Admit it. You’ve tried every lash boost, ultra-long, super thick, miracle wand mascara on the market to try to achieve longer, fuller lashes. You’ve probably even tried some of those “fiber mascaras,” too, which usually leave you wearing tiny black “fibers” on your cheeks after a few hours of wear. It’s completely frustrating and defeating when you can’t get the long, voluminous lashes you want with mascara, and because of this, you’ve probably turned to some other form of eyelash enhancement. From false strip eyelashes, serums, conditioners, tints, and extensions, the options for getting the longer lashes Mother Nature didn’t give you are many, and some are even a little scary.
We’ve made it clear we will do practically anything to get longer lashes, and the beauty industry knows this well. The eyelash enhancement industry is a booming, super profitable 1.5 billion dollar industry, with the eyelash extension sector accounting for almost $810 million of that profit. If those numbers made you do a double-take, you aren’t alone, but the fact remains that countless numbers of us are still routinely plopping down in those salon chairs to have tiny eyelash fibers super-glued to our own natural lashes...and paying a fortune for it, too.
At Doe Lashes, we wondered just how much eyelash extensions should cost. Why are lash extensions so pricey in the first place— after all, they’re just tiny little fibers! We did some research to find out the truth behind the lash extension industry, and because we’re your lash besties, we’re here to give you the inside scoop. We’ll look at what eyelash extensions are, what makes them so expensive, and how much you should be paying for eyelash extensions. We’ll also look at how using at-home strip lashes can save you time, a ton of money, and give you the same great lengthy lashes.
What Are Eyelash Extensions?
Eyelash extensions are one of many ways to create longer, more voluminous lashes. In this method, a lash technician applies tiny, individual lash fibers to each of your individual, natural lashes. The fibers are adhered with a salon-grade glue that is essentially as powerful as super glue. This glue can contain some pretty scary chemicals (like formaldehyde) and often gives off some pretty strong fumes.
Extensions last until your natural lashes fall out, taking with them the extension that was glued to the natural lash. Unfortunately, many eye care professionals are begging us to stay away from eyelash extensions due to risks of eye infection, permanent damage to your natural eyelashes’ hair follicles, and side effects from the glue adhesive. Some users have even reported that they feel their extensions inhibited their natural lashes’ regrowth ability.
How Much Should You Be Paying for Eyelash Extensions?
If you’re considering eyelash extensions, know this: they won’t come cheap. The price for eyelash extensions can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the following factors.
- Type of lash fiber used. Eyelash extensions are available in numerous different fiber options from real animal fibers like mink and fox hair, faux animal fibers, to silk and synthetic fibers. The type of fiber you choose will play into the cost of your eyelash extensions. Real animal fur is the most expensive of the fibers (and also never cruelty-free). Faux versions of these fibers will come in as the next highest-priced, followed by silk fibers and synthetic. Synthetic fibers are the least expensive and also the heaviest fibers available, which may be uncomfortable for some users.
- Amount of extensions placed. You can determine how many extensions you want to be placed. A “full set” means you’re getting an extension placed on every natural lash fiber on your upper lash line. This is the most expensive and most popular method of getting eyelash extensions. A partial placement, typically called a “fill”, means you are only having a limited number of extensions placed, which will cost less money.
- The salon professional and facility where you have your lashes done. Sure, we all love sitting down to a glass of champagne or sparkling water and being treated like a true celebrity when we go to the salon, but those services that seem complimentary definitely aren’t. Those services and little “extras” are padded into the total cost of your extensions, so if you are trying to go a little cheaper on your extensions, consider having them done at a beauty academy, or simply a less expensive salon. The quality of the procedure can be just as good as a ritzy salon, with a lower price tag.
These factors all determine the total overall cost of your eyelash extensions. Keep in mind the cost is not just a “one and done” fee. If you plan to upkeep your lashes, you will need fills every two to three weeks.
Based on our research, the average cost of a full set of eyelash extensions will start around $120-$150 and become more expensive (up to and over $500) depending on fiber choice, amount of fibers, and location. You can expect to pay approximately half to three-quarters of this amount for each fill you need, which will likely occur as often as bi-monthly.
This cost also does not include gratuity for the salon professional who provides the service. Eyelash extension placement takes an extreme level of skill and a lot of time. Lash technicians make the most money when applying full sets. Because of the amount of time it takes to place a full set, they are usually limited to just a few clients a day, which means their opportunity for gratuity is less. Many eyelash professionals pay their own overhead and work as independent contractors, so gratuity is super important. The standard rate for gratuity is 20% of the total service amount. As such, the total cost of eyelash extensions will look something like this:
Total cost of service (first full set): $350
Gratuity: $70 and up depending on the level of service
Total cost of initial full set (mid-grade fibers, mid-grade salon) $420
Your first fill would likely cost around $210, roughly, and would occur around two weeks after placement. You may be able to get more mileage out of your placements depending on your own personal lash cycle and how long you can go before it begins to drive you crazy that your lashes are not as long as they previously were.
Why Are Lash Extensions So Expensive?
With the considerable cost of lash extensions, it is normal to wonder why they cost as much as they do. There are several factors that play into the total cost of lash extensions. Make no mistake, no matter how friendly your lash tech is, they are applying your lashes and are in this business to turn a profit. As such, they will not only mark up their services and products; they will also fluctuate the cost based on the current market value for the service.
This means, if eyelash extensions are more popular during prom season, for instance, you may end up paying slightly more than you would normally pay at other times during the year. Let’s look at some of the factors that play a role in the cost of eyelash extensions.
- Cost of materials. As previously mentioned, there are numerous different types of lash fibers you can have applied to your lashes. Your salon professional has to pay for these fibers before they resell them to you. Even though they pay wholesale for the lashes, they will need to mark them up to cover not only the cost of the materials but also to turn a profit and make it worth their while to use those materials.
- Overhead. Many salon professionals work as independent contractors, renting space in a salon or boutique where they perform their services. Even if you are going to a chain salon, your eyelash professional may be paying some type of overhead for their chair in that salon. The total cost of your eyelash extensions will include a charge to cover the overhead they pay at their salon.
- Time. Applying eyelash extensions take a considerable amount of time and patience. Your salon professional will probably determine a fixed amount they would like to make per hour, and factor that in according to how long it typically takes to apply a set of eyelash extensions. Many salon professionals work for gratuity only, so even though you may think it’s not a big deal to skip the tip, keep in mind that gratuity can sometimes be their main source of income.
Eyelash extensions are one of many ways to lengthen your lashes artificially. However, the cost of eyelash extensions may be off-putting to some. Fortunately, you can get the same great look of beautiful, voluminous lashes without spending a fortune or spending countless hours in the salon chair. Doe lashes’ false strip eyelashes are a wonderful alternative to eyelash extensions. They are completely affordable, reusable, interchangeable, and easy to apply and remove all in the comfort of your own home. If you are tired of paying for eyelash extensions, false strip eyelashes may be a more viable option for you.