Cluster Lashes vs. Lash Extensions: Which One is Better for You?


Cluster eyelash extensions consist of several individual lashes bonded together at one end to form a cluster, resulting in a thick base. These clusters may be derived from sections of a strip lash, that you’re probably used to using at home, leading to their relatively heavy and wide base. Often referred to as party lashes, cluster lashes are sometimes presented as a quick eyelash extension solution in beauty salons for clients who prefer a quicker appointment, and results that will only last a few days–hence the name ‘party lashes’ as they’re usually applied for an event.


Lash extensions are individual synthetic, silk, or mink lashes that are attached to each natural lash using a lash adhesive. The process can take anywhere from one to three hours, depending on the desired look and the number of lashes being applied. The result is a fuller, longer set of lashes that can last for up to six weeks, depending on the growth cycle of the natural lashes, proper aftercare, and infills.


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.

Lash Extensions 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.


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.

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!

The heaviness of cluster lashes can cause natural lashes to fall out or even lead to traction alopecia—a permanent loss of natural eyelashes due to the strain from the clusters. This is also exacerbated by the clusters’ base design, which does not allow for proper lash isolation, resulting in “stickies” (lashes glued together), which can be super painful for your client.


If you only need to wear lashes for a special occasion or for a couple of days, you may be okay with wearing cluster lashes. Since very few salons offer this service anymore, they might appeal to you if you have great skills when it comes to makeup application. Just make sure if you are opting for cluster lashes that you use temporary glue and remove them after a day or two.

Lash extensions are better for those who want to wake up every day with perfect eyelashes. There is some upkeep required, as you will need to get fills every few weeks, but if you are committed to maintaining long lashes, then extensions are the way to go! In the long run, you may find it easier and in some ways lower maintenance than natural lashes, because you no longer have to curl lashes or apply mascara daily. 

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