Complete Guide to Eyelash Extensions Styles
Table of Contents
If you’re planning on getting lash extensions, it’s important that you know all about the different eyelash extensions styles and types.
That kind of knowledge will allow you to figure out your own personal preferences. It’ll also help you communicate them effectively to your lash technician.
To get you ready, here is our complete guide to lash extension styles.
Types of Eyelash Extension Styles
By eyelash extension styles, we're talking about the length distribution, and the overall shape it creates over the eyes. It's the most important thing to consider when going for eyelash extensions. The shape will have a huge impact on your eye shape and overall look.
Cat Eye Eyelash Extensions
Cat eye eyelash extensions are definitely the most popular. With this style, the extensions start out shortest near the inner corner of the eye and then become gradually longer towards the outer corner. The result is a lifted, slightly angled look that flatters most eye shapes. It can be done very dramatically or kept more natural.
A really good lash technician might use slightly shorter extensions right above the outer corner of the eye. This way, the lashes will lift your eye up much more effectively.
If they’re too long right at the outer corner, you can end up with the opposite effect. Your eyelash extensions could actually make your eyes look downturned, which is a little dated.
Doll Style Lash Extensions
The doll eyelash extension style gives an adorable, open-eyed look that’s neither too dramatic nor too subtle. The lashes are usually the longest right at the center of the lash line, above the iris. They’re shortest at the inner corner and about medium at the outer corner.
It’s a less extreme version of the Open Eye extension style that creates the illusion of a rounder eye shape.
Doll lashes isn’t a consistent term, though. In some salons, doll eye may refer to staggered extensions or to rounded look with long or medium-length lashes all along the outer 3/4s of the lash line.
Open eye usually refers to an eyelash extension style where the lashes are the longest at the center of the lash line. The extensions are shortest at the inner and outer corners of the eye. Having those longer lashes at the center lifts the eye, for a more round and open look. They’re very similar to the doll eyelash style, but they’re often a little more intense.
Reverse Cat Eye Lash Extensions
Reverse cat eye lash extensions are almost the opposite of a cat eye (although not quite so extreme). The lashes are still the shortest at the inner corner of the eye. Then, they’re longest just past the inner corner until they gently taper back to medium and slightly short at the outer corner lash.
It’s not a common style, but it can work with certain eye shapes. It’s important to go to a very talented lash stylist who knows how to blend and taper the extension lengths. Otherwise, it can look odd rather than flattering.
Squirrel-style eyelash extensions are a unique variation on cat eye lash extension styles. They create the illusion of very upturned eyes. If you divide the lash line into four parts, the lashes are longest in the second-to-last quadrant, just above the outer half of the iris.
Then, the lashes gradually become shorter on each side, with the shortest lashes in the inner corner. It’s a glamorous look that lifts the eyes while also opening them up.
The natural eyelash extension style is meant to mimic your lashes’ natural length pattern. What that usually means is a subtle, light look with a hint of roundness.
Depending on your natural lashes or eye shape, your stylist might suggest you try natural cat eye eyelash extensions with gradual lengthening (sometimes called kitten extensions) or more of a doll eyelash extension look.
Staggered Eyelash Extensions
Staggered eyelash extensions are one of the coolest modern styles. It’s a spiky look that the stylist creates by alternating longer and shorter extensions. The overall shape can vary, so you can rock mixed styles like staggered doll eye or staggered cat eye extensions.
Wispy Eyelash Extensions
These are the staggered extensions’ demure cousins. There is still length variation, but there are fewer lashes of similar lengths clustered together. The result is a very fluttery, feathered look that’s incredibly pretty and soft.
Colored or Highlighted Extensions
A colored eyelash extension style can be a lot of fun. If you're naturally fair, brown extensions can give you a very natural lash style. If you want something more exciting, ask your lash technician what other colors she carries. Suppliers produce lashes in all sorts of shades, including blue, purple, and pink. You can also mix lash colors, for a highlighted look.
Custom Eyelash Extensions
You can always ask your lash stylist to create a unique lash map that's just for you and your eye shape. Maybe you want that Kim K look, with staggered, hybrid lashes, but in a squirrel shape? Don't be afraid of speaking with your stylist, especially since terminology can vary from salon to salon.
Eyelash Extension Styles for Different Eye Shapes
Your eye shape can have a huge impact on which style will suit you best. Here’s a quick explanation of the main eye shape categories, and how to choose the right extension styles for each one. If you're not sure about your eye shape, have a look at our guide to the best lashes for your eyes.
Those with almond eyes can rock just about any eyelash extension style they like. Cat eye style lashes will enhance a natural almond shape. More rounded styles like doll eye or open eye extensions will give almond eyes a slightly more rounded eye shape, for when you’re in the mood for a softer look.
With wide-set eyes that have a lot of space between them, lashes can help create the illusion that your eyes are a little closer together. It’s important to focus on styles where there is some length or volume near the inner corners. For example, reverse cat eye style extensions, which are quite unusual, are most flattering on wide-set eyes.
If you have close-set eyes it means that there's very little space between your eyes. You'll look best with extensions that help extend your eyes on the outer corners to provide some balance.
Ask for a style that's long and dense near the outer corner of the eye while keeping things short and light in the inner corner. This includes cat-eye and squirrel eyelash extension styles.
Downturned eyes usually look best with squirrel style eyelash extensions, or with cat eye extensions that are not overly long at the outer corners. These lash styles pull the eyes up at the outer edges where they start to droop.
Overly long lashes at the outer corners, on the other hand, can end up curving downwards and emphasizing your eye shap in a way that doesn't necessarily flatter.
Small eyes do best with softer, wispy lash mapping styles that don't overwhelm the eyes. Stick to thinner classic or hybrid techniques, and avoid overly long or thick extensions. It's best to keep the inner corner lashes a little shorter, to open up your eye . The rest of the length distribution depends on other facets of your eye shape.
If you have a hooded eye shape, always stick to shorter, lighter lashes near the inner corner. You can rock all kinds of length distribution styles. If you want to camouflage your hooded crease, try the squirrel or open eye lash style.
If you want a more dramatic or voluminous look, opt for wispy or staggered application techniques. Anything too uniformly heavy can overwhelm your eyes.
Those with a deep-set eye shape should focus on fluttery lash styles that won’t shadow the eyes. The shape itself doesn’t matter too much, but you may want to stay away from heavy volume or Russian extensions, as well as very thick glamour lashes.
Staggered, wispy, and natural lashes often look best. You may also want to try L or D curl lashes. They have a more dramatic curve that can stick out more nicely from the deep-set lash line.
With a protruding eye shape, the most important thing is to choose the right curl style. A lot of sources suggest straighter J or B curl lashes, but we disagree. C, D, and L-curled lashes are best because they pull upwards rather than projecting forward, to flatter your eyes better.
Avoid thick classic lashes. If you want drama, opt for volume or hybrid lashes, instead.
Upturned eyes are very trendy right now, so it’s very hard to go wrong with lash extensions. Cat eye and squirrel extensions will emphasize your eye shape, for an eye-catching fox eye look. If you want to tone down your eyes instead, give open eye or natural eyelashes a try, instead.
Round eyes are large and impressive. Eyelash extension styles like doll and open eye will emphasize your natural eye shape. A cat eye style will balance it out , for more of an almond shape. You really can't go wrong, and you can even change things up from week to week.
How To Choose The Right Eyelash Extensions?
Here are a few more factors you should consider when talking to your stylist about the kind of lash style you want.
Eyelash Extension Length
When it comes to eyelash length, extensions can go from 5 mm to 18 mm in length. In practice, most technicians don't go shorter than 8 mm or longer than 15 mm. When deciding which length to try, consider the following:
- The length of your natural lashes
- The size of your eyes
- How much lid space you have
- How dramatic of a look you want
A great set of lash extensions will include a lot of length variation. By varying the length, a technician can create a much more lush and voluminous look, not to mention specific lash style shapes.
If you’re new to extensions, you have smaller eyes or minimal lid space, or your lashes are naturally very short, it’s better to start in the 8-12 mm range. Once you get used to wearing lashes, you can go a little longer.
If your eyes are large, your lashes are naturally long, or you have a lot of space between your brows and lash line, you may want to go longer right from the start. If you do go longer, it’s better not to overdo the volume on your lashes. Otherwise, the extensions can feel too heavy.
Eyelash Extension Volume
Lash extension volume is just as important as length. There are two main factors that impact the volume of your lashes: the thickness of the individual lashes and the number of lashes attached to each one of your natural eyelashes.
Classic or Signature Eyelash Extensions
This is a lash technique where the lash technician glues a single lash extension to each natural eyelash. It tends to be faster and more affordable than the volume technique. Some salons call this technique 1D lashes.
The actual thickness of the extensions can vary: You can go from ultra-light 0.5 mm-0.10 mm to very dramatic 20 mm-25 mm (also referred to as glam extensions).
Volume lashes is a technique where the technician glues multiple lash extensions to each natural lash. It creates a much more voluminous look that's still fluttery and soft.
Some salons will further diffrentiate based on the number of lashes attached to each lash: 2D refers to two lashes, 3D to 3 lashes, and so on. This can go all the way up to 10D, although most technicians stop at 6D.
As a rule, the more lashes your technician uses per lash line, the more the service will cost.
Sometimes, salons will use clustered lash extensions to create this style, which allows the technician to work faster.
This is a technique that mixes classic and volume lashes, for a different type of staggered style. The technician will alternate applying lashes in both the classic and volume technique, for a lush look.
This can be done all along the lash line or concentrated over a particular area like the outer corners in a cat eye style or the center in an open eye style.
Glam Eyelash Extensions
Glam or glamour eyelash extensions are a category of classic extensions done with very thick 18 mm to 25 mm lashes. The result is a very dramatic but uniform look that costs less than volume lashes.
Russian style is a category of volume lashes. The technician will use very thin individual lashes, gluing as many 4-6 extensions per lash in a fanned-out shape. It's sometimes also called "full volume" or "mega volume."
Eyelash Extension Materials
Have you ever wondered what eyelash extensions are actually made of? Here are the different materials you'll encounter, and what you need to know about them.
Mink Eyelash Extensions
Once upon a time, mink eyelashes were made from real mink fur. They were very soft and lush, but they weren't great at holding a curl. Today, very few salons still use real mink eyelash extensions and instead opt for cruelty-free faux mink.
Sometimes, the term mink is used to refer to “signature” or “classic” lash extensions (i.e. one extension per natural eyelash), rather than the material.
Nowadays, faux mink are more common. They are made of a soft, heat-resistant polymer.
Faux mink lashes are usually very lush and dramatic, and they tend to hold a curl very effectively. Most importantly, they’re totally vegan and cruelty-free.
Faux silk lashes are also vegan and cruelty-free. They're made of a synthetic polymer, as well, but the processing is a little different.
They tend to be softer and more natural-looking than faux mink extensions, which is why they're the material we chose for Lilac St. DIY extensions.
Terminology isn't always consistent, though. The exact difference between faux silk and faux mink lashes will depend on the brand your salon carries, so always consult with your lash tech before deciding.
Eyelash Extension Curl Type
Lash extensions also vary in how much they curl.
- The J curl (sometimes also called a B curl) is a little more straight. It’s a nice choice for a more subtle or natural look, especially if you don’t want your extensions to seem too obvious from straight on.
C and D curls are by far the most popular, and they tend to suit most people. Both have a nice, rounded curve that shows up nicely on most eye shapes, without seeming odd or extreme.
D curls are slightly more dramatically curved than C curls, but it's a small difference. At Lilac St., all of our DIY extensions have a curve that’s between D and C.
- L lashes have more of a bend than a curve, so they stick straight upwards. They are nice for those who have very deep-set or hooded eyes, because they tend to sit more comfortably over an obscured lash line. However, on other eye shapes, they can seem a little odd since the bend is a little abrupt.
DIY Lash Extensions
Did you know you could also do your own lash extensions?
Lilac St. DIY extensions are a hybrid between falsies and professional extensions. They stay put for multiple days (5 or 10 depending on the adhesive). Just like extensions, you can wear them to bed or in the shower.
They come in clusters rather than as individual lashes, so it's easy to apply them at home by yourself. Even with DIY extensions, you can try different lash mapping styles to suit your eye shape.
If you're interested, go ahead and discover Your Lilac Look.
- Eyelash extension styles vary based on the length distribution. There are a lot of different shapes, like cat eye, doll eye, open eye, squirrel eye, and more.
- The best eyelash extension style for you depends on your eye shape, so take that into account when speaking to your lash technician.
- Aside from length distribution and shape, there are a few other factors to consider, like lash length, volume, materials, and curl types.
- Terminology isn't always consistent across salons and suppliers. Always verify things with your lash technician to make sure you're on the same page.
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