· By Carlee Workman
Eyelash Extensions vs. Strip Lashes: Which is Better?
Today’s lash lovers are met with many choices. From lash tinting services to endless aisles of mascara and growth serums, there are plenty of ways to fluff up your natural lashes.
Two of the most popular methods for achieving a thick, luscious lash line are through extensions and strip lashes. While both are great options, there are some considerable differences between them. If you’re struggling to decide which is right for you, no need to worry! Lash Reality is here to break down the pros and cons of eyelash extensions vs. strip lashes.
What are strip lashes?
You’ve likely seen strip lashes in drugstores or beauty supply shops. These are premade bands of fibers that can be applied in one piece to the lash line with removable adhesive. Strip lashes come in many styles, lengths, curls, and even colors with some appearing almost undetectable and others mega-voluminous. Depending on the style, the band of the lash will vary in thickness, which will impact how it feels (and looks) on the eye. Fuller styles need a thicker band to support them and may take more skill to apply. Similarly, you may also need to pair thicker strip lashes with eyeliner to blend it into the natural lash line.
Strip lashes have soared in popularity in the last decade – and for good reason! They are versatile, budget-friendly, and an easy way to instantly add some glamor to your makeup routine. While they range in price, most land somewhere between $5 and $20 depending on the quality. If you purchase packs of lashes at the time, it can even be more affordable. Another great thing about strip lashes is that they can be worn multiple times. Just remember, always remove them at the end of the night. They are not intended to be worn longer than 24 hours.
What are eyelash extensions?
Eyelash extensions are individual fibers (or groups of fibers known as volume fans) that are applied to each lash with a long-lasting adhesive. Because they are attached to the natural lash, they have the potential to last as long as your natural growth cycle. In other words, they’ll last until they fall off – which can take between 2 to 3 weeks. This is one of the biggest reasons why lash extensions are so beloved. They are on 24/7, so you wake up feeling glam!
Unlike strip lashes, you must go to a certified professional for eyelash extensions. It is not safe to do them at home. Lash artists are trained and licensed to do lash extensions, which takes months (even years!) of training to perfect. For this reason, a full set of eyelash extensions can range from $80 to $160.
Another aspect to consider with eyelash extensions is the aftercare. To maintain the look and longevity of your lashes, you will need to follow specific aftercare instructions. This means avoiding things that can make them shed, such as oil-based makeup and skincare, and coming in for a fill every 2 to 3 weeks.
So…which is better?
The answer: it depends on what you’re looking for. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. Compare eyelash extensions vs. strip lashes below to see which is right for you.
✓ Easy to change styles
✓ Can remove at any time
✓ Does not require a professional
✓ Upfront cost is inexpensive
✘ Can irritate eyes if applied incorrectly
✘ Takes practice to get good results/learning curve
✘ Can lift or look off if applied incorrectly
✘ Adds time to your makeup routine
✓ No need to remove and apply every day
✓ No practice needed - go to a professional
✓ Good for people with makeup allergies
✓ Saves time getting ready
✘ Requires thorough aftercare
✘ Upfront cost is more expensive
✘ Requires salon time
✘ Need to come in for fills
How long do eyelash extensions last?
Lash longevity varies depending on your natural growth cycle, how the extensions were applied, and aftercare. On average, lash extensions will last 2 to 3 weeks before needing a fill. If you are looking for tips to get extra wear time, check out our Ultimate Guide to Making Lash Extensions Last Longer.
How long can you wear strip lashes?
You should only wear strip lashes for the day, however, the same pair of lashes can be worn multiple times. Just remember to remove the lashes at the end of the night and gently wash away any residual glue and mascara!
How to apply strip lashes?
Learning how to apply strip lashes can be tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it only takes a minute or so! Here are a few of our favorite tips to apply strip lashes like a pro:
- Be extra careful when removing the lashes from the box. Pulling too hard can rip, damage, or ruin them. When taking them out, always start with the base outer edge of the lash. Press your thumb against the base of the lashes and gently wiggle it down until the outer edge is lifted off the adhesive strip. Never pull from the tips of the lashes, as it can tear out the fibers and damage the lashes.
- After your strip lash is out of the box, hold the lash against your natural lash line without the adhesive. You’ll want to make sure it’s cut to the correct length before applying. If it is too long, it can poke your inner corner or droop on the outer corner! To measure, line up the start of the strip lash to your inner corner. If any excess is hanging from the outer corner, pull the lash away from your natural lashes, and cut the excess with some small scissors. (Tip: It’s better to cut the excess from the outer corner since the inner corner usually tapers in and helps blend the lashes better.)
- Curl and apply mascara to your natural lashes before applying strip lashes so they can blend better.
- Once it’s the correct size, you can apply an eye-safe adhesive to the strip lash. Coat it with a thin layer of glue and wait 30 to 45 seconds for it to get tacky.
- Tilt your head down or look down into a mirror so your natural lash line is better exposed. Then, using tweezers take the strip lash and attach it starting with the middle.
- Once the middle is attached, use your tweezers to take the inner and outer corner and secure it to your lash line. The adhesive will be flexible for the first minute, so you’ll have time to adjust it to your liking.