If you’re tired of your falsies falling off, then you might want to look into eyelash extensions. But, what are eyelash extensions and how are they different from false lashes?
Lash extensions are semi-permanent lashes that attach to your natural lashes. Lash extensions rose in popularity in the U.S. when they were introduced in the early 2000s. Since then, we’ve seen everyone from celebs to influencers to our neighbors try this popular and practical trend.
Besides being your ticket to saying goodbye to lash glue and DIY lashes, eyelash extensions are also popular because they’re customizable. You can get them in different materials, shapes, sizes, colors, and curls. You can even get extensions for all or some of your lashes.
Today, we’re going to take you through the types of eyelash extensions, tips to prep for a lash extension appointment, and so much more.
Real Mink Eyelash Extensions
Real mink is a luxurious material that’s popular with celebrities. These lash extensions are made of real mink fur and have a natural, light, and airy look. The lightness makes this material last longer than synthetic materials.
However, real mink lashes are among the most expensive materials and they require regular curling since they don’t come curled. You can also run into irritation or redness if you’re allergic to animal fur.
Main Qualities of Mink Lash Extensions
- Requires curling and some at-home maintenance
- Light and natural
- May lose curl when wet
- Made of animal fur
For these and any other lashes made of animal fur, you should check if the fur is collected in a cruelty-free way. Not sure? We recommend going with synthetic and fake fur to be on the safe side.
Sable Eyelash Extensions
Sable eyelash extensions are made with real sable fur. Sables are animals found in Russia, Siberia, and parts of Asia. These types of eyelash extensions are the thinnest material you can find and work great with thin lashes.
Sable lashes have a wispy appearance and won’t weigh down your natural lashes. You’ll need to ask around for sable lashes since they’re not as widely used as mink.
Main Qualities of Sable Lash Extensions
- Thinnest option
- Great for thin lashes
- Not widely used
- Requires curling and some at-home maintenance
Fox Eyelash Extensions
Like the previous two mentioned, fox lash extensions are made with fox fur. These lashes are naturally reddish like a fox’s fur, but you can also find these in other colors. Fox fur lashes are soft and shiny. Like sable lashes, these are not widely used and require curling.
Main Qualities of Fox Lash Extensions
- Soft and reddish
- Not widely used
- Requires curling and some at-home maintenance
Faux Animal Fur Eyelash Extensions
If you’re not interested in real fur lashes, you can opt for a faux version. Faux mink is a popular material used by lash artists. Faux lashes are great since they’re glossier than real fur, they come in a variety of styles, and you don’t need to worry about animals getting hurt. Depending on the brand, you might not need to curl them often or at all.
Faux animal fur lashes typically look more dramatic than real animal fur, so keep that in mind when you’re considering what look you want.
Main Qualities of Faux Animal Fur Lash Extensions
- Low maintenance
- Made of synthetic material
- Glossier than real fur
Synthetic Silk Eyelash Extensions
Silk eyelash extensions are not made with real silk — they’re synthetic and use materials made from silk fiber. They’re considered a mid-weight extension and are thicker than other types.
These extensions work best for those with strong eyelashes because of the added weight. Synthetic silk lash extensions still look natural, but appear bolder than other types.
Main Qualities of Synthetic Silk Lash Extensions
- Thicker than other types
- Holds a curl
- Full appearance
Lash Length and Thickness
Material is just one part of the lash extension equation. Eyelash extensions can come in all lengths and thicknesses. We’ll go over how lash length and thickness can differ.
The thicker the lashes, the more dramatic the look. Before you go on the deep end with thickness, remember that lash extensions are meant to stay long-term. Go with a dramatic look if you’re OK with bold lashes during a night out or a Sunday trip to the grocery store. If you want a more natural look, stick with thinner lashes.
Thick lashes also weigh down your natural lashes. If you have thin or weak lashes, you can end up damaging your natural lashes. Communicate with your lash tech if you have concerns about weight and breakage.
Below are some examples of lash thickness, but you can get lashes thicker than .25mm.
You may also notice some lashes labeled “2D” or “3D” — this refers to the lashes’ dimensions. Eyelash extensions are formed in fans, or clusters. “2D” refers to a fan with two lashes, “3D” refers to a fan with three, and so on. A classic fan has only one dimension. You don’t need a deep understanding of lash dimensions as long as you understand how sizes progress.
Just like thickness, the longer you go, the bolder the look you’ll get. Long natural lashes look the most natural with long extensions. If you have naturally shorter lashes, you can go with a long lash for a more dramatic look. Your lash tech will probably use different lengths for different parts of your lashes. For example, lashes near the inner eye normally get shorter lashes.
Length also plays a big part in your curl. If you want a strong curl, you’ll need longer lashes so the curl stands out. Below are some examples of lash lengths, but you can get lashes shorter or longer than what’s listed.
Types of Curls
Lash extensions can come with different types of curls. We classify these curls by letter and there are many varieties to try. Curls especially vary by salon and brand, so you can use our chart as a starting point to see what you like.
Curl types don’t go by a lowest-to-highest scale like length and thickness. Instead, each curl type is defined by its shape. We’ll go over the most common curls below.
- J: This curl looks very natural. It’s great if you’re just looking for more volume without added drama. It’s straight with a slight curve at the end.
- B: B curls look similar to J curls with slightly more curl at the tip. This curl is great for a natural look that lifts your lashes a bit.
- C: C curls are less straight and feature more of a curve compared to the previous types. This curl opens up your eyes and lifts your lashes.
- D: This type is much more dramatic and has a strong curl. Your lashes will be very visibly curled and have gorgeous volume to match.
- L: This is sometimes called the “Barbie curl since it’s so bold. This curl starts with a straight base and immediately curls up. It’s dramatic and perfect if you want bold lashes 24/7.
There are many more curl types out there. Some salons do combinations of these and other curls. You don’t need to know the exact curl type you want when you’re going for your appointment.
Having a basic understanding of the differences should be more than enough for your appointment. The most important thing you should know is how bold or natural you want your lashes to look.
If you’re only looking for extra curls on your lashes, you should also consider the pros and cons of getting a lash lift compared to getting lash extensions. Lash lifts are also more affordable than lash extensions.
Eyelash Shapes and Styles
Individual lashes vary a lot. These different types of eyelash extensions come together to create different shapes and styles. The names of these shapes and styles vary greatly between salons and brands. Many salons also create their own looks.
You can go with a natural look that enhances your natural lashes, or you can go with a dramatic shape that lifts and opens up your eyes. We’ll go over common styles below.
- Natural: This shape is exactly what it sounds like. This style enhances your natural lashes without drastically changing your shape or length.
- Cat: A cat shape elongates your eye by adding longer lashes toward the outer eye. Go with this style if you want a sultry and mysterious look.
- Doll: Doll shapes focus on opening your eyes by adding longer lashes toward the center of your eye. This looks great on smaller eyes.
- Squirrel: This style adds longer lashes under the arch of your brow. A squirrel shape is a great alternative to a cat eye. It looks best if your brow shape naturally has a high arch.
- Open: Open and doll shapes are similar and the names are sometimes used interchangeably. An open style tends to have dramatic, longer lashes in the middle of your eye. Lash length gradually changes across the eyelid in doll shapes, however, this varies with each salon.
Memorizing every eyelash extension shape and style is not necessary. Instead, bring a couple pictures of your favorite lash looks to your appointment to help your lash tech get a better idea of what you want.
Lastly, you can mix and match different eyelash colors. You can go with your natural lash color, one that’s slightly lighter or darker, or some bold colors.
Adding a few colored lashes isn’t as dramatic as you might think. The right colors can complement your eye color and help your eyes pop. Mermaid lashes are one trend that embraces color. Most salons carry natural lash colors, but you’ll need to shop around if you want to get creative with color.
Types of Eyelash Application
Lash techs use a few different methods to apply eyelash extensions. The exact technique, pricing, and appointment length varies with each salon. You also may not get an application choice. We’ll go over the most common ones below.
A classic application is when your lash tech applies individual lash extensions to each of your existing lashes. This technique is mostly used for natural looks. You can expect to pay slightly less for classic applications than other methods.
Volume applications involve the application of multiple lash extensions to each lash. This method is where different dimensions (2D, 3D) come into play. Volume application is used to achieve dramatic and voluminous looks. This method involves more skill and prep from your lash tech and may be reflected in higher cost and longer appointment times.
Hybrid application is a combination of classic and volume application. Your lash tech will apply a mix of individual lash extensions and extensions with multiple lashes. This technique is used for more customization and for unique looks. Cost and time comes down to the salon and the look you’re trying to achieve.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Eyelash Extensions?
The biggest pro for eyelash extensions is that it’ll give you a long-lasting look without much maintenance. The biggest con is the potential for irritation, infection, and lash damage. We’ll go over major eyelash extension pros and cons below.
Pros of Eyelash Extensions
- Long-lasting: Lash extensions are mainly popular because they last about a month. That’s a month of luscious lashes without daily upkeep.
- Customizable: There are many types of lash extensions available. This variety combined with multiple application methods makes it possible to get the exact look you want.
- Waterproof: After 48 hours, you can get your new lashes wet. You can wash your face and shower like normal.
- Less makeup: Lash extensions eliminate mascara and falsies from your makeup routine.
Cons of Eyelash Extensions
- Infection and irritation: You may be allergic to the lash glue your salon uses. Risk of infection and irritation is higher if your lash tech doesn’t sanitize their equipment or keep their hands clean. Spot test a small section of glue first and consult your health care provider first if you’re concerned about sensitivity or allergic reactions.
- Damage: Eyelash extensions should not damage your natural lashes if they’re properly applied and removed. This is one of the many reasons you need to do research on your salon. You can also damage your lashes if you rub your eyes often.
- Long and ongoing appointments: Regardless of the application method, your appointment will take about two hours because of the intricacy needed for this service. You’ll also need to go in every few weeks for touch-ups and refills.
- High cost: Eyelash extension costs can range between $100 to $500 depending on your salon and what look you want. Touch-up appointments normally run under $100.
How Can I Prepare for My Appointment?
To prepare for your lash appointment, you’ll need to do your research on the salon and the look you want. You’ll also need to plan to come clean and comfortable. We’ll go over specific tips below.
- Research your Pro and salon: Lash extension services and prices differ between Pros and salons. Look at reviews and ask around to ensure you’re finding someone knowledgeable, professional, and easy to work with.
- Bring pictures: Give your Pro some examples of what you want to look like. This gives them a better idea of what you want and helps you both visualize how it could look on you.
- Stop using products that increase sensitivity: The area around your eyes is one of the most sensitive areas on your body. Retinols and other sensitivity-inducing products can make your appointment uncomfortable.
- Dress comfortably: Pick out a comfortable outfit. You’ll be lying still for a couple hours and won’t be able to adjust your clothes if you get uncomfortable.
- Ditch the coffee: Coffee and other stimulants make it tough to stay still. Pick a relaxing drink in the morning so you can unwind during your appointment.
- Know your allergies: Let your lash tech know up front if you have any allergies. They may need to use a different lash glue or avoid certain materials to keep you safe.
- Come clean with no makeup: Clean your face and lashes before your appointment. Showering and washing your hair before your appointment is also a great idea since you can’t get your lashes wet within the first 48 hours after your appointment.
- Don’t apply products near or on your eyes: Avoid eye creams and other eye products, especially oil-based products as oil will weaken the lash glue.
- Remove your contacts: Contacts are a safety hazard for lash extension appointments. Take them out and wear glasses that day if you can.
- Use the bathroom: Avoid drinking before your appointment. Go to the bathroom before your appointment starts so you won’t need to go during it.
- Turn off your cell phone: Your eyes are closed for the entire appointment, so you can’t look at your phone anyways. You might also instinctively open your eyes and reach for your phone if you hear it ring. That is dangerous for you and your lash tech!
- Bring music: Prep a playlist and let your lash tech know that you’ll be listening to music. This can help you relax and pass the time.
What Can I Expect During My Appointment?
During your appointment, you can expect your lash tech to chat about the look you want, to clean and prep around your eyes, to meticulously apply your extensions, and to give your lashes time to dry after the appointment. We’ll go in depth on each step below.
- Consultation: You and your lash tech will chat before your appointment. This is your opportunity to bring up styles you like and to show them your photos. It’s also your chance to mention your allergies and any other concerns. Your lash tech will help you pick lashes and a look that works for your style and eye shape.
- Prep and clean: Next, the lash tech will cleanse the area around your eyes. They’ll add under-eye pads or gels to your lower lash line to protect your lower lash line and make it easier to apply the extensions. Then, they’ll use medical tape to keep the pads secure. This shouldn’t hurt and none of these materials should touch your lashes.
- Application: The actual application process takes about two hours. Your eyes will be closed the entire time while your lash tech gets to work. Using tweezers, they’ll pick up the eyelash extension, dip it in lash glue, and apply it to your lashes.
- Wait to dry: After they’re done, they’ll ask you to sit for about 10 minutes or so to let the glue dry. Once dry, they’ll remove all of the pads and tape from your face. Finally, they’ll brush through your lashes to blend them and let you have your first look.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Last?
Eyelash extensions last about four to six weeks. You’ll also need to go in every two to three weeks for touch-ups. You can expect to see your lashes shedding as early as two weeks after your appointment.
Don’t worry when you start to see shedding! Your lashes naturally shed over time. The shedding won’t be as noticeable until you’ve gone many weeks without a touch-up.
How Can I Maintain My Eyelash Extensions?
You can maintain your eyelash extensions by going in for regular touch-ups and refills, avoiding oil-based products, and keeping tension away your lashes. We’ll go over why these are all key for maintaining your lash extensions below.
- Keep up with your appointments. There’s no way to completely prevent your lashes from falling out. Fill-ins are the only way to keep your lashes looking full.
- Avoid oil-based products. Oil-based products weaken the lash adhesive and make your lashes fall out faster than normal.
- Avoid putting tension on your lashes. Don’t rub your eyes or use a mechanical eyelash curler. Extra tension on your lashes encourages fallout.
There are many types of eyelash extensions out there. The variety is great for achieving a look that’s uniquely yours. On top of the many types, each salon’s methods greatly differ. You can use our guide as a reference before you start calling salons for more info, but you’ll learn a lot more by chatting with a Pro.
You don’t need to be an expert, but knowing what you like can help you easily start a conversation with a lash tech. Once you feel ready, get in touch with a Pro so you can get all of your questions answered, know what to expect, and get expert help when picking out your eyelash extensions.
Top-Rated Eyelash Experts on StyleSeat
The Derma Love
This lash and skincare provider keeps lashes and faces looking their best. The Derma Love offers classic, hybrid, and mink eyelash extensions, including a volume set, and bottom lashes. Schedule a one-on-one consultation with a licensed Derma Love esthetician to learn more about your eyelash type and recommended extension options. They aim for comfort with tear-free lash shampoo products and a no-irritation application process. With lashes in place, add glowing skin to your checklist with The Derma Love’s custom skincare procedures and products.
Blushed By Naomi
Makeup artist Naomi Blush specializes in iLash extensions, including classic extensions and hybrid sets. She offers fill-ins for lash extensions at two and three weeks, as well as extension removal. Her business, Blushed by Naomi, features its own line of mink lash extensions, as well as body butters and nude lip glosses. See examples of stunning eyelash applications at her portfolio, which showcases her work for a range of clients, including weddings, maternity photo shoots, and more.
New York, NY
Kiss My Lash
From subtle charm to dazzling diva, find extensions to suit any mood at Kiss My Lash. Go bold with full and perfectly curled “Dramatic” set, or its feathery cousin “Wispy.” If you want voluminous and no-nonsense, try “Bossy” or “Pretty Please.” Or, opt for a traditional volume set (three or more lashes for every natural lash) or mega volume. For a natural or understated look, try the length of a “Classic Natural” set sans extra volume. Peruse the Kiss My Lash Instagram page for ideas. Finish off the look with their brow, waxing, and skincare services.
London of Muse BKLYN
Over 300 reviewers on StyleSeat.com confirm that London’s is the place to be for quality lash extensions in Brooklyn. This certified lash artist, brow sculptor, and licensed esthetician applies extensions both classic and unique, including natural top lash extensions; a light top lash for that breezy “girl next door” look; “Magnified” hybrid sets, with thickness falling between a classic and volume set for that extra oomph; mascara extension sets with a pre-coated mascara look; and stacks of 2D or 3D volume extensions for Clients who prefer thick and dramatic. You can pay for extra time to enhance your lash volume or lavish extra TLC on thin or damaged lashes. Additional services include eyelash coloring, bottom lash application, lash removal, lash training, and lip and underarm waxing.
Los Angeles, CA
All Dolled Up by Syn
As a certified lash and permanent makeup artist, Syn creates looks meant to last. Her extensions include classic sets, volume sets, and hybrid sets of medium volume. She schedules eyelash extension fills at two- or three-week intervals, as well as extension removal. For an additional fee, you can schedule a lash treatment at home. Syn brings her supplies right to your door for extension application in the comfort of your living room. Visit Syn’s Instagram to see up-close and gorgeous pictures of her work.
Emma is both practitioner and teacher of lash extension artistry. She’s a certified lash educator with Bella Lash and her services run the gamut of styles: classic eyelash extensions, volume extensions with 2D to 4D fans, “full” sets (mix of classic set and volume set), and mega volume (5D+) extensions, as well as maintenance fills. Her eyelash extension training courses include a two-day Classic Certification course for licensed cosmetologists and estheticians and a Volume Certification course. Emma also works with hair extensions.
Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
Mink lash lovers rejoice: Beauty-N-Abundle has got you covered. They specialize in mink extensions, with natural, hybrid, and volume sets in a variety of length and curl types. The MEGA Volume set is sure to please Clients seeking eye-catching volume. Beauty-N-Abundle loves a good deal; they run Tuesday specials on classic lashes, Wednesday specials for volume lashes, Friday Happy Hour discounts on new extensions, and season specials throughout the year. They’ll help you keep your mink-blinkers clean with lash baths and a complementary lash brush for at-home maintenance. They’re also not afraid to handle other stylists’ work, and will do two- and three-week fills of lash sets placed by other artists. While you’re booking, drop in on their apparel line featuring curvy cuts and vivid colors.
Shon Robin of HighEndLash Lounge
HighEndLash Lounge follows three principles: quality, consistency, and outstanding service. Shon applies Dior lashes in classic sets, volume sets, 3D hybrid extensions, and bottom sets, and will perform extension fillings on her own work and the work of other lash artists. She is a licensed esthetician and certified volume lash expert who also trains others. She offers Dior’s beginner lash artist course, a workshop webinar, and refresher lash trainings. While at HighEndLash Lounge, be sure to check out their facials, microblading, makeup and other services.
Smooth Luxury Skin
For exquisitely lashed eyes, visit the eyelash extension artists at Smooth Luxury Skin. You’ll find all the must-haves: classic sets, hybrid lashes, mink, and extension fills. Can’t get to the salon? No problem! Smooth Luxury Skin will come to you to perform eyelash extension services at your home or business. They also offer eyelash and eyebrow tinting to make those bold peepers really pop. And why stop at beautiful eyes? Take advantage of their face and body waxing services.
MZ. EA of Exotic NailZ & Stylez INC.
When Mz. EA is finished, your eyes (and your nails!) will turn heads. In addition to basics like classic and hybrid extensions, she does a striking 3D volume look as well as softer, lighter feathered extensions. Bottom eyelashes round out the service menu. Unlike many other lash artists, Mz. EA will schedule fills for all extension styles at one week. For extra pampering, choose from her plentiful manicure and pedicure services.
Licensed esthetician Brittany Lasean uses her expertise in lash extension and skincare to help you reach your beauty goals. She’ll help you tweak your style with whimsical extension choices like cat eye, wispy, or baby doll, but she loves a good classic set as well. Brittany applies top and bottom lashes, classic and hybrid sets and fills, and Lite Volume extensions for those who want just a small boost of volume. Swing to the opposite end of the eyelash spectrum with Mega Volume extensions, which give five to 15 extensions per natural lash — perfect for those looking to cover spaces from lash damage. Experienced lash extension artists who want to sharpen their skills and learn new tricks should try Brittany’s eyelash extensions refresher course. Brittany also does brow and lash tinting, skincare like facials and microdermabrasion, and waxing.
Beauty by Mana
Beauty by Mana is a “triple threat” eyelash extension service: they apply them, teach them, and sell them. They can apply all of your favorites like classic, hybrid, volume (five to seven extensions per lash), and fill-ins. Their classes for groups and individuals cover every aspect of the lash: anatomy of lashes, extension basics, taping methods, adhesives, sanitation, marketing tips, and removal — and they bring that expertise to every lash application they book. For additional permanent makeup solutions, try their microblading services.