Here’s the thing: eyelash extensions are gorgeous. We can’t deny that. Sauntering down to the salon for a lash-extension treatment is a totally hassle-free way to get those wispy, long, voluminous lashes you’ve always dreamed about.
In case you didn’t know, eyelash extensions are a semi-permanent set of false lashes applied to your natural lashes one by one. The false lashes, usually made from faux mink or silk fibers, are attached directly to your real lashes with glue.
The entire process of applying extensions usually takes one to two hours. When the process is complete, you’ll have fuller, longer lashes that look completely natural. You can even choose how dramatic you want the set to be—if you’re going for a more glamorous style, you can go all-out with the length and volume.
So, wait... what’s the catch? Why doesn’t literally everyone get lash extensions? Well, you know what they say: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
While many people swear by this treatment, it’s far from perfect. There are a few reasons that beauty fans might shy away from lash extensions.
Firstly, they’re expensive. The initial treatment can cost anywhere from $100 to $600. On top of that, extensions require a lot of upkeep—you have to return to the salon to get them filled in fairly often. For some people, that financial investment just isn’t worth it.
Another reason that someone might hesitate to invest in extensions is the potential health risk. In some states, there are no regulations on lash extension services. So, certain treatments may put you at risk of infection or damaged natural lashes. Yikes.
With these setbacks in mind, we’re not surprised that lots of beauty fans are seeking out alternatives to eyelash extensions. We all want picture-perfect lashes, but extensions just aren’t viable for everyone.
If you’re looking for lash options that’ll give you those voluminous, long, natural-looking lashes without the downsides of extensions, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our absolute favorite lash extension substitutes.
Firstly, let’s talk about the basics—mascara. This is probably the most obvious lash treatment out there.
Does mascara really count as a lash-extension alternative? Honestly, the reason many people choose to get extensions is so they don’t have to apply mascara every day. Extensions provide the length and look of mascara without the need for daily application. Plus, extensions never get clumpy or run down your cheeks.
However, we would argue that certain mascaras can mimic the look of extensions to a T. And, of course, mascara is way cheaper and way less time-consuming than the full salon treatment.
For dense, voluminous lashes, we’d highly recommend fiber mascara. This mascara contains minuscule fibers made of silk, nylon, or rayon that stick to your natural lashes, providing that salon-style volume and thickness we all want.
If you don’t mind the daily routine of applying fiber mascara each morning, we think it’s a great alternative to extensions.
Milk Makeup's Kush Mascara is a popular fiber mascara loved by our community:
False lashes: another classic option for glitzing up your eye makeup.
If you know how to apply glue-on lashes, they’re going to look amazing—no question. However, that’s exactly the issue. Putting on false lashes is a huge pain. Plus, if you’ve never done it before, it can be super intimidating.
Ultimately, the subject of false lashes comes down to personal preference. If you have the time, energy, and skill to put on falsies, more power to you. There are tons of choices available that look truly spectacular.
For many of us, glue-on lashes aren’t doable on a day-to-day basis. But for special occasions or Friday nights at the club, false eyelashes can be a great move.
We love this pair:
OK, this one’s more like an alternative to the alternative. Magnetic eyeliner: the ideal false lashes for people who hate glue-on sets.
For those of you less adept at eye makeup, allow us to explain magnetic eyeliner. It’s basically the same as regular eyeliner, with one key difference: it’s magnetic! It contains something called iron ixodes, or natural minerals that give the product magnetic properties.
Magnetic eyeliner is an ingenious solution to the glue problem. It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is apply the eyeliner as per usual, giving it time to dry completely. Then, you grab your magnetic lashes (magnetic eyeliner and lashes usually come as a packaged deal) and hold them close to your lash line. The lashes should snap right into place!
All in all, this method tends to be way easier than glue-on lashes. Also, they’re reusable and re-adjustable, which means you’ll get the most out of your money.
As an alternative to extensions, magnetic eyeliner doesn’t provide quite the same level of convenience. You still have to go through the motions of applying eyeliner each day. However, if you already wear eyeliner each day, it’ll barely add any time to your makeup routine.
Magnetic eyeliner and lashes are an excellent bet for anyone seeking that long, luxurious lash look.
Thankfully, you guys have tried magnetic eyeliner and lashes:
Time to do a full-180. Let’s talk about lash growth serum, which is basically the opposite of false eyelashes.
Eyelash growth serums are insanely trendy right now. Basically, these serums are meant to promote and enhance lash growth over an extended period of time. They come in a small, mascara-like tube with a little tiny brush-applicator. If you apply the serum directly to your lash line each day, over the course of several weeks or months, you should start seeing thicker, stronger lashes.
So, clearly, there’s no gluing or magnetizing involved. The goal is that you no longer need to put on false lashes or mascara. In this way, growth serum is kind of like extensions—the process just takes longer.
What’s the downside, you ask? Well, like extensions, really good lash serums can be quite expensive. Similarly, some of the cheaper, over-the-counter options don’t live up to their claims—they just don’t work. Plus, they can be irritating to the eyes if you’re not careful.
That being said, if you’re willing to invest in a high-quality, well-reviewed growth serum, you might just achieve the natural, voluminous look of extensions without ever visiting a salon.
Take it from this Supergreater:
Alright, back to the world of false lashes. Getting eyelash extensions involves applying a whole set of faux, individual fibers to your natural lashes, right? Well, lash singles (or individual lashes) are a more low-key, DIY alternative to that process.
You can purchase individual lashes at basically any drugstore or beauty store. Essentially, these lashes allow you to add a little extra oomph to your eyes wherever you need it.
Applying single lashes is quite simple, really. First, you’ll need to put on your mascara and let it dry. Then, you take your lashes and add a dot of glue to the base. Finally, just place the lashes wherever you feel you need some extra volume. (Note—the glue should attach to the base of your real lashes, not your eyelid!). Once the glue is fully dry, go ahead and clamp them into place with an eyelash curler.
In some ways, this method is quite similar to glue-on lashes. However, the fact that you can apply individual lashes or clumps of lashes makes the process just that much easier. Also, the finished product tends to look a bit more natural than classic false-lash strips.
Yes, this method takes time, but it’s inexpensive and relatively easy, even for beginners. So, why not give it a shot?
This Supergreater tried it:
Our final alternative to extensions is one of our favorites: the lash lift.
We just had to include the lash lift on this list because the method is so popular right now. Basically, a lash lift is the process of curling your natural lashes to provide a semi-permanent lift. Unlike extensions, lash lifts don’t add any extra length—however, by curling them upward, lash lifts help show off the natural length you already have.
Lash lifts are usually performed by a professional, and they can cost anywhere from $100-$175. So, like extensions, they can be costly. They don’t require quite as much maintenance, though.
Recently, DIY lash lift kits have been gaining popularity. Purchasing one of these kits and performing the treatment on your own is a cheaper option, but if you’re not a professional, it’s pretty tough to get it right. Generally, experts do not recommend the DIY route, as you can easily cause damage to your lashes or eyes.
So, if you’re tired of extensions and seeking a new lash treatment, be sure to try a lash lift (but leave it to the professionals!).
One Supergreater did try it at home:
Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to get out there and give yourself the lashes you’ve always wanted. With so many effective options, you will certainly find one that works wonders for you.
Did we fail to mention your favorite extension alternative? Let us know down below! And, if you try any of these methods, be sure to drop a review of your go-to products.