Now that this service is offered at almost every spa and salon, anyone interested in lashes is faced with so many options that it's hard to know where to start. What's the difference between individual lashes, clusters, volume sets, mink, silk, and synthetic? Why are some places charging $30-75 for a full set, while others charge $150-375?
Since eyelash extensions can damage your lashes if they're too heavy or cause infections if not applied properly, It's important to pick the right lash artist and products. Here are some things to look for to get the best lashes for your money.
HOW TO FIND A GOOD LASH PROFESSIONAL
Before you get your lashes done, make sure that the lash artist is a licensed cosmetologist or licensed esthetician. Licensed cosmetologists and estheticians have also been trained in proper disinfection practices. Some states do not require a license to apply lashes (usually only because the state hasn't updated its laws to include lash extensions yet) but you don't want just anyone off the street applying chemicals near your eyes.
Some states do not require a license to apply lashes... but you don't want just anyone off the street applying chemicals near your eyes.
Ask the lash professional if he or she has been certified by a reputable eyelash extension company and then research the company. This verifies that the artist has undergone the proper training required to apply eyelash extensions. For example, I was trained and certified by Liquifan Lashes. If you research the company, you'll find that they only sell their products to licensed professionals who have passed their certification course.
Ask the lash artist or stylist how long he or she has been doing lashes. Some salons and spas employ people who have just recently learned how to do lashes. If this is the case, they should make you aware of that fact. I've heard horror stories of new artists who got glue in client's eyes or glued the extensions to the client's skin instead of the lashes. Ouch! An experienced lash professional knows how to apply extensions safely.
4. READ REVIEWS
If possible, read reviews about the lash services of a particular lash stylist. Most businesses these days have pages on Yelp and Facebook. These are great ways to find customer feedback. If you can get a personal referral for a lash place or artist, even better.
WHICH EYELASH EXTENSIONS ARE RIGHT FOR YOU?
1. SYNTHETIC VS. MINK
Many new clients ask me about mink lashes because they've heard that celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez get them done. These extensions are made of fur from a mink animal and people consider them a luxury because they're soft and fluffy. I usually advise against mink for a few reasons- they're more expensive, don't hold their curl as long as synthetic lashes, and can't get wet. They also don't last as long as synthetic so they require more frequent maintenance. Additionally, while some lash companies claim that the mink animals aren't killed for their fur, this article from Boston Magazine explains that minks are suffering and dying in farms for their fur.
I usually advise against mink for a few reasons- they're more expensive, don't hold their curl as long as synthetic lashes, and can't get wet. They also don't last as long as synthetic so they require more frequent maintenance.
There is a HUGE difference between cheap lash glue that anyone can buy from Ebay and high quality adhesive that is only available to trained professionals.
Arguably more important than the type of lash extensions used is the glue. There is a HUGE difference between cheap lash glue that anyone can buy from Ebay and high quality adhesive that is only available to trained professionals. The quality of the glue determines how long the extensions will last before you need to come back for a fill in appointment. Some lash glues can also take up to 72 hours to "cure" or set, so you may not be able to get your lashes wet for a few days. This is why I only use Liquifan glue, which is the only lash adhesive that is instantly dried and immediately waterproof, so you don't have to avoid wetting your lashes, washing your face, or showering.
If the lash professional tells you not to get your lashes wet, the skin at your lash line may not be getting cleaned properly. This means you have a higher chance of getting blepharitis, or eyelid inflammation, and infection. You might notice flaking, crusty skin at your lash line and possibly redness or a stye.
You should also be aware that some glues can cause a horrible allergic reaction in some clients. This is why it's important to ASK THE LASH PROFESSIONAL IF ANYONE HAS EVER HAD AN ALLERGIC REACTION TO THE GLUE. I have been using Liquifan glue for years and no one has ever had an allergic reaction to it!
3. CLUSTERS VS. INDIVIDUALS VS. VOLUME SETS
Here is where the price for a full set can vary significantly. If someone offers to do a full set of lashes for under $100- make sure that they are individual lashes, not clusters. Clusters are commonly seen at nail salons for $30-80 dollars and they take under an hour to apply because they are basically just bunches of lashes applied to several lashes at a time.
These might look great at first because of the initial volume but they WILL pull out your natural lashes! Within a few days, you will see clumps of lashes falling out. They are just too heavy for your natural lashes to hold. It's normal for you to shed a few natural lashes every day, just like your hair, but if you start to see "holes" or "gaps" of missing lashes in your lash line- your extensions are too heavy!
Applying lashes individually, one extension to one natural lash, is the safest way to apply extensions.
Volume sets should only be applied to those with healthy, strong lashes, though, because weak lashes won't be able to hold the weight.
Volume sets are a relatively new technique that adds volume by gluing a "fan" of thinner lashes to a single natural lash. They can look very beautiful if done correctly and can add more drama to sparse lashes. Unlike clusters, these "fans" are made from much lighter, thinner lashes than normal eyelash extensions. Volume sets should only be applied to those with healthy, strong lashes, though, because weak lashes won't be able to hold the weight. Volume sets take longer to apply and therefore cost more than a regular individual set. They usually cost about $300.
I hope that this blog post was helpful to anyone who is considering getting eyelash extensions. As a licensed and certified lash artist, I think it's important for clients to be informed so that they can avoid damaging their lashes or wasting their money.
I also highly recommend finding a Liquifan Lash Artist in your area. Many of my clients who have tried NovaLash, Extreme Lash, or other brands before coming to me say that they wish they had known about Liquifan before. They love that the glue dries instantly and they don't have to avoid washing their faces. They also love that this adhesive forms a stronger bond, so they only have to come back for fill-ins once a month instead of every 2 weeks.
Please visit my Lashes page for more information about Liquifan Lashes in Atlanta.