Lash extensions – I’m sure we’ve all heard about them at some point. Heck, I’m sure a good number of us have tried them. And with every person who’s had them done, you’ll probably have the story of a bad experience. I know that I’ve had good and bad, and I’ve had them done several times. I’ve finally found an absolute lash magician, someone who does exactly what I’d envisioned in my head. So I thought I’d share some before and afters with you, as well as some before and after photos. I’ll also be sharing the pros and cons of lash extensions, as well as some tips and tricks to keeping your new lashes looking fabulous for longer.
Firstly, lash extensions are individual lashes made from mink, silk or a synthetic material, that are glued onto your own single lashes. You can get different styles such as length or volume, and they also come in varying lengths and curls too. Most decent lash technicians will also offer either a full or a half set, along with fills.
This is me without extensions:
And, this is me before a fill (2 weeks after an appointment, you can see there are gaps in the lashes, but you can also see my natural lashes are still there and 100% fine) and after a fill:
And, finally, here is a little video (I’m sure you saw it at some point on my Instagram Stories) of my gorgeous lashes – no eye makeup whatsoever:
As you’ll notice, I didn’t opt for the crazy-thick lashes that just don’t suit everyone. You need a very specific face and eye shape to rock those without looking silly or over the top. Someone like the gorgeous Dee from That’s Totally Fetch is able to really pull off the full set of volume lashes and look absolutely incredible, yet every time I’ve tried that, I look like an absolute chop. I had a half set done, so it looks more natural, yet still looks amazing.
So, without further ado, let me get straight into the pros and cons.
- JUST LOOK AT THEM. They’re so preeetttttyyy.
- They make getting ready in the morning 10 x easier and faster, as you can literally go without any eye makeup. I actually found myself wearing less makeup in general.
- If you’re being photographed (think matric dance, wedding, or just a general photoshoot), they make your eyes POP.
- They can enhance the shape of your eye, and even change it slightly depending on length and/or curl of the lashes applied.
- They don’t damage your natural lashes if properly cared for. Your own lashes fall out with your usual hair cycle, and if the technician has applied the extensions properly, they won’t be too heavy and will only come out as the lash they’re attached to naturally falls away.
- You can’t shower/sweat/cry (i.e. get them wet) for 12-24 hours (some lash technicians say 48 hours).
- If you want to keep your lashes looking gorgeous, you need to go for fills every 2-3 weeks, or you’ll end up looking like a hot mess.
- They are, in the words of Kathleen Lights, essssssssssssssspeeeeeeeeeeeeensive. You can’t drop R100 on a full set of lashes and expect to come out looking all gorgeous and doe-eyed. You need to invest, and go all-in if you want a set that looks good.
- If they’re done by someone who isn’t correctly qualified, or done wrong, you can end up looking ridiculous, you can have damaged eyelashes, or you can even get an infection.
- You can’t use your oil, balm or milk cleansers near the lashes, so you need to use something that is water-based (continue reading below for more on this).
- You shouldn’t wear mascara on top of the extensions, and if you absolutely must, you have to use only specific mascaras and only on the tips (again, more on that below).
- If you want them to look good, take that disposable spoolie brush the technician offers you. Brushing them morning, night and after you shower makes all the difference. You can buy more of these for cheap cheap at Dischem or Clicks.
I know that the cons look like they outweigh the pros, but please bare in mind that most of those cons are maintenance. Just like if you get gel mani’s on the regular, you need to maintain them by applying cuticle oil and hand cream. Nobody will want to look at your nails if your hands are chapped and flaking. If you are committed to having these gorgeous lashes, you need to be committed to maintaining them correctly, or you’ll not only end up with lashes that don’t look great, you’ll probably damage them and end up spending forever growing them back out again.
I asked on Instagram if any of you lovely folks had questions about lash extensions, and I’ve managed to pull together some answers for you.
Do lash extensions affect your own lashes afterwards?
This was the most common question. In fact, 6 different people asked this, and with good reason! If you allow a technician who doesn’t know what they’re doing, or is not certified correctly, to apply lash extensions, then chances are they won’t be looking out for your lash health. The lash tech needs to use the correct equipment, ensure that it is sterilised, and also not overload weak lashes.
Unfortunately, back onto the maintenance wagon, you also need to spend time caring for your lashes, or you’ll not only damage the extensions but your own lashes too. This means no rubbing your eyes, no playing with your lashes and no picking at them. DO NOT pull the lashes out yourself. You can also cleanse them GENTLY with diluted baby shampoo (not the 2 in 1 with conditioner, the clear shampoo), and brush them with that disposable spoolie each morning and night, and if you’ve gotten them wet. This ensures no tangling and no damage to your own lashes. You can also invest in a silk or satin pillow case, as it’s a lot more gentle not only on your beautiful lash extensions, but it’s better for your skin and hair overall.
Often, when you have the extensions removed your lashes look very short and underwhelming. If you’ve cared for them well, this won’t be due to damage. Your brain is just so used to seeing those long, luscious extensions and suddenly you’ve lost that volume and length. I always have to remember that they look so short, but because my natural lashes are almost half blonde, they’ll look fresh again once I swipe on a layer of mascara.
Should you look out for a specific certification in a lash technician?
Ensure that the lash tech is certified in the lashes that she is applying. If they’re volume lashes, she must have that qualification. If it’s individual long lashes, she should be able to show you a certificate. Also, check which brand she uses and is certified with. Some brands are better than others, and require a more intensive course, as well as more practicals before a tech can receive their certification.
Can you still wear your regular eye makeup when you have lash extensions?
Another fantastic question, and another one that more than one of you asked. Yes, you can still wear your eyeshadow, you just need to remove it very gently with a water-based makeup remover. I found it best to take my Garnier Sensitive Micellar Water on a cotton round, fold the round into a half-moon and close my eye, wiping on on the skin with the edge, and not on the lashes at all. This micellar water swipes up all of the makeup, and this way I didn’t unnecessarily rub at the lashes. If there is still a little left, I took a cotton bud and some more micellar water and used it to VERY carefully wipe closer to the lash line without wiping the lashes themselves. You can actually get thinner, pointed cotton buds which are incredibly useful for this.
There are several things that are NOT recommended. No waterproof makeup – because you can’t use oil-based cleansers or makeup removers, you obviously can’t use anything that is waterproof. You’ll end up damaging or breaking up the bonds of the glue holding your lash extensions on. Pencil eyeliners are also a no-no, as they can cause tangling and lash fallout, as you use them right on the lash line. If you want that liner look, use a thin angled brush and choose an eyeshadow in the shade of eyeliner you’d like. That way you can very gently apply a soft line along your lash line, without the harsh pencil. It’ll also remove easier than a pencil eyeliner.
Mascara seems to be a mixed bag – some people forbid you to use it, others say only if necessary, and even then only water-based. None of that oil-based mascara or waterproof mascara here guys! You can always use a little waterproof mascara on your lower lashes if you want it there, but not on those lash extensions. I myself stay away from mascara until just before my fill, when my lashes are looking a little patchy. I then only use it on the tips of my lashes, enough to coat the blonde tips of my natural lashes and blend them in a little more with the extensions. This way I don’t upset the extensions. I then soak a cotton round with micellar water, and gently wipe the tips. You can also use two cotton buds soaked in micellar water and use one at the top of your lashes and one underneath along the tips. Then just take your spoolie again and brush through to loosen up anything remaining. It’s all about being gentle and patient.
How do you clean your lashes and what are suitable cleanser to use?
As I’ve explained above, that’s how you clean makeup off the area around your lashes, and the tips of the lashes themselves. To keep them clean in general, you can use diluted baby shampoo (the clear one) and some cotton buds, as well as a disposable spoolie brush to brush through them and get rid of any dust.
Cleansers – no oil, balm or milk cleansers near your lash extensions girls! Use it on the rest of your face, sure, just nowhere near your eyes. This is where gel cleansers, makeup wipes and micellar water come to play, and they play much better than your usual oily cleanser. Oil breaks down the bonds that hold those lash extensions in place, so they’ll either start coming loose immediately, or shed faster than is normal.
Good suggestions of gel or water-based cleansers are:
How long do lash extensions last?
To keep them looking fresh, you need to have a fill every 2-3 weeks. I had a half set done, and found that 2 weeks was always time for a fill. If you have a full set of lash extensions, 3 weeks should be fine. Keep in mind that the price for a fill is never as high as the cost for the whole set, and the longer you leave it between fills, the higher the price will be.
Is the process painful?
Not at all! If you have a lash tech who knows what she’s doing, it’s entirely painless. I actually fell asleep when last having mine done, but my lash tech is the absolute best and so gentle I don’t even feel her doing anything.
I have sensitive eyes and have never had a reaction to the glue used. Once, with one technician, I did feel a bit of burning, so perhaps it was a stronger glue she used? I’ll never know. If you have very sensitive eyes, talk to the lash tech first, as some of them do offer a specific glue that doesn’t irritate eyes as much, especially for those who are more sensitive.
If you have any burning or discomfort of any kind during the process, speak up! Don’t be quiet just to be polite, or you’ll just end up with sore, irritated, red eyes.
Will they look unnatural?
Not if you have them done well. If you’re a first timer, I’d suggest going for a half set like mine to begin with. They look much more natural, just enhanced.
Is it necessary to brush your lash extensions?
Yes! Do you know, not once did I ever accept that spoolie brush from a lash tech until my last set? I thought it was ridiculous. I’d end up with tangled, wonky lashes and had no idea why.
This last set, I had my own at home, as I keep an individual, disposable spoolie for each makeup client I do. I actually made the effort to brush my lashes every morning when I woke up, each night before bed, and anytime I’d had a shower. The effect was constantly fluffy, perfectly set lashes, and no dust from any makeup sitting on top of them.
A nice tip is to pop one of those disposable spoolies in your makeup bag you carry around with you. That way, if a lash tangles and you’re out, you’re less inclined to play with it, and can brush through quickly and go on with your day.
Does this post answer all your lash-related questions? If not, feel free to comment below, or email me! I’m always happy to chat!
My wonderful lash technician is Robyn from Simply Tipped. Not only is she incredibly gentle (like I said I fell asleep during my last fill), but she has such an eye for it. I was asked what kind of lashes I wanted, she suggested a half set and set to work. She knew I didn’t want them to look unnatural, so she didn’t even ask what length or curl I’d like. She applied just the right length, they weren’t overly curly, and she’d fanned them out so longer ones were applied at the outer corners, making my eyes look slightly more feline and lengthened. I have never found a lash tech who I can just trust and leave to do her thing!
You can call her on 0825652965 to book – she is KZN based, so if you’re in another province, I’m so sorry!
**DISCLAIMER – this post is not sponsored in anyway. It holds my own honest opinions and thoughts**