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Everything you need to know about eyelash extensions (and what you may be doing wrong)

An expert explains.

Here are seven tips to read if you’re thinking of investing in eyelash extensions but don’t know where to begin.

1. How to get the best lashes for you
For lash longevity it’s important to know how and why a lash technician is picking a certain lash, length or shape for you. The natural shape of your lashes (are they curled or straight, long or short?) and the general health of your lashes, hair and nails all play a part in ensuring the look is natural and viable. “A good eyelash technician must have the knowledge to assess a client’s natural lashes. Length, thickness of lash, type of lash, durability of lash and of course the desired look the client wishes to achieve,” says Debra Sloane, managing director of Love Those Lashes. 

2. Mink, silk, acrylic or fox: what’s the difference and which looks the most natural?
The only natural fibre lash extensions available are 100% mink, fox and human hair lashes. Of course, the downside of natural fibres is that length and thickness cannot be controlled. But the upside is how natural-looking and soft these options are compared to their synthetic counterparts. “These [lashes] are perfect for women who do not wear a lot of make-up or none at all, says Sloane, adding that “they are virtually unnoticeable only that one would think the wearer is naturally blessed with great lashes.” Silk, acrylic and real mink (don’t let the name fool you) lashes are all artificial fibre lashes made from acrylic and as a result can appear much more uniform.

3. Can lash extensions affect the health of your natural lashes?
It’s a common misconception that lash extensions can damage or compromise the health of natural lashes. As Sloane points out, this thinking may come from forgetting what one’s real lashes are actually like before the extensions. “Unfortunately, clients get used to the length and thickness of having lash extensions and when removed they forget the shortness and thinness of their natural lashes.” If applied correctly and not pulled out, lash extensions do not damage your natural lashes.

4. How to maintain your lashes between refills
It may seem obvious that the best way to maintain and prolong the life of your extensions is to follow the guidelines put in place by your salon but many people don't. Playing with or pulling out lashes, over brushing (once a day is ideal), rubbing or scratching your eyes can damage lashes. Also do not get them wet before the allotted eight hours after application (or whatever time frame you’ve been given) is up. 

5. Can I wear mascara with my lashes?
While you can wear mascara with your false lashes, it can shorten the life of extensions dramatically and it’s not recommended. Sloane warns that waterproof mascara is a virtual disaster for the product. “Waterproof mascara requires an oil-based make-up remover and will break down the glue very quickly.”

6. Do glasses and contact lenses affect lash extensions?
“People who wear contact lenses are very suitable for lash extensions as they no longer need to wear mascara,” says Sloane. As for glasses, the only real concern is whether or not the lash extensions are so long they hit your lenses – though this doesn’t affect the longevity of lashes.

7. Already an expert and want to know what’s next in the world of lash extensions? 
“Volume lashes or Russian lashes are made from the recent invention of extremely fine lashes,” says Sloane, adding that “only experienced lash technicians are able to create clusters of up to six lashes applied to one natural lash - this makes a very thick fluffy looking lash.”

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