Thinking About Eyelash Extensions? Everything to Know Before Booking (2024)

As much as we wish we could click our heels and grow longer lashes, some of us simply have shorties—no matter how much mascara we apply. If you're a fan of false lashes, a longer-term solution exists: eyelash extensions. These semi-permanent, professionally applied extensions give you movie-star length for weeks at a time, and are totally customizable.

We tapped Clementina Richardson, celebrity lash expert and founder of Envious Lashes in N.Y.C., and Sara Edward Wayne, makeup and lash artist and owner of Outlaw Cosmetics, to spill all the details about about lash extensions, from how long it takes to get them, to the different types, to what you can expect to pay.

What Exactly Are Eyelash Extensions?

“Lash extensions are semi-permanent synthetic, faux mink or silk fibers which are applied strand by strand to your natural lashes,” explains Richardson. As you might expect, the application is fairly tedious. “The extensions are carefully applied one at a time using a specially-formulated, semi-permanent glue that will not irritate or damage the natural lash,” she adds.

Unlike false eyelashes, where the strip or individual lashes are applied to the skin, lash extensions are attached directly to the lash itself. The results are more lush, dense lashes that may even let you skip mascara (gasp).

Are There Different Types of Eyelash Extensions?

According to Wayne, there are different lash styles, to achieve different lengths, curls, and overall lash looks. "The most common lash sets are Classic, Hybrid, Volume, and Mega Volume," she says. "Lashes extensions come in various different lengths, curl types, diameters, and textures." They also come in different materials. "Most lashes are made of a synthetic plastic material to mimic the look and feel of mink, cashmere or silk," says the pro.

Do Eyelash Extensions Look Natural?

The final look is meant to enhance your natural lashes with more length, fullness, and lift. Whether that look is more dramatic or more natural is up to the client, but generally, the more lashes applied, the more dramatic the effect. A typical treatment involves anywhere from 80-140 individual extensions per eye, with lashes ranging in length from 6-18mm, according to Richardson. “It’s not one size fits all,” she explains. “For instance, if you have damaged lashes, or naturally weak, short natural lashes, it’s not always possible to get a more dramatic look that a client with stronger, thicker lashes can achieve.”

How Long Does the Process Take?

The bad news? Expect the treatment to take one to two hours, depending on your desired look. The good news? You can use it as an excuse to lie down, relax, and take a forced break from your phone.

A good lash technician will take their time, reminds Richardson. “Safety should be your number-one concern. Finding someone who is certified to apply the lashes is a must. Depending on the state, the stylist also needs to be licensed,” she advises.

How Much Do Eyelash Extensions Cost?

Cost varies depending on the location, technician, and the final look. At Envious Lashes, a starter set is $105, and “Bombshells”—a favorite of Richardson’s celeb clients like Mary J. Blige—cost upwards of $550. Longer lashes are both a time and financial commitment, and could potentially cost you thousands of dollars per year depending on how often you get them filled.

How Do You Care for Lash Extensions?

Avoid water for the first day or so until the glue has a chance to fully dry. Treat your new lashes with TLC—don't curl them, slap on mascara, or rub your eyes. Basically, avoid anything that requires you to touch your lashes, and stay away from oil-based products and cleansers as well. Mascara can be applied to just the tips of lashes if you'd like, but it's best to skip it all together. After all, your new lashes should be dramatic enough on their own.

How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Last?

Because extensions are attached to the lash itself, they last as long as the natural growth cycle, or about six weeks. To extend the life of the extensions, Richardson recommends using a lash conditioner (yes, it exists!) and to gently comb through your lashes with a dry spoolie brush. She also recommends getting “refills” every two to three weeks to fill in any sparse areas.

Are There Any Downsides to Getting Lash Extensions?

Like many beauty treatments, Wayne says, "The biggest downside is how pricey and addicting they can be. Once you get started on lash extensions sometimes it's hard to go back." The pro adds that getting extensions is "like literally waking up in your makeup."

The maintenance can also be a surprise to some. "Regular, two-week fills are required to keep them looking good and maintained," says Wayne. "With that said, lash extensions are a financial investment. A good lash artist isn't cheap, and if lash extensions are not attached properly, or if too many are on and they are too heavy for the natural lashes, they can prematurely make lashes fall out and damage the lash line." Therefore, she stresses that "Choosing a good lash artist is crucial."

Do Lash Extensions Inhibit Natural Lash Growth?

With proper care, lashes should continue to grow normally. However, Wayne warns that "If the client doesn't follow proper aftercare, "premature lash shedding can occur."

Finding a qualified lash technician is just as important. "As long as you take care of the extensions and go to a highly trained and experienced lash tech, your lashes maintain their health," says Wayne, who recommends using a lash serum for added nourishment. "Outlaw’s I Love Lashes Growth Serum was specifically created for those who wear lash extensions. It keeps the lashes healthy with ingredients such as green tea, chamomile, and powerful vitamins and peptides to keep lashes growing even with extensions."

Alternatives to Lash Extensions

Of course, lash extensions aren't the only option for longer lashes. "DIY lash cluster or strip lashes, using a growth serum, and mascara naturally extend the length and volume of lashes," says Wayne. Below, shop some of our product picks:

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Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Lengthening Mascara

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Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara

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Ardell Naked Lash #421

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Kiss Looks So Natural Lash Shy

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GRANDE Cosmetics GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum

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Lindy Segal

Lindy Segal is a beauty writer and editor. In addition to regularly contributing to BAZAAR.COM, she also writes for Glamour, People, WhoWhatWear, and Fashionista, among other publications. She lives in New York City with her Chihuahua mix, Barney.

Thinking About Eyelash Extensions? Everything to Know Before Booking (2024)
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