Lash lifts vs. lash extensions – which one’s right for you? If your natural lashes need a boost, you have options: A lash lift or eyelash extensions are two treatments you can get to make your lashes appear fuller. 

Because both types of treatments enhance the natural beauty of your lashes, the best choice for you depends on your current lash situation and what result you want. Lash lifts use your own natural lashes to create a fuller look, curling them up with a perm. On the other hand, lash extensions add a partial or full set of artificial lashes to your natural ones to make them look fuller. 

A fuller set of lashes can really make your eyes pop. But how do you know which treatment to choose? In this post, we go over both beauty treatments, their pros and cons, and how to pick the right one for you.

What Is a Lash Lift?

Also called a lash perm, an eyelash lift uses a chemical solution applied to your natural eyelashes that perms your lashes, causing them to curl and appear more voluminous. If you opt for a lash lift, you can ditch your eyelash curler since lifts offer a better result than daily curling of your lashes. Lash lift treatments are especially effective if your natural lashes are long to begin with. 

What Are Lash Extensions?

Lash extensions are artificial lashes applied to the lash line of your natural lashes to give you a fuller look. You can get a full set of lash extensions, or individual lashes to fill in where you need. The treatment offers a dramatic change if you have naturally shorter lashes. 

lash lift vs lash extensions

Lash Lift vs. Lash Extensions

Lash lifts and lash extensions are different beauty treatments — lash lifts use your own natural lashes, perming them with a chemical solution, while lash extensions use artificial lashes to create a full look. Lash lifts are better for people with long natural lashes, and lash extensions are better for people with short lashes. Both lash treatments can make your eyelashes look more full and curled upward. 

To help you make the best aesthetic choice, let’s go over some more of the differences and similarities between these treatments. 

Lash Extensions Are More Expensive

One difference between the two procedures is cost — lash extensions tend to be more expensive than lash lifts. Here’s how the cost of each usually breaks down: 

Lash extensions

  • Lash baths: $5–$20
  • Lash extensions: $100–$500
  • Lash removal: $25–$50
  • Lash refill: $55–$110+

Lash lifts

  • Lash lifts: $35–$110
  • Lash lift + lash tint: $39–$153
cost breakdown

Lash Extensions Are More Customizable

Lash extensions give you more of an ability to customize your look with extension options like a classic, volumizing, or hybrid technique:

  • Classic: Your lash technician applies individual lashes to each one of your lashes for a natural look. It’s also the fastest method.
  • Volume: Your lash artist applies two or more additional lashes to each one of your lashes, creating more volume and a more dramatic look.
  • Hybrid: This method is a mix of the classic and volume methods, a happy in-between if you’re unsure what look you’re going for. 

One of the cons of lash lifts is that they aren’t as customizable as lash extensions, but you can opt to get your choice of lash tint during the treatment.

Lash Lifts Look More Natural 

A lash lift might be the better choice over lash extensions if a natural look is important to you. Lash lifts tend to look more natural in appearance compared to lash extensions, while lash extensions tend to look more dramatic than lash lifts. 

Lash Lifts Take Less Time

If you’re strapped for time, you might want to go for a lash lift. The treatment only takes about one hour. 

Lash extensions, on the other hand, can take one to three hours, depending on the type of extensions you get. A classic treatment takes the shortest amount of time, while volume and hybrid treatments take longer. 

Lash Lifts Last Longer Than Lash Extensions

Lash lifts can last anywhere from one to two months, while lash extensions tend to last four to six weeks. 

If you’re looking for a low maintenance treatment, a lash lift might be the way to go. Lash lifts don’t require as much upkeep as extensions, since you don’t have to get refills, referred to as infills, to fill in the spaces where the lashes fall out, or get them removed if you don’t want them anymore. All you need to do to maintain a lash lift is go back for another lash lift treatment after a month or so.

If you can handle a high maintenance lash look, lash extensions might work for you. To keep your dramatic look intact, you might want to get refills as often as every three weeks. 

Lash Lifts and Lash Extensions Can Cause Eye Irritations 

Both treatments can cause eye irritations. You might experience side effects to the chemical solution used in lash lifts, like rashes, dry eye, redness, and inflammation. The same can happen when you get lash extensions, with side effects like burning of the eye or eyelid, swelling, itching, pain, and rashes. 

It’s so important that you ensure you’re seeing a certified cosmetologist or esthetician when you go for a lash treatment to minimize the possibility of side effects and to make sure you get the proper care if something does happen.

Lash Lift and Lash Extension Safety Tips

lash lift and lash extension safety tips

Beauty treatments don’t just affect our look, if not done properly, they can also affect our health. Keep safety a priority by seeking out Pros that you can trust to perform these treatments safely and effectively. Follow these tips to help keep your eyes and lashes safe during lash treatments:  

  • A Pro should perform the treatment: When you go for a lash treatment, make sure you’re going to a professional. They know what they’re doing, so you will get the best result and will be less likely to run into issues like eye infections or irritations. If you need to find a pro, check out StyleSeat’s pro network to find someone near you.  
  • Ask for a patch test if you have sensitive skin: Patch testing chemicals or aids used in treatment, like perm chemicals, lash adhesives, or even the false lashes themselves, on another area of your skin helps you determine if you’re allergic before things are applied to your eyes. If you know you have allergies, let your lash technician know before your treatment starts, in case the gloves they use or ingredients in the treatment chemicals contain allergens. 
  • Ensure the esthetician uses clean equipment, gloves, and towels: Clean equipment is very important to avoid infections. Make sure that everything being used on your eyes is totally new or has been sterilized. 

Do Lash Lifts or Lash Extensions Damage Your Eyelashes?

Lash lifts shouldn’t damage your eyelashes, especially when they’re done by a professional. Similarly, properly caring for your lash extensions and getting them done by a Pro, as well as ensuring you avoid certain things that could damage them, like mascara and oil-based makeup remover, should prevent damage to your lashes. 

If you do end up with damage, keep in mind that your eyelashes naturally fall out and regrow every month or so, so damaged lashes won’t last forever.

What to Avoid After a Lash Lift or Lash Extensions

Proper aftercare of your lashes is key to keeping your eyes healthy and getting good results. 

You should avoid mascara, water, and sweating for at least two days after a lash lift or getting lash extensions. For lash lifts, you can start wearing mascara again once the two days are up, but avoid waterproof mascara, because it can dry out your lashes and make them droopy. For lash extensions, you should keep avoiding mascara for as long as you have artificial lashes. 

Within the 48 hours after treatment, you should avoid:

  • Mascara
  • Getting your lashes wet

For lash lifts, avoid:

  • Waterproof mascara 

For lash extensions, avoid:

  • Mascara of all types
  • Strip lashes
  • Rubbing or tugging at your eyes or lashes
  • Oil-based products and facial cleansers that remove your eye makeup 

Which Is Right for Me: Lash Lift or Lash Extensions?

A lash lift might be the way to go if you: 

  • Have longer natural lashes, rather than short or broken lashes, or lashes that are already naturally curly
  • Want a more natural look
  • Want something low maintenance
  • Don’t want to spend too much time or money on your lashes

Lash extensions might be the way to go if you:

  • Want a fuller, more dramatic look
  • Have naturally shorter lashes
  • Want to customize your lash look
  • Don’t mind getting frequent touch-ups   
  • Don’t mind splurging on money and time to pamper your lashes

If you’re unsure of which lash treatment you want, you can always consult your esthetician. And if you need a Pro, check out StyleSeat’s pro network to find the right lash technician for your new lash look.