Eyelash Extensions vs False Eyelashes

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Ah to be blessed with long fluttery eyelashes. But alas, most of us were not born with them. Fret not, both false eyelashes and lash extensions can give you those long luscious lashes you’ve always dreamt of. Although they both achieve a similar result, they are two very different things.

To help you decide which is best suited to you, we are going to take a look at eyelash extensions vs false eyelashes. We’ll give you the breakdown of how they compare to each other in terms of application, cost, durability, maintenance, removal, and the risks associated with each.


Eyelash extensions vs false eyelashes

False Lashes

Let’s do a quick breakdown of how both of these lash systems work.

False Lashes

False eyelashes are the strip lashes you’ve probably seen at the drugstore, or beauty supply store. False eyelashes adhere on top of your lashes using a lash adhesive or through a magnetic connection.

They are lightweight and range in style from very natural-looking thin wisps to full-on glam.

False lashes are really meant for one-time use, but you may be able to wear them a couple of times if you are careful. They are perfect for a special event or just because you feel like it! You can easily apply them yourself and even wear mascara on top of your false eyelashes.

Eyelash Extensions

Lash extensions, by comparison, are individual lashes that are adhered to your lashes using special glue. Each individual lash is placed on top of your own lashes. False eyelashes need to be applied by a lash artist at the salon. It takes a few hours to apply extensions, depending on the type of extension.

Lash extensions are more semi-permanent, lasting about 6 weeks.

Cluster eyelash extensions are another option. They must also be applied at the salon.

Rather than each lash being glued on to individual lashes, they are glued on in small clusters of lashes. Cluster lashes are less expensive and take less time to apply, but these conveniences come at a price.

Your natural eyelashes grow at different speeds, so if you have a cluster of lashes glued together, the lashes that grow faster will tug at the other lashes.

This can result in eye infections, twisted extensions, thinned-out lashes, and even bald spots.

Either go big or go home – if you are going to get extensions, get the lash-by-lash extensions and you will avoid all the problems with cluster lashes.

Lash Application

False eyelashes can be applied at home. If your false lashes are glue-on, the glue is applied and the false eyelashes are placed directly on top of your natural lash line.

It might take you a couple of tries the first time to get the hang of it (and you may get some glue in your eye), but once you’ve got it, they only take a few minutes to apply.

Magnetic lashes either sandwich over the existing lashes, with magnets on the top and bottom, or they adhere with a magnetic eyeliner.

Lash extensions must be applied by a professional at a salon that specializes in lash extensions. Lash extensions are applied one by one onto each eyelash. The application process can last from 1 to 2 hours, depending on how many lashes you need to create the look you’re going for.

Lash extensions are a lot of upkeep. If you want to keep your extension look going, fills every 2-3 weeks will take 20-45 minutes, again depending on the style.


False Lash Multipacks

False eyelashes are available at most drug and beauty stores and for order online of course. You can buy an individual pair or get them in multi-packs. If you’re careful about cleaning and storage, you will be able to reuse them somewhat.

They’ll cost you between $3 to $30 depending on the brand and quantity.

Lash extensions, on the other hand, are pricey. An initial full-set lash application can cost $150-$500. Prices will vary according to your location as well as the type and style of lashes being applied.

In addition to this, monthly maintenance and refills will cost $50-$70 per session.

If you are thinking of getting lashes for the long term, lash extensions can be a more cost-effective option than false lashes, so you’re not replacing your lashes for a new pair every day.


Because false eyelashes are removed before sleeping, as long as you don’t rub your eyes while wearing your false eyelashes, they should be fine.

Lash extensions are a little bit higher maintenance. You can’t get lash extensions wet for the first two days after getting your lash extensions done. You also need to keep oil cleansers and cotton pads away from your Lash extensions.

You can opt for lash extension-friendly makeup remover like Clinique Rinse Off Eye Makeup Solvent .

Just keep those cotton pads away.

Over and above the initial application of lash extensions, extension refills are usually needed every 2-3 weeks. Refills fill in any obvious gaps left as extensions fall out.

The joint where your real lashes join the eyelash extension weakens over time due to oil and impurities becomes unstable and the extension falls off.


Lash extensions are more durable and of course, longer-lasting than false lashes. They can last for up to 6 weeks.

And unlike false eyelashes, you don’t have to worry about your lash extension unsticking or lifting up at the inner corners during an event.

You can’t get lash extensions wet after 48 hours from the time of application, but after that, getting them wet is not a problem.

Most false lashes can only be used, at most, a couple of times before they lose their shape and no longer stick well. If you’re careful, you’ll be able to use them a couple of times, maybe more. But there’s no guarantee, they’re not made to last.

You cannot get false eyelashes wet.


False eyelashes can be removed with an oil-based makeup remover. You can use a cotton bud or pad to run the makeup remover along your lash line. Peel and lift the lash from the outer corner.

Make sure to remove any residual glue left behind.

You can either get your eyelash extensions professionally removed at the salon, or leave them to fall out on their own with the natural shedding of your lashes.

Managing Risks

Anything to do with gluing things close to your eyes is going to come with some risks. From irritation, bacterial infections, and in rare cases, blindness, you can reduce your risks by doing the following:

  • always use high quality and hypo-allergenic false lashes and glues.
  • always check for proper hygienic conditions at the salon
  • always confirm that the person doing the lash extensions is a currently licensed lash artist
  • Don’t sleep on your stomach if you have lash extensions
  • Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes if you are wearing false lashes or extensions


What’s better: eyelash extensions or false eyelashes?

Both false lashes and eyelash extensions are a great way to get those lashes you wish you’d been born with.

Lash extensions may be better for you if you plan on wearing lashes every day, and you are looking to cut down on morning prep time. Or maybe you’re going on vacation and don’t want to have to worry about makeup (or false lashes) that will come off in the pool.

If you’re getting married – getting extensions a couple of days before the wedding will last you through your honeymoon.

You may want to choose false eyelashes if you just want to vamp up your look every once in a while.

You can choose when you want to have a more natural look or go full glam. False lashes are great for a night out or for special occasions.

When it comes to eyelash extensions vs false eyelashes, the option that is best for you will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and how often you plan to wear them.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).