What you need to know before getting eyelash extensions
From which ones to choose to how long you should expect them to last
The pursuit of long and fluttery lashes can often feel like a never-ending hunt for that one mascara that promises to deliver better results than the last. And while finding your Holy Grail mascara may be the most affordable way to achieve luscious lashes, eyelash extensions are another (and more dramatic) option for those willing to invest.
Before you decide to commit to semi-permanent lash extensions, it’s important to know what you’re in for. That’s why we reached out to two of Australia’s leading lash experts: founder of Sharon Lee Inc., Sharon Lee, and owner and director of Amy Jean Brow Agency, Amy Jean, to find out everything you need to know before getting eyelash extensions.
The different types of lash extensions
First things first, it’s important to understand that eyelash extensions aren’t one-size-fits-all. In fact, when deciding on the lashes you want, you can choose from a variety of types and styles depending on the lash effect you’re after.
According to Lee, the most common type of lash extensions is mink as they’re incredibly lightweight and ideal for creating a natural, fluffy look. However, if you’re vegan, vegetarian or simply want to avoid using animal fur, synthetic lashes are also available and are both extremely lightweight and hypoallergenic.
You're also able to choose the level of your lash curl based on the lettering system: J, B, C and D. The ‘J’ curl is ideal for a more natural, awake look, ‘B’ is a tad curlier, while ‘C’ is for those who wouldn’t dream of leaving home without their shu uemura eyelash curler and a ‘D’ level of curl takes ‘C’ one step further. You can also get creative with your look and opt for ‘J’ on the inner corners of your eyes with a ‘C’ or ‘D’ on the outer edges for a more dramatic cat-eye effect.
How to choose the best salon
While you could chance it and have your extensions applied at any salon you pass in the shopping centre, we recommend doing a little research to ensure your experience doesn’t become one of the many horror stories of badly-applied glues and dodgy lash placements that leave eyes swollen, red and irritated.
According to both Lee and Jean, the easiest way to decide where to have your lash extensions applied is to look at an artist’s portfolio, be it on their website or social media accounts. Additionally, Lee also recommends searching for reviews online either on Facebook or Google to find out what other people’s experiences have been.
The important questions to ask your lash technician
While most people are suitable candidates for having lash extensions, Lee warns that those with sensitive eyes may experience irritation. That’s why she recommends asking your artist if they have lashes and glues that are more suited to sensitive eyes. However, she notes, “there are so many varieties of both these days, you should be able to find the right fit”.
Jean also recommends asking your chosen salon what brand of glue they use. As the adhesive is one of the most important factors in your application, it’s essential they’re using a quality formaldehyde-free and medical-grade glue.
It’s also vital that you and your lash artist are on the same page. This means taking the time to have a detailed consultation prior to application to determine the best length and curl for your eye shape. Doing so will ensure you walk out of the salon happy with the final result.
How long eyelash extensions take to apply
Generally, Jean says the first application of a full set of extensions will take anywhere between one to two hours, depending on how full you want the results to be. After two to three weeks, it’s likely you’ll need infills (which involves applying extensions to areas where your lashes have naturally fallen out since your first application), which will take about 40-60 minutes to apply, says Lee.
How long lash extensions last
If looked after, you can expect your extensions to last anywhere between three to five weeks. However, regular infill sessions (every three weeks) are required, as your eyelash extensions will naturally shed, leaving gaps and inconsistencies in length.
Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?
“There is a lot of debate over this. Poorly applied or incorrect length selection will compromise the strength and health of your natural lash cycle. Our natural lashes shed every six weeks, so if you have a reasonably weightless and correctly positioned lash extension on each lash, when it’s ready to shed it will simply fall out with the extension adhered to it. It becomes damaging when two or more extensions accidentally bind together during the glue setting, thus disrupting the natural shedding process,” explains Jean.
The maintenance involved
In addition to having them filled in every three weeks or so, Jean advises cleansing your lashes daily by “rinsing them with warm water and brushing them with a disposable wand to maintain accurate positioning”.
Furthermore, it’s essential to avoid using cleansers formulated with oils as they have a tendency to break down any lash glue, while sleeping on your stomach or side may also leave your lashes looking a little squished and mangled come morning.
Can you wear mascara when you have eyelash extensions?
While mascara isn’t all that necessary when you have eyelash extensions, wearing it isn’t a major no-no. However, Jean notes it’s best to avoid waterproof mascara formulas as they can be difficult to remove and often involve rubbing the eyes, which could cause your extensions to fall out prematurely.
How much you can expect to pay
Unfortunately, committing to eyelash extensions and their regular upkeep requires a significant investment. While pricing differs greatly depending on where you go, what type of lashes you choose and what style you opt for, you can expect to pay anywhere between $100 and $300 at a reputable salon with qualified technicians.
Already have eyelash extensions? Then discover five different ways to ensure you get the most out of your new lashes.
Have you had eyelash extensions before? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
Main image credit: Getty
Kate started working for BEAUTYcrew in early 2016, first as a contributor, and was then named Beauty Writer in 2017. She loves picking the brains of the industry's top experts to get to the bottom of beauty's toughest questions. Bronze eyeshadow palettes are her weakness and she's forever on the hunt for the perfect nude nail polish to suit her fair skin. Her words can also be found in Men's Health magazine, and she now works in PR.