November 1, 2017

All you need to know about Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions or lash extensions are individual synthetic lashes that are applied to a natural lash one at a time. Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent and usually last around 3 weeks before needing to be infilled.

Wanting to know more about eyelash extensions? Whether you are a seasoned lash addict or a newbie doing your research, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about eyelash extensions.

What are eyelash extensions

Eyelash extensions are individual synthetic lashes that are applied to a natural lash one at a time. Using a medical grade adhesive and taking anywhere between one and two hours. This process is performed by a specialised technician, usually with a background in beauty therapy. Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent and usually last around 3 weeks before needing to be infilled.

Eyelash extensions are not to be confused with false lashes. False lashes (also known as strip lashes) are a synthetic full eye or cluster of synthetic lashes that can either be self-applied or applied by a makeup artist. Using temporary glue that is attached to the skin of the eyelid, these lashes are designed to be removed at the end of the night and can be purchased in pharmacies and other retail stores.

infills before and after
Pictured above is before infills (left eye) and after (right eye).

What are infills/refills

Infills are the process of applying lash extensions to someone who already has eyelash extensions on. After the original set has been applied the extensions will start coming out gradually with the natural lash. After about 3 weeks (or anywhere between 2-4 weeks) the client will return to the lash salon to replace the lashes that have fallen out. This process is shorter than applying a brand new set as there are not as many lashes to apply. During this process, there may be some extensions that are out of place that the technician will remove. If you do not infill your lashes the last extension should fall out around the 6-week mark.


It is not known exactly where lash extensions came from. If you try to find this out on the internet you will be met with a tonne of inaccurate information. False lashes and lash extensions, as mentioned above, are not the same thing. Most of the articles state that lash extensions have origins starting from the early 1800’s and becoming popular in the 1920’s. This is not completely correct. Although these dates are true timelines for the idea of elongating the eyelashes, lash extensions did not make an appearance until the early 2000’s or late 1990’s.

It is not known who exactly created the concept and from what country they originated from. Although, we do know that lash extensions emerged from Northeast Asia. Most likely Japan or Korea. The technicians in the birthplace of eyelash extensions were perfecting lashes for years before sharing their techniques with the western world. I personally have worked with Korean and Japanese technicians who have over 13 years experience. Which is quite a while before eyelash extensions were introduced to Australia. Russian Volume lashes, however, originate from Europe and come after the traditional extension technique. Read more about Volume lashes here.

What are eyelash extensions are made of

Eyelash extensions are made from a synthetic polyester. There are different finishes available, such as silk and faux mink, but these extensions ultimately are made from the same thing. Genuine mink, however, is the hair/fur from the animal and has been treated to be attached to the natural lash. Learn more about mink lashes here.

The application process

After a thorough consultation with your lash technician, gel pads will be applied underneath your eyes. This is to separate your top and bottom lashes so they don’t stick together. Your technician uses two sets of tweezers during the application process. One is isolating a single lash while the other picks up an extension, dips it into the adhesive and adheres to the isolated lash. This process is repeated until each eye has the desired amount of extensions applied. Depending on which particular set you get, classic lashes have between 50-100 lashes per eye and volume lashes have between 300-600+ lashes per eye.

How to look after them and how long they should last

The aftercare instructions:

  • Do not wet the lashes for at least 24 to 48 hours. This is the time it takes for the adhesive to properly cure so they will last the correct amount of time. If you do wet them during this time the will most likely come off prematurely.
  • Avoid oil at all costs. This means oil in your makeup and skin care products that come close to your eye area. Because oil is good for your skin and hair, most products do have oil in them. Oil breaks down the adhesive and your new extensions will come off if you get oil around this area at any time. Including before and after the first 24 hours. Your salon will most likely stock eye makeup remover as well as eye makeup that does not contain oil. So if you intend of wearing your extensions for a while, it would be a good investment to get those products.
  • Brush your lashes gently.BYou will be provided with a lash brush at the end of your treatment. They look like dry mascara brushes and are great for keeping your extensions tidy. You do not need to brush them excessively, just enough to keep them in place. Don’t be afraid if you see a few come off whilst brushing, this is normal.
  • Be careful of your eye area. It might seem like common sense, but if you haven’t had extensions before, you could be used to rubbing your eyes, sleeping on your face or being a bit rough on your eye.

If taken care of properly, classic eyelash extensions last between 2 and 4 weeks between infills. Volume lashes last longer than classic lashes as there are more extensions applied and average 3 to 4 weeks between infills.

Is what you’ve heard about lash extensions true?

  • You can apply lash extensions on yourself: FALSE. It would take a very talented and experienced lash technician to do even a half-decent job of this, as the eyes need to be closed for the application. Also, two pairs of tweezers and medical grade semi-permanent adhesive is used.
  • Lash extensions are expensive: TRUE. I guess this is debatable depending on your circumstance, but the truth is, they are not cheap. Lash extensions are not prescriptive and are purely aesthetic. The outlay of extensions long term is quite a lot, which is one of the reasons I own a lash salon. Finding the right salon for you should not be based on the price of the sets/infills. There are many beginners or uncertified technicians that have extremely low prices to get the clients that they cannot attain through their service standard.
  • Lash extensions hurt: FALSE. If done properly there should be no pain whatsoever. There may be a slight tingle in the eye if fumes are present, but during and after the application process should be 100% pain-free. If no allergic reaction has occurred and your lashes hurt, get them removed and do not return to the place they were applied.
  • Lash extensions are always dramatic: FALSE. There are many different lengths, curls and thicknesses that extensions come in. The overall look of a set can be tailored to each individual client. Looks vary from very natural to extremely dramatic and everywhere in between. Communication with your technician is necessary to get the exact look you are wanting.
  • You can never wet your eyes again: FALSE. It seems ludicrous to even suggest this. There is a 24 to 48  hour period immediately after your extensions are applied where you need to keep them away from water. But after that, you may wet your eyes and face as normal.

The age-old question of extensions causing damage to the natural lashes.

Misuse or improper application of eyelash extensions can cause damage to your natural lashes, yes it is true. BUT it is avoidable. The following are the most common ways to cause damage to your lashes and how to avoid it.

Continuously wearing extensions that are either too long or too heavy for your natural lashes

A reputable technician will assess your natural lashes regularly. Bring this up with your technician if you are worried about the condition of your natural lashes.  If you would like to prevent damaged lashes, speak to your technician. If you are seeing the same technician regularly, they will usually keep an eye on your lashes. Your lash artists job is to make sure your lashes are at their optimum health.

incorrect application
Pictured above is an example of incorrect application of eyelash extensions.
Having extensions that are applied incorrectly

As the lash industry grows, so do the amount of lash artists that are popping up everywhere. The popularity of extensions sees this service being offered as an add-on to many businesses. Places such as beauty salons, hair dressing salons and nail bars are examples of this. Not all, but many of these places are quick to rush into an extra service to bring in the additional income. This is where many of the inexperienced or uneducated technicians seem to arise from.The internet is a wonderful place to find reputable salons with lots of great reviews. Look for salons that specialise in this area of beauty.

Technicians using harmful, poor quality or incorrect products

Technicians cannot work around the poor quality of the products they are using no matter how experienced or talented they are. A place that specialises in eyelash extensions will be far more likely to use high quality products. Even a private technician who works from home could be using better products than an established business that has just added lashes to their treatment menu.

Continuing to get extensions when you have allergic reactions to them

The sad reality of becoming allergic to lash extensions is that you must stop getting them. There is no way around it. If you have developed an allergy when you used to be able to get the extensions before, you still must stop. Your body will reject the lashes if you continue to get extensions applied. It will also become increasingly more uncomfortable or even painful every time you get them done. Your natural lashes will become so damaged from the aftermath of reactions. Tinting, lash lifts and growth serums are alternatives to lash extensions. If you are allergic to lash extensions it will do more harm to continue getting them.

Not following the aftercare instructions properly can definitely attribute to damaged lashes

To maintain your extensions and to keep your natural lashes healthy follow the aftercare steps. Following these steps thoroughly to get the best out of the money you’ve spent on your sets and infills. If you aren’t too sure on any of the steps, ask your technician to clarify.

Pulling at the extensions or constantly rubbing your eyes

Continual pulling of your natural lashes will almost definitely result in a weaker regeneration of the lashes. Pulling and rubbing is a common cause of damage your natural lashes and is usually done subconsciously. It’s a habit you need to work on. You can try to get the people closest to you to make you aware of when you are pulling at your lashes.

In Summary

Eyelash extensions are a specialised treatment. Performed by a qualified technician, eyelash extensions are applied by hand one at a time to the natural lashes. Originating from Northeast Asia, lash extensions are relatively new to the Western world. Different lengths, curls, thicknesses and finishes are chosen and arranged in a fashion to give the desired end result of fuller, longer or more defined lashes. The initial set is applied and can be infilled (usually around the 3 week mark) to have extensions long term, or can just be worn until the last one falls off. If applied properly and taken care of, lash extensions do not cause damage to the natural lash. As well as being an addiction for many women, lash extensions have become a lifestyle. Celebrities and everyday women alike have adopted lash extensions into their lives.

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