Types of Eyelash Extensions
Individual eyelash extensions are the ultimate beauty treatment for your eyes, I've worn them for 7 years and would feel undressed without them. All lash extensions are not the same though, and choosing a good salon or lash artist is vital if you want long lasting beauty that won't cause harm. If you have not worn eyelash extensions before, it can be confusing to choose between the different treatments. Prices range from £20 to £300 per treatment and then there is the cost of top-up treatments or 'infills' to maintain the look as your natural lashes grow out. Here's our guide to the common eyelash extension treatments available today.
Express Lashes - This is usually an open eye treatment where individual lashes are dropped onto your natural lashes. There is no separation of your natural lashes so the glue sticks them together. A good technician can quickly add a lot of volume but; with speed application, don't count on a natural look. Express lashes should not be worn for more than a week or you will start to experience problems with your natural lashes. Discomfort and damage can result if strong eyelash glues are used for this treatment. Sensitive glues are the only ones that can be used for open eye treatments. Sensitive glues are weaker and will start to break down as the lashes grow out. Never top up express lashes, they must be removed after 8-10 days.
Cluster lashes - These lashes are a bridge between express and individual and are the oldest form of eyelash extension, used in the days of silent movies. As the name suggests, clusters of prebonded lashes are stuck to the natural lashes. Again, there is minimal or no separation so they are only for short term wear. Clusters are difficult to keep clean and may soon become uncomfortable as neighboring lashes grow at different rates. Remove and rest the lashes before reapplying to avoid harming your natural lashes.
Classic Individual Eyelash Extensions - these have been around in their current form since about 2000. The first patent filed for individual lash extensions was way back in 1931 but it's only advances in adhesive technology that has evolved them into a mainstream beauty treatment. New adhesives and lashes have been developed that produce comfortable, natural, long lasting effects. Once the secret of the rich and famous, cost of treatment has tumbled and you'll find individual lash extensions all over the country. As each lash is treated separately they can last as long as the life of the natural eyelash, 4-6 weeks, and can be worn continuously with no harmful effects on lash growth. There is a massive range of lengths, thicknesses and curls that the lash artist can use to design a look that suits your eye shape. The treatment takes longer and costs more initially but; as they can be topped up, the long term cost is often less than Cluster or Express Lashes.
3D Lashes or Layering - adding multiple lashes to each individual eyelash has been around for a while. Different companies call it different things; Tahitian lashes, American Volume, Feathering, all slightly different ways of doing the same thing. This technique is easier for the technician than xD Russian Volume and it's possible, with time, to produce similar results. The main problem with these techniques is the amount of glue that is used. The glue bond builds up, overweights the lash and causes premature dropping. Lumpy glue bonds get caught and pulled out and it's also difficult to fully isolate the lashes as you apply. Some clients may have lashes that are strong and thick enough for this technique but it's not a treatment I would recommend.
xD Russian Volume Lashes - the pinnacle of the eyelash extension treatment. xD Volume is a highly skilled technique (originating in Russia, of course) that produces amazing, long-lasting, comfortable lashes. Micro-fine lashes are formed into fans and applied to each individual lash. As the multiple lashes are applied at the same time, the glue forms a cohesive bond. We've heard this called; 4D, 5D, 6D, even 8 and 9D but you don't apply the same number of lashes to each individual lash, you design a look that perfectly complements the clients eye shape and natural lash growth. That's why it's called xD, the 'x' standing for the different number of lashes that can be used. With correct preparation and aftercare this technique lasts as long as the natural lashes; typically 4-6 weeks, even we were shocked when we had to remove almost a full set of lashes from one of our models after 9 weeks of wear. Technicians be warned, this technique is seriously addictive! Because of the misconception of what xD Russian Volume is; clients must take care when choosing a salon that offers this technique and students should choose their training course wisely. Adding multiple heavy lashes or using pre-made fans is not Russian Volume and it's misleading to call it that. The initial treatment is costly, due to the amount of time it takes and the skill involved but, with fewer top-ups needed, the long term cost becomes competitive.