Cluster Lashes vs Individual Lashes
The eyelash extensions industry has come a long way - what started as clunky cluster or party lashes has been replaced (for the most part) by light and flattering eyelash extensions which pose no threat to the health of anyone's eyelashes! Let's have a bit of a closer look at the differences between cluster lashes and individual eyelash extensions!
Cluster eyelash extensions are a collection of individual lashes that are grouped together, or ‘clustered’, and glued at one end, finishing with a thick base. They can often be made from small, cut sections of a strip lash. Their bases tend to be quite wide and heavy. These lashes are also known as party lashes, and are sometimes offered as an express eyelash extensions treatment in salons.
Individual Eyelash Extensions
Individual lashes are made from synthetic fibres and can come as either a singular lash or in a ‘fan-like’ fashion with a number of lashes joined together. Singular lashes are used to create a more natural ‘classic’ lash look, whilst anything more than a singular lash is referred to as a ‘volume’ lash look. The number of lashes that are in a fan are referred to by using the letter ‘D’. Volume fans can vary from anywhere between 2D-14D.
So what is the difference between cluster lashes and individual lashes?
Cluster lashes can be very heavy on the eyes and, like strip lashes, they should not be worn for more than a day. Unlike individual eyelash extensions,they are applied with glue on top of each other along the lash line (often touching the skin).
Applying cluster lashes is similar to gluing an entire false eyelash to your eyelid. Eyelash extension adhesive should never come into contact with the skin. It isn’t designed to touch the skin and should be used extremely delicately. The skin/ adhesive contact can easily trigger a severe immune response from the body and, once that’s occurred, the client is allergic to eyelash extension adhesive for life.
Due to where cluster lashes are applied (the eyelid), they do not shed with your human eyelashes the same way individual eyelashes do. If your lashes cannot shed when they naturally reach the end of their lifecycle, it quickly becomes a breeding ground for infection. As cluster lashes are applied touching the skin, the hair follicles can become blocked where new lashes struggle to grow, leading to ingrown hairs or styes.
Individual and volume eyelash extensions are applied to each individual lash with military precision. Using tweezers to isolate the lashes, a lash tech will apply the lashes in layers to ensure absolutely every lash is covered. Different lengths, thicknesses and curls can be added to personalise the set and create a unique look for each individual client based on lash length, preferred style, eye and face shape.
Since the beginning of the lash extensions industry, there has been many horror stories of ‘lash techs’ using cluster lashes to create a lash look, advertising the service as though they are individual lash extensions. Placing these lashes onto the natural lashes could have devastating consequences.
Due to their weight they can even cause the lashes to be permanently damaged leading to traction alopecia (permanent loss of natural eyelashes). This is as a result of the constant pulling from the cluster lashes and the shape and size of the base, which doesn't allow for isolation of the lashes, leading to stickies.
With individual eyelash extensions, lash techs will map out exactly where they want each eyelash extension to go to ensure that they create a perfect and symmetrical look for their clients. The individual lashes are designed at the perfect weight to be applied to eyelashes so that they do not cause any damage.
They're even available in different thicknesses so that even clients with the shortest, finest lashes can be lashed safely! Due to where they are applied on the natural lash, they can shed with the natural lashes and after a few weeks it is time to revisit your lash tech for an infill.
Should lash technicians avoid cluster lashes?
As a lash technician, it goes without saying that you should never use cluster lashes on a client! Premade fans are a different story - these are widely used throughout the industry and can be perfectly suitable and safe for the natural lashes.
So if you want to save time whilst maintaining your high standards and immaculate reputation, you could always opt for high quality premade fans instead!