One of the greatest things about working in the beauty industry is being able to help clients enhance their look and boost their confidence.
Part of that work is to keep an eye on trends that are changing all the time – and it can sometimes feel like an unwinnable race to keep up with the latest trends! Thankfully, one look that will never go out of style is that distinctive flourish of long, delicate, exquisite eyelashes. Lashes are the one subtle (and unmistakably delicious) token of beauty that’s pretty much universal.
Lengthy, lustrous lashes are always profoundly attractive – and will be for all time! Helping your clients to augment their natural eyelashes easily stands among the best things you can do to help them achieve a truly stunning appearance.
To make sure you’re up to date on all the options and products available for your beauty care clients – from premade fans and handmade fans through to easy fans and loose fans – and let’s take a closer look at what it takes to extend those fluttering lashes and draw serious attention to a stunning new look.
Before methods to extend individual eyelashes were developed, a lot of women tended to glue strings of heavy false lashes along the rim of their eyelids to achieve that mysterious allure. The false eyelashes extended over the natural ones, fanning outward in a brushlike wave. This option can still be effective, but it won’t give you the benefits of lash extension.
Eyelash extensions are an absolutely more elegant solution – but what exactly are they?
What are eyelash extensions?
Eyelash extensions are pre-styled individual hairs that are affixed to the natural lashes, one by one. Lash artists work to apply individual fibres or tiny fans of hair to each eyelash (usually along the top eyelid rim) to achieve a natural but compelling look. We use a semi-permanent adhesive to bind the extension in place. Depending on the style, we either place them on every single eyelash or a section to create that impressionable look full of shape.
Of course, style and customization is important when enhancing a client’s natural and unique beauty! This is why eyelash lengthening doesn’t stop at simply making eyelashes longer – there are a whole range of options for people to choose from, including different materials, fan shapes, volumes and styles.
Choosing the type of extension
The most basic choice a client needs to make when selecting an eyelash extension is the kind of fibre to use. There are so many varieties, but the core decision is whether to use real animal hair or synthetic, man-made filaments. Animal hair is the more natural looking of the two – and of course, it’s the more expensive option. But if the client is prone to allergies, follows a vegan lifestyle or is conscious to the treatment of animals, she’s best off going with the synthetic option.
There are three animal hair varieties that are most commonly used for lash extensions – mink, sable and fox. If these all sound exotic, that’s because they are! Minks and sables are both lithe, otter-like creatures with glossy dark fur that has been associated with luxury items for centuries. Soft and light (sable especially, although sable hair is more rare) silken strands of hair from these animals’ tails lend a more gentle and natural look to the eyelashes when fixed in place. As a premium material, these are among the finest lashes available.
Fox hair lashes are currently the more fashionable option in this category. It has added allure due to their reddish hue that can glow amber when the sunlight catches them at the right angle. They’re super stunning!
Clients do sometimes inquire about receiving extensions made from human hair but the truth is, that such a product is not available. The reason they’re occasionally requested is that some variety of false eyelashes are created from human hair, suggesting that similar lash extensions might also be available – they are not.
By far the best advantage of using animal hair as an eyelash extension is that real hair looks far more natural than synthetic fibres do. The problem with this (and we all know it from managing our own hair) is that to maintain a curl, real hair needs frequent attention. For the most luscious lashes of this variety, daily perming may be required to maintain the right shape. For many women who don’t have the patience for the perm, synthetic lashes are more tolerable.
Synthetic lashes do have one outstanding trait that can make them a less comfortable fit than their animal-hair counterpart. Synthetic lashes tend to feel slightly heavier. If this is a problem, faux-mink fibres are a great alternative to the real thing, while silk lashes are another light synthetic option. They aren’t actually made of real silk, but they’re silken in their light, glossy and tapering strands that are distinctive in showing off a fuller lash line.
Full-on synthetics are bold and weight more but for some clients, this is exactly their appeal! The glamorous and dramatic lustre of synthetic lashes creates a statement look that speaks strength, confidence and full-blown gorgeousness.
Choosing lash sets and styles
Once a client has selected their material, it’s time to choose what type of lash set should be applied to each eyelash, and what lash style to go for.
The classic lash extension is simply a single strand of fibre (it could be curved or straight) carefully set onto each individual natural eyelash. This simple solution preserves your client’s original lash volume, while making each hair visibly longer. This type of lash set provides a very subtle enhancement. The thickness of each lash is determined based on the client’s natural eyelash hair which is generally between 0.15 and 0.20 mm.
Most clients prefer a more noticeable volume look. The way this is achieved is by attaching fans of lash hair (two (2D) to five (5D) strands per fan) onto each natural eyelash, at a length of around one to two mm longer than the natural hair. The individual strands are thinner than classic lashes at 0.05–0.07 mm each, but they tend to be thicker at base in order to achieve a darker lash line. A far more dramatic version of this is known as “mega” volume, which uses fans of 0.03 to 0.06 mm diameter fibres in groups of 10–15 lashes per fan. This is a bold, lush option preferred by clients who seek maximum attention to their striking gaze!
See more: A complete guide to lash extension sizes
There’s always an in-between. By using a combination of up to five-strand fans and classic lash sets, lash artists can craft a unique hybrid look for their client at exactly the preferred and perfect balance.
The varying thicknesses, weights and lengths of eyelash extensions allow lash artists to shape the overall look into recognizable styles. For a natural style, the lash extensions are arranged to reflect the original shape of the eyelashes, with the only difference being their length and volume. By contrast, keeping the extensions at the inner corners of the eye relatively short while significantly increasing the length of the rest of the lash creates a “doll” effect. This is named for their resemblance to the lashes of classic, old-fashioned dolls. This style tends to be very popular with those seeking a full, glamorous look. Another popular variant is the “cat-eye” lash set where shorter lashes are used in the inner corners but then gradually become longer and more flared as they reach the outer corners. This achieves the sexy, alluring look of feline eyes.
The art of lashes
Working with tiny hairs takes a high level of skill and extreme patience. The technical mastery involved in placing individual strands of hair in precisely the right place while holding a tiny eyelash completely still is one that can take many months (if not years) to acquire! True experts are able to take the art to an even higher form.
The majority of eyelash extensions that come in sets are premade fans. Those are volume-building fans created with the assistance of machines that come in packages ready to be set in place on the eyelid. Those with a high level of experience in lash extensions, however, are capable of creating beautiful fans by binding classic lashes into bouquet shapes and then either applying them immediately or otherwise curing the adhesive and storing the fans for later use. These promade fans (or handmade fans) have the advantage of being able to be custom designed for an individual client’s unique eye shape and lash density. Promade fans can be built for a single eyelash, weighted and measured to exact specifications. They are also easier to fix into place than premade fans are. Handmade fans can be designed to wrap around the anchor lash, allowing for superior and longer-lasting retention.
If your time is limited, premade fans are certainly the most convenient alternative, while handmade fans are generally more elegant visually, capable of bestowing a more crafted look to the wearer.
Lash extensions also differ in the way they are bound. “Easy fan” are strips that are firmly bound at the base, which prevents them from falling apart at the slightest movement. Easy fan lashes do not split easily at the base, allowing lash artists to create a dramatic flourish without worrying about how to hold the base of the lash together.
Loose fans are premade fans that are more optimized for fast convenient application. They’re easier to manipulate with tweezers, and can be shaped on the fly just before they’re fixed in place.
Regardless of whether a lash technician uses handmade fans or premade fans, easy fans or loose fans, the work of any lash artist requires intense training and total control of lash structures to create immediate, high-grade fabulousness!
The shape of the eye
Everyone has their own unique eye shape, and this is the main factor that influences the way eyelash extensions will look on the client. It goes without saying that lashes that would look great on a late teenager would seem inappropriate on a mature client in her late 40s. There isn’t any single eye shape, however, that can’t be enhanced with the right lash extension style. The customization of eyelash extensions is what makes them suit pretty much everyone!
Rounded eyes with naturally thick, long lashes can support heavier and darker lash extensions. Those clients with curled lashes tend to benefit most from volume sets without discomfort. This look lends itself particularly well to cat-eye lashes built with loose fans, elongating the eyelash line and creating a more alluring look.
The more almond-shaped eyes are well enhanced by doll lashes, particularly emphasizing the middle of the arch of the eyelid. Those with steady, straight lashes will reveal a more profound beauty with the application of curled lashes in easy fans that serve to lift and energize the natural lash line.
Lashes can also bring a refined beauty to clients with more sunken, darker eyes – although in those cases, curled lashes can seem a little too much, with long, straight lashes providing the best effect.
After application customer care
Make sure your clients get the most from their sizzling new look with some clear instructions on how to protect and care for their new lash extensions after the sets have been fixed in place. These aftercare tips apply to both premade fans and handmade fans. Obviously extensive rubbing of the eyes could easily damage the extensions and tear the adhesive, so it’s good to gently wash the lashes on a daily basis with a specially designed lash bath product to remove any irritating residue.
In the first 24 hours immediately following the lash extension appointment, it’s very important for a client not to let their eyelashes get wet, as this can disturb both lashes and glue before everything has cured and set in place.
It’s also really important to advise your clients not to use heavy mascara, eyeliner or any other eye makeup that might interfere with the new lashes. “Gently, gently does it” is the best policy to ensure that the stunning extensions stay in the centre spotlight.
It takes time and dedication to become a competent lash artist. But with a comprehensive knowledge of the materials, fans and styles available, you’ll have all the tools you need to help your clients enhance and draw attention to the natural gorgeousness of their eyes!
Stay tuned for next sharings.