When lash extensions exploded into pop culture in the early 2000s, thanks to celebs like Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga, the options for civilian lashes were limited to single fibers, single lengths, and usually single colors.
Today, we’ve got options, baby! In addition to practically any length of lash you could ever dream of wearing, there’s no limit to the colors and styles available to enhance your natural lashes. One uber-popular lash extension is the cluster lash.
The Lashify® team will guide you through the options you have for lash extensions and whether lash clusters are safe. Hint: it’s not a simple yes or no answer.
Lash Extensions: What Are My Options?
Brand new to lash extensions? That’s okay. Here’s what you need to know.
Lash extensions are a method of lash enhancement that helps you get longer, fuller lashes temporarily. Unlike strip lashes, lash extensions are typically applied to your individual lashes, not to the skin near your lash line.
Lash extensions can be applied in two different ways:
At the salon. Salon lashes are applied by a lash technician in a salon. The process takes about two hours, during which you’ll have your eyes closed while a tech attaches extension fibers to your natural lashes with lash glue.
The cost of salon lashes can be draining, and not just on your wallet. Fills are required to replace lost lashes every three to four weeks, and a fill appointment can take up to an hour and a half.
At home. Extensions that you use at home are similar to salon lashes in that you also apply them to your natural lash fibers, but they usually take less time to apply, are less expensive, and give you the benefit of being able to change your style more frequently.
Regardless of where you have your extensions placed, there are options that let you decide how your lashes will look.
We can break lash extensions down into three basic categories: classic, volume, and hybrid.
Classic Lash Extensions
The extensions that started it all: Classic lash extensions are typically thicker fibers and are applied to your natural lashes on a one-to-one ratio. That means you’ll have one lash extension fiber applied to every natural lash.
There are options for different lengths and curls, which can make your lashes look longer, curlier, or darker, but these lashes aren’t created for maximum volume. If you want a slight enhancement that’s incredibly natural and believable, a classic lash is the solution.
Our Core Collection of Gossamer® lashes is made up of three different types of classic lashes designed to amplify, build, and curl your lash real estate.
Volume Lash Extensions
These extensions sit on the opposite end of the spectrum. Volume lashes, also known as Russian volume lashes or XD lashes, are feather-light and made to give your lash line a voluminous, fan-like fringe that is incredibly visible.
These lash extensions are applied in clusters, but they are not cluster lashes. We’ll cover the difference in a minute. Volume lashes are applied at a ratio somewhere between three to five extensions per natural lash. These lashes are usually uniform in length, which creates a dramatic look.
Our Volume Collection of Gossamer® lashes features Gossies that are plushy, fluffy, and cloud-like weight, so they increase volume without adding weight.
Hybrid Lash Extensions
The most popular form of lash extension available is the hybrid lash extension. These are a combination of both classic lash extensions and volume lash extensions. The lengths are varied, and the application ratio will also be inconsistent, resulting in a naturally voluminous look.
Hybrid lash extensions usually consist of about 70% classic lashes and 30% volume lashes.
Lashify Gossamers® simply cannot be categorized into three basic categories. Our styles and shapes are bigger than those categories can hold. Combining our styles (using our helpful lash maps) can help you create hybrid lash looks that are completely customizable.
Why Lash Clusters Get a Bad Rap
It probably goes without saying that most people who opt for lash extensions want more than just length; they want volume, too. Volume is created by adding additional extension fibers to your natural lashes. If you simply want length, attaching extensions at a one-to-one ratio is enough.
For volume, you need more … volume!
Enter cluster lashes. Tiny groups of lash extension fibers (usually between three and five) are joined at the end. These create significant volume, but the prototypes were basically just classic lashes bunched together on one end.
So, why did clusters get a reputation for being lash bad guys? There are a few reasons.
1. Improper Application
Even the most-loved, well-trained lash techs make mistakes, and those mistakes can cost you your natural lashes. If your lash professional is rushing through your appointment or using lashes that are too long for your natural lashes, the extensions could fall out sooner than they should.
2. The Glue Is Unsafe
Unfortunately, toxic eyelash glue is a real thing, and most salons use glue that contains unsavory ingredients. Formaldehyde and cyanoacrylates (both found in superglue) are commonly found in eyelash glue.
These glues are especially popular for providing a firm hold when working with cluster lashes. However, they also cause your natural lashes to stiffen and become rigid. When your natural lashes are rigid, it can cause them to break off from the root, taking the lash extension with them.
Excess glue (which can be common when cluster lashes are being applied) can also cause your natural lashes to attract bacteria, which can lead to an infection.
3. They’re Heavy
Remember that classic lash fibers are heavier than volume fibers. Traditional cluster lashes are essentially classic fibers grouped together at one end. These add weight to your natural lashes and can damage them, causing them to break.
Volume lashes were a solution to the cluster problem. They provide a way to get the volume you want without damaging your natural lashes or feeling like your natural lashes are drooping.
The Bottom Line
Cluster lashes create volume, but it comes at a cost. Clusters are attached in bunches to one individual eyelash, which can cause the eyelash to fall out due to weight or reactions to the glue that is used.
In short, clusters aren’t the best option for adding volume, especially while protecting your natural lashes.
A Better Solution
Because clusters can rob you of your natural lashes, not to mention seriously frustrate you if your lash extensions begin to fall out too soon, we needed a better solution. That solution is two parts: lashes that weigh less and are more evenly distributed.
Less Weight: Volume Lashes to the Rescue
How do you create volume without adding weight? You change the formula, and that’s just what the industry did. Volume lashes are plush, fringey, and feather-light. These lashes contain numerous fibers in one single cluster but are generally safer for your natural lashes because they weigh significantly less than a standard cluster lash.
The biggest problem left to deal with is the application ratio, and if you’re getting salon extensions, you’ll still be getting numerous lash extension fibers applied to each individual lash with volume lash extensions. While this is still safer than cluster lashes, it’s not the best option.
Lashify’s DIY Lash Extension™ system consists of Gossamer® lashes, which are applied to your natural lashes in small groups. This means the weight of lashes is evenly spread across two to three of your own natural lashes at the base, giving your extensions more support and keeping your natural lashes safe.
Keeping Natural Lashes Safe While Pumping Up the Volume
Don’t worry; volume is still on the menu. You can safely wear volume lash extensions, whether or not you have them applied at a salon or at home, by following a few tips.
1. Apply Right
Even if you’ve been applying your own extensions for months, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the basics, especially if you’ve noticed that you’re losing natural lashes or that your extensions aren’t staying in as long as they used to.
Remember to always take your time when applying your lashes and to avoid application in humid rooms (like the bathroom just after you take a hot shower), which could interfere with the ability of your lash extensions to bond with your natural lashes.
2. Use Safe Adhesive
At Lashify, you’ll never find a toxic ingredient in our bonds. Our flexible, never fully-curing bonds allow your Gossamers® to move with your natural lashes to help avoid bending and breaking at the lash line.
In addition, our bonds contain lash-nourishing ingredients to keep your lashes strong and healthy. We formulate every bond like a lash serum, with biotin and lavandula to help support your natural lashes the entire time you’re wearing your Gossamer® lashes.
3. Don’t Touch
Your extensions (whether at home or salon-based) need care to make sure they last as long as possible and don’t damage your natural lashes. This requires a little effort, but we promise it will be worth it. It starts with not touching your extensions.
It can be hard to keep your hands off, but every time you touch your extensions, you transfer oil from your fingers to your extensions which could loosen the bond between your extensions and your natural lashes.
4. Don’t Use Mascara
If you have extensions on your eyelashes, don’t use mascara. The glue from salon-applied lashes can already make your eyelashes brittle, but applying mascara on top of them can make them absolutely rigid. It’s almost a guarantee your lashes will break off.
If you are still tempted to use mascara with extensions, try a set of lash extensions that is more voluminous or darker than the set you currently have. This will help you avoid reaching for your mascara and will help protect your natural lashes.
5. Remove Your Extensions Properly
Picking at your lash extensions can damage your natural lashes and can become a really unhealthy habit. When your extensions begin to shed along with the natural shedding of your eyelashes, it’s time to head back to the salon for a fill or to have them properly removed.
Trying to remove salon lashes at home is a bad idea that usually ends with a shameful trip to your lash pro to have your extensions professionally removed.
If you are using at-home extensions, make sure you are removing them with a dual-phase, oil-based makeup remover. For removal of Lashify Gossamer® lashes, we recommend Melt Away Remover.
Melt Away is strong enough to dissolve the bond between your Gossamers® and your natural lashes but is gentle enough for even the most sensitive eyes and skin. Melt Away helps remove your Gossamers® without damaging them, so you can easily wear them again.
De-Cluster Your Lashes
Everyone loves a great set of full, fringey lashes, but if those lashes cause damage to your natural lashes, they just aren’t worth it. Lashify lets you have your cake and eat it too. Our system of DIY Lash Extensions™ uses underlash technology. This means that your Gossamer® lashes are applied underneath your natural lashes, so they don’t weigh down your lashes or cause them to bend.
We also never use unsafe ingredients in our bonds. Instead, we created an adhesive that works like a lash-boosting serum. Packed with biotin, our bonds help keep your natural lashes strong while you’re wearing your Gossamer®lashes. It’s a win-win for you and your lashes.