Eyelash extensions: everything you need to know

This page is the main story. But, if you are considering having this treatment, there are a lot of particular topics you need to know about, to get an in-depth understanding of your options, and to help you make choices. These are all listed in the sidebar on the right. This is how they work:

These are all topics you can dip in and out of while reading the page text. For convenience, I have added this right sidebar on many pages where the topics are relevant.

Now on to the main subject ….

Eyelash extensions

Eyelash extensions are a marvellous invention. Individual artificial lashes are added to your upper lashes, one lash at a time. They make your natural eyelashes longer, thicker, curlier, and – in the process – they make your eyes more beautiful and beguiling. It is temporary – a matter of a month or two – but the process can be repeated again and again.

The result is that you have fuller lashes without having to use any mascara. There is a large variety of styles and lashes you can choose from, and I deal with those below.

Single eyelash extensions are different from Russian volume extensions.

The benefits

These are some benefits:

  • You will have a new dramatic look designed exactly how you want.
  • From the moment you wake up, you will look as if you have applied makeup.
  • Much less little time required to get ready in the morning, which may be important to you if you are busy and naturally pressed for time.
  • The most you have to do to complete your eye make-up may be to add just a touch of liquid eyeliner, and maybe brush through your lashes with a clean mascara brush.
  • Even after you shower, swim, exercise or emerge from a yoga class, your eyelashes will still look beautifully made-up.
  • You don’t have to re-do your eyelashes every time they get wet, which may be ideal for you if you exercise a lot or have a very active and busy life.
  • You can choose from a wide variety of options to build the exact length and curl you want for your personal style.
  • You can take advantage of your eye type. If you have deep-set eyes you can make them seem larger and more open.
  • You can create different looks, such as a cat eye look.

Who can have them?

The basic requirement is that you must have natural eyelashes for the extension lashes to attach to. If you have sparse natural lashes, or gaps between lashes, that may make it difficult for you to have successful eyelash extensions.

Most people can have successful eyelash extensions. But a person’s eyelashes may limit what extension choices they can make.

If you have very fine lashes, that will limit the thickness and length of extension lash you can have, because you can only have extensions which your natural lashes can comfortably bear.
If you have very straight lashes, you may not be able to have very curly extensions, because the real and artificial lashes have to be able to share a good bonding surface, and that requires at least a similar shape.

But you will find that there are plenty of potential combinations to give you satisfyingly dramatic and beautiful lashes.

Tailor-make the look you want

Having single eyelash extensions is not a single choice. Eyelash extensions come in a wide variety of materials, shapes and sizes. In conjunction with your technician, you will decide on the exact look and style you want to achieve. This will involve decisions on the curl, length, and thickness of your extensions, and how they are combined.

What lashes are made of

Eyelash extensions can be made of many different materials.

You will find most mainstream lashes described as ‘mink’ or ‘silk’. They are not really mink or silk; these are just marketing descriptions. They are really all made of acrylic. (You can actually have lashes made of real mink hair – even human hair! – but you will have to search hard to find someone offering them.)

The different styles offer different effects. ‘Mink’ lashes give a soft, natural look. ‘Silk’ lashes are darker and more dramatic. Human … let’s not go there.

Click here for a more detailed explanation about the different materials lash extensions can be made of.


Lash extensions are broken down by length, thickness, and curl. Let’s start with length.

Extension lashes can range in length between 6mm – 18mm. But an extension should be no more than a third longer than the lash it will be attached to. Otherwise, it is likely to fall off or pull out the natural lash. So, your choice of length will be affected by the length of your existing lashes. But you can still go for the longest extensions your lashes can carry. 10mm – 12mm are popular choices.

Once you’ve settled on a basic length, you actually don’t want every lash to be that length. A slight variation in length between lashes makes the effect look more natural. Also some styles require a steady rise in length from relatively short inner lashes to spectacularly long lashes at the outer edges of the eyes.

Click here for a fuller explanation about how long your lash extensions can be.


Lashes come in thicknesses ranging between 0.05mm – 0.25 in diameter. Again, what thickness of eyelashes you can have depends on the strength/thickness of your natural lashes. If you have very weak natural lashes, you may not be able to carry extensions thicker than 0.10mm. But if you have strong natural lashes, then your extensions could be 0.18mm in thickness.

Click here for a fuller explanation about how thick your lash extensions can be.


After you select the maximum length for your extension lashes, choose the curl you want then to have. Lashes come in curl shapes called: ‘J’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘CC’, ‘D’, ‘L’ and ‘L+’ or ‘U’. The J-Curl has the least curl. D-Curl, L-Curl and L+-Curl have the most pronounced and dramatic curls. The L-Curl has a straight stem to start with and a pronounced curl at the end, which is useful for deep-set or hooded eyes. The most common choices are the C-Curl, and its slightly curlier sister, the CC-Curl.

It’s usual to employ a variety of curls: e.g. ‘J’s on the inner corners of your eyes and ‘C’ on the outer edges.

Click here for a lot more about these curl shapes and how to use them.


The longer the extensions, the more lashes you’ll probably need. Super-long lashes appear to spread as they extend away from your eyelid, and this can make them look less full than your natural lashes.


Different styles suit different eyes. There several tried and tested styles which you can adopt, according to your eye shape. The main styles are ‘natural’, ‘open eye’, ‘doll eye’, ‘kitten eye’, and ‘cat eye’.

Click here to learn about these styles and to find out which will suit your eye shape.

The procedure

Having a full set of eyelash extensions can take about 2-3 hours.

Click here for a full explanation of the procedure, how to prepare for it, how to look after your lashes afterwards.

How long they last

Each eyelash extension is fixed to a natural eyelash using strong cyanoacrylate glue. The glue hardens and holds the extension lash in place. The glue reacts with moisture in the atmosphere to create the firm bond between the real and extension eyelashes. The process is technically called ‘curing’ rather than drying.

Sometimes, the bond between the lashes is not perfect. This may be because your natural lash is straight, and you have had a curly extension lash attached. Then there is a lack of shared surface area for the glue to operate on and there is a risk of the extension lash falling off early. But otherwise the glue should hold the extension lash in place permanently. ‘Permanently’ means until the natural lash itself falls out. The natural lifespan of every eyelash is approximately 90 days (three months). Then it drops out and is replaced by a new one, which will grow in its place.


Your natural lashes are naturally falling out all the time and new ones are growing in their places. So, it is a matter of luck whether a particular eyelash extension is glued to a newly mature lash with a full like ahead of it or to an old lash soon to fall out. The result is that, as the weeks progress, gaps will appear as lashes fall out. To keep your lashes looking great, you need periodic infills or touch-ups for your extensions.

Read more about infills here.


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