The Ultimate Guide: Cluster Lashes or Classic Lashes?

The eyelash extensions industry has come a long way - what started as clunky lashes, 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 natural lashes! Let's have a bit of a closer look at the differences between Cluster lashes and Classic lash extensions!

Cluster Lashes

Cluster lashes 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.

Close-up of Cluster lashes

Classic Lash Extensions

Classic 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. Individual 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 lash fan are referred to by using the letter ‘D’ for dimension. Volume fans can vary from anywhere between 2D-14D. 

Close-up of individual lashes with Classic lashes

So What is the Difference Between Cluster Lashes and Classic Lashes? 

Cluster lashes can be a bit heavier on the eyes and, like strip lashes, they should not be worn for more than a day. Unlike individual lash 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. However, eyelash extension glue 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 reaction 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 the natural lashes the same way Classic lashes do. If the natural lashes cannot shed when they reach the end of their growth cycle, it quickly becomes a breeding ground for infection. One thing to be careful of when using Cluster lashes, is that because they are applied with eyelash glue that is touching the skin, the hair follicles can become blocked if the eyelash glue is not completely removed after use and could potentially cause the new natural lashes to struggle to grow, leading to ingrown hairs or styes. 

Classic lashes and Volume lashes are applied to each individual lash with military precision. Using isolating lash tweezers to isolate the individual lashes, you will then apply the lash extensions 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. 

Isolating individual lashes to apply Classic lash extensions

Since the beginning of the lash extensions industry, there has been many horror stories of ‘Lash Techs’ using Cluster lashes to create a lash extension 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.

Whereas with Classic lashes, you will map out exactly where you want each eyelash extension to go to ensure that you create a symmetrical look for your clients. Classic lash extensions are designed at the perfect weight to be applied to the natural lashes so that they do not cause any damage.

They're also 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 safely shed with the natural lashes and after a few weeks it is time to revisit for an infill

Close-up of Classic lash extensions set

Should Lash Technicians Avoid Cluster Lashes?

As a Lash Technician, it goes without saying that you should never use cluster lashes as an alternative to Classic lashes or Volume lashes on a client who wants a semi permanent beauty treatment like eyelash extensions! This is why, as we mentioned earlier, that Cluster lashes should only be used as a short term beauty treatment like strip lashes are and should only be applied to the eyelids with eyelash glue that is safe and formulated for contact with the skin. 

Premade fans however, are a different story - these are widely used throughout the lash extension industry to easily achieve the gorgeous volume that clients desire for their lashes and are perfectly suitable and safe for your client's 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!