Everything you ever wanted to know about eyelash extensions

Image: Paula Joye

There are more women with eyelash extensions than there are letters in the word ‘Kardashian’.

It’s become the new fake tan, the new Shellac, the new ‘set and forget’ beauty service that saves women time.

I’ve always been a little dubious about the procedure, but two women whose beauty acumen I admire are total converts and persuaded me that in the right hands extensions were not only a time saver but a game changer.

Then there’s my youngest sister, Stephanie, who is a also completely addicted. She’s always suffered from bad allergies that give her watery, red eyes. The false extensions have created a natural protection and helps keep dust and pollen out of her eyes, which has totally turned around her hay fever symptoms.

So I put myself in the expert hands – Sydney’s Lash & Lacquer salon – to road test a full set of semi-permanent eyelash extensions.

The road test

The Promise: High quality silk/synthetic or mink lashes are individually bonded onto your existing eyelashes to add length and volume.

The Process: It’s not nearly as time intensive as I thought, and there’s zero discomfort. I chose the most natural curl and length in a synthetic lash. I lay down and closed my eyes for about 40 minutes while the technician glued and layered the lashes one by one to my eyes.

The Results: If you’re looking for instant gratification, this is your beauty service. Your eyes don’t just pop – they jump out and slap you in the face.

In the photo above, I’m wearing zero eye make-up and tinted moisturiser. The lashes somehow makes you look ‘done’ even when you’re not. I had them applied just before Christmas last year, which meant I spent all of January mascara-free – the lashes were brilliant for swimming, surf and warm weather stuff.


Honestly, the up-keep (once a month) is too much for someone like me because I’m hopeless with salon appointments, but I will absolutely do it again over the holiday months. The extensions are perfect for weddings and honeymoons.

The Cost: It’s not a cheap service, nor should it be for the skill level required. Lash and Lacquer extensions are $110 for a half set and $150 for a full set with infills starting at $50. A set should last up to four weeks. (To book, call (02) 9389 7713)

Paula having her eyelash extensions applied

What you need to know

I had a lot of questions about the process so I asked Gaynor August, owner of Lash & Lacquer about the dos, don’ts and nevers of eyelash extensions.

How are the eyelash extensions applied?
A single natural eyelash is isolated and a lash is glued to the top of your own natural eyelash, approximately 1-2mm from the eyelid. This is so that neither the glue nor the lash has any contact with the skin.

How long does the application take?
For a full set of lash extensions, it takes one hour and 15 minutes. Two week infills take 30-45 minutes, depending on the loss of your own lashes. A three week infill takes 60 minutes.

What is the difference between mink and silk/synthetic lashes?
Despite what the name implies, Silk Lashes are not made from silk – they’re synthetic. They are shaped and curled to the desired length and made to look natural and full.

Mink lashes come from the fur of live minks without any harm to the animal. These are the most natural-looking eyelashes you can get. They are light, full, and generally regarded as superior to all other lashes.


Do eyelash extensions make my own lashes fall out?
No - the natural eyelash has a cycle and will fall out naturally, just as hair elsewhere on the body does. Therefore if you lose a lash or couple while you have eyelash extensions, it is simply because your eyelashes are naturally falling out as per their cycle of regeneration.

Can I still wear eye makeup?
Yes you can. If you still want to wear mascara, it's recommended to use a mascara that is suitable for lash extensions. This would prolong the quality of your lashes. Waterproof mascara is not recommended. You should remove mascara gently with a water based eye makeup remover.

How long do they last?
Approximately 2-3 weeks if you look after lashes very well. Remember, this is a semi-permanent beauty procedure. Your lifestyle and work will also make a difference. Ladies who work in the food industry, where there is a lot of heat and steam, will find their lashes may not last as long as the recommended time frame. Regular swimming and hot yoga sessions will also have an impact on your lashes.

How often do I need in-fills?
In-fills are when the natural eyelash has fallen out and there has been an extension lash applied to it. The extension will fall out as well. In order to maintain the fullness of your lash extensions an infill is required, usually around 2-3 weeks depending on the individual.

Can I open my eyes during the application?
It is not recommended. Two sharp tweezers are used when applying the lashes and if you open your eyes without advising the technician glue could go into your eyes and you could experience stinging and watery eyes. If you wear contact lenses it is advised to remove them during the procedure. If you do need to open your eyes, it is possible as only your lower lashes are taped down.


Can you choose different lengths and curls?
Yes - the lengths available are 8mm- 15mm, and the curls available are A, B, C (B is the most popular). The lengths and curls can be discussed with the technician, who can recommend what suits the shape of your eyes. If you have a specific request discuss this with your eyelash extension technician.

Is the eyelash glue safe?
Yes. The technician will ask you a series of questions, like 'do you wear contact lenses?', and if you have had a reaction to the glue previously. Getting lash extensions for the first time will determine if you are in any way allergic to the glue, and there is a sensitive version available for those who need it. When applied correctly the glue should never come in contact with the skin or eyes during the procedure.

Are eyelash extensions suitable for everyone?
Anyone of any age can have eyelash extensions applied as long as there is a natural lash to glue the extension onto. If you have an eye infection or have recently undergone an eye operation or cosmetic eye surgery it would be best to wait until the eye area has completely healed.

Can the eyelash extensions be removed?
Yes. The extension lashes are easily removed by using a glue remover. The procedure will take approximately 20 minutes.

This post originally appeared on The Joye and has been published here with permission.

Would you try eyelash extensions?