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When considering eyelash extensions, one of the main draws for people is how long they last. Unlike mascara, which you have to wash off every day, and false eyelashes, which have to be removed daily and tossed after use, eyelash extensions last for weeks. That means no messy removal, and you get to skip the whole “mascara application” portion of your makeup routine. In other words, lash extensions can be incredibly convenient—especially if you’re someone who regularly applies mascara.
But how long do lashes last? The answer varies from person to person, because it has to do with the life cycle of your natural lashes. So let’s dive into what lash extensions are, how long they last, and ways that you can make them last a bit longer. Because if you’re plunking down serious cash, you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.
What are eyelash extensions?
Eyelash extensions are just that—lash-sized hair extensions that are applied to individual lashes, giving them a longer, fuller look. The type of extension you get mostly depends on the salon you go to. But, for the most part, they’re completely customizable and come in a wide range of materials, from mink, faux mink, faux fox, real human hair, and silk fibers. Lashes also come in different lengths, thickness, and levels of curls.
Extension prices depend entirely on the type of look you’re going for, the material you’re using, and the salon you’re visiting. For example, Envious Lashes in New York City has lash extension appointments that cost anywhere between $175 and $550. But once you have the initial set, fill-ins cost a lot less—around $100.
How long do they last?
Since they’re adhered to your natural lashes, extensions fall out along with your lashes’ natural growth cycle. The average cycle is six weeks, although that can differ from person to person. (1) The average time for lash refills ranges from 2-4 weeks, depending on how much volume has been lost. Extensions will, however, fall out earlier than your natural lash cycle if they aren’t properly cared for. That’s why aftercare is incredibly important if you want to make your extensions last as long as possible.
Are there ways to make them last longer?
While you can’t really extend your natural lash growth cycle, there are steps you can take to keep from damaging your extensions, which could cause them to grow out.
Avoid water after application. Most lash stylists will tell you to avoid getting water on your lashes for at least 24 hours after you get your initial set or your fill-in set placed. That’s a definite, but it’s also a good idea to avoid hard water whenever possible while you’ve got your lashes on. Water can break down the glue that binds the extensions to your natural lashes. So avoid dunking your head under water, putting your face into a heavy shower stream, or rubbing water onto your eyes whenever you’ve got lashes on.
Avoid all mascara. One of the greatest perks of having lash extensions is that you don’t have to wear mascara. But when you’re between fill-ins, you might be tempted to apply a bit to fake the volume back into your set. Don’t do this. Lots of mascaras have oil-based formulas, which can break down the adhesive, and removing mascara can damage the lashes. If you absolutely must, look for an oil-free mascara, or a formula that’s specifically for lash extensions.
Avoid-oil based shadow and eyeliner. For the same reason why you’d want to avoid oil-based mascara, you want to avoid oil-based eyeshadow and eyeliner when you’ve got lash extensions. Oil-based formulas can break down the glue that adheres your extensions to your lashes, so they should be avoided.
Don’t curl your lashes. Curling can damage the extensions, and can pull them off of your natural lashes. If you need to curl your extensions, simply push them up with your fingers to lift them. You can also use a spoolie to comb them out, which will keep them lifted and looking gorgeous.
Don’t use cotton swabs. If you use eye makeup remover or micellar water, you probably use cotton swabs to apply your product. But when you’ve got extensions, you should stick to gentle cleansing milks or foaming cleansers, as cotton swabs can drag your extensions, pulling them off your natural lashes.
Try sleeping on your back. If you tend to sleep on your stomach or your side, you might want to try switching to your back. Sleeping on your stomach or side can cause you to rub your face against your pillow, which can damage your extensions, causing them to fall out faster. If you can’t fathom switching positions, try a silk pillowcase. Since it’s slippery, it’s much gentler on your lashes.
American Academy of Ophthalmology. Will Burned Eyelashes Grow Back? Accessed October 4, 2019. View resource.