Glossary of Lash Extensions Terminology

For a long time, lash extensions were summed up with a few simple words. The story went like this: Buy a strip of plastic lashes from the drug store, along with a small tube of glue, and stick them on your upper lash line.

Back then, no one could foresee the wave of luxury lashes and lash extensions that was coming our way. What a difference a few years and some innovative ideas make! Today, lash extensions are a multi million-dollar industry, with entire salons, schools, and techniques dedicated to the practice. There is a range of adhesives and lash materials, as well as a scope of different lash procedures to choose from.

As with any new industry, a whole lexicon has emerged to describe the newly expansive world. Some words and phrases are new, like “mega volume,” while other words from fields like science are becoming more widespread. To bring you up to speed, here is:

A Glossary of Lash Extension Terminology

  • Adhesive – a substance that causes something to adhere, such as glue or rubber cement.
  • Cyanoacrylate [sahy-uh-noh-ak-ruh-leyt] – the main ingredient in adhesives; a colourless liquid that easily polymerizes, and can range from thin to thick viscosity. It is what makes adhesive sticky.
  • Viscosity [vi-skos-i-tee] – the consistency, thickness or texture of a material, especially adhesives.
  • Hydroquinone [hahy-droh-kwi-nohn] – a weak acid that prevents a substance (like adhesive) from curing too quickly. (Look closely and you will find this substance in the list of ingredients in many facial and skin care products.)
  • Dry Time – The length of time it takes for an eyelash extension to adhere to the natural lash. The more experience a lash artist gains and the faster they can work, the stronger and faster their adhesive can be.
  • Retention – The length of time the lash extension stays adhered to the natural lashes.
  • Immediate retention – if and for how long the lashes adhere immediately following placement. This is determined during the appointment as the artist brushes through the lashes.
  • Long-term retention – the amount of lashes that are still adhered to the natural lashes after 2-3 weeks following an appointment.
  • Mink lashes – taken from the actual animal, this lash extension material is becoming less popular since synthetic materials are improving without needing to involve living animals in the process.
  • Synthetic lashes – factory made lashes made of a plastic fiber called Polybutylene Terephthalate (PBT). PBT is a thermoplastic semi-crystalline polymer, and a type of polyester, that is heated, molded into the desired lash shape that sets as it cools.
  • Volume – the amount of space that an object occupies.
  • Russian Volume & American Volume – volume technique when 3 or more lashes are applied to the natural lash and are only 1-2mm longer than the natural lash (usually no longer than 10mm), with a thick lash line that arches in a straight line, rather than a textured or staggered, wispy line, which describes American Volume.
  • Mega Volume – the latest trend which uses 6 or more .03-.06 thickness of extensions. Similar to traditional Russian volume but extensions tend to be longer than the 1-2mm previous recommendation.

This is by no means exhaustive and the world of lashes continues to expand and evolve, lashes have come such a long way in just a few short years. These days, adhesives, lash material and techniques have drastically improved and have changed the lash landscape, and the words we use to describe them!

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