The most commonly used lash extensions in the U.K. are cone shaped and made of Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT) plastic. They’re often called Mink or Silk by the manufacturer and this can be a bit misleading as they’re not Mink or Silk. The main difference between them is that one tends to tapers later, so much closer to its tip so they’re a bit thicker looking through the length.
Lash Extensions range in:
Lengths: From as short as 4mm to an outrageous 25mm length that would tickle the brow! It’s usual to extend the natural lashes by no more than 50% of their length, using at least 4 different sequential lengths to style the upper lash line and at least 3 for the lashes along the lower lid.
Thicknesses: From as ultra-fine as 0.03mm to the outrageous 0.30mm. Fine lashes under 0.10mm are used for Volume applications and Elite only uses up to 0.15mm for Individual (Classic) lash applications. Anything thicker is considered too heavy for a natural lash to carry unless they’re Flat lashes. These are designed to be lighter as two of their sides have been ‘shaved’!
Curls: From subtle and super natural looking to the extreme eye opening curl! A number of curls may be used to create bespoke designs for each person.
Colours: With black being the most popular, dark or mid-brown extensions are great for natural blondes and red heads or for the more mature. Other colours used considerately can help to accentuate the eye colours and skin tones.
Highly trained professional Lash Stylists work with their clients to determine the best lengths, thicknesses, curls and colour(s) that can be blended to suit them. This is important as great lash styling accentuates stunning features and can disguise or play down less popular ones like hooded eyelids or downturned eyes or lashes.
The three main lash extension application techniques are called Classic, Mixed (Hybrid) and Volume.
Classic (Individual) Lash Extensions
Classic Lashes is where one lash extension is bonded to one natural lash that’s mature and healthy enough to carry the weight of the extension safely. The number of extensions that can be applied will depend on the number of natural lashes that are suitable for treatment at the time of treating. This is great for people with lots of natural lashes. If you have sparse or weak lashes or want a fuller look, then a Mixed or Volume set may be better for you.
Volume Lash Extensions
Volume is created by bonding two or more ultra-fine lash extensions to one natural lash. The desired number of extensions are expertly ‘fanned’ by the Lash Artist who uses precision tweezers. The aim is to evenly space their tips apart whilst drawing their bases to a neat point in readiness for it to be expertly attached to a natural lash! Volume offers a much denser look that can be made darker by adding more extensions in the fans. This is a great treatment for sparse lash lines and those wanting a fuller, darker look.
Volume lashes are often called Russian Volume as this is where the technique was born. It’s sometimes called D meaning the ‘dimension’ or number of lashes in the ‘fans’. This is often preceded with a number that represents the number of lashes in the fans e.g. 5D. There’s also a growing range of brands creating their own names so if you’re unsure, ask the treatment provider to explain what they mean so you fully understand the treatment.
Mixed Lash Extensions
Often called a Hybrid set, Classic and Volume lashes can be mixed in the same lash set to offer a truly bespoke look. The ratio of Classic to Volume lashes will depend on the look being created.
Typically (but not always), mixed sets may be fuller looking than a Classic application and not as dense as a full volume set. Mixing these techniques gives Lash Artists even more scope for creativity when it comes to styling.
Other lashes or terms that you may have heard of. . .
Pre-Made Volume fans/lashes: Instead of being skilfully made by the Lash Artist, they’re made by the manufacturer. The Lash Artist applies the Fan as they would a single lash extension. Whilst their quality has significantly improved over the years, Julie prefers to make her own volume fans so she can tailor each one for the lash that will carry it.
Cluster lashes flares or party lashes: Please don’t confuse these with Volume lashes. They’re usually bunches of ‘lashes’ that are knotted together at their base and offer a noticeably fake look. They’re intended for short term use over 2-3 days duration as they’re heavy and generally placed without isolating an individual lash to host it. In the interests of safety, Julie doesn’t offer this treatment.
Express Lashes: Where Classic lashes are quickly placed and bonded on the natural lashes without being skilfully placed on one natural lash alone. This is a short term treatment that should not be worn for more than 2-3 days. In the interests of safety, Julie doesn’t offer this treatment.
During your consultation, Julie provides professional advice about which treatment is best for you. She takes many factors into account such as what you’re seeking to achieve from your treatment be it darkness, fullness, lift, length, colour. She then considers what would suit each person and what’s possible given the health, length and density of your lashes.
She will never overload your natural lashes by adding extensions that are too long and thick and therefore heavy. Caring for the long-term health of your natural lashes is one of Julie’s priorities.