Last month, beauty editor Rosie May discussed the benefits of lash extensions vs false lashes. This month, Ipswich-based lash artist Danni – owner of Lash Infinity – delves deeper into the intricate world of individual lash extensions, to explore WHY this popular treatment has soared in popularity in recent years…
The individual eyelash extension became a patented design way back in 1911. However, the invention itself had been around for decades before – towards the end of the 19th century, it was even common for hair to be taken from a woman’s head, in order to be transplanted to her eyelids using a needle and thread! Gross.
Thankfully, the trend took a bit more of an acceptable turn when synthetic hair became the tool used; and instead of being sewn onto the eyelid, spirit gum (adhesive used to attach fake hair to actors, or for the purposes of a great Halloween costume) allowed falsies to become a little less, er, painfully permanent.
Individual eyelash extensions allow the wearer an infinite (hence my business name!) amount of possibilities in showcasing their eyes. Not only are they fantastic for giving you an extra few minutes in bed in the mornings (bye-bye to your mascara-wielding time spent in front of the mirror), but with the correct technique, type of lash used, and style of application, you can truly enhance the natural beauty of your eyes by complementing their shape and colour. Extensions are becoming more popular with older women, too, as eyelashes naturally become more thin and sparse with ageing.
Science is key to creating a lasting set of lashes. The average person has 90-150 lashes per eye, ranging from young lashes to old lashes. Only approximately 30% of your natural lashes will be extended, as attaching a lash to a young lash may cause it to prematurely weaken and/or break, and by attaching to an old lash will just encourage that lash to fall out quicker than it had meant to. Natural lash loss occurs at a rate of roughly 3-5 per day – so if you’ve ever come away from a lash appointment and wondered why you’re losing 6-10 lashes per day; chances are your lash tech has been applying extensions to too many lashes. Less is more! A full set of lashes should not require infills for at least 3 weeks – any sooner than this, and you’re being short-changed!
There are hundreds of combinations of lashes available: but the basics you should know before heading to a lash tech are as follows. All types of lashes used should be considered against your natural lashes to avoid premature lash loss and/or breakage.
Classic vs Volume vs Hybrid
Classic lashes are intended to closely mimic your natural eyelashes. They are applied at a 1:1 ratio with your existing lashes, and provide a defined, subtle look by adding length and thickness.
Depending on the look desired, a volume lash is made of 3-7 individual lashes (usually thinner than a classic lash to avoid placing unnecessary weight on the natural lash), spread out to create a fan shape, before being applied to one natural lash. The overall effect is one of thickness, fluffiness and a very dark lash line. Techniques in volume lashes vary from Russian to American, and more!
Hybrid lashes are growing in popularity thanks to the likes of the Kardashians. A mixture of classic and volume lashes are applied in a sequence; giving the length and definition of a classic look, with more subtle thickness than a full volume set.
Length and Thickness
Most classic lashes will be between 0.15 and 0.30. Lengths range from 7mm, up to 16mm: as a general rule, the extensions being applied should be a maximum of 50% longer than the natural lash.
Volume lashes are usually much thinner due to the application of multiple lashes to one natural lash. The most common thickness is 0.07, but depending on the lashes used, can go up to 0.15. The same lengths apply for volume.
There are four main types of curl used in lash extensions. A ‘J’ curl is quite straight, with a small curve at the end. As the curl ‘size’ increases from B-D, the point from where the curve starts becomes shorter, giving a curlier overall effect. The amount of contact between the natural lash and the extension will increase longevity, so your lash tech should never go one step ‘curlier’ than your natural lash to protect their lifespan.