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What are Eyelash Extensions?

Eyelash extensions are a fun and glamorous way to enhance your everyday look – or to prepare for a special event. You’ve probably seen salons and services for them popping up everywhere. However, if you’ve never had them you’re likely wondering what they’re all about.

Today, there are more options and price points than ever for temporary eyelash enhancement. You can attempt to do it yourself or reach out to a talented professional. Either way, we have the comprehensive guide below that will help you to decide. Be warned: once you try them out you may never want to go back to natural lashes again!

The Old Way of Acquiring Fake Eyelashes

Falsies, or fake eyelash strips, are still a great way to update your look for an evening out. Most drug and beauty stores carry a variety of options, including strips that stick with glue or hold on with magnets. These are safe, efficient choices. The drawback, however, is that they do not last a long time and application takes a lot of practice to master. The glue is tacky and sometimes intimidating to a beginner. They can also irritate sensitive eyes. Out of all these concerns, eyelash extensions were born.

The Eyelash Extension Trend

Eyelash extensions became the must-have beauty accessory over the course of the last decade, pushed forward by social media images of Kim Kardashian and other pop culture celebrities flaunting impressive lashes on red carpets.
In 2014, more than 55 million dollars was spent on eyelashes and adhesives in the United States alone.

Fashion publications from as far back as the 1800’s include instructions for lengthening eyelashes. For hundreds of years, they have been proof of our glowing femininity. A patent for fake eyelashes dates back to 1911!

The Asian beauty market was the first to make eyelash extensions an affordable, approachable goal for every woman. They pioneered the technique of using a safe, non-toxic glue to attach individual lashes of varying thickness and length to natural lashes.

Eyelash Extension Types

There are three primary types of eyelash extensions: Animal hair, silk, or synthetic.

Mink eyelash extensions are typically the most expensive choice, and depending on your salon, you could pay more than $500 for a set. Mink eyelash extensions look quite feathery. They are great for a dramatic look with maximum curl. Sable is another word for mink. These are also high-end lashes on the upper end of the spectrum. Fox hair is also another animal-hair source you may come across.

If you are searching for vegan eyelash extensions, there are plenty of those as well.

Faux mink eyelash extensions are cheaper than real mink extensions, for obvious reasons. They go for about $150 a set. They should curl naturally and can get wet, with a texture similar to silk. They are slightly more thick than real mink or real silk which can affect the look you are going for.

Silk eyelash extensions are the thinnest. The average range is $100 per set, and they are wonderful for people with allergies to animal hair who are seeking out an animal-friendly solution. They can be very subtle, or very dramatic, with variations in length. They are glossy due to better light reflection off of the material.

Synthetic eyelash extensions are the most economical choice. Made from various acrylic materials, they have a high shine. You can find salons that provide synthetic lash sets for prices as low as $60-70 dollars for a first application. You can also customize the length, thickness, and curl.

All eyelash extensions are anywhere from 9 to 15 mm long. The shorter the eyelash extension, the more natural the results. When choosing length and thickness, keep in mind that heavier, thicker lashes will fall out more quickly. This means more maintenance, and that means more money spent overall. If you’re wondering if the lashes you have are quality read all about that here. 

Important Questions to Ask About Extensions

At your appointment, the tech will tape down your bottom lashes so that you can close your eyes comfortably. Your upper lashes will be separated with a tweezer, and the extensions will be applied one at a time after being dabbed into the adhesive.

The base of the eyelash extension is glued onto your lash in a delicate operation. After several seconds, the glue dries and bonds to the lash, and the process continues with the next lash. While you can be on the massage table for over an hour, there is no downtime once the final lash is applied. The tech will likely remind you to keep water, makeup, and eyedrops away from your eyelashes for about 24 hours.

Remember to ask these questions when booking your first appointment:

  1. Which types of extensions are available, and at which price points?
  2. Which extension brands are used?
  3. How long will the appointment take?
  4. What type of glue is used, and how long has the aesthetician been using it?
  5. Have there been any allergic reactions to their process? Does it work on those with sensitive skin?
  6. What is his/her typical retention rate for lashes?
  7. How often will refills be required, and at what cost?
  8. What type of training or licensing has the tech received?

Tips for Eyelash Extension Maintenance

Ideally, your new set of gorgeous lashes will last anywhere from 3-6 weeks. Longer than that is impossible because 6 weeks is the typical lifespan of your own eyelashes. When your natural lash sheds, the eyelash extensions go with them.

The salon where you receive your eyelash extensions should offer touch-ups at a fraction of the original cost. To keep those lashes on-point, schedule your next session before you leave. Two weeks time for a touch-up is pretty standard. Touch-ups for eyelash extensions are generally up to $100, plus any gratuity you choose to offer.

Here are some tips to help you preserve your new eyelash extensions:

  • Avoid getting your eyelashes wet for at least the first day after they are applied.
  • Avoid picking at your eyelashes or rubbing your eyes a lot.
  • Don’t sleep on your stomach because this will disrupt your eyelash extensions.
  • Oil likes oil, and glues are made with oils. Thus, if you use oily creams on your eyes, they can degrade the glue and your eyelash extensions will fall out.
  • Don’t apply liquid eyeliner to the lash line.
  • You can still apply eye shadow but only use oil-free make-up remover and do it with precise Q-tips. One type to try is Cetaphil or gentle baby shampoo.
  • Waterproof mascara will damage the extensions so timing is the key to when you use the mascara. Follow the mascara with a new set of eyelash extensions the next day. Another option is to only use a little bit of mascara on the tip of the eyelashes.
  • The salon that gave you the eyelash extensions can also remove them if you decide you don’t want them anymore.
  • You may apply an eyelash sealer that keeps the extensions adhered to your real lasts.
  • If you want curlier eyelashes, you could try an eyelash curler that heats up the lashes.
  • Pros and Cons of Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions are an exciting choice for a bride-to-be, a young woman prepping for prom, or anyone seeking out a new way to treat themselves. Try a set before a special occasion or a vacation abroad to dress up your look even before makeup is applied. It’s fun to be constantly camera-ready with a fresh set.

Long-term, you must factor in the cost. Even the most expensive extensions will require touch-ups at a minimum of once a month. Some cheaper synthetic applications could have you back at the salon in two weeks.

Do your research before seeking out a professional. Eyelash extensions are not an ideal situation for approaching an untrained amateur. The glue should be high-quality, and the aesthetician should be properly licensed.

At the end of the day, you will either adore the look or find it unnecessary. What we love is that without maintenance, the “extra” eyelashes simply fall away. Your original lashes should not be harmed so long as you pick a pro to apply them. Bottom line: It is absolutely a trend worth trying on for size!

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