Lash Extensions

Ultimate Guide to Eyelash Extensions: Cost, Pros/Cons, and FAQs

Eyelash extensions are a painless, non-damaging, and semi-permanent eyelash procedure that makes a huge difference in the look of your eyelashes. They can be used as a one-time cosmetic event for special occasions, or can be continually maintained in bi-weekly touch-ups. There are several other excellent eyelash options that we also discuss here.

ultimate2Eyelash extensions are single synthetic lashes that are bonded onto someone’s existing eyelashes. The procedure is offered at many salons and takes the aesthetician approximately 45 minutes to do. During this time, dozens of individual eyelashes of differing lengths and thicknesses are applied to a customer’s natural eyelashes.

Although the eyelashes are synthetic, they look and feel just like natural lashes (you can also ask for thicker and/or longer lashes that may look more obviously augmented). They make your eyelashes to look darker and more voluminous in appearance by adding thickness and length to your natural eyelashes. The extensions are extremely light and feel comfortable to wear when moving your eyes or blinking (unlike many false eyelashes).

Eyelash extensions in a more natural-looking style. [CC License via The Style PA]

Eyelash extensions in a more natural-looking style. [CC License via The Style PA]

They are very low maintenance once applied. While you do need to avoid getting them wet during the first 24 hours so the glue can set, after that you can shower or swim without worry. From that point on the only care they really need is to be treated gently around the eyes. You can even use mascara if you’re gentle, though most people don’t see the need to.

Costs of eyelash extensions

A few different cost factors go into getting eyelash extensions: both the time and money involved in the process. No matter how high the quality of the lash extensions or how skilled the aesthetician who applies them, the eyelashes are going to fall out with your natural eyelashes, so constant (every few weeks), re-application is necessary, and you’ll have to make another appointment at the cosmetologist if you want to keep your dramatic lashes.

Costs of the procedure

A professional procedure with appropriate eye and skin protection in place on the client. [CC License via Fraser Valley Pulse]

A professional procedure with appropriate eye and skin protection in place on the client. [CC License via Fraser Valley Pulse]

Like beauty salons and spas, the price for any procedures vary widely, depending upon the expertise level of the cosmetologists, the reputation of the salon, and other factors that may or may not have an impact on how well your extensions are applied.

The cost for the initial procedure can range from $100 to $300. There are several different brands of synthetic eyelashes, and some of the cost will be from the wholesale price of these lashes, though not a significant amount.

The beautician will be able to advise you on which color, shape, and thickness of eyelash extensions will look best on you, though he or she may consult your opinion to decide between a few final options. Some extensions are meant to look completely natural, others look like you’re just wearing some mascara, and some are very glamorous and bold.

Touch-up visits should happen every two to three weeks for as long as you want the lashes. These appointments can cost almost as much as the first application, or significantly less if your salon offers a reduced rate for repeat visits, but expect to pay anywhere between $50 to $150. If you’re going to a new place, be sure to mention it’s just a touch up, which should be cheaper because it won’t take as long.

Cost in time

The procedure for getting semi-permanent lashes applied takes about an hour. It’s not painful or uncomfortable, but you’ll have to keep your eyes closed for almost an hour to prevent any of the chemicals from running into your eyes. Many women just take a nap, because there’s not much else to do, so take into account that you won’t be able to do anything productive.

Cost of applying lashes yourself at home

Eyelash extensions kits cost from about $50, and up to $200 for multiple applications’ worth of lash extenders. There’s a lot to mess up on when you’re doing this yourself though, because you’ll have to try to keep your eyes open and unblinking for long periods of time. It will be almost impossible if you can’t close each eye independently, so that one eye’s lashes can set while you apply the artificial lashes to it. You would probably be better off paying a salon to apply your lashes for the first few times, paying careful attention, before you try to put on your extensions at home.

Eyelash extensions vs. fake eyelashes

Freshly applied extensions. Note the seamless blending of the eyelashes, unlike false eyelashes. [CC License via The Style PA]

Freshly applied extensions. Note the seamless blending into the lash line, unlike false eyelashes. [CC License via The Style PA]

Can’t decide? Your biggest factor should be considering time and ease of use versus money. Eyelash extensions cost quite a bit more than fake eyelashes, but once they are applied you are ready to go, and they do not need to be touched up unless you want to. They are also much more natural-looking than false eyelashes, and there is no “line” that shows where the extensions begin as there is with fake lashes. False eyelashes are much cheaper and can be used many times if you’re careful with them, but they must be applied carefully to look good and can get uncomfortable.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

I’ve gotten a lot of similar questions about getting eyelash extensions over the past few years, so  I thought I would take the time to answer all the major questions I’ve been getting. A lot of eyelash cosmetic procedures are relatively new, so a lot of people still don’t really understand what they entail. If you have any more questions about any type of eyelash-related beauty treatments, please let me know in the comments and I will answer them as quickly as possible!

Are eyelash extensions permanent? If not, how long do they last?

Sadly, by their very design, the extensions aren’t permanent, because your own eyelashes aren’t permanent! The synthetic lashes are attached to your own lashes, meaning they fall out when your real lash does. Eyelashes have an average lifespan of around 3 to 4 weeks, so you’ll need to go in for touch-ups about every three weeks to fill in the lost lashes. You can increase the lifespan of your lashes by being gentle around your eyes, wearing little to no mascara, and avoiding harsh chemicals around your eyes.

Can I still use eye makeup while wearing extensions?

Dramatic extensions can still be paired with other eye makeup, including eye liner and eye shadow. [CC License via The Style PA]

Dramatic extensions can still be paired with other eye makeup, including eye liner and eye shadow. [CC License via The Style PA]

Yes, you can use any type of water-based mascara with the lashes. You can also use your standard eye makeup products such as eyeliner, shadow and brow liner products. Just make sure anything you put on or near your lashes isn’t something that damages your natural lashes. If it damages your own lashes, it will damage your eyelash extensions.

Are they safe? Am I going to go blind or lose my lashes?

In short, with 99.9% certainty – no, there should be no problems. The two biggest risks are a) that the glue will get in your eyes, and b) that the glue will cause an allergic reaction or otherwise irritate your eyes. Neither of those will cause any long-term problems, though they will hurt and sting your eyes as it’s happening. We’re talking tiny amounts of glue here, so even if you would be allergic to it at higher doses, just being exposed to the glue while it’s being applied isn’t likely to set off your allergies. If on the off chance that you do have an allergic reaction, the extensions can be removed. Either make another appointment at the salon (where they will hopefully remove them for free), or do it at home if you’re desperate – steam and oil should allow you to gently slide them off, or get a lash glue solvent if that doesn’t work. Really, though – try to get to a salon.

I’m looking for truly permanent eyelash extensions. How do I get them?

You’re talking about lash implants, which is an actual surgical procedure that will transplant some hair follicles from your head onto your upper lash line. Some hairs won’t survive the process, so you’ll have to wait for them to grow in, and they will still behave like head hair – you’ll have to trim them from becoming too long, curl them upwards so they don’t fall straight down into your eyes, etc. This is a serious procedure that can create a ton of hassle, and really, only people like burn victims or others who have permanently lost their own eyelashes should look into this cosmetic surgery.

I can’t afford continually paying for eyelash extensions, but I hate my eyelashes! They’re too thin/short/pale/sparse/ugly.

Eyelash dyeing takes about ten minutes, once a month. [CC License via Alegrya]

Eyelash dyeing takes about ten minutes, once a month. [CC License via Alegrya]

You actually have quite a few ways to enhance the appearance of your eyelashes without committing the continual time and money to get eyelash extensions applied. Assuming you’ve already considered false eyelashes, here are some other options.

If your lashes are blond, eyelash tinting will dye your lashes and produce an immediately more dramatic look that will last a couple of months. Plus it’s cheap. Other women, especially those of Asian and Native American descent, may have eyelashes that are naturally very straight and do not curl upward. Eyelash perming, which is exactly what it sounds like, will create a semi-permanent upward curl in your eyelashes, and will have a huge impact on how big your eyes appear. Other products are designed to grow your eyelashes in faster and thicker, like Lash Allure MD. Many people see great results with these, as long as they apply the serum regularly.

Can I just buy the extensions and apply the lashes myself?

Yes, but with a few caveats. I would recommend you and a friend take turns applying them on each other, and you really should see it done at least once by a professional before you try it on your own. The chemicals that prep your lashes and also the glue itself can run into your eyes and become very painful, so you really want to be able to have your eyelashes closed the whole time, which is why I suggest using a friend.

top photo: CC License via florbelas fotographix

1 Comment

  • I used to get my eyelashes done twice a month – it wouldn’t be so bad if the initial procedure was all you needed, but paying $117 every two weeks adds up over a couple years.