Long, thick eyelashes call attention to the eyes, which are often referred to as "windows to the soul." Countless authors and poets have used descriptions of eyelashes to evoke images of beautiful women. This is even true in animated films—did you know that long, fluttery eyelashes are the only difference between Disney’s animated Robin Hood and Maid Marian characters' faces?
Since not all women are blessed with naturally long lashes, beauty experts help augment this feature using eyelash extensions. In fact, there's an entire career path available for eyelash extension specialists.
What is a Lash Extension Specialist?
A lash extension specialist is a beauty professional who has taken specialized training in the application of semi-permanent eyelash extensions onto existing lashes. It's a task that requires training, good vision, steady hands, and great patience because the lash extensions are applied one by one onto existing lashes. The procedure typically takes one to three hours and the client is left with full, beautiful, natural-looking eyelashes that last a long time.
Many lash extension specialists first get a cosmetology or esthetics license and then take an eyelash technician course. Anyone interested in such training should first check eyelash extension state requirements.
Some of the areas of study in an eyelash extension training program include:
- Eyelash extension isolation and separation procedures
- Eyelash extension application
- Lash bonding and effective bonding tips
- Allergic reactions
- Infectious and contagious diseases of the eye
- Proper sanitation practices
- Occupational health and safety practices
Eyelash extension specialists may be called lash specialists, eyelash technicians, or lash artists. Whatever label they carry, they typically enjoy flexible schedules and high career satisfaction.
An eyelash technician may work in a salon, spa, or boutique. Experienced lash extension specialists may teach at beauty schools, work with plastic surgery offices, or open specialty eyelash salons where they perform eyelash extensions, eyelash lifts, eyelash color tints, and other services.
Lash Extension Specialist Salary and Career Growth
Earnings for eyelash extension specialists can vary significantly due to multiple factors such as the area you live in and whether you work full-time or part-time. Earnings differ depending on whether you work as an employee, a 1099 contractor, or rent booth space. Profits can also change dramatically if you open your own specialty shop.
Regulations in some states require eyelash extensions to be applied in licensed facilities. However, in states where it’s allowed, some eyelash technicians choose to work from home.
Information on eyelash technician salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is typically grouped with other beauty industry jobs. The most recent report available showed 2018 median annual pay of $24,830 for cosmetologists and $31,290 for skin care specialists, also known as estheticians/aestheticians.
The Board of Cosmetology salon jobs listed in December 2019 for eyelash technicians had salaries ranging from $20,000 to $58,127. During the same timeframe, a Glassdoor survey of 2,900 salaries (submitted anonymously) showed lash stylist salaries ranging from $22,000 to $50,000 annually. Those with the highest earnings were licensed cosmetologists and estheticians. As there is no centralized governmental report for this career specifically, the best way to know the pay for your area is to check job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed.
CareerOneStop (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor) doesn't provide information specifically for eyelash technicians or eyelash extension specialists, but they report a bright job outlook with projections for positive job growth of 11% for skin care specialists and 9% for cosmetologists.
How do I Become a Lash Extension Specialist?
The key to a successful career as a lash extension specialist or eyelash technician is to become a professional licensed through the state. Even if your state has no special requirements, it's best to have esthetician or cosmetologist licensure. This assures clients that the individual to whom they're entrusting a sensitive and essential part of their body is qualified and has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the service. Building a trusting, repeat clientele helps ensure a rewarding career.
Estheticians and cosmetologists who've decided they'd like to add eyelash extension specialist to their resume may choose to complete eyelash extension certification requirements.
Always be sure your state board approves any training you invest in.
Once trained, an eyelash technician specialist can confidently market and use their skills to complement other services they provide. As their clientele develops, some find this part of their work to be so gratifying and financially rewarding that it becomes their sole focus.
Kentucky offers an Eyelash Extension Specialty Permit, and Texas has specific licensure requirements for lash technicians. Other states are considering similar regulations. Currently, almost every state requires that anyone who performs eyelash extension services have a cosmetologist or esthetician license. Even in states where there are no specific requirements, there are schools that offer training in the subject—always a good idea!
It's important to note that licensing and regulations vary by state and are subject to change, so it's essential to check your states' rules via the licensing sites below. All requirements are specifically in reference to eyelash extension technicians.
Available to: Esthetician
Find a program at: Nova Lash
Licensure Required: No specified requirements
For more information, visit your state board at MO Board of Cosmetology
Available to: Cosmetologist, Esthetician
Find a program at: Beauty World NYC
Licensure Required: Not specified for individuals, but workplaces need an Appearance Enhancement Business license
For more information, visit your state board at New York Cosmetology
Available to: Cosmetologist, Esthetician
Find a program at: B-Lashes
Licensure Required: No specified requirements for individuals, though facilities must be licensed
For more information, visit your state board at Ohio State Cosmetology and Barber Board