Eyelash extensions are a beauty service that is definitely here to stay. This lash enhancing procedure guarantees gorgeous, long lashes that even pass for falsies, and save you the need for mascara.
It is unsurprising that lash extensions are so popular! Long lashes are a common sign of femininity – after all, all it takes to turn a smiley face into a “girl” emoji is a set of eyelashes. The eyes look larger and sultrier when surrounded by long, lush eyelashes.
Are you interested in taking the plunge, and trying out eyelash extensions? It’s probably good to start the process by learning about all of the things involved, from how the procedure is done, to how to choose your own unique eyelash extension style, and to finding the perfect salon and eyelash stylist for you.
In this article:
- What Are Eyelash Extensions?
- Types of Eyelash Extension Lashes
- Eyelash Extensions Aftercare
- Eyelash Extensions Costs and Touch-Ups
- How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Last?
- Pros and Cons of Having Eyelash Extensions
- Will Eyelash Extensions Cause Damage to the Eyelashes?
- Makeup Dos and Don’ts with Eyelash Extensions
- How to Choose a Salon to Get Eyelash Extensions
- Eyelash Extensions Removal
What Are Eyelash Extensions, Exactly, and How Is It Done?
Eyelash extensions are a procedure, in which tiny strands of hair are attached to one’s natural lashes, making them appear longer, thicker, and much more defined.
Like with any excellent beauty service, this procedure starts with a consultation. The aesthetician or makeup artist will quickly discuss with you how you would like your eyelash extensions to look – you’ll be surprised by how many options there are! What’s you’ve settled on a look, the procedure will start.
Your lash extensions technician will begin by having you lie down. Your lashes and eye area will be cleaned with a special liquid, especially to remove oils. Under-eye pads or stickers will be applied just below your eyes, to protect the under-eye area from glue.
Your lash stylist may also apply a primer to your lashes, to ensure the eyelash extensions adhere well. Then, with a pair of tweezers and a delicate touch, your lash stylist will choose a false eyelash strand, dip it into the glue, and then lay it down on top of your natural eyelashes, as close to the lash line as possible without actually touching the skin.
The lash technician will continue applying lashes of different sizes until the desired look is achieved, and then repeat the process on the other eye.
The complete lash extensions procedure, which is often called a “full set” normally takes between one and two hours. The procedure is not painful at all, and is actually quite pleasant and relaxing. Since the person having their eyelashes extended has to keep their eyes closed for the whole time, it is not uncommon to fall asleep.
At the end, you should wake up with perfectly long and gorgeous eyelashes, and ideally no discomfort or pain.
Types of Eyelash Extension Lashes
There are so many styles of lash extension options you can go for, each coming in a different shape, material, width and length so that everyone finds their perfect match.
Material of Eyelash Extensions
The lashes used for eyelash extensions are usually made of either mink, silk, human hair, or a synthetic material (usually acrylic or polyester).
- Mink and human hair lashes look the most natural, and feel the lightest, but they also happen to be the most expensive choices ($200-$500 for a full set). Much like natural lashes, they tend to lose their curl quickly (especially if they become wet) so they require more styling.
- Faux mink lashes look almost as good as mink eyelash extensions, but they generally cost much less ($150 for a full set), and they hold their curl better.
- Silk eyelash extensions are just one step down from mink and faux-mink lashes. They have a lovely sheen, and are ultra lightweight. Price-wise, they cost less than mink and faux-mink lashes ($100 for a full set), but are more expensive than straight-up synthetic lashes. They are a great choice if this is your first time having eyelash extensions done, because they won’t break the bank, won’t weigh you down, and they will look fairly natural.
- On the other hand, you should consider the synthetic route if you are going for an extreme look. Synthetic eyelash extensions are thicker and darker than all other options, and they seriously stand out. They are also the cheapest option ($70 for a full set). The drawback of synthetic lashes is that they tend to be heavy, which does not work for people with little experience with false eyelashes, or sensitive eyes.
Shape of Eyelash Extensions
Eyelash extension lashes are also differentiated by their curl. The false lashes can go from super straight to super curly. The most commonly used way to refer to the curl false lashes have is based on the alphabet, but in an odd way. From least curly to most curly, the letters used are: J, B, C, CC, and D.
L is used to talk about lashes that have an L-shaped lift, rather than a rounded curl. C lashes are by far the most popular choice, because they open up the eye beautifully, without having too extreme of a curl. J and B curls tend to look more natural, while the CC and D curls are more extreme.
Eyelash Extension Length and Width
I think it is easy to assume that the thicker and longer your eyelash extensions are, the more extreme and glamorous they would look, while thinner and shorter lashes look more natural. Shorter and thinner lashes also tend to be more comfortable, because they don’t weigh down on your lid or your natural lashes as much as thick and long ones would.
Eyelash extensions usually range in thickness from 0.10 mm to 0.30 mm. 0.10 lashes are extremely natural, while 0.30 mm lashes really stand out. The sweet spot is usually around a 0.15 mm and 0.25 mm, where the eyelash extensions effect is there without looking over-the-top.
The lengths used for eyelash extensions are between 5 mm and 15 mm. The length that would suit you best totally depends on how large your eyes are, and how much lid space you have. For someone who has eyebrows that naturally sit very low, a shorter lash is better, while if your eyebrows sit very high you can get away with a longer eyelash.
Usually, eyelash stylists will use a few different lengths of false eyelashes to create a more natural, dispersed look. Near the inner corner of the eye, it is always best to keep the lashes the shortest. Different lengths of lashes can be combined in different ways to achieve different effects.
Types of Eyelash Extension Styles
So since there are so many different types of extension lashes to choose from, there are also a ton of different effects that eyelash extensions can create. That is why a consultation with your eyelash stylist is so important – you want to achieve the perfect eyelash look, but you first have to figure out what that means for you.
The most popular looks achieved with eyelash extensions are the following:
Natural Eyelash Extensions
For a natural look, the eyelash extensions technician will not use too many lashes. The lashes will have a medium curve (either J or B lashes), and will likely not be longer than 10mm.
The lashes closer to the tear duct will be the shortest, while along the rest of the lash line they will be a uniform mixture of two lengths. By using lashes of two different lengths all along the lash line, the eyelash extensions will look naturally random. It’ll give your eyes just a bit of a boost, without seeming obvious.
Open Eye Eyelash Extensions
Eye-rounding eyelash extensions can be taken to the extreme, with very long lashes with a C curl, or it can be subtler with shorter lashes and a B curl. Either way, this style is perfect for anyone who wants eyes that look larger and rounder, and an overall cuter look.
The rounded shape is achieved by the stylist using shorter lashes on both ends of the lash line, and longer lashes closer to the center of the lash line. This sort of fan shape of the eyelash extensions makes the eyes appear more rounded.
Bombshell Eyelash Extensions
The classic bombshell eye will make the eyes appear both larger and slightly longer. It is a look that will suit just about anyone.
The bombshell eyelash extensions look is achieved with C or B curl lashes, usually on the longer end, that are applied to the eye in a subtle gradient of short to long. The shortest lashes, as always, are near the tear duct, and they become gradually longer until they reach the outer corner of the eye.
Cat Eye Eyelash Extensions
Cat eye lash extensions are, in a way, a variant on the bombshell look. This look seriously elongates the eye, and gives a sultry effect.
Using B or C curl lashes, the lashes become dramatically longer along the outer half of the lash line, creating a lusty, half-lidded look.
Eyelash Extensions Aftercare
Good aftercare makes the difference between eyelash extensions that last 2 weeks and eyelash extensions that last 6 weeks. With this beauty service, being careful and paying attention is well worth it.
- For the first two hours after getting lash extensions done, do not get your face wet.
- Avoid the pool, sauna, or spa for the first 24 hours after you get your lashes done.
- Always avoid rubbing your eyes or pulling on your lashes.
- If you wear eye makeup, be extremely gentle when removing it. Only use oil-free eye makeup removers.
- If your lashes get tangled, use a spoolie to lightly brush them back into place.
- It is best to avoid mascara, but if you must, use a mascara safe for lash extensions.
- When you do apply mascara, only apply it to the top half of the lash, so as not to disrupt the glue.
- When applying moisturizer or eye cream, be careful not to let it get too close to the lash line.
Costs for a Full Set of Eyelash Extensions and Touch-Ups
As with any beauty service, the costs of eyelash extensions will vary based on how skilled your eyelash stylist is, where their salon is located, and how many individual lashes you would like to have applied. The material you choose for your lashes also has an impact on cost, with natural mink lashes costing a fair bit more than synthetics.
For the first time you undergo eyelash extensions, expect to pay a minimum of $80, and as much as $500 for an extensive full set.
Touch-up sessions are considerably more affordable, usually costing between $30 and $80.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Last? How Often Should You Go for Touch-Ups?
Eyelash extensions, at the longest, will last about a month. Three weeks is more common, since the amount of care it takes to keep all lashes in tact is quite extensive.
Thankfully, touch-ups every three weeks are not as expensive as the initial full set, and your lash stylist might even be happy to sell you a package if you intend on getting regular eyelash extension touch-ups.
Pros and Cons of Having Eyelash Extensions
- Long and beautiful eyelashes that look more natural than false lashes.
- Eyelash extensions are the most long-lasting choice for gorgeous eyelashes.
- Since eyelash extensions are semi-permanent, you can play around with different eyelash styles.
- Safe and painless, when you choose your lash stylist carefully.
- You have to be very careful to keep you eyelash extensions in tact.
- Once you have had eyelash extensions done, it is very difficult to go back to having plain natural lashes because they simply look too short.
- Regular maintenance can become costly, especially if eyelash extensions are just one of multiple beauty services you have done regularly.
- A poorly trained eyelash extensions technician can irritate your eyes due to poor technique.
- You risk eye irritation or infection if you go to a salon that does not practice proper hygiene standards, or uses a cheaper glue.
Will Eyelash Extensions Cause Damage to the Eyelashes?
Quick answer: it depends. Some of us are are more prone to hair loss than others, and eyelash extensions certainly add an extra layer of stress to your natural lashes.
It is normal for us to shed eyelashes, but eyelash extensions could possibly increase that shedding. Generally, a well trained eyelash stylist will do a better job of preserving your natural lashes, and the damage will be minimal to non-existent.
Additionally, lighter lashes, like those made of mink or silk, are going to take less of a toll on your natural lashes than heavy, synthetic ones.
Makeup Dos and Don’ts with Eyelash Extensions
- Since your lashes will become seriously longer, you will likely find that you need to wear less makeup than before.
- Avoid using eyelash curlers. If a curl is important to you, stick to synthetic, silk, or faux mink lashes.
- Only use oil-free makeup removers. Lancome’s Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover, from Sephora, is an effective and safe choice.
- Avoid wax-based eyeliners (i.e. most pencil eyeliners), because they can drag along the lash line and take with them your eyelash extensions.
- Stay away from waterproof eye makeup, since the removal process could also remove your lashes.
- If you must use mascara, stick to something that is not waterproof. Natural mascaras are a great choice, since they give a bit of color, but come off easily.
How to Choose a Salon to Get Eyelash Extensions
As previously mentioned, there are some risks associated with eyelash extensions, namely irritation and eye infection. As such, it is critical that you find a safe and clean salon, and that the eyelash stylist you choose is experienced. It is also very important that you find someone that can give your eyes the effect that you want.
Best way to begin your search is by going online and finding which salons in your area provide this service. Look up online reviews of the different salons, and see what clients are saying.
If you notice a few people mention that they left the salon with irritated eyes, you might want to avoid that specific salon. If anyone mentions an eye infection, that is definitely a salon you want to stay away from for your eyelash extensions.
Next, once you feel like you have found some salons that are clean and safe, go to their online galleries either on their website or on Instagram, and see the kind of work their eyelash stylists can create. Some eyelash stylists end up creating the same look from client to client, while others have a talent for variety.
Schedule an appointment with the eyelash technician, whose style most closely corresponds to your personal taste. Make sure the appointment starts with a consultation.
Once it’s time for your consultation, begin by asking what kind of glue is used for the eyelash extensions – you want to make sure that they use a glue made in North America or Europe. If you are in the US, make sure the glue is FDA approved. Ask about how other things are sanitized, from the tweezers to the bed you’ll be lying on.
After that, it’ll be time to talk about the look you want. Feel free to show your lash stylist example pictures, or even bring in a pair of false eyelashes you would like to emulate. Your lash stylist might give some suggestions of their own, and you want to take those seriously. Once you both know exactly what kind of look you’re going for, you are good to go!
Eyelash Extensions Removal
The glue on eyelash extensions is quite strong, so your best bet is to simply go to the salon where you have had your lashes done, and have them removed by a professional, who will use a special solvent that won’t harm your natural lashes. Trying to remove eyelash extensions on your own can result in you pulling out your natural lashes.
If there is simply no way you can get to the salon for eyelash removal, you can (very gently) try and speed up the process of the eyelash extensions shedding on their own.
Begin by removing any eye makeup you might be wearing. Soak a cotton pad in oil, and hold it against your eye for a few minutes. The oil will help dissolve the glue, and while this may not remove all lash extensions immediately, repeating this over the course of a few days will eventually get rid of most (if not all) of the lash extensions.
Be careful when reading about some eyelash extensions removal methods online – if any method calls for tugging on the lashes, using a product that is not proven eye-safe, or using a lot of heat or steam, it is best to avoid. These kinds of procedures can irritate the eyes or the skin, or cause unnecessary natural eyelash loss.
Have you had eyelash extensions done? What was your experience? What kind of shape did you go for? Let us know!
Photos via @atlantip, @studiomascara, Instagram