If you’re not satisfied with the way your natural lashes look, there are plenty of options for eyelash enhancements. In this article, we outline the main differences between lash extensions and a lash lift.
The main difference between eyelash extensions and a lash lift is that extensions actually add volume and length to your lashes. A lash lift only gives the illusion of longer and fuller lashes. Extensions can give more dramatic results, but they’re more costly and require more maintenance than lash lifts.
What Are Eyelash Extensions?
Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent fibers that are attached to your natural eyelashes one strand at a time using an adhesive.
These extensions come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, and can be made from several different materials.
Since lashes are applied individually, you can create all kinds of looks with extensions.
Usually, lash extensions last somewhere between two and six weeks. However, extensions can last indefinitely if you have them refilled every few weeks.
It’s normal to shed extensions as your hair grows, but refills allow you to add lashes to replace the ones that you’ve lost.
Eyelash extensions can be pricey, especially if you get regular refills. Even so, many people find that the benefits outweigh the costs.
Some of the many perks include:
- Instant results
- Having beautiful lashes as soon as you get out of bed
- Spending less time getting ready in the morning
- Lots of customization options
- Bigger-looking eyes
- Improved self-confidence
What Is a Lash Lift?
A lash lift is a treatment that changes the shape of your natural lashes.
Lashes are coated with a special lotion and then curled from the base of the lash to the ends.
The process lifts and curls lashes, which makes them appear to be longer, thicker, and more lush.
Once a lash lift has set, it needs minimal upkeep or maintenance and can last from four to eight weeks.
It’s a fast process requiring almost no preparation. While there are limits to what can be achieved with a lash lift, you can customize your results to achieve the look you want.
An eyelash lift provides less dramatic results than extensions do, but the lower prices and natural-looking results make it a very popular option.
There are many benefits to lash lifts, including:
- Longer and thicker-looking lashes
- Customization options like tinting
- Fast and simple treatment
- Minimal preparation or aftercare
- Eyes and eyelashes look enhanced
- Improved self-confidence
Eyelash Extensions vs Lash Lift Eyelashes: The Differences
Lash extensions and lash lifts can both help you achieve the lashes of your dreams, but they’re still distinct treatments that deliver different results.
Here’s how these treatments compare in the following categories:
The cost of both treatments can vary based on your location and the salon that you choose, but lash lifts are generally much cheaper than extensions are.
It’s typical to pay somewhere between $50 to $200 for a lash lift, while extensions normally cost anywhere from $200 to $300.
Refills for extensions are more affordable, with rates between $70 and $95.
Duration of Treatment
Neither of these treatments is especially time-consuming. Lash lifts normally take around 45 to 60 minutes to complete, while extensions take anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes.
Refills typically take about 30 to 60 minutes. They’re both quick treatments that have same-day results.
After a lash lift, you’ll need to keep your lashes dry and product-free for at least 24 hours so that the lashes have a chance to set.
With lash extensions, you’ll have to follow a similar process for 24 to 48 hours. High heat should also be avoided during this time to protect lash extensions from damage.
If you have very sensitive eyes, you could experience mild irritation during a lash lift, but most people don’t experience any discomfort at all.
Eyelash extensions can cause ongoing irritation if they’re not properly applied, but you shouldn’t experience any pain before or after the treatment if your lashes are applied safely by a qualified professional.
With a lash lift, you can choose how much curl you want your lashes to have. You also have the option of having your lashes tinted during the procedure.
Eyelash extensions offer a much wider array of customization options, ranging from more natural looks to more dramatic looks that mimic the appearance of false lashes.
A lash lift treatment lifts and curls lashes, enhancing them in a very natural way.
While it’s possible to achieve more natural results with lash extensions, the final results tend to be more dramatic.
With both treatments, you’ll have enhanced lashes as soon as you wake up in the morning.
Both treatments are semi-permanent. As long as your lashes are properly maintained, a lash lift can last for four to eight weeks.
Lash extensions normally last two to six weeks, but you can maintain your new look for as long as you’d like if you have your lashes filled every few weeks.
If you decide that you don’t like the look of your enhanced lashes, you can just wait for the results of the treatment to fade away.
Aside from following basic aftercare instructions, you don’t have to do anything special to maintain a lash lift.
However, it is best to avoid using products containing harsh or drying ingredients near your eyes.
You’ll need to avoid those products with extensions as well, and you’ll also need to make sure you cleanse and brush your extensions each day to keep them clean and free of sebum.
Even though these are both semi-permanent treatments that last a few weeks, continued treatments will allow you to enjoy your boosted lashes on a long-term basis.
It’s usually recommended to wait 12 weeks between lash lift treatments, which means your lashes may go back to normal for a period of time.
With extensions, you can schedule refills every few weeks so that your lashes always look enhanced.
It’s possible to give yourself a lash lift by using an at-home kit. There are a range of home eyelash perming kits on the market today.
The good news is also that if your lash lift has turned out too curly or over-processed, you can actually reverse the lash lift by simply using the same kit again.
Extensions don’t offer the same kinds of DIY options; they need to be applied by an experienced technician.
The best way to get the look of lash extensions at home is to use false lashes.
Damage to Natural Lashes
With a lash lift, chemicals are applied to your eyelashes for a few minutes before they’re removed.
The process doesn’t always cause damage, but it can make lashes more dry and brittle.
You can counteract this by using a nourishing serum on your lashes.
While lash extensions are safe as long as they’re applied correctly, irritation is a serious risk.
Many people experience side effects after lash extensions, including allergic blepharitis and contact dermatitis. (1)
If you’re interested in extensions, it’s crucial to have them applied by an experienced and licensed technician.
Also check out the differences between a lash lift and a lash perm.
Which Treatment Is Best For Eyelashes?
Ultimately, the best type of treatment depends on your own personal preferences.
If you want to give your lashes a boost, but you don’t want to have to put in extra effort to keep them looking great, a lash lift is your best option.
Lash lifts are also ideal if you want to enhance your lashes in a very natural way.
If you’re looking for more dramatic results that add actual length to your lashes, lash extensions are the better option.
Even though extensions are more expensive, the cost can be more manageable over time with refills. Extensions are also a better choice if you want to be able to customize your results.
It’s a good idea to look at before and after pictures for both types of treatments.
That way, you can see which treatment will bring you closer to your desired results.
You should also consider your lifestyle and think about how well each treatment would work for you.
Can You Get Eyelash Extensions If You’ve Had a Lash Lift?
If you’re struggling to decide between extensions and a lash lift, you may want to start off with a lift since it’s the cheaper option.
You can still get extensions later on, but you’ll have to wait until the results of your lash lift have worn off.
It can be hard to apply lash extensions when your lashes are still curled.
The reverse is also true. If you have extensions done, but you decide you’re not willing to deal with the upkeep, you can switch to a lash lift.
Let the technician know that you’ve had extensions before making the appointment. They can tell you how long you should wait before scheduling a lash lift.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can also get a lash lift and extensions at the same time.
While these procedures aren’t usually done at the same appointment, you can have both treatments done within days of each other.
However, since lash treatments can put stress on your lashes (2), it’s best to limit yourself to one treatment at a time.