Lash Extensions vs. False Lashes
They’re both synthetic eyelashes applied with adhesive to enhance your eyelashes, so aren’t they technically both ‘false eyelashes?’ What’s the difference between lash extensions and false lashes? Which should you choose if you choose between lash extensions and false lashes?
Let’s discuss the similarities and differences in these synthetic lashes to help you decide which lash enhancement tool you should add to your makeup station.
What Are False Lashes?
Typically, when you hear talk of false lashes, unless the context tells you otherwise, you hear about strip lashes. You’re definitely familiar with strip lashes: strip lashes can be found at nearly every drugstore in the country, not to mention big box stores like Walmart or online retailers like Amazon.
As the name might suggest, strip lashes are designed with all the lash fibers arranged in one long strip meant to cover the entire length of your lash line. Strip lashes come in various styles and colors, though the most common are plain black and faintly curled. They are typically very inexpensive and made of lower-quality material.
What Are Lash Extensions?
Lash extensions are smaller than strip lashes but bigger than single-lash implants. Lash extensions are fans of synthetic lash fiber clusters designed to adhere to the underside of your natural lashes. You’ll need five or six clusters to fill in the lash line.
If cared for properly, lash extensions can last for weeks on a single application. Strip lashes are practically always DIY, but lash extensions can be DIY or professionally applied.
Professionally applied lash extensions will naturally be the most expensive since you’re paying for the product and the time and expertise of your lash tech. Many lash enthusiasts believe that going to an experienced lash technician is money well-spent, thanks to the polished final result.
If you’re particularly busy, it can be difficult to make time to see a lash artist. Additionally, you don’t want to risk going to an inexperienced or unskilled lash tech, as this can increase your risk for eye infections.
On the other hand, DIY lash extension kits were designed for beginners and are perfectly safe to use, no matter your experience level. An at-home eyelash extension kit will contain everything you need to apply your own lash extensions: at minimum, the lashes, the applicator, and the adhesive.
You’ll also need a cleanser and a remover. Like strip lashes, DIY lash extension kits also come in various qualities depending on the brand, though most extension kits are still of higher quality than most strip lashes.
When shopping for a lash extension kit, always read the label carefully: look for the material of the lashes and the ingredients in the adhesive to ensure quality.
Are Eyelash Extensions Better Than Strip Lashes?
They each have pros and cons, so let’s start comparing and contrasting.
Pros of Strip Lashes
Low Price Upfront – The obvious pro of strip lashes is the sticker price. You can find strip lashes at the drugstore for as little as $5 or as much as $30. If you’re willing to purchase more expensive strip lashes, you’ll be able to find strip lashes of higher quality materials. The better the materials, the more natural they’ll look.
Variety of Materials – Strip lashes come in a variety of materials, from plastic to faux mink. You will have a wide variety of options when perusing strip lashes.
Sometimes Reusable – Some higher quality brands are reusable, so long as you take proper care of them. Reusing your fake lashes is a great way to get the most bang for your buck. At their best, you can reuse strip lashes five times or less for a total of five days.
Less Tension on your Natural Lashes – Because the strip is one continuous fan, it will more evenly distribute tension across your natural lashes instead of focusing tension on a few of those lashes. Only if they’re applied correctly, that is.
- Low Maintenance – Since the lashes must be removed every night, they’re actually very low maintenance. The most maintenance you’ll need to do is the daily reapplications.
Cons of Strip Lashes
Long-Term Cost – Since strip lashes have a shorter life span than lash extensions, you’ll pay more, in the long run, to constantly replace them.
Less Natural Looking – Strip lashes are generally less natural looking than lash extensions. They use cheaper, more obviously unnatural materials. Therefore, the lashes look like false lashes when they’re on rather than blending into your natural lashes.
One Day Wear – You can not sleep in strip lashes. Even though they’re reusable, you can not wear them for multiple consecutive days on one application. Sleeping in strip lashes puts you at risk of eye infection and scratched cornea.
Toxic Lash Glue – Almost every lash glue developed for strip lashes contains formaldehyde, cyanoacrylates, or other carcinogens. These glues can cause irritation at best and vision loss at worst. Often, you even have to buy this icky glue separately from the actual false lash kit.
Hard to Apply – The tools to apply strip lashes are nothing more than tweezers. The fact that they're one large, uninterrupted strip makes them somewhat unwieldy as it is, then a lack of thoughtfully designed application tools makes it even harder.
- They Can Not Touch Water – This is self-explanatory. In contact with water, the bond will dissolve, and the lashes themselves will be damaged.
Pros of DIY Lash Extensions
Longevity of the Lashes – Professionally applied lash extensions can last four to six weeks on a single application, and DIY at-home lash extensions can last nearly two weeks with proper care. Even with two weeks of continuous wear, that’s ten times the longevity of strip lashes.
Reusable – While this does not necessarily apply to professionally applied extensions, your DIY lash extensions are completely reusable. They just need gentle cleaning and drying between wears, and they’ll last for months. Strip lashes can be reused, but they won’t hold their shape longer than five days, making extensions the clear winner in this category.
Time saver – No more mascara and eyeliner for you! You won’t need it, so you’ll save time doing your eye makeup. You’ll also save time because you won’t have to reapply the lashes every morning.
They can (conditionally) get wet – Professionally applied extensions can get wet, and even DIY lashes can tolerate getting a little damp. As long as they don’t come into contact with water for a full 24 to 48 hours after application, lash extensions can survive the steam of your shower.
Highly Customizable – Strip lashes are not customizable at all– you can see how the lash will look in the package. The beauty of lash extensions is the ability to customize each look by mixing different materials, styles, densities, and lengths of lashes. You can get shorter lashes from as little as 6mm of fibers or as long as 18mm. You may want lashes made with thick fibers or thin wispy ones, or even a combination. Extensions leave room for so much creativity and experimentation that strip lashes just can’t accommodate.
Natural Look – Because of the way lash extensions are applied and the quality of their fibers, eyelash extensions look more natural than strip lashes. Whether you prefer silk or faux mink, well-applied extensions can completely blend into your natural lashes to enhance your naturally beautiful eyes.
More Comfortable – There are a couple of reasons lash extensions are more comfortable than strip lashes. First of all, extensions are lighter weight than strip lashes, so they don’t feel as bulky on your lash line. Another reason would be the quality of the adhesive; any adhesive that contains junk like formaldehyde and cyanoacrylates will likely cause itchy irritation around your eyes.
- Durability – We’ve already covered the overall longer lifespan, and their durability plays a big role in that. Another thing to consider is that strip lashes are more likely to lift and come unstuck mid-wear. Extensions are far less likely to lift in the first place, but if they do, they’re worlds easier to fix. A lifting lash extension can be fixed in under two minutes with the tools from the DIY kit.
Cons of DIY Lash Extensions
- Higher Maintenance – Since extensions can last longer, they demand that you take good care of them on your face to get them to last. This means no touching your eyes, no mascara, keeping the area clean and free from any oils (which will degrade the bond), keeping cotton (cotton balls, pads, or tips) away from your eyes, keeping the extensions dry (a little steam is okay, but don’t go swimming), and never sleeping with your face in your pillow.
If you’re not committed to having longer, fuller lashes, you should consider starting with strip lashes since they’re cheaper and will only last a day. But after that, extensions are the way to go if you seriously want a better way than mascara, serums, and strip lashes to actually have beautiful natural-looking lashes.
Regarding overall value, DIY lash extension kits are better than strip lashes. They provide a more natural look, longer periods of use, and generally higher quality than strip lashes, all for a shockingly comparable price when all is said and done.
DIY Eyelash Extensions are, in our opinion, better than strip lashes.
How Do I Get Started With At-Home Eyelash Extensions?
The best place to get started is with our Classic Control Kit. It’s got all the basics: Applicator wand, three Gossamers, and Whisper Light bond. Plus, we include a pair of wandoms, a magnifying mirror, a tube of Glass sealer, and samples of our pre-cleanse cleanser and remover. Browse our Gossamers and determine which Classic Gossamer style is right for you: Amplify, Bold, or Curl.
Not sure which style you need? Check out our eye shape guide! We can help you determine your eye shape, and which style of Gossamer will be most flattering on you. We believe anyone can be their own lash artist, and we’re here to support you with video tutorials and informational guides. You got this!