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We all spend a fair amount of time each day scrolling through social media and staring longingly at those lash sets we aspire to create later in our lash career. We all want our work to be ‘perfect’, but what actually constitutes a technically perfect lash set?
As the first company in the UK to organise and host an eyelash extensions championship (Lash Battle), and being of the leading training academies in the UK, we’re pretty well-versed in the technical intricacies of what makes a technically flawless lash set!
As this post will be quite long, I’ll be sure to link to some other articles which go into greater detail!
So, what are judges and lash trainers assessing when they look at your lash set?
The top line is exactly what it sounds like - it’s the line formed by the top of the eyelash extensions. Styles like Kim K with their super wispy top line, or wet look lashes with their much more spiky finish are super popular at the moment, but when Russian Volume lashes first came onto the scene one of their key characteristics was that they had a super even top line.
When we assess this, we’re making sure there’s no lash out of place! Check out our blog post about working with lash layers for some tips about achieving a super even top line.
Some competitions now have a Kim K styling category - for this, they’re looking for an even top line with clear spikes.
Next, we’re looking at the direction of your extensions. If they’re leaning to the side then points will be taken off!
Now, if you’re working on an Extreme Cat or Fox Style, then you may well have the extensions gently sweeping outwards towards the outer corner - this is perfectly fine as it adds to the overall look. Basically, as long as all the lashes are pointing in the direction that they’re supposed to, you’re onto a winner!
Did you style the model according to their face shape and bone structure? Did you consider the size of their eyes and the distance between them? If not, points will be docked.
Remember that eyelash extensions are an enhancement of our clients’ natural gorgeousness, so we’re always looking to compliment them - it’s why different styles exist in the first place!
As a general rule of thumb:
Wide set of eyes = Dolly
Proportional = Squirrel
Close set = Cat
My personal motto - if in doubt, squirrel. A squirrel style follows the natural lengths of the lashes, and has the longest section under the brow arch so is very flattering on pretty much everyone.
There are a lot more factors that go into styling, so this is a very basic guide but as long as you take the client/model’s natural look into consideration when picking a style, you’ll be fine!
You should be aiming for at least 80% coverage - if it’s a competition set aim for 100% (excluding teeny baby lashes). Of course, this is easier said than done with in-person competitions - online competitions are a blessing in this regard as you can take a full day if you need to, you’ll just need to bribe your model with an extra big present - so to help achieve this it’s best to work with the layers.
Pretty simple one - does it look good? As a judge or mentor, am I looking at this lash set and going ‘oooh I want that!’ or am I thinking ‘hmm, something’s not quite right here.’ - it can come down to the lengths used, it can be due to gaps/leaning fans, it could be that the styling isn’t quite right.
This also comes down to if the model has very bloodshot eyes, so be mindful that their eyes are closed during the treatment, and at least use a fan at the end to waft away any fumes!
Is the lash set the same across both eyes? Have you got your length graduations in the same spots on both sides? One thing that will help you out massively with this is simply drawing a lash map on your eyepatches so I ALWAYS recommend this, regardless of if you’re about to do your first set or your thousandth.
Sometimes a lash map isn’t quite enough to achieve perfect symmetry - sometimes our client will have two different shaped/sized eyes, or their lashes will grow down on one eye and upwards on the other. Those clients are trickier but not impossible! It means that you’ll need to be a bit more creative with your curls/length/map - a tighter curl such as CC on straight lashes compared to a C on lashes growing upwards will help you out in this regard. It takes some practice but you’ll get there!
That being said, if you are working towards an assessment or a competition, choose your friend with the easiest lashes to work with!
Even if there’s only one stickie in the whole set, we absolutely cannot let it slide. They’re so damaging to your clients’ lashes, to your reputation, and actually to the industry as a whole - all those questions about whether eyelash extensions cause damage come directly from stickies having been so prevalent when lash extensions were new, and isolation wasn’t the best. Now we know how to isolate perfectly, how to dip our extensions into the glue and proper attachment methods. We have no excuse.
How well are your extensions attached - another simple one! Put simply, your extension should be flush with the natural lash it’s attached to - there should be no criss-crossing, no lifted bases - nothing that can cause discomfort or stickies, essentially.
This, put simply, is ‘how much glue has been used’. We don’t want to see big clumps of glue in the lash line - apart from being pretty ugly, it’s going to lead to stickies, which we obviously want to avoid!
You’ll also want to make sure there isn’t any shock polymerisation in your set for this part, as this will also deduct points.
Why isn’t length included in the aesthetics section? For the simple reason that lashes extensions that are too long can result in damage. As a general rule, the longest you should be going is 3mm longer than the natural lash.
So what about spikes? In a Kim K set, you’ll be adding spikes throughout the set which are more than likely going to be 5-6 mm longer than the natural lash length. How do we protect the lashes then? With spike, you’ll either be using closed fans, or flat lashes. If you’re using closed fans, opt for thinner lashes - flat lashes are MUCH lighter than a standard classic lash so a 0.25 flat lash is fine for a fan - it weighs about the same as a 0.15 classic lash.
Pretty much the same as above - are the lashes you’ve chosen safe for the set you’ve done? If you’re using 0.10s for a 4D set you’re going to have points deducted - it’s simply not safe for anyone’s natural lashes.
With competitions, you’ll be in a category so you won’t really go wrong with fan sizes there (unless you specifically do 5D in a 2D category, but that’s just an error and not an oversight), but when you submit work for a course, it’s usually better to send 3-4D sets at most, so that we can really see the attachment skill at play.
If you’re in a mega-volume category and we find anything thicker than a 0.05, points are being deducted. We all have those clients who want thick, dark, full sets and we can give them to them safely with those super fine lashes created just for mega volume. A 15D fan in 0.03 isn’t going to cause damage.
Your attachment should Ideally be 0.5mm from the eyelid in the inner and outer corners, and 1mm through the rest of the lash line. This is tricky when you first start, but it will absolutely come with practice. Using tape to gently lift the eyelid will help you to access these lashes more easily, so try this if you tend to have lashes very far away from the eyelid.
Similarly, if your extensions are placed too close to the eyelid, we’re going to have to say something! Eyelash extensions glue shouldn’t ever touch the skin - it increases the risk of an allergic reaction and is generally uncomfortable.
This is not to say that we’ll be harsh if you’ve opted for narrow fans or wide fans - they each have a long list of merits when used correctly! What we’re looking at here is the distance between each lash in the fan and ensuring that the fans themselves are lovely and even. The more even your fans, the fuller your set.
All inner and outer corners should be covered with extensions, and should have those extensions applied at the correct distance. I’d recommend two things here:
I hope this was helpful - I know it’s far longer than our usual posts, but it gives you the best idea of aaaalllll the elements that go into a perfect eyelash extensions set!