Mascara is great for enhancing your lashes but if you want something a little more long-term, you may be considering eyelash extensions. This lash treatment provides long-lasting results and can give your lashes a major boost by the way of lengthening, volumizing, and curling.
If you're unsure exactly what lash extensions are or how they work, you've come to the right place. Unlike a lash lift, which involves applying a curling solution to your natural lashes, eyelash extensions give you that falsies-like look by attaching strand by stand to the ends of your natural lashes. Think of it like hair extensions but for your eyes.
Below, two lash experts are explaining everything you should know about eyelash extensions so you can determine if the beauty treatment is right for you and be fully prepared for your upcoming appointment. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Eyelash Extensions?
Lash extensions are an eyelash-enhancing treatment that attaches to your natural lashes. "Eyelash extensions are a hassle-free way to give your eyes the length and fullness of mascara with none of the daily effort," Anna Phillips, founder and chief innovation officer of The Lash Lounge, tells POPSUGAR.
The individual extensions are made of semi-permanent fibers, such as faux mink or silk.
Types of Eyelash Extensions
As with many beauty treatments, there are different types of eyelash extensions to choose from. "They come in a variety of lengths and curvatures, widths, and fibers, so that when applied with artistry, it's customized for each client's eyes, face shape, and bone structure," Clementina Richardson, the founder of Envious Lashes in Manhattan and Miami, says.
Some popular styles are:
- Natural eyelash extensions
- Classic eyelash extensions
- Volume eyelash extensions
- Hybrid lash extensions
How Are Eyelash Extensions Applied?
The process of applying eyelash extensions is fairly simple, but going to a licensed and certified professional is a must. At your appointment, you'll be instructed to lie down on a bed while your lash specialist gets to work.
"Each lash extension is applied directly to an individual eyelash hair with medical-grade adhesive one millimeter from the base of the natural lash," says Phillips. The adhesive is specially formulated for use around the eyes so it shouldn't cause irritation or damage your natural lashes. Phillips explains that "reactions to the adhesive are rare" but if you have known skin allergies or eye sensitivities, you can ask to do a patch test before getting a full set applied.
"Each eye will typically have 80 to 140 lashes, and the lash is applied only to existing lashes, not the skin," says Richardson. Your specialist will use lashes of varying lengths and "curvatures" to customize your look. The process is painless and some people even find it so relaxing that they fall asleep during the treatment.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Take?
Getting eyelash extensions is not a quick in-and-out treatment. It's meticulous work as each extension has to be individually attached to your natural lashes. "Our services take anywhere from one to two hours, depending on the desired volume," says Richardson.
How Much Are Eyelash Extensions: the Cost
Eyelash extensions are a nice way to treat yourself, but as with any treat, they do come with a price. "Cost for eyelash extensions depends on the type of lash extensions you're getting," says Richardson. "A more natural-looking set of lashes that uses less individual strands start at $175, whereas an ultra-dramatic, mega set of bombshell lashes start at $350 and can go up."
Some salons have membership options where you can get refills at a discount.
Do Lash Extensions Ruin Your Eyelashes?
Many people wonder if eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes and the answer, in short, is no. "If you go to an experienced and well-trained lash stylist, eyelash extensions should not damage your eyelashes," says Richardson. "The lash stylist's main goal should be to maintain the integrity of your natural lashes, and they should analyze the health and the natural lashes before deciding on the type of lash to apply."
But it's imperative you take care of your eyelash extensions post-treatment, too.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Lash?
On average, lash extensions can last up to four to six weeks if applied correctly. "I recommend clients get refills every two weeks if you are known to have fast hair growth, and if your hair grows at a slower pace, I recommend getting refills every two to three weeks to maintain a fuller, more natural look," says Richardson.
Your eyelash extensions will fall out as you shed your natural lashes. "We naturally shed 20 percent of our eyelashes every two weeks, which is why we recommend guests return every two weeks for a lash fill," says Phillips.
However, you can shorten the lifespan of your extensions by not taking care of them. (More on that ahead.)
How to Take Care of Eyelash Extensions
We can't stress enough how important aftercare is when it comes to eyelash extensions. "Proper aftercare is crucial to the upkeep of your extensions and the overall health of your natural lashes," says Phillips. Extensions are an investment, so you want to treat them accordingly.
"To elongate its wear, avoid steam and wetting your lashes for the first 48 hours," says Richardson. It's also best to avoid oils or heavy creams around your eyes, and don't touch or pick at the extensions.
"Lashes do need to be brushed every so often with a spoolie brush, just don't overdo it when you brush," says Richardson. You should also avoid wearing mascara with eyelash extensions because "mascara is hard to remove, and any remover will cause the bond to break," she says.
How to Clean Eyelash Extensions
You need to clean your eyelash extensions regularly to keep makeup, oil, and dirt from building up on your lash line. "Keeping the area clean prevents build-up from breaking down the adhesive," says Phillips. "Lack of proper cleaning can also cause eyelid inflammation."
Using an oil-free cleanser is best when it comes to washing your eyelash extensions as oil can break down the bonds. You should immediately dry your extensions after getting them wet by gently patting them with a towel. Avoid using any rubbing or pulling motions.
How to Remove Eyelash Extensions
Lash extensions don't require removal in the salon like some beauty treatments. "Because they're applied directly to the individual lash, when your lash sheds naturally, the extension falls off with it - you won't even feel it," says Phillips. However, if you don't like the look of gaps in your lash line as the extensions fall out, you can visit your salon to have them professionally removed. "This is to reduce pulling out any of your natural lashes," says Richardson.
If booking an appointment with your specialist isn't possible, you can attempt to remove your eyelash extensions at home with DIY methods.
Steps to Take Off Your Eyelash Extensions At Home
- Step 1: Get a natural oil such as coconut, sunflower seed, avocado, shea butter, or jojoba oil. "They will break the bond of the adhesive and are the safest to use at home," says Phillips.
- Step 2: Using your fingertips, apply the oil to your lash line in circular motions. "If you have one, use a clean mascara wand and comb the oil through your lashes for deeper saturation," she says.
- Step 3: Let the oil sit on your eyelashes for three to five minutes.
- Step 4: Try to gently slide the extensions off with your fingers. "Be sure not to yank or force the extension off," she says.
- Step 5: Once you've removed each individual lash, wash the area with an eye-safe cleanser to remove any oil residue.
The key is to be gentle. However, Richardson would like caution you: "People who try to remove them at home often end up pulling out their actual lashes, leading to bald spots that may never grow back."