The image above is a picture I took of a client who came in wishing to have these eyelashes fixed. She had gone to a cheap big box salon where really messed up her lashes. They were also uncomfortable. She decided she just wanted to pay more to have her lashes done right. I also often have calls come into the salon asking “how much are your full sets of lashes?” when I tell them, many of them they will reply, “I can go down the street and pay 69.99! What’s the difference?” It is hard to explain to these potential clients in just a few sentences why exactly prices vary as much as they do.
First off and most importantly, lash technicians at the more reputable lash studios and salons (i.e. the places that charge more) have been through a longer and much more comprehensive training process. Often, there is also an apprenticeship required, as in my salon, where the lash artists are mentored by a master lash artist to sharpen and perfect the lash apprentice’s skills before being allowed to work on paying clients.
These apprenticeships can be as long as 6 months. A lash tech willing to do this is committed to doing the best lashes ever! Most people just don’t realize the skill involved in creating a beautiful set of individually applied lash extensions. I’ve had comments like “how hard can it be? Aren’t you just sticking on lashes with some glue?”
Nope! We are doing so much more than “sticking on lashes with some glue”. Here is what a true lash artist must learn to do in order to develop the skills necessary to apply a beautiful set of lashes:
1) Use two tweezers to separate a tiny single natural eyelash from all the other lashes. Lashes which can be crazily crooked, grow in the wrong direction, grow straight down or straight up, are super curly or have a ton of “baby lashes” surrounding it making it insanely hard to isolate. Often in addition to all this, the lashes may have no color and can be difficult to see.
2) After the lash is isolated, the artist must hold that isolated lash steady with one tweezer , then use her other hand to pick up a tiny lash extension, again with fine tweezers, get it perfectly aligned on the tweezer, dip it in the adhesive for the exact amount needed, and then precisely place that extension on the curly, crooked, invisible or whatever else eyelash. And we mustn’t mess this part up! If we do, the extension will not adhere properly and fall off prematurely. Then you will have an unhappy client who paid for lashes that simply fell off after a few days.
In addition to these basic lashing skills, an artist must learn to create a design for their clients that will enhance their look perfectly. Which means deciding on the most flattering “lash map,” a guide of the 5-6 different lengths of the lashes used in the set. If chosen too short or too long you will have an unhappy client. The wrong length can also result in damage to the natural lash.
In addition to length, the stylist must consider curl. There are currently 6 different curls to choose from in the professional lash world. If the stylist makes the mistake of choosing the wrong curl, the result can be anywhere from making the client look severely hungover to looking like they just saw a ghost. Proper curl is extremely important and many of these cheap big box lash salons have only one curl option.
In addition to length and curl the right design must be chosen. So the stylist needs to consider the shape of the face. Is it long or short? Deep or far set eyes? Deep set or bulging eyes? Big eyes or small eyes? Almond, round, downward turning, upward turning, hooded, asymmetrical eyes? How to deal with sagging eyelids? Puffy under eyes? Then there are the other things that can occur on top of these considerations. Twitching eyes? Watering eyes? Dirty lashes? Sparse lashes? Gappy lashes? Are you tired yet?
Lastly, let’s consider the actual lash that is being applied. Not all extensions are the same. We use a variety of lash manufacturers to insure we have what is needed for all clients. The lashes we use are durable, soft to the touch, and feel comfortable on the eye. Places that are charging less may be using extensions that are not top notch quality. They can be stiff, too “shiny” or fake looking, and can feel terribly uncomfortable because they are often only using one diameter of lash. There are currently 7 different diameter choices for lash extensions. I know this, because I correct a lot of work where good people have gotten bad extensions. So I see exactly where the corners are being cut. It’s tragic!