Rachel VonBank — The Lash Artist that Has Us Sold on Eyelash Extensions

Ask any girl and they’ll say they’d rather skip their morning coffee run than leave the house sans mascara — Been there, done that. But, what if instead of skipping your coffee run you could skip your mascara routine all together?

With the popular trend of eyelash extensions making waves throughout the beauty world, we decided to get down to the nitty gritty with an authentic behind the scenes look at lash extensions. We asked our very own eyelash guru, Rachel VonBank, to talk us through the do’s and dont’s of extensions and even had the pleasure of receiving her personal beauty tips and must-haves. 

 How did you get your start in lashes and what made you want to do them?

About a year into my career as a makeup artist, I decided to take a bridal business class to increase my education on how to run the business side of bridal makeup. During the class, the instructor suggested that we try expanding our business to offer more services to our clients. I had already heard about lash extensions and found them fascinating, but her advice really inspired me to look into them more. I went online, found a local course, enrolled, and was certified within two weeks. I thought it would be a great add-on for my clients, but I had no idea that lashes would end up almost taking over my business! Now, lashes are most of what I do and makeup is more of my “side job”, although they both keep me busy!

Tell us everything we need to know about lash extensions

Let’s start with the basics: there are two types of (correct) lash extensions: classic and volume. Classic lash extensions have been around for over ten years and volume lash extensions have been around in the US for a little over two years. Classic lashes are much more popular and well-known and applied at a ratio of 1:1 with the application of one lash extension per natural lash. Anything else is incorrect. Additionally, lash extensions are available in a variety of curls, diameters, lengths and even colors. So, while you can always stick with the classic black lashes, you can also try brown lashes, blue lashes and even ombre lashes. On the other hand, volume lashes, which are relatively new to the lash industry, require a difficult technique called fanning, which calls for fanning the extensions within the tweezer and applying multiple extensions to the natural eyelash. The great thing about volume lashes is that, when applied correctly, they actually weigh less than classic extensions and last longer than classic extensions because they “wrap” around the natural lash and hold on longer. One of the biggest mistakes I see artists make in regards to length is using too long of lashes within the inner corner of the eye. I use 8, 9, and rarely 10 mm on the inner corner. Many artists will use 11s, which make the extensions look unnatural and spidery. When doing a set of lashes, I often use 4 to 5, sometimes up to 8 different types of lashes! I mix curls, diameters, and lengths to achieve the most natural, fluffy look possible.

Here is what I cannot stress enough: not all lash extensions are the same. What do I mean by this? Just because someone does “Lash extensions” does not mean they are going to do good, healthy lash extensions. I put the health of my client’s lashes first. I will never put extensions on someone who cannot handle them, no matter how much they beg me to make them longer and thicker.

Everyone’s lashes are different and should be treated differently. Someone who comes in with crazy long, thick, coarse lashes will probably be able to handle a thicker diameter lash with a longer length. Someone who comes in with damaged lashes will probably have to have finer extensions and wear them a bit shorter OR get volume lashes that are light and fluffy without the dramatic volume. Classic lashes are meant to look natural and volume lashes are customizable from natural to dramatic. Nobody should be able to tell you’re wearing extensions and the glue should NEVER be visible.

How long do lash extensions typically last?

Classic lashes can last anywhere between 3-6 weeks. Some of my clients get fills every 2 weeks to keep them full and some of my clients get fills every 4 weeks. I see everything in between but I don’t typically recommend waiting more than 3 weeks for a fill because the lashes grow out and can easily become a full set, which costs more for the client. Volume lashes, in comparison, can last anywhere between 4-7 weeks. Volume requires fills less often because the lashes tend to last longer. However, volume lashes are more expensive.

What is your beauty product must-have?

This is the trickiest question! Most of my beauty products are replaceable. I change out different brow products, blushes, mascaras, etc. pretty frequently but I’m absolutely OBSESSED with BECCA Opal highlighter. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and can be used as a highlighter, eyeshadow, or pressed on top of lipstick to add a glowy look. It’s so versatile and worth every penny. There’s really nothing else like it!

Since you do lashes, what is your eye product must-have?

I’d say my eye product must have is a great primer. I absolutely LOVE the Motives Eye Base. I used to use Urban Decay Primer Potion, but the Motives Eye Base has now won for my favorite primer of all time. It’s glorious.

WhatRUWearing today?

I’ve typed this email over the course of a few days, but I’m currently wearing a pair of Lululemon leggings, a Lulu tank top, and an old grey sweatshirt from VS. I spent the day cleaning my apartment, sending emails, and taking my dog for a walk around my neighborhood in St. Paul. Nothing exciting, but definitely comfortable!