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Scottish Bitches is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog by Laura MacDonald and Corrine McConnachie.

Lash Extensions - An Expert's Guide

Lash Extensions - An Expert's Guide

There's nothing we love more than shaving essential time off a beauty routine in the morning. Convenience isn't a luxury in a lady's 21st century life - it's practically a requirement of a modern-day bonafide #GirlBoss.

But, with the invention new technologies such as laser hair removal and super-long lasting gel manicures, many are afraid to take the plunge for fear of the long-term effects. One such beauty treatment growing in popularity is that of lash extensions - a way to add much coveted length and volume semi-permanently to your peepers.

However, as with any new treatment - there are tales of horror assuring lash baldness and irreparable damage - but with so many women aiming to look flawless in as little time as possible, are things really as bad as they seem? We teamed up with super-pro lashing technician Sarah Newton to find out everything you need to know about lash extensions.


"The horror stories are 100% real." Sarah opened our interview with a somewhat foreboding tone, as I prepped my eyes for a classic lash extension application. "But, the majority of blame lies in the the beauty industry being only really semi-regulated. The problem is aspiring techs will do one-day courses - but the reality is this just isn't enough. By the time a student has gone through the introductions, technique demonstration and tea and lunch breaks, actual practice time is only really 2-3 hours - and that's not enough experience for anyone to practice professionally!"

If there's ever been an authority on lash extensions, it's Sarah Newton. Sarah is an enigmatic young lady - with stunning dewy olive complexion and natural beauty that would have celebrities begging for her secrets. She’s giving off all the beauty #goals in the world.

"I took quite an odd path into the beauty industry," she explains, "I did the whole uni thing and taught for a while as a languages teacher - totally academic. But the school I taught at shut down and to me it was just a standard job. It wasn't really my calling, so I decided to pursue a career in beauty. I hate the stereotype that beauticians are 'too thick to go to uni' - I decided it was time to go in and revolutionise things."

Shortly after making the decision to quit her teaching career, Sarah enrolled at the Mary Reid Spa Academy in Edinburgh and qualifiedas a beauty therapist after an intensive year of training. Shortly after graduating, Sarah's first port of call was to gather as much experience in the industry - working for several salons across the city.

Sarah chuckles when I ask her how she ended up specialising in lash art, "During my initial years working as a beautician, I very quickly realised I preferred the aesthetics side to the likes of massage. It's hilarious as it's totally not what I'm into - I'm not really Kim Kardashian talons and hair extensions kind of girl!"

Meeting her significant other, Ollie, meant a move to Scotland's unofficial capital was on the cards - and moving to Glasgow meant Sarah was on the hunt to find a new lash technician to apply her own Russian Lashes.

#CLASSICLASHES vs #VOLUMELASHES Here's a great close up [curtesy of @lashd_outt] to demo the 2 methods ▫️Classic 1:1 lashes are 1 lash extension applied to 1 natural lash [the length & thickness of the extension is chosen according to the natural lash] ▫️Volume lashes are 2-6 super fine lashes made into a fan [by hand in real time!] and placed onto 1 natural lash. [again the length, thickness & number of lashes used varies according to the natural lash] • Both are #BEAUTIFUL ???? Get in touch to book yours now xx • #lashartbysarah #lashstylist #lashart #lashartist #classiclashes #volumelashes #lashextensions #glasgowlashes #semipermanentlashes #semipermanentlashextensions #lashes #russianlashes #xd #xdlashes #xdvolumelashes #russianvolume #russianvolumelashes #lasheducation #lashnerd #lashcloseup #lashinfo #lash101

A photo posted by SARAH NEWTON (@lashartbysarah) on


"Russian lashes at the time were very new to the scene, so it was hard to find a salon that did them. Thankfully I found one in Glasgow between the West End and City Centre and unbelievably, when I was having my lashes applied found out they were looking for a new technician. I left with an interview and before I knew it I had a new job!"

In September though, Sarah caught the entrepreneurial bug, "There's only really so far you can go in the beauty industry working under somebody. I was ready for the leap and to step out on my own."

Later in October, Sarah launched her new venture, Lash Art by Sarah - promising a salon that catered to natural beauties like herself as well as aspiring Kim K's alike.

Reassured I was in good hands by Sarah's comprehensive experience and knowledge, I was keen to get to the bottom of the lash extension horror stories - why have so many people had bad experiences with this particular treatment?

"It gets back to a time thing. Often, when students complete a course their experience is very, very limited - usually just to the model that their day-course tutor has picked for them to work on - who is likely to have an exemplary set of natural lashes to work on - perfect for beginners. Lashing in the real world is a totally different!"

According to Sarah, there's far more to lash art than simply applying some glue and being done with it. Lashes should be applied on a case by case basis - much like different skin types - such as oily and dry. Not every person is suitable for lash extensions for a myriad of reasons. To begin with, there are easy lashes and difficult lashes to deal with. Unfortunately, not every individual is blessed with perfect peepers, and depending on genetics, some people may suffer from lashes that aren't perfectly straight - lashes that grow left, right and under are particularly bad contenders - and even issues like a poor consistency of lash thickness can determine if a person is a good contender for lash extensions.


"Some lashes can taper and frazzle - particularly if an individual is keen on using heated lash curlers. This can separate a good candidate from a bad candidate." Sarah elaborates, "Badly done lash lifts are also really bad culprits in creating 'difficult' lashes. If a lash lift is done properly, it's great - it's like a curler that's on for 6 weeks straight - but badly done lifts can really damage your lashes. Lashes will be bent - not curled - and it's like the hair bleach of lashes - it's with you until your lashes grow out." Sarah sighs, "Unfortunately, this is also much the result of these one-day courses too."

Nasty lash lifts mean no lash extensions. Without proper lashes to hold onto, lash extensions simply won't stay put - and curling treatments will actually make extensions more obvious rather than helping them to blend in.

"The horror stories come from really bad applications. If you don't know how to use lashes properly, then you'll end up using lashes too heavy, or too many which breaks the natural lash. Lashes should also be applied individually and a less experienced technician may catch two to three lashes. Obviously, these lashes don't grow at the same rate and the fastest growing lash will take the extension and those two to three lashes with it as it grows, ripping it out!"

Lash Extensions - Picking Your Technician

A great lash technician will know how to manage expectations, Sarah explains to me. Often, people will look to lash extensions as a more permanent alternative of strip lashes, however the final result is likely to be very different and much more natural.

"The mark of a good lash technician can be attributed to three things - price, time taken to apply lashes and their aftercare procedure."

"You get what you pay for." Sarah said, "I charge £75 for a set of Russian lashes, however these take two and a half to three hours to apply. I will only let a client walk out the door if their lashes look great. One particular story that sticks in my mind was when a new client was surprised at the length of time I took to apply lashes. She told me that her previous tech had only taken an hour to apply lashes - it turned out she hadn't been getting Russian lashes at all - she'd been getting clusters which are totally different!"

[repost/inspired by @frankiewiddows] #PREMADEFANS I hate you ???? • For years & years we've worked our butts off learning & perfecting the delicate art & skill of #RUSSIANVOLUME ...then these #NASTYPESKYLASHES come along & try to steal the show. While you can't #BEATTHEREALDEAL clients need to be aware of the deception that sometimes goes on in the eyelash & beauty industry. ????A full set of Russian Volume lashes does NOT take 1-1.5hrs to do! If it's advertised as such: #BEWARE.????Pre-made fan lashes should NOT be advertised as #AUTHENTIC Russian Volume lashes & shouldn't be priced as such either. • Pre-made fans: ❌are chunky at the base ❌can't wrap the natural lash ❌have been dipped already so using them means double-dipping which is a #BIGNONO as it means extra weight on the natural lash • If they were all they're cracked up to be every #LASHTECH under the ☀️ would save time & money and not bother with the hours of training & costs involved with learning the techniques of Russian Volume. • SPREAD THE #LASHAWARENESS fellow #LASHETTES -we can't let this go unnoticed or unpunished! • #lashartbysarah #frankiewiddows #lashnerd #lashknowledge #lash101 #lasheducation #lashes #lashextensions #semipermanentlashes #qualitylashes #nobackalleylashes #nobackalleylashing #nopremadefans

A photo posted by SARAH NEWTON (@lashartbysarah) on


It's not just the time taken for the initial application of a new set of extensions that clients have to think about either. "You can go three months without getting your extensions removed completely, but it's recommended to get your lashes topped up every three weeks. A good technician though should recommend a complete break. It's like contact lenses - it's not good to wear them everyday - you need to have a break to let things settle."

Price can also reflect the quality of the lashes used. Much like any treatment, there are different products for different budgets, but with something semi-permanent and visible constantly on your face, investing in quality products such as silk or faux mink over synthetic acrylic is going to take your set from Primark to Prada very quickly.

"A good lash tech won't promise the world. If you're not a good candidate, they should be able to say no. Lash techs who are super cheap may not always have your best intentions at heart. Of course, they may be recently qualified and that is reflected in their prices, but asking questions such as 'what products do you use?', 'what's your aftercare procedure?' and 'how long have you been lashing?' will help to weed out any dodgy businesses. If in doubt, look at reviews too!"

Am I suitable for lash extensions?

Not everyone can enjoy lash extensions regularly - suitability will come down very much to lifestyle, as explained by Sarah, "Lash extensions are not for skincare aficionados. That's why I don't have them - I use about 12 skincare products a day! A lot of skincare products have oil in them - which will run into your eyes and eat away at the glue bond of your extensions - meaning they won't last that long."

If you're also a fan of mascara, then Russian lashes are not your bag. Russian lash extensions are made up of fans - and each fan is applied to a lash. Applying mascara will clump your lashes - and completely defeat the fluffy look with goop. Yuck.


In fact, wearing make up on the eyes is advised against - mascara on classic lashes is okay once in a while, but to really extend the longevity of your extensions, it's best to save the heavy make-up for special occasions.

There's also an element of commitment involved in maintaining your lashes, "Clients often don't realise the importance of washing your lashes. I always give a little shampoo sample to clients to take home - asides from keeping your lashes clean, shampooing them will prevent a nasty inflammation of the eyelids - known as Blepharitis."

For eyeliner fans (such as myself) the news is much better. With lashes, eyeliner is absolutely fine, however, it must be a liquid application as kohl pencils will potentially snag on your extensions and pull them out. Using make-up wipes and cotton buds to remove eyeliner however is a no-no, "Sometimes when using wipes or buds, the lint can catch on your lashes like pencil eyeliners. Your best bet is an oil-free make-up remover - or better yet, just pop in the shower and cope with panda eyes for a minute or two - it’s a small price to pay for good lashes!"

Prone to fidgeting or suffer from runny eyes? Extensions may not be for you: “As well as avoiding mascara, I would recommend against getting lash extensions if you frequently go swimming, visit a sauna or touch your eyes a lot. This will drastically reduce the lifespan of your extensions."

I'm in. What can I expect with Lash Extensions?

The process of having lash extensions applied is a fairly simple one - as a client, your commitment is as exhaustive as lying down on a bed and staying still for two to three hours. This sounds like a long time, but provided your lash technician has good banter, then the time will simply fly in, like mine did with Sarah.

The process begins with the client cleaning their eyes with make-up remover and cotton pads - to remove any residue, dirt or oily build up from the day. Your technician should then conduct a consultation with you - get to know your lifestyle, beauty preferences and recommend the best lash formation for you.

The client's input ends there, and it's up onto the bed to get nice and comfy. From there, your technician will apply pads under your eyes (often with a collagen gel.) This is to ensure during the process, your technician doesn't glue your bottom lashes. Hygiene is critical at this stage, so your technician should apply a primer or concoction like Witch Hazel and saline to ensure your lashes are squeaky clean. During this stage, your technician will also be conducting an analysis of your lashes close up and be able to alert you to any issues they may run into during the application.

As I was having a new set applied, Sarah outlined a skeleton shape of my extensions with a sharpie onto the pads to help her stay on track - I happen to be blessed with Daisy the Cow eyelashes, so a roadmap was helpful to the process!


Your technician will then use glue to bond your lashes - Sarah provided some insight into modern techniques:

"More and more technicians are coming to realise that sensitive glues simply don't carry any power to last. Most glues have the same properties, but the one your technician will use will be dependent on their experience. For somebody new to lashing, they should use a glue that takes longer to dry."

The base of an eyelash extension will be dipped into a jadestone or glue ring. A tiny bead at the end of the extension will be used to bond the extension to your lash - a millimetre or two from the skin.

"Touching the skin will usually set off a reaction," Sarah explains, "this glue is not meant to touch the skin - people won't necessarily be allergic -  it is simply too potent and if a reaction occurs, the extension should be removed right away."

Your lash extensions will "click" into place and your technician will painstakingly repeat the process with extreme precision and dexterity until your set is complete. At the end, your eyes will be fanned to or a few minutes and you're good to go!

It is recommended to keep lashes dry initially for 24 hours as glue is not completely dry during this period - something to bare in mind if you're planning a big bath pamper afterwards.

Lash Extensions - the Verdict?

Lash extensions may have a high risk if you're in the the wrong hands, but guided by a talented professional like Sarah, the pay-off is immense. Personally, I found my lash extensions to be sufficient to replace my day-to-day eye make-up - with the results prompting only compliments from colleagues and friends upon seeing the results. A very worthy investment.

Ready to take the plunge? Take advantage of Sarah's seriously good December deal of 50% off all new sets - bookable until the end of the month! Visit her page here.

Would you try lash extensions? Or are you already addicted? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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