What Are Lash Extensions and How Are They Applied?
Updated: Mar 25
The lash industry is always innovating, from magnifying mascaras and growth serums to heated curlers and much more. Still, eyelash extensions remain a highly divisive trend. Initially, extensions appeared to be a generally pain-free way to achieve fluttery, wispy cat eyes without the hassle of falsies or mascara. Many states, however, do not regulate the service, thus causing irritations, infections, and damage to natural lashes. Not only can the process be pricey, but it can also take hours of your time. Therefore, it’s crucial to do your research before choosing a lash stylist. Whether it’s your first time reading up on the topic, or you're simply looking for a new lash style, this article addresses what lash extensions are, the various types of lashes, how they’re applied, and the pros and cons of having eyelash extensions.
What Are Lash Extensions?
Our purpose is to create fuller, longer, and darker lashes by attaching semi-permanent fibers (vegan synthetic lashes that are lighter than mascara) to your natural eyelashes. Every extension is attached to a natural eyelash using a semi-permanent medical grade adhesive free of formaldehyde or any other toxic chemicals. In the lash industry, there are a variety of materials used for lash extensions, including mink, faux mink, synthetic and silk. Material selection varies from studio to studio. A salon owner usually offers clients a wide range of extensions, tints and curl patterns to choose from. The key is discerning between quality product and low grade imitation.
Types of Eyelash Extensions
It all comes down to marketing, and yes, it can be a bit confusing - cashmere, silk, mink…exotic, yes, but is it all that it appears to be?
Lash extensions are not actually made of silk or cashmere as they wouldn't hold their shape. The same goes for mink. Aside from being illegal and quite heavy, mink hair's allergen potential is also extremely high.
What you really want to use is a super lightweight lash with the same texture as silk, the softness of cashmere, and the glamor of mink, while remaining eco-friendly and highly sustainable. Our salons employ only certified master technicians/lash artists to create the luxurious look you desire without the shame of using animal products or low-grade imitations. Our stylists will help you pick the right extensions for your unique hair type to match the strength of your very own natural lashes. It’s also possible to customize the length and curl tailored to your eye and face shape.
Classic & hybrid eyelash extensions
Depending on the density, curl, and length of your extensions, you'll want to partner with your lash artist to determine the style or design best suited for you. As the name implies, classic or single lashes consist of one extension attached to a single natural lash. A lash technician can add several extensions to a single natural lash if you want more volume, which is commonly known as fan lashes or volume lashes.
There is also a hybrid style, which is our most popular selection that combines both the classic and volume applications. With hybrid lash extensions, you can incorporate fans where you need more volume, and taper out the set with singles where desired. You can communicate exactly what you want with the lash tech by asking for pictures of their work. To ensure you and your lash technician are on the same page, you should also discuss the lash terminology prior to the process.
What is the application process?
A special semi-permanent medical grade adhesive is used to apply the extensions one at a time (usually 80-140 per eye) which will not irritate the natural lashes. Extensions are attached to existing lashes rather than to the skin or eye lid. Although the process varies depending on the salon, you can usually expect the following procedure:
Preparation: Before applying eyelash extensions, the technician should discuss all the risks and benefits, as well as any underlying conditions that could prevent you from getting eyelash extensions. You will also be asked to take out your contacts if you wear them.
Determine the length of the extension and the strength of the curl: Talk to your lash stylist about whether you would like a more glamorous or natural look. The length and curly style of your extensions are entirely up to you. Often, you will be asked to choose three or four different extension lengths, using longer extensions in the corner outer edges and shorter extensions in the corner inner edges.
Cleaning the eye area: In order to ensure that you are comfortable, your lash stylist will have you lie down. You want to use an oil-free cleanser or makeup remover the day before to remove any eye makeup. A thorough cleansing will ensure that any makeup, skincare, oil, and germs are removed from the area on the day of your appointment. Unless your artist specifies otherwise, it's recommended to arrive makeup-free at the lash studio.
Tape and eye gel application: You must keep your eyelids closed for up to two hours, depending on how many extensions your lash artist applies. Before applying lashes, a thin layer of under-eye gel is applied to keep your lower lashes out of the way and to create contrast. With the white backdrop, it's easy for the technician to see your lashes. There will be a medical-grade tape applied to both sides of the eye to secure the eye gel (the tape will not touch your lashes or hurt you if it is removed later).
The application: In order to apply each extension, your lash artist dips the end in the glue adhesive and applies them to your individual lashes with special tweezers. As a rule of thumb, one extension is applied per natural lash, but for mega volume, multiple extensions are needed per lash. Although the use of tweezers so close to your open eyes may make you feel anxious, there is absolutely no pain involved. As a spa, we mix beauty with comfort every step of the way. You can rest easy throughout the application process, and even fall asleep (as many often do), only to wake up once finished and be amazed at the new person you see in the mirror.
Drying: Our adhesive dries within half a second of application. Your eyes should remain closed during the full process and your lash artist will prompt you when it’s time to open.
*We do not tape your eyes shut at any time throughout the process
Avoid getting them wet for the first 24 hours.
Do not use oil-based cleansers or skin care with oils in them.
Avoid taking saunas or steams, standing in the shower for long periods of time, cooking over the stove, practicing hot yoga, swimming, or exposing your eyes in the wind.
Sleep on your side.
Avoid touching your extensions or rubbing your eyes.
Avoid using an eyelash curler.
Avoid a using a blow dryer above your lashes
What are the Benefits?
They look great: It's easy to wake up with long, fluttery, beautiful lashes with lash extensions. The process is extremely effective for enhancing the eyes, and looks great on everyone from 16 -110 years old. You go to bed and wake up looking and feeling your best! The best part = No ‘raccoon eyes’ from your old mascara
Fully customizable: You can achieve both a natural and dramatic look by choosing the ideal length and curl of your extensions with your lash artist.
Essentially waterproof: After 24 hours, you can shower and sweat with the extensions (although the dryer they remain, the longer they'll last).
Painless: In nearly every case, the entire process is completely painless.
Most importantly, it’s safe: Estheticians, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons agree that, for the most part, extensions are safe (although there are risks of irritation and infection, which are explained further below).
What are the drawbacks?
Risks of Irritation and Infection: The most common risk associated with eyelash extensions is irritation of the eyes. Glue is usually used to attach eyelash extensions .1 mm above the natural follicle, and eyelashes are incredibly sensitive to chemicals (our adhesives are toxic free). If you're concerned about sensitivity, have a technician test the adhesive on your wrist first to prevent irritation and allergic reactions. Since latex and formaldehyde are two of the most common allergens, you should ask your esthetician to use a latex- and formaldehyde-free adhesive. We do not use latex or formaldehyde or cetycranolate.
Asymmetric fallout: Lashes, like the hair on your head, have six natural regrowth cycles. You lose up to 80 strands of hair from your head per day. Similarly, around the two week mark you will lose about 40% of your lashes, while you shed the adult lashes and new ones grow in. We want you to grow new lashes - it's a good thing! Your lash extensions are only as good as your natural lashes. Our goal is to keep them healthy through proper application and you can participate in the process by refilling them regularly.
Some extensions may fall out after a few weeks as the lashes shed and be replaced with new, extension-free lashes, while others will remain intact. Your extensions can create an uneven, scattered appearance if you don't get them refilled every 2-3 weeks.
Face washing dilemma: When you have eyelash extensions, you cannot rub your eyes, so when you're washing your face, you have to avoid the eye area (unless you use a special lash wash designed for lash extensions.) We use a wash that is designed for skin but also happens to work well with lash extensions. Ask for further details, or better yet, book a Hydrafacial to learn more!
What to expect at Lashlette
At Lashlette, we maintain that beauty is healing. We strive to uphold the health and integrity of your lashes and skin while unearthing your beauty within. To achieve this, we hire only the most qualified talent available to ensure your expectations are not only met, but exceeded. To do so, we enlist the following:
Cosmetologists and Estheticians with a minimum of 6 years of lash experience
Standard two week audition process prior to applying lash extensions
High-end luxury products only (lash adhesives, extensions, and skin care ethically produced and free of toxic chemicals that may cause irritation)