Cluster Lashes: What Are They & Why You Should Avoid Them

By Emily M.| Last updated on January 20, 2023
cluster lashes
⏱️ 5 min read

In today’s fast-paced society, finding the time to sit through a lash enhancement session can be really tough. Naturally, people started searching for alternative treatments that offer similar results, but in a shorter time frame.

Cluster eyelashes got their worldwide recognition as a quicker, more affordable alternative for eyelash extensions. But, can their benefits outweigh the possible risk of damaging your lashes?

Read this article to find out what are cluster lashes, how they differ from individual lash extensions, and why they aren’t the best option for enhancing your lash line.

What Are Cluster Lashes?

Let’s start off by debunking a somewhat confusing myth – cluster lashes are not the same as volume lash extension fans, in fact, they’re not lash extensions at all.

Instead, cluster lashes (or flares) are a group of 5-10 false eyelashes that are bound together at their base with lash glue. They are usually sold in packs anywhere you would normally find your strip lashes.

Cluster eyelashes are applied together on top of the lashline, instead of to an individual natural lash like regular lash extensions are, which allows for a much quicker application process and sometimes extreme density.

Since they are glued together, they don’t shed with your natural eyelashes, which may seem like a great benefit in the beginning but comes with various risks and consequences (more on that later).

what are cluster lashes
Image source: Instagram @stylesbykass

Are Cluster Eyelash Extensions Bad?

To determine whether or not cluster lashes are bad, we first need to answer the question are they safe to do and why some technicians offer this service in their salons.

First Things First – Are Cluster Lash Extensions Safe?

No, cluster lashes are not safe when worn for longer than 1-2 days.

Cluster eyelash extensions pose a serious risk to the integrity of your natural eyelashes due to their excessive weight.

Flares are attached to multiple natural lashes at once, which may lead to pulling and tugging, causing them to fall out prematurely. This may also be the cause of thinning and developing traction alopecia over time.

Another risk of getting cluster lashes done either professionally or at home is the possibility of a bacterial infection.

Since there is a lot of lash adhesive involved in the application process and your natural lashes can’t shed at the end of their growth cycle, this can act as a breathing ground for bacteria.

Lash adhesives are also not designed to be in direct contact with the skin, since this can lead to irritation and clogged hair follicles.

Do Lash Techs Use Cluster Lashes?

Some salons and uncertified lash technicians still use this technique, but thankfully, its popularity is declining.

If you decide to book an appointment with an inexperienced lash tech that offers this service, they will probably reassure you that this treatment is completely harmless thanks to the technique they use, but be wary.

The sheer weight of the cluster lash can be too much for your natural lashes to bear, causing them to break.

How Long Do Cluster Lashes Extensions Last?

Cluster lash extensions are meant to be used for temporary lash enhancement, which means, they shouldn’t be worn for longer than 1-2 days.

Wearing cluster lashes for longer periods of time can result in lash damage and bacterial infection, so make sure to gently take them off with your makeup before going to bed.

How Long Do Cluster Lashes Extensions Last?
Image source: Instagram @freshouryagecic

Which Is Better – Cluster or Individual Lashes?

As previously mentioned, clusters tend to weigh down and pull on your natural lashes when applied, whilst creating a breeding ground for infection.

Unlike cluster lashes, volume lashes and even mega volume lashes are a much safer option for getting dramatic results whilst protecting your natural lashes from damage.

Volume lashes are made up of multiple individual extensions attached together to form a fan. They are much lighter than clusters and they’re applied to one isolated individual lash at a time. This means the total weight of a volume fan is much smaller than the weight of a cluster eyelash fan.

A very important difference between these two lashing styles is that volume lashes have a much stronger and longer bond time when compared to clusters.

A volume fan will surround the natural lash and wrap it, creating a higher surface bonding area. Cluster eyelashes do not surround the natural lash – they sit on top of the lash line resulting in poor retention.

Last but not least, volume lash extensions can come in contact with water and should be regularly cleaned with a lash bath, while cluster lashes shouldn’t get in contact with water.

Clusters are neither sweat-resistant nor waterproof, so if you’re looking for a long-lasting eyelash enhancement, we highly recommend opting for lash extensions instead.

To learn more about lash extensions read our ultimate lash extensions guide.

So, Why Do People Like Cluster Lashes?

Despite the potential drawbacks, some people still like applying cluster lashes by themselves or getting cluster eyelash extensions at a salon.

Since regular lash extensions can sometimes take up to 2 hours to complete, cluster lashes seem like a practical option. They are a quick fix for achieving a bold eye look as they take only about 15-20 minutes to apply.

Apart from that, cluster lashes can be tempting for some because they are affordable. Their price ranges between $10 and $20 on average. Still, remember that you get what you pay for.

How to Use Cluster Lashes Safely

If the possible risks didn’t change your mind about getting cluster lash extensions, here are some of our tips on how to wear your cluster lashes safely:

Wear them Only For Special Occasions

If you decide to wear clusters for nights out or special occasions, that should be fine. Think of them as an alternative for full strip false lashes that will give you great volume density in a short amount of time.

Don’t Surpass the 24-Hour Limit

When you decide to wear clusters, remember to take them out in 24-48 hours tops to prevent lash damage. Trust us, you don’t want to deal with the complications of wearing them for days or even months on end.

Remove Your Cluster Eyelashes Before Going to Bed

Remember that you should never, ever go to bed without first removing your cluster lashes. This can sometimes be tricky, especially if you had them done in a salon.

So, here’s a simple step-by-step guide on removing cluster lashes at home:

  • Place a 1/2 cut lint-free cotton round under the lashes.
  • Apply a generous amount of lash extension gel remover over the cluster lashes and wait for about 5 minutes for the product to be absorbed.
  • You can speed up the process by coaxing the gel remover with a micro-brush.
  • Gently remove the clusters with a micro brush or tweezers.

Is there an Alternative Treatment to Cluster Eyelash Extensions?

Yes!

The Kiss Falscara lashes are an at-home lash enhancement solution made to replace standard strip lashes. These extensions are a much safer option for giving your lashes volume and length than cluster lash extensions.

Falscara lashes are applied to the bottom of your natural lashes instead on top of them like in the case of cluster eyelashes, creating a longer-lasting bond.

The results can last up to 10 days, so if you’re not willing to commit to lash extensions but want to make a statement with your eyelashes, this could be a great option for you.

To Sum Up

Cluster lashes are oftentimes mistaken for volume lash fans but remember, there is a big difference between them.

Clusters can damage your lashes, especially when worn for longer than 24-48 hours, while volume lashes are safe, waterproof, and meant to be worn for 6-8 weeks or longer with regular infills.

Always do your research and book your lash appointment with a trained and experienced technician to minimize the risk of infection, lash damage, and other complications.

Cover image source: Freepik

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