Many women dream of having luscious lashes to brighten up their faces and let their souls shine out to the world. Eyelash extensions are an exciting innovation; when done correctly they can maximise our beauty and minimise our insecurities.
Yolandie Venter – Owner entrepreneur of Yolandie’s Lash Extensions Boutique – is an award-winning lash extension expert and shares her top secrets on lash extensions to leave you fluttering with excitement.
What are lashes made from?
In general, there are three kinds of extensions. Mink, Faux Mink, and Silk. The most common eyelash treatment is the application of synthetic individual eyelashes. These are made from Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) which is a flexible and lightweight fibre with a soft sheen.
Many years ago, eyelash extensions were made from real hair, from the mink which is a small mammal similar to the ferret. Unfortunately, these animals are still farmed for their fur, the strands of which are used as the extension. Thankfully, it is now very rare to see real mink eyelash extensions used in the industry – but it is worth checking that your salon’s products are vegan and cruelty-free.
Both lashes labelled Faux Mink and Silk are generally made from PBT. Confusing, I know, but suppliers often label their lashes to describe the feeling of the lash, not the material it is made from. PBT lashes are soft and flexible which helps them bond effortlessly and flex with the movement of your natural lashes. This makes them comfortable to wear and prevents you from rubbing them which aids in their longevity.
What Lash styles are there?
Classic eyelash extensions
Classic eyelash extensions are a soft natural way to achieve that glorious youthful no make-up make-up look. They are applied at a 1:1 ratio to your natural lash line only. So, if you have 50 natural lashes per eye, 50 extensions will be placed, one next to each lash to achieve the look of a doubly full lash line.
Classic eyelash extensions are a great choice for anyone with a decent amount of healthy natural lashes, younger clients who just want to fill a few gaps in their lash line and clients looking for a medium intensity boost.
The Flat lash is still applied on a 1:1 ratio, but the design of it is very different. The regular classic lash mimics the natural bend of your own lashes and is conical under a microscope. The Flat lash is shaped like a long plank with a double tapered tip that looks like a snake’s tongue.
The tapered split starts at the middle of each extension, giving the illusion of each lash strand being thicker, while the tapered tongue softens it to make it look natural. Flat lashes come in both sheen and matte. Matte Flats are more natural-looking whereas the standard sheen lashes are darker, shiny and more dramatic.
Russian Volume is an extremely advanced technique that only experienced and highly skilled eyelash technicians should offer. Sadly there are eager but underskilled technicians offering this treatment which leads to overloading your natural lashes.
Russian Volume eyelash extensions use multiple ultra-fine hairs that are handcrafted into fans at the time of application by the therapist using specially designed tweezers. The therapist places these bouquets of the eyelash onto the natural lash in a fanned effect, to create coverage and fullness. Although each fan is made of multiple strands, the connection point to the lid is still 1:1. This ensures that the extension is encased within the natural lashes, and results in great retention of the extensions.
Russian Volume is perfect for the older client with sparse natural lashes, where extra coverage and a soft fluffy look is required. If you are looking for that thick, glamorous look, rather try heavyweight classic lashes (or mega/dark volume set 5/6D) as you can achieve a similar level of fullness.
The Russian Volume technique is intricate and time-consuming and takes many hours of practice and training. These technicians are rare, so it is worth making sure you research your technician.
Cluster and Flare lashes
Cluster and Flare lashes are not the same as handmade Russian Volume extensions. CLuster lashes are machine-made multi-strand lashes that are purchased in beauty stores. Unfortunately, some salons are trying to pass them off as Russian Volume extensions and charge high prices for a subservient treatment.
Cluster or Flare lashes – sometimes called ‘party lashes’ – are temporary and for short term wear only. These should be applied with a weak latex-based strip lash glue and removed after a few days. Some therapists use strong glues on multiple lashes which inhibits the growth patterns of the natural lashes and causes damage over time.
Pre- and Pro-made Volume Fans
Pre- and Pro-made Volume fans are a relatively new eyelash extension treatment. Pre-made volume or Pro-made extensions (as they can be called) create the illusion of a Russian Volume set without a high skill level. These fans are pre-made and save the therapist loads of time during treatment. Each pre-made fan is selected to suit the natural lash, using a combination of 2/3/4/5/6/7/8D on the natural lashes to ensure that the lash artist never overloads them.
No matter what you are seeking, lash extensions come in such a wide range of product shapes, colours and sizes there is bound to be one for you. The important consideration is to choose the expert carefully, as their advice makes the difference between a fairy tale or a nightmare ending. So, make sure you thoroughly vet your lash salon to avoid losing your eyelashes due to a bad application.
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