes lose their curl once they get wet. 

If you aren’t concerned about animal cruelty, another big disadvantage of getting real mink eyelash extensions is the high cost that goes can rake up to $500 for a full set. 

On the flipside, Faux Mink lashes are soft like natural mink hair and such a treatment session costs merely half or around $250 to $300 depending where you live. In addition, faux mink lashes neither lose their curls nor need repeated application of mascara to appear bold and add volume since they are thicker compared to real mink lashes. 

The best thing is you don’t have to worry about allergies, unlike with real mink lash extensions. 

Length

While most eyelash extensions range between lengths 5 mm to 16 mm, there are uncommon lengths that go up to 20mm too. Oftentimes, lash lengths are categorized into Short (5 to 8 mm), Medium (9 to 12 mm), Long (13 to 16 mm) and Extra Long (16 and above) sizes. 

When it comes to length, the rule of thumb is to choose false eyelashes matching the length of your natural lashes. The longer you go, the heavier the extension thus the more chances you have to create damage for the natural lash.  

A typical set comprises fake lashes of varied lengths for each eye based on the style you want, shape of your eye and length of the natural lashes. Generally, lash techs use the shortest eyelash extensions for designing inner corners of the eye or for those with short natural lashes. On the flipside, longer lashes are used for the middle portion and the outer corner of eyes or for those with naturally long lashes.

Curl

Curling ability of an eyelash extension is represented by selective alphabets of the English language and it generally shows the depth of the lash extension curve. 

Here are different types of lash extension curls with their meaning: 

  • I: A flat extension typically added to increase the volume or lushness of natural lashes. Often used for males.
  • J: A straight and soft curl used for opening the eyes for those with upward natural lashes 
  • B: Often used on straight lashes for lifting it up, B is curlier than J and opens the eye 
  • C: Used for dramatic styles, this is a curl that lifts downward natural eyelashes and opens-up straight lashes
  • D: This opens naturally downward lashes
  • CC Curl: Curlier than C but less curly than D
  • U: This opens your upward lashes with maximum curl factor
  • DD Curl: Curlier than D, but less curly than U
  • L: Used on straight natural lashes for creating a wide-eye look, this can lift lashes on droopy or hooded eyes too
  • L+: A curl type that combines lift and curve, it’s typically used for deep set eyes 
  • M: A straight-up lash curl used for lifting upward eyelashes and widening straight natural lashes 
  • B+: Less lift than C, but more than B
  • C+: Less lift than D, but more than C 
  • D+: Less lift than U, but more than D

Experienced lash technicians will not directly ask you which type of curl you’re looking for. Instead, they will consult on your desired look and suggest the appropriate curl to achieve your goals. Having said that, most clients find it interesting to discuss it with their stylist. 

The general rule is to choose a curl based on the angle (upward, downward or straight angle) of your natural lashes.

Size

The thickness or diameter of eyelash extensions is calculated in millimeters. Common sizes for lash extensions are 0.03, 0.05, 0.07, 0.10, 0.12, and 0.15 mm. Uncommon sizes are eyelash extensions with thickness of 0.18, 0.20, 0.23, 0.25, and 0.30 mm. 

Choosing the right size is an art in itself. The lash stylist number 1 priority should always be the health of the client’s natural lashes. The bigger the size chosen, the heavier the extension and therefore the more stressful it is on the natural lash.

Color

While natural lashes are available in shades of brown to black, synthetic lashes are available in a range of shades from Black to Brown, Yellow, Blonde, Red, Blue, Pink, Orange, White, Purple, and Ombre. You can choose to go with the color of your natural lashes, contrasting shades or a mix of several colors. 

If you want to create a natural look, then it’s best to go with a lash extension color that matches the color of your natural lashes. It won’t look over the top or artificial when done right. 

But if you like a bit of drama or want to enhance your eyes, colored eyelash extensions are worth giving a try. Adding one or two strands of contrasting shades or even a full set with rainbow colors can enhance your appearance up a few notches.

Glitter and Crystals

The trendiest way to add an extra oomph to your eyelashes is by bedazzling it. You can get one or two glitter-attached lashes or a full set to add a pop of color to your eyes nowadays. 

Another option is to get lashes with colored stones or crystals. Here, a single crystal is added to an individual lash strand which is often added to a full set to create a bling.  

Handmade Vs Pre-Made Volume Fans

Fans are used for volume lashes. Fake lashes are bound at the base and applied to one natural lash (one to many). A lash artist will have to decide if pre-made (also called pro-made) or handmade fans should be used. 

Handmade Fans

Handmade fans are made by the stylist sans any gadgets using several strands in fan-like shapes. These lashes are stuck together with a minutiae amount of lash adhesive and wrapped around your natural eyelashes. This process is also called true volume lashing. 

The best thing about hand made fans is that lash artists can customize each fan based on the length, density, thickness, curl and color of your natural lashes. While they take more time and are tougher to make, it costs way less than their counterpart. 

Pre-Made Fans (Also Called Pro-Made Fans)

Pre-made fans are made in advance by the manufacturer much like machine-made strip lashes. They are significantly easier to handle and therefore often preferred by newer stylists who want to save time during their volume appointment.

Heat-bonded vs glue-bonded volume fans

Based on how lash strands are bonded together, there are two types available today: heat-bonded or glue bonded. Heat-bonded fans only use heat to fuse the lash extensions at the base. Glue-bonded fans on the other-hand use a small amount of adhesive at the base to hold the lash extensions together.

Besides the lack of personalization, oftentimes the glue-bonded pre-made fans turn out too heavy because of the additional weight of the glue and may cause damage to the natural lashes.  

Flat Vs Normal Eyelash Extensions

Flat eyelash extensions also referred to as ‘Ellipse’, or ‘Cashmere’ lashes are shaped oval at the ends, unlike the round shape of normal lash extensions.

The pros of flat lashes include a bolder lash line, large surface area that improves adhesion, less use of adhesive, and enhanced definition. They are useful when you have thin eyelashes that are sparse or weak.

How To Choose The Right Type of Eyelash Extensions

Picking the right type of eyelash extensions takes skills and practice. The length and thickness you and your stylist will choose very much depends on the health of your natural lashes. A strong natural lash will be able to support additional weight when compared to a thin natural lash. 

At the end of the day, it is your stylist’s job to make the best recommendation based on your desired look and the state of your natural lashes.

Final Thoughts 

Now you know eyelash extensions are available in many types from mink to silk and synthetic materials. Depending on the shape of your eye, natural lashes and your personal style, you can choose from varied materials, lengths, curls, sizes and colors of lash extensions easily. 

When you’re getting fake eyelash extensions, always go for a type that doesn’t damage your natural hair. For example, don’t go for an overly long eyelash extension when your natural lashes are short or weak. It will end up damaging your natural hair. Instead go for the same or slightly longer lash extensions. 

I hope this article helped you understand the types of eyelash extensions available these days and how to choose the right lash extension for you. 

Any doubts still nagging you? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP with all the right answers.

Stay beautiful!

References

  1. PETA Australia Staff (2017). The Cruelty Behind Mink Lashes. Retrieved from https://www.peta.org.au/living/cruelty-behind-mink-lashes/ (Accessed 28th December, 2020)
  2. Dan H (2020). Good News for Minks: Sephora Bans Fur Eyelashes. Retrieved from https://www.peta.org.au/news/sephora-bans-fur-eyelashes/ (Accessed 28th December, 2020)
  3. PETA Australia Staff (2020). Victory for Minks! MECCA Bans Fur Eyelashes. Retrieved from https://www.peta.org.au/news/mecca-bans-mink-fur-eyelashes/ (Accessed 28th December, 2020)
  4. PETA Staff (2018). Why Buying an Animal-Hair Paint Brush Is Like Buying Fur. Retrieved from https://www.peta.org/living/humane-home/animal-friendly-paintbrush-fur-free/ (Accessed 28th December, 2020) 
  5. Wikipedia writers (2004). Polybutylene terephthalate. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polybutylene_terephthalate (Accessed 28th December, 2020) 
  6. PETA Staff (2004). Down and Silk: Birds and Insects Exploited for Feathers and Fabric. Retrieved from https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/animals-used-clothing-factsheets/silk-birds-insects-exploited-fabric/ (Accessed 28th December, 2020)

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