With so many options around, it’s tempting to go for the first lash extension special offer you see. Here’s what you should look out for, what to expect and how you should take care of them afterwards…

The Golden Rule

Since your eyes are vital organs, lash extensions are not something you should blindly do bargain shopping for. Ask your friends, colleagues, and dare I say even strangers with great lashes where they get theirs done.

The devil is in the details

As with most aesthetic and beauty services, a few details are non-negotiable. The adhesive used is very important. There are unreputable technicians that use corrosive glues or glues with high allergy risks that I won’t let near my eyes.

The corrosives glues are basically disguised Superglue-like adhesives – you don’t want that on your lashes or anywhere near your eyes.

The latter tend to contain formaldehyde, which has a high likelihood of causing an allergic reaction, which you will need to seek out medical attention for. It is your right and responsibility to ask questions about the adhesive used.

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Aliaksandr Barouski – @123rf.com

Technique is crucial

The individual eyelash extension model works on the principal of one individual ‘false’ lash is attached to one individual existing lash at a time. The attached lash should never adhere to your skin or to the inner rim of your eye. You’ll feel this – it’s scratchy. If you feel tugging or pulling, multiple eyelashes have likely been glued together. When your treatment is completed you should feel no discomfort aside from possibly a slightly heavier feeling for the first day or two.

During the treatment your bottom lashes should be taped down, the surrounding skin protected, and you should not experience any pain. A typical application takes 90 minutes to two hours.

Your options

Individual lash extensions come in different lengths, finishes and curl. The most common lengths vary between 6-15mm, and are available in synthetic, silk or mink.

The length of your extensions should be determined by you and your technician. The main factors are the length and thickness/condition of your natural lashes, and of course the effect you’re aiming for. Varying lengths are used for a more natural look.

I got eyelash extensions at Sorbet: This is exactly what happens…

The material of lash extensions used boils down to personal preference and affordability. Mink lashes are the lightest and they look most like actual lashes, but they’re the most pricy and ethically they’re not for everyone.

Lash extensions also come in different curls – the most popular being either a J-curl or a C-curl, depending on the natural curve of your lashes.

Aliaksandr Barouski – @123rf.com

Maintenance and long-term wear

Your eyelashes has a growth cycle just like all other hair on your body, so they do shed. The extensions will shed with them, which makes gaps more obvious.

Lash extension fills are recommended every 2-4 weeks – the more regularly you do it, the better they’ll look. If you wait too long between fills, the lashes will start becoming top-heavy and will not only look gnarly, but also make your own lashes more prone to falling and breakage.

If I had extensions on my own lashes, I would have them professionally removed (never pull them out/off yourself) every 10 – 12 weeks to evaluate whether your own lashes are still in good condition, and whether you want to apply another set.

In very rare cases a form of traction alopecia can occur with continuous application of lash extensions, where the lash growth is compromised due to the constant added weight of the extensions. This is rare and a good lash technician will prevent this from happening.