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Eyelash Extensions for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know

If your dream is to wake up with long, full, dark, and feathery eyelashes — without globbing on three coats of mascara — you’ve probably at least considered semi-permanent eyelash extensions, a trend that has sprung up over the past few years to respond to that exact wish. Full, long, dark lashes every single day without needing coats of waterproof mascara? Um, yes, please.

Going one step beyond falsies, these lashes last weeks. And while the trend has become prevalent, you might still have questions about the safety, cost, comfort, and overall process. Before you book your eyelash extension appointment, you need to educate yourself on the good, the bad, and the annoying aspects of having selfie-ready lashes. Keep reading for all the details you seriously need to know.

Lash Extension Basics

Unlike gluing a strip of falsies to your lash line, the process of applying eyelash extensions is much more meticulous. First, our lash artist will walk you through the various lash extension options: fiber (synthetic, silk, and faux-mink), length, and curl type. Most salons have a menu to help guide the consultation and determine the lash extension that will best fit your aesthetic.

Because everyone’s eyes are different, you’ll want a set that complements your eye shape, lash length, and lifestyle. One curl and length will look completely different on one person versus another. Most eyelash studios have a menu to help get the conversation started and help guide you to the look you’re after (from subtle and round to the boldest cat eyes). For example if your eyes are round and turn down a bit at the outer corners, we recommend the longest lashes go in the center of your eyes, as opposed to the ever-popular cat-eye shape, which tends to open them up further.

A consultation will also help you determine what to choose for material (most common are silk and faux mink; silk is bit more shiny and pops more, whereas mink is most fluttery and natural), length, and curl type (J is the slightest curve but ends up looking longer; C and D are the most flipped up), as well as how many lashes should be applied. A great lash artist will also mix lengths to give lashes a naturally wispy vibe. At PLEIJ Salon we use a minimum of four different lengths for every style we offer.

Are lash extensions worth it?

Unlike gluing a strip of temporary fake lashes onto your lash line, semi-permanent lashes are applied by a Columbus OH lash artist who hand-glues the extensions on top of your natural lashes. Because lash extensions don’t come in a strip, they are completely customizable, creating a my-lashes-but-better-look. With proper care (more on that later), they can last for six to eight weeks until they naturally fall out like your lashes usually do.

If you’ve ever seen someone with distractingly long lashes, so luscious and fluttery that they couldn’t possibly be natural, then you know the number one benefit of lash extensions: You get to walk around with the lashes you wish you were born with, no mascara or sticky lash glue required.

One of biggest pros of eyelash extensions is you never have to wear mascara ever again. Lashes make your eyes pop, and actually help breath life into an otherwise tired face. Some women even say that they’re more inclined to take an all-natural approach with their makeup when they have extensions because the feel so confident with long, full lashes.

Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

There isn’t much evidence that shows whether eyelash extensions actually affect your natural lash length or health long-term. There is, however, a small risk of developing traction alopecia, a condition in which your natural lashes fall out as a result of the constant weight of repeated eyelash extensions. But don’t be alarmed—it usually takes years of bad application and improper care for long-term lash damage to happen as a result. But only go to reputable, well-reviewed salons (no matter how good that Groupon deal is), and make sure your technician washes their hands between clients, wears a mask, uses sanitary pillow covers, sterilizes their tweezers, and uses disposable eyelash brushes. And yes, you are allowed to ask your lash artist to confirm all these things.

When making your appointment, we recommend asking the salon about the ingredients in the lash adhesive they use. If they can’t answer your question, cancel the appointment (you don’t want inexperienced people sticking things to your eyelids), and if they say the glue contains formaldehyde (a known eye irritant that can cause redness, irritation, and itchy, swollen eyelids), definitely cancel the appointment. It may cost you a little more, but it’s best to choose a salon that uses glues made with butyl cyanoacrylate and octyl cyanoacrylate instead of formaldehyde—they’re much healthier options.

How much does it cost to get eyelash extensions?

In Columbus OH, a basic set (typically 70 to 80 lashes per eye) can range anywhere from $120 to $400 plus tip, which is usually another 20 percent. And because eyelashes grow and eventually fall out, you have to go back every few weeks for fill-ins, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $165, depending on how many new lashes you need.

PSA: The longer you go between fill-ins, the more lashes you’ll need to replace and the more it will cost you—and if you wait too long, your technician might just want to give you a brand-new set of extensions rather than a fill-in, which will end up costing you more. We recommend a lash refill every 2-3 weeks.

Preparing For Your Eyelash Extension Appointment

Show up to your appointment completely bare-faced.

This includes not curling your lashes either. If they’re curled, this creates a crease right by the root, which makes it very difficult for the lash artist to apply the extensions—and will impact the results of your lash extension service. Other things to avoid: mascara, waterproof eye makeup, oily skin care, and eye cream. For best results, we recommend avoiding waterproof eye makeup for up to a week prior to your appointment as it leaves an invisible film that can prevent the lashes from fully adhering. You basically don’t want anything that will interfere with the lash glue. It’s also important to note that you cannot get your new lashes wet for 24 hours post session as the adhesive has to dry completely. So if you need to work out the day of your appointment, go to the gym and take a shower in advance.

Lash Extensions are not an in-and-out kind of appointment.

Your technician will be using a teeny-tiny, tweezer-like tool to precisely affix around 160 individual eyelashes to your eyes. They do this by gluing one false lash onto each of your own natural lashes, one tiny lash at a time. Understandably, the initial set will take upwards of two hours to apply. Refills can take almost as long as this entails removing many existing extensions and clean your lashes before applying a new set. You’ll need to lie very still during your appointment and thus it’s recommended that you limit, or refrain from caffeine consumption the day of your appointments which can cause your eyes to twitch which in turn can drag out your appointment and adversely impact the outcome of your service.

Stay away from cluster lashes.

If your lashes are sparse, some salons may suggest 3-D lashes, or clusters, which are three hairs glued together, to give your eyes a more voluminous look. Clusters each affix to a few lashes, making the shedding that happens later a mess: lash clusters stick to lashes that have shed and natural lashes that are still intact. Avoid them—they’ll only weigh down your natural lashes and lead to breakage. You should always have one extension applied to one natural lash, there should be no visible glue, and the extensions should not be touching your lid in any way. Basically, if they look like falsies, they’ll be way too heavy.

Eyelash Extension Care Routine

They will feel weird at first.

It takes a day or two to get used to the feeling of wearing eyelash extensions, but most find them to be much more comfortable than strip lashes. Unless you’re a back sleep, they’ll also impact the way you normally sleep. If you sleep on your side and stomach you’re going to crush them and they won’t last as long. Many side and stomach sleepers benefits from the use of a travel pillow or something that helps to elevate and keep you on your back until they adjust.

You might need to adjust your skin care routine…

The general rule of thumb is to avoid anything too oily. And if you’re going to apply eye cream, we recommend using it in the morning as opposed to at night so it doesn’t travel into your lashes. Stick to nonoily makeup removers as well: we recommend using micellar water with a cotton swab to remove makeup around your eyes (with cotton pads, fibers will stick to your lashes), whereas we prefers presoaked oil-free makeup-removing pads.

Can you wear eye makeup with eyelash extensions?

We don’t recommend using mascara with lash extensions, even the so call “extension-safe” mascaras. Why? Because when you attempt to take it off at the end of the day, you can actually cause your extensions to break from the friction and makeup remover. You just splurged on lashes—don’t jeopardize them!

Also stay away from waterproof eye makeup; removing it will take a toll on your eyes and can break down the lash glue. We also recommend avoiding loose powder or glittery eyeshadows, which can build up on the roots of your lashes, eventually weakening them and leading to breakage. And if you’re devoted to liner (though you may find you no longer want it), stick to gel and liquid formulas that won’t tug at your roots.

You’ll have to relearn how to wash your face.

There is nothing as jarring as leaning into a sink, washing your face, and accidentally bumping your extensions. It feels incredibly strange and many a lash have been lost this way. Here’s the technique that we recommend: Get as low as possible to the sink—gently splash water on the bottom of your face and forehead. Then carefully suds up the lower half of your face and forehead, rinsing it clean by lightly dabbing and doing a light, outward pulling motion. After that, use your fingers to wet around your eyes with any leftover cleanser, following with water. No scrubbing.

And give your eyes extra attention.

Because you’re not washing your eye area as thoroughly as usual, you can and will get residue buildup, particularly at the lash line. Even if you don’t put eye makeup on, there’s still outside impurities and dust that can get trapped. We recommend mixing distilled water with a little bit of tear-free baby shampoo and use the mixture to thoroughly clean your top lids and the bottom of your eyes.

Should you brush your lash extensions?

Lashes get tangled when you’re sleeping and showering, so it’s required that you gently brush your lashes with a clean spoolie brush when you wake up, after you shower, and at the end of the day. We end every appointment by handing you a soft spoolie and demonstrating how to comb your lashes daily. Here’s how it’s done: Looking down, support underneath your lashes with your pointer finger. Then gently twirl the spoolie on the top side of your lashes (the opposite of how you’d apply mascara; brushing that way will tug at the hair). It takes five seconds out of your day and it goes a long way.

Never—ever!—pick at your lashes.

The only way to remove eyelash extensions is with a pro—period. You’ll end up tearing out or breaking your lashes if you try to do it yourself, and it’s not worth it. That doesn’t mean you have to remove them; you can also just wear them until they all cycle off. Typically they last around three to four weeks, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself back for refills before then. They’re addict like that not to mention until you adjust to the eyelash extension care process including sleeping on your back you’ll tend to shed lashes more quickly.

Basically, the most important thing to remember with eyelash extensions is to be extremely gentle. You can’t stumble home at 2 a.m., rub your tired eyes with the back of your hand, and fall asleep face-first on your bed. No, you must treat your lashes like the $200 investment that they are. “Rubbing your eyes at all will result in immediate lash breakage,” warns Richardson. She also recommends investing in a satin pillowcase, as sleeping an ordinary cotton sham can cause drying or lash snagging.

The Final Word

From minding how you sleep to what you’re putting near your eyes, it’s clear that maintaining eyelash extensions is a delicate art and there’s a lot to think about before you decide to get eyelash extensions. And if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the upkeep and the cost, maybe consider starting small, with a good pair of falsies or a lash lift and tint. In the end, we’ll always admire long lash extensions, but not everyone is willing to live with the extra maintenance that eyelash extensions entail.

Share The Beauty… Earn Rewards!

At PLEIJ Salon+Spa, we offer a simple and easy referral program to our existing clients (and even non-clients). When you refer a friend who is new to PLEIJ, we’ll give them a 20% OFF GIFT to use towards any service. To say thanks, we’ll give you a 10% OFF GIFT to use toward services or products!

Be sure to learn everything about this awesome program and even send out referrals.

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