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.
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: 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.