If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent months debating getting eyelash extensions, gazing upon before and after transformation pictures, desperately trying to justify the price, and booking them cancelling appointments.
I went ahead and got my first set of eyelash extensions earlier this year, and had my second set done last month.
It feels like every time I blink someone’s asking a question about the fluttery things on top of my eyelids, ranging from how much eyelash extensions cost (answer: a lot) to how you’re supposed to sleep without entirely messing them up.
So here’s a handy guide of things to know and consider before you commit to getting lash extensions, ranging from absolutely crucial to just handy to know.
1. Decent lash extensions cost a lot of money
A full semi-permanent set can cost upwards of £170. At Blink Bar, a set is £150, Lash Perfect Lash Bar charges £180 for a Russian set, and a treatment from lash wizard Daxita costs £200.
You could chance it with a cheaper option from a small salon, but considering the horror stories I’ve heard of badly applied lashes that poke into the eye every time the person blinks, irritating glues that leave lids sore and swollen, and dodgy placements that make the wearer look a strange mix of exhausted and hammered, it’s really not worth the risk.
If you’re dedicated to getting lash extensions, you’ll need to be prepared to spend quite a lot of money. If you can’t justify spending more than £100 quid on your lashes, you’re much better off with a really great mascara or some falsies.
2. And it’s not a one-off splurge
After the initial set is applied, you’ll need to go for top-ups as the false lashes naturally fall out. Most salons will charge £1 per lash, so the cost will be dependent on how regularly go for application and how many lashes you’d like – but the cost will add up.
Lashes fall out quickly and can look strange if patches fall out.
With my first set, I kept the majority of my lashes in for nearly two months. I was lucky that they didn’t fall out in a dodgy way, and my lashes still looked full and luscious.
With my second set, however, I only had a few extra long lashes left within the space of three weeks. They looked so strange that my only option was to get a massive batch of infills, or get rid of them entirely. I chose the latter option because I can’t commit to spending cash on near-constant upkeep.
If you want lash extensions for a particular event – a holiday, a wedding, whatever – you can treat them as a one-off purchase and accept that they may look a bit funny towards the end of the month.
But if you want fluttery lashes longterm, you’ll need to be prepared to invest time and money in frequent top-ups. Most salons recommend popping in for infills every two or three weeks.
3. There are different types of lashes with different benefits
It’s not as simple as saying ‘I want lash extensions’. You’ve got to choose what kind you’d like.
There are mink lashes (lighter and more fluttery, but more expensive), classic (thick, dark, cheaper), Russian (also fluttery and light).
Once you’ve chosen that you’ll need to work out what level of curl you’d like – J, B, C, or D. J is the straightest, B is a little curlier, C is even curlier, and D is the curliest.
Then you’ll need to have a think about the application. Would you like more lashes in a certain area? Do you want to make your eyes look bigger or more catlike?
A good technician will chat this through with you and won’t scoff at you for asking questions.
4. You’ll need to have a patch test before you get lash extensions done
If a salon doesn’t ask you to do a patch test, get out of there – they clearly aren’t bothered about your comfort.
The glue used for lash extensions tends to be pretty great, but for some it can cause sensitivity or irritation. That’s something you want to be aware of before you get it smothered all over your lashline.
5. Application takes a long time
More than an hour, at least, and because your eyes are closed and have to remain still, you can’t read a book or watch TV.
I recommend downloading a podcast in advance (have you listened to our podcast, Mentally Yours, yet? It’s great), listening to a meditation or mindfulness clip, or, if you’re a heavy sleeper, having a little snooze.
6. Your makeup and cleansing routine will have to go through an overhaul
Say goodbye to your mascara – you won’t need it (unless you want it on your bottom lashes).
But that’s not the only thing you have to bid adieu to. Any kind of oil will break down the glue used to hold your lashes in place, which means you can’t use any cleansers containing oils.
Check your bathroom shelf – a lot of your cleansers will have some element of oil. A lot of salons will sell their own oil-free micellar cleansers, but I’d suggest just going with Simple’s Eye Makeup Remover – at £3.80 its much cheaper than what your salon’s selling, and it works just as well.
Your new lashes might require changing up your eye makeup routine in other ways.
Once your lashes are applied, you won’t be able to rub them. This might make removing eyeliner or heavy shadow pretty difficult. I’ve given up on getting all of my eyeliner off at the end of the day, but wouldn’t dare to brave heavy eyeshadow with lash extensions – you’d never get rid of the stuff.