If you’re looking for a long-lasting lash enhancement, both treatments are great. Decide which one works better for you with the help of our lash lift vs extensions guide with all the differences and similarities.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2020. Updated August 2021.
Long and thick lashes are always in. We all love the way enhanced lashes can make our eyes pop and instantly give us a glammed-up look. But how can we achieve it?
Lash enhancement treatments have replaced the smudgy mascara for many people. The beauty industry offers a number of treatments that can give you lush lashes which last much longer than regular makeup. The most popular ones are definitely the lash lift and eyelash extensions.
Read our guide through key differences between lash lift vs extensions and decide which one to get.
Lash extensions are a well-known, proven method of enhancing lashes that has many faithful fans who seem to never take them off. They’re the go-to treatment before any special occasion, and many people are so obsessed with the look they treat infills as a biweekly errand.
The lash lift, on the other hand, has only emerged a few years ago, but it’s taken the beauty world by storm immediately. There are many skeptics, but once you get it, you’ll keep going back for more every 6 weeks.
So although extensions are still in a slight lead, the lift is definitely catching up in the lash lift vs lash extensions popularity race.
Lash extensions are semi-permanent fibers that are glued onto your natural lashes.
A semi-permanent adhesive is used to glue individual extensions to each of your natural lashes, thus making them look more voluminous and thicker. They last 6-8 weeks, and fall off with the natural lashes once they end their growth cycle.
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Image source: Instagram @facesbyjessicafaye
Here is a detailed comparison between lash extensions vs lash lift – their effects, lifespans, aftercare, maintenance, and cost.
These are two very different treatments.
The lash lift is done by applying chemical solutions onto the natural lashes that mold them into a specific shape – an attractive, upwards curl.
Lash extensions are done by gluing fibers that look like lashes directly onto the lash hairs, not on the lash line, like strip lashes are.
Both are quite safe and don’t entail any downtime.
The effects of lash extensions are more dramatic and more noticeable than the effects of a lash lift. The lash lift is a more subtle enhancement.
With lash extensions, you get more density as extra fibers are added. But the lash lift also has a densifying effect if it’s combined with a lash tint, as the hairs are colored into a darker shade and all the thin, invisible ones are made visible.
The lash lift makes your lashes look longer than they usually do, but the maximum effect is limited by the hairs’ natural length. With lash extensions, you can achieve whatever length you want.
Both effects are striking, but they’re definitely more dramatic with lash extensions vs lash lift.
Image source: Instagram @ggsglowandglamstudio
When it comes to their lifespan, there’s no difference in the durability of a lash lift vs extensions. Both last as long as the lash growth cycle – 6-8 weeks.
However, aftercare and maintenance affect the longevity of these treatments differently:
It’s easier to maintain a lash lift than extensions.
With the lash lift, you need to be careful for the first 24-48h, during which you shouldn’t get them wet and use makeup, but after that, you can relax. All you need to avoid is rubbing your eyes and using oil-based products.
With lash extensions, you need to be more cautious, since the fibers can fall off if you damage them. They are not exactly high-maintenance, but you do have to pay special attention to them. You need to be gentle when washing your face and more selective about which products you use. You also have to clean your extensions regularly in a special way, and get regular infills every 3-4 weeks if you want to keep them looking good.
With the lash lift, there are no touch ups. Your lash lift will last 6-8 weeks and if you want it again, you have to repeat the whole treatment. Wait for at least a month before you redo the treatment, though, so you don’t damage your natural lashes.
Lash extensions require an infill around 3-4 weeks after the initial treatment if you want to keep their shape. By then, half of your natural lashes will fall off, along with the extensions, so more needs to be added.
Lash extensions are more expensive than a lash lift.
A lash lift can cost from $50 to $250, but the average is around $100. After the treatment, you are set for at least 6 weeks, and you can repeat the treatment after 8 weeks, without additional appointments in the meantime.
The price of lash extensions varies, depending on the style you want, the location and the popularity of a salon, and it can go from $100 to more than $350, for more dramatic styles, where more lash extensions are added. Also, every 3 weeks or so, you should have an infill, which is charged additionally.
The answer depends on the look you want to achieve, and how much you’re willing to commit.
The look of lash extensions vs lash lift is much more dramatic and glamorous, but the subtle enhancement of the lash lift will look perfect on any occasion. Plus, you can enhance it a bit further with mascara, which isn’t recommended in the case of lash extensions.
The lash lift is very low-maintenance, while lash extensions require a special cleaning routine and have to be refreshed every few weeks.
Each of the treatments has its pros and cons. The lash lift is a low-maintenance lash enhancement, but its effects are subtle and limited by the natural properties of your lashes.
Lash extensions can be customized and give a more dramatic effect that will definitely make you stand out, but you have to take special care of them and get them refreshed often.