You would like to get eyelash extensions but you don’t know where to start? No worries. In this comprehensive guide for beginners, I’m going to share everything that you need to know about lash extensions.
After lashing clients for more than a decade now, I wanted to put together an “Eyelash Extension 101 Guide” that would help anyone who is considering getting them for the first time.
After reading this, you won’t need to read any other article about lash extensions on the internet 😉
So, let’s dive in and get started!
What Are Eyelash Extensions?
Eyelash extensions are synthetic or natural fibers that are attached to your natural eyelashes one by one with a medical-grade adhesive to give the appearance of longer, fuller and thicker eyelashes. The extensions come in different lengths, thicknesses, and curls, which can be customized to create a variety of looks.
There are 4 types of fake eyelashes available on the market today. Therefore, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what they are before I continue.
- Individual lash extensions: Individual eyelash extensions are commonly referred to as “Eyelash Extensions” or “Lash Extensions”. They are single strands of synthetic or natural hair that are applied to one eyelash at a time.
- Strip lashes: Strip lashes are pre-made bands of lashes that are applied to the eyelids as one piece. They are often referred to as “False Lashes”.
- Cluster lashes: Cluster lashes are made of multiple individual lash fibers, which are grouped together in small clumps and applied to the eyelids. They are sometimes called “Flares”.
- Magnetic lashes: Magnetic lashes are made of multiple magnets that attach to each other and to the natural lashes, creating a continuous line of lashes.
In this guide, I focus strictly on individual lashes.
How Do Eyelash Extensions Work?
The application process for eyelash extensions is really quite simple. Here is how they are done:
- Isolate one natural eyelash at a time: The technician will use tweezers to separate the individual eyelashes, in order to ensure that each extension is applied to a single natural lash.
- Pick one extension from the lash tray: The technician will then pick one extension from the tray and dip it into the adhesive.
- Attach the extension: Using tweezers, the technician will attach the extension to the natural lash. It’s important to note that the extension never touches the skin.
- Repeat the process: The technician will repeat this process until they have applied every single extension to each natural lash.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This sounds easy. I can do this myself at home.” And while that may be true, it’s important to remember that a lot more goes into the process than meets the eye.
If you’re curious about what exactly takes place during your appointment, I’ve recorded a complete video of a volume lash refill appointment I’ve done recently. During the video, I take you through every single step from taping the lashes, to isolating the natural lashes, and applying the extensions.
I also share tips and tricks that I’ve learned throughout my years as a Licensed Professional.
Eyelash Extension Techniques: Classic Vs Hybrid Vs Volume
Confused about the industry jargon?
Find out the nuances between the classic, hybrid, and volume lash extension techniques used by lash techs because you’ll have to talk about them later on when deciding on the right style for you.
Created for giving a natural look to the eye, this technique uses a 1:1 combination of individual lash extensions to natural lashes.
It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to create the complete look using different lengths, thicknesses, and curls for both eyes.
Classic lash extension sets are carefully created to match the characteristics of your eyelashes in the best way without being too long or heavy.
Volume lashes are when several extensions are affixed together to make a fresh fan that’s then added to your eyelashes to create a lush, thick, and curly set of lashes.
Volume is a Russian technique where extensions are lighter than those used for classic extensions to prevent weighing down on natural lashes.
A combination of classic and volume lash extension styles, the hybrid style is heavily customized to create unique looks. It’s popularly known as the American Volume Lashes and Kardashian Lashes too.
It uses a classic lash style of one extension per natural lash mixed with handmade volume fans affixed per lash using an eyelash extension adhesive.
Eyelash Extension Styles
Wondering what’s the best eyelash extensions to get?
There’s no universal lash extension style that suits all everyone’s types of eyes, bone structure, face shape, and natural lash shapes. A Lash stylist uses different patterns of lengths, thicknesses, and curls to create varied eyelash extension styles that complement your own natural lashes and features.
Pro Tip: I cover the best lash style to choose based on your eye shape in this article!
Let’s take a look at the popular styles you can choose from.
This is a lash style where the classic set is applied (sometimes mixed with the ‘volume’ technique) based on the natural appearance of your lashes.
We follow the natural lengths and patterns of your lashes and simply extend them by a few millimeters.
Considered the best for Almond shaped-eyes, the doll eye style opens up the eye with a well-defined outline.
The lash stylist does that by adding the longest lash extensions towards the middle of your eyes. It compliments hooded and monolid eyes perfectly too.
This style gives more focus to the center of the eye and is particularly good if you have a sharp arch to your eyebrows.
The cat-eye style is easily the most requested look.
Cat-eye is best for transforming downturned eyes although it looks good on close-set and almond eyes too. It’s created by adding longer lashes to the outer corners and short ones to the inner corners. Such a style creates a look akin to winged eyeliner for very envious lashes.
This is a style where the drama and thickness of lash extensions come into play.
Natural sweep eye shape is best for almond, hooded, downturned, and close-set eyes to balance the shape.
It’s created by adding short lashes in the inner corner of the eye followed
What Are the Different Types of Eyelash Extensions?
Here’s a complete list of different types of fake lashes from their construction to size, and more to choose from:
There are natural and synthetic options available.
Natural fibers include mink, sable, fox fur, and silk fibers. Artificial fibers refer to cruelty-free synthetic lash extensions (also called acrylic lashes) that are made from a thermoplastic fiber called PBT.
Be aware that faux mink and faux silk extensions are actually made of PBT and not natural fibers.
You can get fake lashes in short lengths of 5 mm to 8 mm, moderate lengths of 9 mm to 12 mm, long lengths of 13 mm to 16 mm, and extra-long options of up to 20 mm.
Currently, the most common lengths range from 5 mm to 16 mm.
Based on the curvature of the lash extensions, there are different curls available in the world of extensions such as I, J, B, C, D, CC, DD, U, L, and M.
There are also curls with enhanced lifts marked by the ‘+’ sign such as L+, B+, C+, and D+. Amongst these, I and J are common straight lashes with/without a slight curve, unlike the other curly alternatives.
In the world of fake eyelashes, the thickness of extensions is calculated in millimeters and selected to complement the thickness of natural lashes without feeling too heavy or droopy.
Lash technicians typically use sizes that stretch from 0.03, 0.05, 0.07, 0.10, 0.12, and 0.15 mm but more uncommon diameters such as 0.18, 0.20, 0.23, 0.25, and 0.30 mm are also available.
While extensions made from natural semi-permanent fibers are available in colors like black or brown, artificial lash extensions feature exceptional hues like red, pink, green, blue, pink, orange, purple, white, gold, silver, ombre, blond, and more.
Are Eyelash Extensions Good Or Bad For Your Natural Lashes?
Just like electricity can both be a boon and a bane based on how you use it, getting eyelash extensions can make you drop-dead-gorgeous with fluttery lashes or sick.
While lash extensions are safer and painless than ever now, aftercare and a poorly done job often lead to allergies, infections, clumping of lashes, sparsing, and loss of natural eyelashes.
For instance, if the lash artist selects extensions that are heavier than your natural lashes, they will end up drooping or falling off with added weight.
Alternatively, a poorly attached extension can lead to corneal abrasion. Techs can also stick extensions to multiple eyelashes, preventing their growth and movement, leading to botched eyelash jobs.
“The right size, weight, and curl can even support natural lashes to grow comfortably. While most states in the United States mandate licensed experts to perform lash extension services, not every state is bound by it.“
Hence, you must select a reputable studio to help you find the right extension and a well-experienced lash artist to do the treatment perfectly.
How To Find A Good Eyelash Extension Salon?
Finding a good lash service starts by finding a licensed lash tech. Certified technicians who use safe and high-quality products are a must for getting proper eyelash extension treatment without damaging your eyes or natural lashes.
Much like assessing a restaurant or brand before buying from them, check out the experiences, reviews, and history of the salon and its techs before taking an appointment with them.
You can request to see the before-after pictures of clients to get to know about their skills before signing up with them.
But most importantly, do ask for their cosmetologist or esthetician license.
What’s The Cost Of Lash Extensions?
Many things affect the cost of eyelash extensions such as the lash technique (classic vs hybrid vs volume), the total appointment time, the experience level, the lash extension material, and the location of the salon. This combined with tipping standards determines the cost of a lash treatment.
In my case study of lash extension prices in the U.S., I found that eyelash extensions cost on average $164 for classic lashes, while a refill will cost you $71.
I know this may sound like a lot of money at first, but give it a try and you’ll be surprised at how much they can instantly improve your look.
Also, I would shy away from going for the cheapest option. It’s important to remember that these are permanent and long-term treatments, and a less expensive option may not be worth the risk in the long run.
I’ve seen my fair share of clients get burnt by salons that promise cheap lash extensions but use poor-quality materials and poor technique which can result in damage to the natural lash.
What To Expect For Your First Eyelash Extensions Appointment?
First time getting eyelash extensions? You’re gonna love the transformation even more than a regular.
What’s more, lash sessions are so relaxing you might even sleep off during the treatment. Take a look at what Refinery29 felt about her experience at our salon to get an idea of how it works.
But if you want a checklist of how to prepare for your very first lash extension session, here you go …
- Consult first: Always have a long chat with the lash artist who will work on you to relay your preferences first. This will help the technician design a custom style for you.
- Wear comfy clothes: As most lash extension treatment requires clients to lay down, it’s best to wear comfortable attire that doesn’t restrict your body.
- Make a playlist and get the headset: If you find music relaxing, create a playlist and take your favorite headset when going for the appointment.
- Remove your makeup: Makeup products often contain oils and other conflicting components that can degrade the lash extension treatment. Remove mascara, eyeliner, or foundation before going to the salon or sitting down for the beauty treatment. Eye makeup should be non-existent for your appointment.
- Disclose your allergies and do a test: Always share your seasonal allergies, past allergic reactions as well as cosmetic allergies with the lash tech before doing an allergy patch test to ensure you’re on the safer side.
- Be relaxed: To sit still for a few hours, you need to be well-rested and tension-free. Also keep in mind to avoid having excessive amounts of coffee, chocolates, and other stimulants.
- Take off your contacts: If you’re wearing any contact lenses, you’ll be asked to remove them before the appointment due to safety concerns. You can re-apply your contacts once the lash treatment is complete.
- Turn your phone on silent: A good way to limit distractions is by placing your cell phone on silent mode. You can also let your friends, family, or necessary persons know that you’ll be unavailable for the next couple of hours.
- Go to the loo before you start: To make yourself most relaxed over the next couple of hours, it’s good to empty your bladder before you sit down for the session.
- Understand the procedure: Ask your lash tech about the procedure and they’ll explain when they will apply gel pads, tapes, extensions, and what you need to do during that time. Typically, you’ll be asked to keep your eyes shut for the next couple of hours.
- Take before-after pictures: Don’t forget to snap a few before-after pics of your lashes too!
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Last?
Eyelash extensions typically last two to four weeks. Since every extension is attached to an individual natural lash, as the natural lash sheds, so does the extension. Therefore, the extensions last as long as the natural lashes to which they are attached don’t shed.
Lash extensions aren’t like strip lashes that last a day because they are applied lash-by-lash. That’s also the same reason why lash extensions don’t come off all at once. It sheds with the natural hair over three to six weeks. Some may shed early, and others may shed later.
Based on 1100 clients who come to Divine Lashes, 60.1% come in for a refill in three weeks, 20.6% every two weeks, 16.7% every four weeks, and 2.7% after four weeks.
How To Maintain Your Lash Extensions?
Apart from avoiding water for four hours after getting your extensions done, there are many aftercare techniques to extend the life of lash extensions nowadays.
- Cleaning: First off, you need to clean your eyelashes one to two times every day with a compatible cleanser. There are some excellent makeup removers specifically designed for extensions that you can include in your morning routine. Poor hygiene of the eye area is the #1 enemy of good retention. Keep in mind to avoid water pressure directly on lashes when showering with extensions.
- Brushing: Combing your dry lashes will prevent them from tangling besides cleaning debris and avoiding clumps. The best way is to gently brush them daily.
- Curling: Never use a mechanical curler on your lash extensions as it can pull and snag on them, leading to premature falling out. Instead of a mechanical eyelash curler, you can use a heated curler with care.
- Keep off the eyes: It’s best to avoid rubbing or scrubbing your eyes harshly as it can also cause extensions to shed early.
- Refill: Going for a refill at the right time, typically every two to three weeks to reduce the cost of doing a full set and maintaining a beautiful lash line.
- Hairdryer: Never use the hairdryer on the hot setting and always go for the cool setting. That being said, you could also let them air dry on their own before using a spoolie brush to comb them.
- Avoid heat, oil, and salt: From swimming in the ocean to avoiding the sauna, and using cosmetic products with oil around the eye such as waterproof eyeliner and mascara, there are many ways to maximize the retention of your extensions.
- Sleeping etiquettes: When sleeping with eyelash extensions, you can start sleeping on your back or side. You should also replace your cotton pillow covers with a soft fabric like silk or satin to prevent lashes from snagging on them.
- Eye makeup: When wearing eye makeup, make sure to avoid oil-based products around the eye area and lash line as these products can weaken the adhesive used to adhere the extensions to your eyelashes. The extensions could eventually fall off with repeat exposure to oily eye cream, mascara, foundation, etc.
Do eyelash extensions damage natural lashes or your eyes?
Eyelash extensions don’t damage your natural lashes when they are applied by an experienced technician using the proper techniques and tools. It is critical to use extension lengths and thicknesses that the client’s natural lash can support.
Do eyelash extensions hurt?
When an extension is correctly applied on the natural lash, it doesn’t hurt. That’s because it doesn’t come into contact with your skin at any point. The application process is so relaxing that many clients often fall asleep during the session.
Are eyelash extensions only for special occasions?
While lash extensions are a great choice for special occasions, they are also perfect for daily wear. Unlike strip lashes, lash extensions last for weeks. You don’t have to remove and re-apply your extensions constantly.
Are eyelash extensions vegan?
Mink, sable, and silk extensions aren’t vegan while synthetic ones made from PBT are.
Can you wear eyelash extensions over long periods of time?
Yes, you can wear lash extensions for two to six weeks without any hassle. Regardless of when they shed with your natural lashes, they don’t cause any irritation to the eye or lashes.
Can you get eyelash extensions wet?
Yes, you can get lash extensions wet once the curing period of four hours has passed. If you get your new lashes wet before the end of the cure period of the lash glue, it can affect the retention of the extensions.
The Bottom Line
If you’re new to the world of eyelash extensions, I hope my guide helps you choose the right type of extensions and gives you an idea of the cost, time investment, and aftercare involved.
After more than 10 years of lashing clients, I always love the look on my client’s faces when they get to see their beautiful lash extensions for the first time. Nothing beats that “WOW moment” when you can instantly see the amazing transformation.
So don’t be afraid to take the leap and get your very own set of lashes. You won’t regret it!
If there’s anything I can help you with, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments below. I’m always not too far away.
– Asako 🙂
- Stephanie S. Gardner MD (2019). Magnetic Lashes: Are They Safe? Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/beauty/magnetic-lashes-safety (Accessed on 12-3-2021)
- Leah Rumack (2020). We Tried 4 Toronto Lash Extension Spots — & Here Are Our Thoughts. Retrieved from https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/best-lash-extension-spots-toronto (Accessed on 12-3-2021)