Are Cluster Lashes the Same as Eyelash Extensions? No. Here’s Why!

If you’ve been on social media, even for just a moment, then you’ve probably seen various influencers promoting cluster lashes. Because of these viral videos, cluster lashes have been gaining a lot of attention, leading to a mix of opinions among professionals. These videos have sparked many conversations across platforms, with some Lash Techs being for them, and others being strictly against them. As a leading lash extensions supplier, we’re here to set the record straight and outline the differences between cluster lashes and eyelash extensions for those who may be a little confused by the blurred lines between these two beauty treatments.

Holding cluster lashes with lash tweezers

What Are Cluster Lashes?

First off, let's clarify what exactly cluster lashes are. Cluster lashes are small groups of lashes (usually between 3 to 8 individual lashes) bonded together in a small cluster. These clusters are applied to the skin of the lash line with a temporary lash glue, often found in drugstores or beauty supply stores. They're designed for short-term wear, so think of them as a step up from strip lashes but not quite entering the realm of professional eyelash extensions. With them being more customizable than strip lashes since they come in ‘clusters’ rather than on a strip, individuals can create their own lash styles like a half-set of lashes by stacking them, with most applying the clusters underneath the lash line, which is also known to be quite a controversial technique so keep that in mind!

Close up of cluster lashes in a tray

Why Cluster Lashes Aren’t Eyelash Extensions!

The main distinctions between cluster lashes and eyelash extensions lies in their application, durability, and overall impact on the natural lashes. Eyelash extensions are, as you know, applied by a professional Lash Technician, who attaches those individual synthetic, faux mink, or silk lashes (whichever you prefer) to each of the natural lashes with a professional lash glue that contains Cyanoacrylate, stabilizers, and a black pigment (unless it is clear lash glue like Crystal Bond). Eyelash extensions also have a tapered base, designed to attach to a single natural lash, whereas cluster lashes have a chunkier base that is designed to adhere to the skin. The processes followed during a lash extensions treatment have all been tailored to protect the health of your clients’ natural lashes, consider their desired lash look and lifestyle, and ensure a seamlessly natural appearance that lasts for weeks with proper care and lash fills.

On the other hand, cluster lashes are often applied at home or, somewhat controversially, in a salon for a temporary boost. They can create volume and drama for a special event but lack the level of personalized application and, of course, the longevity that professional eyelash extensions offer. Moreover, the glue used for cluster lashes is not intended for long-term wear and can potentially damage the natural lashes if not removed carefully. The lash glue that’s used for cluster lashes is not intended for long-term wear since it’s usually a water-soluble solution, meaning it can be removed by hand and doesn’t require any special tools like lash tweezers and a remover gel. However, it’s still important to be careful when removing cluster lashes as it’s super easy to pull out your natural lashes and can result in permanent damage.  Another key difference between lash extensions and cluster lashes is that cluster lashes are typically made of PET, whereas eyelash extensions are made of more durable PBT. If you want to know more about the composition of lash extensions, then check out this blog post!

Cluster lashes in a tray

What’s the Debate?

The rise of cluster lashes has sparked much debate within the beauty community. You don’t need to search hard for them, just open up the comments section on some of the videos promoting cluster lashes, and you’ll find those debates in full swing. Some Lash Technicians see this trend as an opportunity to cater to clients who are seeking a more temporary and somewhat more affordable lash solution. Others view it as a threat, fearing that the popularity of cluster lashes might detract from the demand for professional eyelash extensions. Some of the biggest concerns of Lash Technicians are that clients may not understand that there are significant differences between these two beauty treatments, and that more individuals will be opting for the DIY approach of cluster lashes over the expertise and customization offered by lash extensions. However, that's not to say that cluster lashes don't have benefits. As a Lash Tech you could offer them to clients who are allergic to lash extensions, retail them to clients, use them for training purposes to show how lash styles suit different eye shapes, and use them on yourselves as you're too busy lashing your clients!

Isolating the lashes with tweezers for lash extensions

Should You Offer Cluster Lashes as a Treatment?

Well, it’s really down to personal preference, and this is where understanding your client base becomes crucial. If your clientele values convenience and lower costs over customization and longevity, then introducing cluster lash applications as a service that you offer might meet their needs for specific occasions. However, it's essential to make sure that you educate your clients about the differences between these two treatments, especially regarding the health and safety of their natural lashes.

If you do choose to offer cluster lashes, then you could provide them as an express service for your clients who are looking for a temporary lash enhancement for events or special occasions. It's vital that you communicate clearly to your clients about the temporary nature of this service and the potential risks involved so you can effectively manage their expectations and ensure satisfaction. Even though offering cluster lashes may seem like a good business opportunity at first, you’ll also need to consider some of the potential downsides that can affect your business. Will you be deferring clients from booking in for eyelash extensions if you promote cluster lashes? And how will this affect your business financially?

Applying lash extensions in salon

The Importance of Client Education

As a Lash Tech, your role isn't just to provide a beauty service, but also to educate your clients about prioritizing their lash health and making informed decisions about their lash treatments. Discussing the differences between cluster lashes and eyelash extensions, including their application processes, maintenance, longevity, and costs, can help your clients make choices that better suit their lifestyle and lash goals.

Lash extensions consultation between client and lash tech

Whether you decide to offer cluster lashes as a service or not, because it’s completely your choice, the key things that you’ll need to consider are education and transparency. As Lash Technicians, our expertise and guidance can help our clients navigate through fleeting beauty trends towards choices that safely and sustainably enhance their natural beauty in the long run. So, let's continue to elevate our industry by prioritizing the health and satisfaction of our clients, one treatment at a time!