Everything you need to know about eyelash extensions

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Hanna Ibraheem
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Eyelash extensions are an easy way to get fluttery, long lashes instantly. Here, we run through everything you need to know, from what to expect during an appointment to how long they last.

I am awful at applying false eyelashes. Anytime I manage to secure a strip of lashes down to my eyelid, one end springs right back up. And I’m yet to find a pair that feel nice and lightweight upon application.

One weekend, I visited my sister who had the most incredibly fluttery lashes I’d ever seen. She told me that they were eyelash extensions and delved into details about how comfortable they felt, how long they lasted and how much quicker her morning routine was sans mascara.

Completely sold by the idea of not having to spend ages applying layer after layer of mascara on the tube every morning, I decided to try them for myself. After extensive research – it’s really important you find somebody who is qualified – I booked in with Asma Docrat, founder of Boudoir Lashes.

A week before my appointment, I visited Docrat at her base in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge. I’ve always been a bit nervous about anything to do with my eyes, but her extensive knowledge instantly put me at ease. From just one look at my face, Docrat was able to tell me exactly what type of lashes would best suit my face and eye shape and exactly where the lash extensions would be applied. She also conducted a patch test – a step in the process which is particularly important in ensuring you won’t have an allergic reaction to the glue.

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Once that was done and I didn’t have a reaction, Docrat and I were able to go ahead with booking myself in for an appointment. I arrived at the swish Harvey Nichols treatment room and, after going through the look I wanted one more time with Docrat, I lay down on the treatment bed and closed my eyes (your eyes are shut throughout the entire treatment) while she got to work.

“I’ve got a three-phase technique, so you use short, medium and long hairs across the whole lash line to make it look wispy but not overdone,” she explained.

Carefully, she hand-applied each individual lash one-by-one, ensuring that there was an even spread of hairs across my lash line. After 90 minutes, I walked out of the treatment room with long, fluttery lashes - and I couldn’t be happier. It truly is a game-changer.

Hanna wearing no mascara

Here, we run through everything you need to know about eyelash extensions.

What are eyelash extensions?

Eyelash extensions are individual lash hairs that are applied one at a time. They are kept in place with semi-permanent glue. There is a range of eyelash lengths available - your lash technician will be able to decide the best length for you.

How are they applied? 

Every application starts with a lash assessment.

“I look at your natural lashes and consider how full they are, whether they’re soft or hard, thick or thin, curly or wavy, damaged or in good condition - and then I guage what sizes to use accordingly,” explains Docrat. “To apply, I take a lash, coat it with adhesive and shimmy it on one-by-one. It’s important to mix it up when picking lash lengths.”

As each eyelash is applied one at a time, you receive a fully customised finish according to your eye shape. The hairs are glued on with semi-permanent glue.

Do I need a patch test before getting eyelash extensions? 

It’s recommended you have a patch test at least 24 hours before your appointment to make sure you won’t have an allergic reaction.

“If somebody wants to have eyelash extensions and they’ve never had it done before, it’s mandatory to have a patch test first,” says Docrat. “In the patch test, I apply a couple of lashes onto the lash line. If they’re allergic to the glue, they’ll have an immediate reaction, even if I am applying a small amount.

“After a patch test, it’s important you don’t get them wet or touch them for a full 24 hours. That means no showers, no exercise, no sauna, basically no sweat.”

What are the different type of eyelash extensions you can get? 

Eyelash extensions are typically available in different levels. Docrat recommends starting with the most natural set (known as a Mascara Set) or a slight volume (Volume Effect Set) for your first time.

“The heaviest set of lashes – Russian Volume – is best suited to those with bigger eyes,” says Docrat.

“As a rule of thumb, safety-wise, book in for a more natural look and then you can always add more later with infills, if needed.”

How long do eyelash extensions last? 

Eyelash extensions last six to eight weeks. The amount of time they last depend on many factors. Your lifestyle (the type of beauty products you use, whether you exercise often, etc) can have an effect. Additionally, your lash growth cycle, whether you have oily eyelids and the way that you sleep (PSA: if you sleep on your face, eyelash extensions probably aren’t for you) can also determine how long your eyelash extensions stay on for.

Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

Eyelash extensions do not ruin your natural lashes. A qualified lash technician will be able to assess your lashes and pick the lash type best suited to you. “If you have super fine lashes, I’ll advise what’s best as applying too many extensions can get heavy for fine lashes and damage them,” says Docrat.

Can I apply make-up to eyelash extensions? 

One of the major benefits to eyelash extensions is not having to apply make-up. You can also skip eyeliner, as the lashes give you a darkened line along your lash line. However, you can still wear make-up. The most important thing is how you remove the make-up: “You need to use a cotton bud and micellar water,” says Docrat, “Avoid oil-based products on the lashes throughout the whole time you have them, as this can make them fall out.”

Can I shower with my eyelash extensions?

Yes, but wait at least 24 hours after your appointment before you do. During this time period, getting your lashes wet can weaken the lash glue.

Should I brush my eyelash extensions? 

Good quality eyelash extensions shouldn’t tangle, but this can happen, particularly if you go for a full volumised set. To untangle your lashes, use an eyelash brush. 

How much do eyelash extensions cost? 

Prices vary depending on the place and the type of lash extensions you’re getting.

Boudoir Lashes is based in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Prices for a lash set start from £105.

Main image: Lash Perfect


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Hanna Ibraheem

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