Two of the most popular procedures for helping you smash your lash goals are lash lifts and lash extensions. Lash lifts and eyelash extensions both let you wake up with beautiful lashes, but they’re very different procedures.
After being in the lash game for a decade, I find the major difference between lash lifts and lash extensions is that lash lifts subtly boost your own lashes, while lash extensions add fullness and length to your natural lashes for an extra-impressive transformation.
I’ve gone over the other differences between these two lash-enhancing treatments with countless clients to help them find the procedure that gives the results they keep coming back for.
Now I’d love to help you decide which procedure is right for you.
Lash Lift Vs Lash Extensions – How We’ll Compare Them
I’ll pit both treatments against each other according to the following 6 criteria:
- How it works
- The end result
- How long it takes
- How long it lasts
Let’s get started!
#1: How It Works
A Lash Lift gives you longer, lifted lashes that accentuate your eyes. With the help of nifty silicone pads and special softening and fixing solutions, your natural lashes are reshaped to give them lasting lift and curl.
Do you want some color?
You can have your lashes tinted after they’re lifted.
This combo called a lash lift and tint is the most popular appointment type at my lash studio.
Natural or artificial lash fibers are attached to your natural lashes, one by one. Depending on the effect you’re after, individual or multiple extension fibers are fixed to each of your natural lashes using an eye-friendly adhesive.
Did you know: You can’t get lash extensions if you don’t have natural eyelashes to start with! I know, I know, not much of a surprise 😉 Check out my article for what to do if you’re in that situation.
Do you want to change the shape of your eyes? Perhaps you would prefer a more cat-eye shape or a dolly look?
Eyelash extensions are a great tool to alter your look since they are fully customizable.
For example, for a cat-eye style, I would add longer extensions on the outer corners of the eyes.
How They Compare
Lash lifts are a great way to give your lashes an extra oomph without adding anything to them. They give a very natural-looking result.
Lash extensions, on the other hand, are perfect if you’re looking for a more dramatic transformation – you can choose the length, thickness, and curl of your lashes.
Having said that, well-done eyelash extensions can also be very natural-looking. They are completely customizable.
#2: The End Result
Lash lifts subtly enhance your natural lashes. The lift and curl will make your lashes look longer and more groomed and brighten up your eyes.
You can choose how extreme to go with your curl, from naturally pretty to full-on flirty!
The optional tint gives your lashes extra definition.
I have added some of our clients’ before and after pictures below.
Extensions make your lashes unmistakably longer and fuller.
To get your ultimate lash look, you can pick from many different extension techniques, styles, and lash fiber types (material, length, thickness, and curl).
These are the 3 extension techniques:
- Technique #1: Classic. One extension fiber is attached to each of your natural lashes.
- Technique #2: Volume. Multiple extension fibers are fanned and applied to each of your natural lashes.
- Technique #3: Hybrid. A combination of classic and volume – some of your natural lashes get one extension fiber attached, and some get more.
See the techniques in action! Here, lash artist Renee shows off the results:
There’s a lash style to flatter every eye shape, from the cat-eye (with the longest lashes at the outer corners of the eye), which works magic for almond-shaped eyes to the dolly (with the longest lashes in the middle) to open up small eyes.
Check out some of our clients’ before and after pictures below.
How They Compare
Both procedures give amazing before and after results. Here, it really comes down to what kind of look you want to achieve.
If you want a more natural-looking result, both options are good. If you want longer, fuller lashes with a more dramatic effect, go for lash extensions.
#3 How Long It Takes
After 45 minutes to an hour, your lashes will be done. If you choose to have a tint, your procedure will take another 15 minutes.
Properly applying eyelash extensions needs care and time. The procedure takes about an hour or two but can take longer, depending on the lash style you choose.
How They Compare
From a lash artist’s perspective, doing a lash lift is a more standard process that involves less customization. For that reason, I can safely say that an appointment is always around 1 hour with a tint.
What about lash extensions?
The sky is the limit really.
You can go wild or very natural. It all depends on what the client wants.
A full natural set may take about 1h30 while a mega volume set for a wedding may take more than 2 hours.
#4 How Long It Lasts
Look after your lashes post-procedure, and you can keep your curl for 4 to 8 weeks.
After that, your lashes will gradually return to their natural shape and state.
They generally last from 2 to 4 weeks if you treat them well.
Your extensions fall out with your natural lashes during their normal shedding phase. Getting a refill every 2 to 3 weeks will keep your lashes looking luscious.
How They Compare
A lash lift definitely gives you longer-lasting results than extensions. To preserve the look of your lashes with extensions, you will need to get refills every few weeks.
If you are a busy person that does not have time to go back for refills, a lash lift is more suitable for you.
#5 How Much It Costs
The cost of lash lifts ranges from around $100 to $200 per session. The optional tint costs an extra $20 to $40.
Prices differ according to the salon, lash tech’s experience, and location.
I have done an extensive case study where I analyzed the price offered by lash salons across the united states here.
The price of eyelash extensions varies quite a bit. You can pay anything from $80 to $400 depending on the salon, location, lash tech’s experience, extension technique, and type of extension fiber.
The average prices are $164 for classic, $192 for hybrid, and $227 for volume.
Refills cost anywhere from $30 to $275, with the average prices being $71 for classic, $84 for hybrid, and $95 for volume.
How They Compare
Lash extensions require more intricate work than lash lifts, making them more time-consuming. The time-intensive nature of eyelash extensions and the detailed work involved makes them the pricier procedure of the two.
Because the process for a lash lift treatment is a lot more standard and there’s less room for customization, there’s also less variability in price.
A lash lift might be your better bet if you’re looking for budget-friendly lash enhancement.
You need to take special care during the 24 hours after your lash lift. The procedure needs a full day to set its lifting effects.
There’s not much to remember for lash care straight after your procedure. Keep your lashes away from water, heat, steam, eye products, and makeup during the first 24 hours after your lash lift, and your lashes should be good to go!
After the first day, you’re welcome to go back to your regular grooming routine.
Here’s your checklist for long-term maintenance:
- Condition your lashes daily (with lash serum or castor oil) and brush them regularly with a spoolie brush.
- Avoid eyelash curlers, sleeping on your face, rubbing your eyes, wearing waterproof mascara, and applying eye masks or lots of eyecare products.
- Exfoliate your lash line regularly with micellar water or an oil-free remover to remove any dead skin cells or product buildup.
There’s only one rule to stick to straight after your extensions are attached: protect them from moisture for the next 4 hours to allow the adhesive to set.
Long-term lash care is a little more demanding. Here’s what you need to do to keep your extensions looking their best:
- Wash your lashes daily at home (use a cleanser formulated for extensions, oil-free makeup remover, gentle cleanser, micellar water, or distilled water). When your lashes are completely dry, brush them with a spoolie brush, watching that you don’t get too close to the base where the extensions are attached.
- Sleep on your back or side on a satin or silk pillowcase.
- Stay away from hot, steamy environments.
- Don’t get your face near sources of scorching heat like hairdryers, ovens, and tanning beds.
- Avoid wearing mascara with volume lashes. Plus, limit other eye makeup because you’ll increase your risk of lash loss when you remove the makeup.
- Don’t use eyelash curlers.
- Keep products containing glycols, PEG, parabens, and plant oils away from your lashes.
- Stop yourself from playing with your extensions, and try not to rub your eyes.
- Avoid using cotton balls and swabs on your eye area.
- Have a refill every 2 to 3 weeks.
How They Compare
Lash lifts have a few strict rules you must follow for 24 hours after your procedure. After the first day, upkeep is pretty low maintenance.
On the flip side, eyelash extensions have several long-term result-protecting guidelines. Though, both procedures save time and effort compared to using an eyelash curler and mascara every day!
So which one is best for you?
It all depends on the type of maintenance you are able to commit to.
If you’re in love with your lashes and can include maintenance in your daily routine, then give lash extensions a go.
If you want something that’s a little more low-maintenance, go for the lash lift.
Lash Lift Vs Lash Extension – Who’s The Winner? (Table Summary)
Let’s compare lash lifts and extensions side by side to see what sets them apart.
|Lash Lift Vs Lash Extensions||Lash Lift||Lash Extensions||The Winner!|
|How It Works||Uses a perming solution to gently lift the base of the natural lashes.||Synthetic or natural fibers are attached to your natural lashes.||Both procedures are well-known and safe.|
|End Result||Your natural lashes are lifted and curled, making them appear longer and your eyes brighter.||Extension fibers are added to your natural lashes to make them fuller, longer, and more striking.||Lash extensions are in the top spot for their transformative power.|
|How Long It Takes||Time at the salon: about an hour.||Time at the salon: an hour or two or longer.||Lash lifts take gold for being the quicker option.|
|How Long It Lasts||Results last from 4 to 8 weeks.||Results last from 2 to 4 weeks.||Lash Lifts have the hedge for their longer results which don’t require regular refills to maintain.|
|Cost||From $100 to $200. Plus, $20 to $40 for an optional tint.||From $164 to $227. Plus, around $71 to $95 for a refill.||Lash Lifts are a more affordable option.|
Fewer lash care rules for lasting gorgeous results.
More lash care rules for lasting gorgeous results.
Lash lifts win for being the lower-maintenance option.
Pros and Cons of Lash Lifts and Eyelash Extensions
Pros of lash lifts:
- Very natural look
- Uses only your own natural lashes
- Low maintenance
- Lasts 6 to 8 weeks
Cons of lash lifts:
- Not much can be done if your natural lashes are too short to start with
- Not a lot of customization available
Pros of lash extensions:
- Can add volume, length, and curl. Transformation is amazing.
- Highly customizable with different looks available.
- No more mascara is required.
Cons of lash extensions:
- High maintenance
- Can be expensive
- Requires touch-ups every 2 to 4 weeks
- If not done correctly, can damage your natural lashes. Only go to trained professionals.
Lash Lift Vs Lash Extensions – Key Takeaways
Both lash lifts and lash extensions have a lot going for them.
Lash lifts shine because of their long-lasting results, lower price tag, and fuss-free aftercare. Extensions stand out because of their versatility and sheer wow factor.
If you want to enhance your natural lashes for a more polished look, you’ll likely be on Team Lash Lift. Suppose your lash wish is to have showstopping length and fullness. Then you’re on Team Lash Extensions.
I hope this battle of the lash treatments has helped you figure out which one is best for you! 🙂
Whichever team you’re on, enjoy your new lashes!
– Asako 🙂
Additional Readings on DivineLashes.ca: If you want to up your lash game, check out my comprehensive guides on lash lifts and eyelash extensions to learn everything there is to know about these two treatments.