Cluster Lashes: Why You Should Avoid It + Lash Alternatives

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Beauty enthusiasts are looking for ways to add that extra oomph to their looks to feel confident. One of these beauty techniques includes applying cluster lashes.

Today, cluster eyelashes are being sold as an alternative for eyelash extensions around the globe.

However, note that these lashes are not similar to the individual eyelash extensions done by certified lash technicians. Instead, cluster lashes are falsies glued to the lash line.

These faux lashes are a temporary and affordable option for people who want to improve their lash line and achieve a luscious set of lashes in no time. 

A close up photo of a woman's brown eye with long lashes.

But if you’re one of those people who are interested in applying cluster lashes, you must think again. 

Unfortunately, cluster eyelash extensions are receiving a bad rap from previous users, and for valid reasons. 

If you want to know why you should avoid cluster lashes, keep reading this article.

What Are Cluster Lashes?

So, what are cluster eyelash extensions?

Cluster eyelash extensions are a group of lashes — usually 5 to 10 thick extensions — glued together with a thick adhesive base, forming lash clusters.

Typically, these lashes are applied along the lash line with the help of eyelash glue.

These faux lashes look like smaller sections of strip lashes that you can manually apply, which can be purchased at retail stores.

Most of the time, lash extension clusters are used for nights out or any special events to emphasize a fuller eye look and achieve great volume or density in a short time.

You can use these multiple eyelash extension clusters as an alternative for strip lashes. 

However, remember that you should never sleep without removing the cluster lashes on your eyelids and that you should not wear them for more than a day after applying them. 

Otherwise, it won’t be a great idea as it can harm your eyelashes and lead to many problems and risks.  

Difference Between Volume Eyelash Extensions and Cluster Lashes

Disclaimer: Volume eyelash extensions and cluster lashes are NOT the same. 

We understand that you might be confused about the differences between cluster lash extensions vs volume extensions since both lash fans have some resemblance. 

Lash Type

Cluster lash extensions are not professional lashes. In fact, you can purchase them in retail stores, and literally anyone can apply them to their eyelashes. 

Meanwhile, volume lash extension fans are professional lashes that need to be applied by a licensed lash technician who underwent intricate training on the methods and processes required. 


A close up photo of a woman's eyes while holding a tweezer on her eyelashes

Cluster extensions consist of 5 to 10 thick eyelashes per cluster lash fan bound by a knot or adhesive base applied on more than one natural eyelash, which can be very heavy for natural lashes. 

On the other hand, premade volume eyelashes consist of ultra-fine synthetic strands bonded together by heat. 

Hence, unlike cluster lashes, volume fans are more lightweight because the strands don’t have added weight. These lashes are light and don’t damage or weigh down the natural lash.


The heavy clusters are usually applied to the lash line, which can be harmful since they rest on several lashes at once.

In contrast, premade volume lashes are applied to individual natural lashes, which involves safer fan application. 

Why Should You Avoid Cluster Lashes?

So are cluster lashes really harmful to my natural lashes?

The answer: Yes, cluster lashes can be damaging once they are applied to your natural lashes. 

For that, here are some of the reasons why you should avoid applying cluster lashes:

Too Heavy

Unlike individual eyelash extensions, which involve applying an individual lash extension to natural eyelashes, cluster lashes are applied using multiple eyelashes on one natural lash. 

Cluster eyelash extensions consist of 5 to 10 thick eyelashes grouped and need a particular amount of glue to make them stick. 

So they can be pretty heavy when applied to your natural lashes, which can cause too much strain.

Since these lashes hold so much weight, they can cause premature lash loss and eventually ruin your natural eyelashes.

Damaging to Natural Lashes

Once the cluster lashes start falling out, they take several natural lashes with them. If this happens, it will be harder for you to get lash fills or even a new set of lash extensions. 

If you’re one of those who frequently use clusters, you should beware because you might experience permanent eyelash loss.

Prone to Bacterial Infection

Cluster lashes can make your eyes prone to bacterial infection.

This usually happens when the weight of the cluster and the amount of glue can mix and make your lashes matte. 

As a result, it can prevent your natural lashes from shedding normally. Once your lash cycle is hindered, it will keep your natural lashes from growing out and eventually cause styes, ingrown lashes, and more!

Not Long-Lasting

Aside from the risks mentioned earlier, wearing clusters is not that long-lasting. But if you need fabulous lashes in minutes, cluster lashes can work as a temporary solution!

But remember that while you can wear these cluster lashes, remove them before you sleep and never let them stay on your eyelashes for more than a day to avoid causing damage. 

Cluster Lashes Alternatives

Given how harmful individual lash clusters can be to natural lashes, it’s evident that you need to stay away from using them if you can.

Fortunately, we have an alternative for cluster lashes: professional eyelash extensions!

Unlike cluster lashes, eyelash extensions are performed by a certified lash technician trained to precisely and carefully apply the extensions on your lashes to help you achieve the eyelash look that you want.

Depending on the lash salon, lash extensions cost more than cluster lashes.

However, you get the bang for the buck with this treatment because they can last 4 to 6 weeks and are much safer for your eyelashes because they are ultra-lightweight!

Plus, they can also be customized depending on your preferences on thickness, curls, and length, guaranteeing they will suit every face and eye shape.

Here are the different types of professional eyelash extensions that are great alternatives for cluster lashes:

Classic Individual Eyelash Extensions

A close up of a woman's eye with long lashes.

Thickness: 0.10 to 0.20 mm

Density: 1:1 lash

Individual lash extensions work way better if you want a healthier and safer way to enhance your eyelashes.

Individual eyelash extensions are applied to each of your natural eyelashes with a 1:1 ratio using semi-permanent glue.

The best thing about them is that they look like your natural lashes but are fluffier, wispier, and more striking.

Volume Eyelash Extensions

Thickness: 0.05 to 0.07 mm

Density: 2 to 10 lashes on each fan

As mentioned earlier, the premade fans used for volume eyelash extensions differ from cluster lashes.

Volume lashes are done by attaching premade lashes to an individual natural lash. This premade volume fan consists of 5 to 10 super-fine lash extensions, which usually have a thickness of 0.05 mm to 0.07 mm.

This volume lash application helps create different dimensions, also known as 2D and 3D lashes. Volume eyelash extensions are a must-have if you want to achieve voluminous lashes and a dramatic look!

However, expect longer lash appointment times and higher service rates as this application involves more preparation and skills from your lash technician.

After a volume lash session, you will leave the salon feeling fabulous and confident, even without making mascara or makeup.

A close up of a woman's eye with long lashes.

Hybrid Eyelash Extensions

Thickness: 0.05 mm to 0.07 mm and 0.15 mm to 0.20 mm

Density: Mixture of classic and volume (each fan has no more than 5 lashes)

Hybrid eyelash extensions are a combination of classic and volume lash extensions. Typically, a mixed set of lashes can be achieved using a 50/50 mixture of premade volume fans and a 1:1 lash application.

Compared to classic eyelash extensions, they are more versatile in giving a denser, thicker look without the unnatural uniformity of the standard volume lash set.

Overall, hybrid lashes are customizable, texturized, and striking, which gives life to your eyelashes.

Cluster Lashes VS. Individual Eyelash Extension

Are you still thinking about which eyelash technique to get?

If that’s the case, check the following comparison of individual vs cluster eyelash extensions and decide for yourself:

Cluster LashesClassic Individual Eyelash ExtensionsVolume Eyelash ExtensionsHybrid Eyelash Extensions
$8 to $15$140 to $160$200 to $250$250 and $300
Heavy on natural lashes, 0.15mm per lash in clusters Lightweight, 0.10 to 0.20 mm per natural lash Lightweight, 0.05 to 0.07 mm per natural lash Lightweight. 0.05 mm to 0.07 mm per classic lash and 0.15 mm to 0.20 mm per volume lash 
5 to 10 thick eyelash extensions attached to multiple natural lashesOne eyelash extension per single natural eyelash (1:1 ratio)2 to 10 lightweight lashes on each fan applied per one eyelashA mixture of classic and volume (each fan has no more than 5 lashes)
Can be damaging to natural lashesSafer to natural lashesSafer to natural lashesSafer to natural lashes
Non-customizableHighly customizableHighly customizableHighly customizable
Should not be worn more than one dayLong-lasting (up to 4 to 6 weeks)Long-lasting (up to 4 to 6 weeks)Long-lasting (up to 4 to 6 weeks)
Applied manuallyApplied by a certified lash technicianApplied by a certified lash technicianApplied by a certified lash technician
Consists of thick eyelash extensionsConsists of ultra-fine synthetic eyelash strandsConsists of ultra-fine synthetic eyelash strandsConsists of ultra-fine synthetic eyelash strands
Artificial-looking lashesNatural-looking lashesNatural-looking lashesNatural-looking lashes
Non-waterproofSweatproof, waterproof, shower-proofSweatproof, waterproof, shower-proofSweatproof, waterproof, shower-proof

Should I Get Cluster Lashes or Salon Lash Extension?

If you only plan on wearing unique lashes to look good and feel confident on a special event or trip, you can wear cluster lashes. 

Cluster lashes are practical if you have a limited budget as they are an affordable alternative for professional eyelash extensions. Just be mindful of the risks of wearing these lashes before applying them to your natural ones. 

But if you have the right budget, we recommend you try lash extensions applied by a professional lash technician to experience all their incredible benefits. 

The classic, volume, hybrid, and mega volume eyelash extensions are some of the best alternatives to the damaging cluster lashes if you want to look good effortlessly with the perfect lashes as soon as you wake up from a deep slumber. 

After getting these salon extensions, follow the proper aftercare and get lash fills every two to three weeks to make them last longer.

If you’re committed to maintaining long, beautiful lashes, then individual lash extensions are the way to go! 

A close up of a woman's green eye with long lashes looking up

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Do Cluster Eyelash Extensions Last?

Cluster full-set lashes can technically last for three weeks if done by a professional lash artist. However, you should not wear them for that long, knowing they can damage your natural lashes. 

For cluster lashes that you can buy in retail stores, lash experts suggest that you only wear them for at least one to two days. As much as possible, they must be removed as soon as you can to avoid potential lash damage it can cause. 

Why Do People Choose Cluster Lashes?

Despite the potential drawbacks, some people still use cluster lashes. 

Some people don’t have the time to go to salons and spend two hours getting professional lashes. For them, cluster lashes are more convenient and can be a quick fix to achieve dramatically voluminous lashes in minutes.

Apart from that, cluster lashes are tempting for some because they are affordable. Still, remember that you get what you pay for — and what you get for cluster lashes isn’t much. 

Can You Get Cluster Lashes Wet?

No, getting your cluster lashes wet is not advisable since they are neither sweat-resistant nor waterproof.

So once you have cluster lashes on, avoid getting them wet at all costs, especially if a lash technician did not apply your cluster lashes. 

If this happens, the water will react with the lash extension adhesive and might cause the lash bond to get brittle and snap. 

To Get Cluster Lashes or Not

To conclude, cluster eyelashes are not safe for your natural eyelashes, given that they have several drawbacks every user should be mindful of. Because of this, these lashes are not recommended by most professional lash technicians. 

However, if you still decide to put them on, remember the things you learned about cluster lashes to avoid damaging your natural lashes. 

Also, you may request salon lash extensions from your lash tech instead if you want a safer alternative to cluster lashes. 

Depending on your preference and the eye look you want, you can choose from classic individual eyelash extensions, volume eyelash extensions, hybrid eyelash extensions, or mega volume eyelash extensions.

With all these safer lash extension options, would you still wear cluster lashes now? 

Let us know what you think!

Do you want to read more eyelash tips?

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  • Stephanie Martin

    Stephanie Martin blends her beauty industry background with expertise in communications to lead in the fashion and beauty world. As a fashion and beauty editor, she is known for engaging and informative articles. Her lifelong passion for fashion, makeup, and hair shines through her work, earning her widespread respect among readers and clients. Stephanie's style, a mix of classic and contemporary, makes her a dynamic and influential figure in the industry, inspiring others with her knowledgeable and approachable insights.

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  • Mary Lois Jhie-an Garchitorena

    A seasoned beauty expert and permanent makeup artist with a rich educational background from top international academies, including Yumi Lashes and PhiAcademy. Her career began in 2017 out of a passion for enhancing natural beauty, leading her to master various aesthetic treatments and PMU. Mary has learned from grand masters like Dovile Zilinskaite and Anastasia Gilmanova, ensuring her clients receive unparalleled service. Despite challenges, she continues to thrive as a home-based artist, committed to delivering excellence and innovation in beauty aesthetics.

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