Eyelash Extensions 101: Your Tell-All Guide

Angelica Di Guglielmo
lash extensions


Unfortunately, we all weren’t blessed with long, thick, beautiful eyelashes. We pile on tons of mascara to only end up with clumpy, spider eyes. So not cute. Luckily, we live in a world where eyelash extensions are now a thing. Great! Now we can have the lashes we’ve always dreamed of. Not so fast! We’ve all heard the crazy horror stories, from lashes falling out in clumps to extensions that are way too long and point in every direction possible. Eyelash extensions are actually a huge commitment. While they look fantastic when done properly, one wrong move could result in some serious damage. And we definitely don’t want that, right?

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when choosing to get eyelash extensions done, from the type of lash to get to the length of the extension to the upkeep it will require. Nowadays most salons offer lash extension services, but it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re going to a reputable stylist that knows what they’re doing. If you’re considering extensions but don’t know where to start, we talked to Christian Zamora, makeup artist, lash extension pro, and “Master Eye Stylist,” to get the ins and outs of eyelash extensions and to help you on your way to envious lashes.

What types of lash extensions are there and how do I choose the right ones for me?
Lash extensions are usually either synthetic, silk or mink. “It started out there were just synthetic lashes because that’s what strip lashes used, but the synthetic lashes began to damage the lashes because they were so heavy,” Christian explained. Choosing the right hairs comes down to how your lashes are naturally. If you have thick, coarse hair, a synthetic lash can work for you: “It’s a heavier lash and the natural lashes can support it.” If you have fairer skin, chances are your hair is much finer. Christian suggests going for a silk lash in this case, since it’s much lighter than a synthetic lash. As for mink lashes, anyone can pull them off and achieve a very natural effect. “A person with really thick lashes can do a mink lash. It won’t make them look much larger or fuller, but it will make them look much softer and kind of fluffy…. Somebody who has very, very fine lashes, almost non-existent, can do a mink lash and it will make them look like they have a natural lash line.” Keep in mind that mink lashes are more of a luxury, often costing $100 more for the service.

MORE: Mink Lash Extensions: Are They Worth the Fuss? 

How do I choose the right length and fullness?
The length and fullness you choose depends on the length of your lashes naturally. If you have naturally long lashes, Christian suggests going for fullness rather than length: “If you apply a long lash, they’ll look great for about a week or so, and then they start to get really heavy and then they spin and point down.” If you have medium length lashes, he advises going for a bit of length and fullness at the same time. And if you fall into the sparse lash category, he recommends sticking with something that has medium fullness because “as they grow you’ll get more wear out of them.”

How long do the extensions last?
Extensions are usually good for 4-6 weeks. Depending on the growth of your lashes, you may need to go for touch-ups after as little as 3 weeks.

MORE: 6 Tips to Easily Apply False Lashes

What’s the best way to care for lash extensions?
“It really depends on the adhesive that you use.” In Christian’s studio, he uses an adhesive that requires maintenance with oil. “A lot of the adhesives don’t use oil so the lashes can get really dry at that point.” But his biggest tip? Brush out and separate your lashes with a lash comb every time they get wet: “What happens is, as they dry, they’ll come together. After a while the adhesive begins to break down, so as one lash sheds, it’ll pull everything out with it and will leave a hole in your lash line.” Yikes!

Will extensions harm my natural lashes?
If the extensions aren’t applied properly, then yes, they can harm the lashes. That’s why it’s super important to go to a reputable stylist. “If they put the extension on more than one lash, it can clump together and pull the lashes out.” Christian also highly recommends giving your lashes a 2-3 month break after a year of wear in order to avoid further damage: “Your lashes need to breathe so you need to give them a break. If you constantly put an extension on a little baby lash it’s going to stunt the growth of your lashes and eventually you’re going to thin the lash line out.”