Eyelash extensions are the perfect solution for anyone who loves the look of full lashes but finds that their mascara or lash perm isn’t cutting it anymore. But what are eyelash extensions? They’re semi-permanent lash fibers that are glued onto your natural lashes for a permanent makeup-type look that lasts weeks instead of hours. Search for a lash technician in your area to unlock your best lashes.

What are eyelash extensions?

Eyelash extensions are false lashes that are bonded to your natural lashes to give you a fuller look without mascara or strip lashes. Lash extensions are highly customizable, so you can find a set that suits your look, whether you prefer ultra-natural makeup or dramatic editorial looks. They last several weeks, so you can save yourself the trouble of adjusting your falsies to blend with your lashes or combing out the clumps in your mascara.

Chart listing pros and cons of eyelash extensions.

Pros

  • Create a customized look 
  • Save time in your makeup routine
  • Last longer than falsies 
  • Look more seamless than mascara

Cons

  • More expensive than mascara or lash perms, costing $100 to $500
  • Need regular touch-ups
  • Require frequent cleansing 
  • Come with health risks such as dermatitis, eye infection, and eye irritation
  • Dramatic makeup looks might be difficult to remove

What are the types of lashes?

One of the great advantages of eyelash extensions is how customizable they are. There are many styles to choose from, so you can tailor your look much more than you could with mascara or temporary falsies. We put together a detailed guide to the different types of lash extensions so you and your lash tech can find your perfect match. You can customize your lash look based on these factors:

  • Lash thickness: 0.05 to 0.25mm
  • Lash length: 5mm to 9mm
  • Lash bundle: 1D to 5D (bundles of one hair to five hairs)
  • Lash material: sable, mink, and synthetic
  • Curl shape: J-, B-, C-, D-, and L-curl
  • Application style: natural, cat, doll, squirrel, and open style

Your lash stylist will help you come up with your perfect look. They can mix lash lengths, spacing, and curl types to create almost any lash look you could want. The most popular style is natural, which emulates your natural growth pattern while adding a bit of extra length and volume.

What is the eyelash extension application process?

The six steps of eyelash extension application are consultation, cleanse, preparation, application, drying, and clean up.

From start to finish, it can take anywhere from one to three hours to get your lashes done. While some might find the process of sitting with their eyes closed for a long time uncomfortable, there shouldn’t be pain at any point.

With proper preparation and ample drying time, there should be minimal redness once you’re done. If you’re concerned about having a reaction, ask for a patch test. This is especially important for people with allergies or sensitive skin to ensure that their appointment goes smoothly.

  1. Consultation: Bring inspiration pictures, so your lash artist knows what your ideal lash set looks like. From there, your lash artist can make recommendations based on your eye shape and personal style. Your artist will use a variety of curl types and lash lengths to blend your extensions with your natural lashes.
  2. Cleansing: You should remove your makeup and contacts prior to your installation appointment. Your lash artist will cleanse your lashes and eyelids to remove any lingering residue or oil for the best lash extension base.
  3. Preparation: With your eyes closed, your lash tech will use a combination of eye-safe gel and opaque medical tape to isolate your upper lashes from your eyelid and lower lash line. Your eyes will remain closed for the rest of your appointment.
  4. Application: With a tweezer-like tool, your lash tech will dip the lash extensions one by one (or bundle by bundle) into a long-lasting lash extension glue and apply them to your natural lashes.
  5. Drying: You’ll need to keep your eyes closed until the lash extension glue is completely dry. While this happens quickly, most techs wait at least 10 minutes to be safe. Opening your eyes too early can expose them to glue fumes and cause irritation.
  6. Clean up: This is the final step of your lash installation. Your lash technician will remove the gel and medical tape from around your eyes and brush out your new lash extensions. The medical tape removal should not be painful. Once this is done, you can open your eyes and see your new look.
  7. Lash fills: As your lashes naturally fall out, your extensions might start looking patchy. In two to three weeks, schedule a lash fill with your technician. They’ll remove any overgrown extensions and fill in the sparse areas to refresh your look.

How do I take care of eyelash extensions?

New to the eyelash extension game? Check out our insider tips for everything you need to know before heading to the salon.

Before your appointment 

Eyelash extensions are not invasive, so it’s relatively easy to prepare for your appointment. You must remove your eye contacts if you wear them and should remove any makeup and wash your face before your appointment. If you’d like to add on a service, like an eyelash tint, then discuss this with your lash tech before your appointment starts. Other top tips from lash extension regulars include:

  • Skip your coffee in the a.m., as it can make you jittery (remember that you’ll need to sit still for a long time!)
  • Bring headphones and line up a couple podcast episodes or an audiobook to keep occupied
  • Wear sweats to be as comfy as possible while reclining for your appointment

After your appointment

After getting lash extensions you should keep your lashes dry for 48 hours, avoid getting them wet after 48 hours except to clean them daily, brush your lashes daily with a spoolie, avoid rubbing your eyes, avoid any oil-based products around your eyes, and skip mascara or strip lashes.

After your appointment, there are a few things to keep in mind to extend the life of your lash extension set and protect your natural lashes:

  • Keep your lashes completely dry for 48 hours after your appointment.
  • Avoid getting your lashes wet except to wash them with a designated extension cleanser.
  • Avoid saunas and steam rooms.
  • Brush out your extensions with a spoolie daily.
  • Don’t rub or tug at your eyes.
  • Don’t use any cleansers or products with oil around your eyes.
  • Skip mascara and strip lashes.
  • Sleep on your back to avoid tugging in your sleep.

You can also expect to lose a couple of lashes a day — it’s completely normal and happens even if you don’t have extensions. Because the extensions are bonded to your natural lashes, it might look like you’re losing more than normal. However, if you’re losing larger clumps of lashes or you have other signs of irritation, contact your doctor and lash technician.

If you have persistent redness, irritation, or itchiness after your lash appointment, you might be allergic to the lash extension glue. You should see your doctor for their advice to alleviate your symptoms.

Lash removal

If you decide to remove your lashes, you might be able to loosen your extensions using a cleansing oil at home or a designated lash extension remover. Be aware that at-home removal can cause more damage to your natural lashes and even pull some of them out. 

We recommend booking a removal appointment with your lash technician to safely remove your extensions and minimize damage to your natural lashes.

How long do eyelash extensions last?

A full lash set can last four to six weeks, but most people get a lash fill every two to three weeks. The longevity of lash extensions can vary greatly because everyone’s lash life cycle is different. As your lashes naturally fall out and regrow, your extensions will fall out, too.

Lash fills

If you decide to continue getting lash extensions, you can get a lash fill every two to three weeks. A lash fill is an upkeep appointment for your lashes where your tech will deep clean your extensions, remove any extensions that are out of place, and reapply extensions to fill any gaps.

This process is similar to your initial lash extension appointment, but it takes 30 to 60 minutes instead of several hours. It also costs less than a full lash application. The price and time it takes to complete your lash fill will depend on the state of your extensions when you arrive at the salon and how dramatic you’d like your look to be.

Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

There is always a chance of damaging your natural lashes when you put any product on them. But with proper aftercare, your lash extensions shouldn’t cause any more damage than wearing mascara and curling your lashes would. 

Some people feel like eyelash extensions make their lashes fall out. When done properly, your lashes won’t fall out any more than they would have naturally. However, it can look like you’re losing more lashes than normal because the fallen lashes will have extensions bonded to them.

To maximize the longevity of your lash extension set, leave them alone as much as possible. The only time you should touch your lash extensions is to cleanse or brush them. Every six to eight months, consider having a full extension removal to give your natural lashes a break. During this time, you can ask your lash tech for recommendations for products to moisturize and strengthen your natural lashes.

Are eyelash extensions permanent?

Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent and last four to six weeks. You’ll shed your lash extensions as your natural lashes complete their life cycle. For upkeep, you can get a lash fill every two to three weeks.

Most people opt to get their lashes removed at the salon to avoid how uneven they can look when they fall out naturally. You can also speed up the process by using an oil-based makeup remover. However, this can still pull some of your natural lashes out, so it’s best to see a professional for lash extension removal.

Can you wear mascara with eyelash extensions?

No, you can’t wear mascara or strip lashes with your lash extensions. Because you shouldn’t touch or tug at your lash extensions, you won’t be able to remove mascara or strip lash glue properly, which can leave your eyes vulnerable to infection. 

When you’re ready to wake up with the perfect lash look every day, book an appointment with a lash tech in your area to get started. They’ll help you customize your look for your lifestyle and eye shape so you can always feel your best without the hassle of DIY lashes.