Your Ultimate Bridal Guide to Lashes

Not all lashes are created equal.


Your choice of lashes for your wedding day can have a major impact on your bridal makeup look, and it's important to know all of your options and how they can effect your look on the big day and beyond. Here is all the info and advice I give to my brides so you can make an informed decision on the perfect fit for you.

Strip lashes

Pros- quick, easy, and temporary way to enhance your natural lashes, lots of styles to choose from, ranging from natural to bold. No commitment or maintenance.

Cons- the strip can sometimes be heavy or uncomfortable to wear, corners can start to come unglued over the course of the day and may need to be touched up.

Strip lashes are by far the most popular choice for the wedding day, easily applied and easily removed and discarded (or reused!) There is no commitment, and the range of styles is broad, from a light layer that gently enhances, to full, fluffy, and bedazzled, there is a style out there for everyone. 

If however lashes are not something you have experience wearing, they may feel heavy or awkward, and can take some getting used to. I recommend a test run wearing the desired style to see if you will ultimately be comfortable wearing them for a full day. They also look best with some eyeliner to help hide the band along the lash time.

Lashes are applied by first measuring the eye to make sure the lashes will fit, and trimming some length off the ends of the strip if needed. Glue is applied to the band and allowed to dry slightly to give it a tacky finish before applying to the eye along the lash line. (Make sure to request latex free glue if you have a latex allergy!) Removal is easy, just gently lift the corner and lift away from the skin. If desired, you can remove any excess glue remaining on the band and save the lashes to be re worn again later.

Individual/cluster lashes

Pros- more comfortable than strip lashes, low commitment, great way to enhance a natural look, can be worn up to three days.

Cons- Can be time consuming to apply, and more care needed to remove.

Individual or cluster lashes are a great way to get a customizable version of a strip lash and can be much more comfortable than strip lashes with a band. They can be placed strategically to enhance and compliment any eye shape, blended together with a coat of mascara. However they may take a much more delicate approach to removal as you don't want to pull out any of your own lashes with them, and it could take a couple days before the glue becomes weak enough to do so safely.

Individual or cluster lashes are applied with a glue along the lash line and layered as desired. Since these generally sit along the lashes, removal must be done delicately as not to pull out any natural lashes that may have also have come in contact with the glue.

Lash extensions

Pros- the most realistic looking false lashes capable of a natural or bold look, customizable to your eye shape, no visible strip or sticky glue. Long lasting especially with refills by a pro.

Cons- high maintenance and potentially damaging to the natural lashes if not properly applied or cared for. Must be applied and removed at an appointment with a licensed lash extension professional. High level of commitment.

Lash extensions when done by a highly skilled professional can range from natural to glam, and are a beautiful choice for your wedding day. They do however require lots of maintenance and care. Say goodbye to cream shadows, eyeliners, and your favorite mascara. Any oils from your eye makeup or makeup remover can break down the bond and cause the extensions to shed. A delicate touch when cleansing or applying eye makeup is needed.

It's also so important that your technician is licensed and experienced. Today is not the day to take a gamble on your face! Avoid any deals or coupons and invest money in a professional who will beautify you while keeping your health and safety a priority.

You also want to consider the timing of your honeymoon, depending on when it is scheduled you may want to squeeze in an appointment before for a re-fill, or removal of your extensions if you don't want the hassle of caring for them on your vacation.

Lash extensions are applied by gluing individual lash extensions directly onto the natural lash, and are removed one by one using a solution that breaks down the bond of the glue without risk of pulling out any of the natural lashes.

Lash serum

Pros- Your own natural lashes enhanced. No glue, no appointments, no restrictions on makeup products.

Cons- Chance of an allergy or sensitivity, can cause discoloration at the area of application for some, or even darkening of the iris on lighter eye shades. Must be applied nightly, and can take up to three months to see the full results.

I love a good lash serum! Growing your own beautiful long lashes is like a dream come true, and no need to go to monthly appointments to keep up with shedding extensions or deal with potentially messy glue on clusters or strips...these ones are all yours!

However as with any serum or product that comes in contact with the skin its important to make sure there are no chances of an allergy or reaction first before applying to the delicate eye area, and for some with lighter eyes there is the risk of eye darkening side effects that can occur with some formulas. There are many different brands and formulas out there that work in different ways and to varying degrees, so doing your research is super important before choosing one.

You will also have to apply the serum to the lash line nightly to see the desired results which can take up to three months, so make sure that adding this into your routine is realistic before committing and well within your wedding timeline.

Generally, lash serums work by lengthening the growth phase of the lashes. The longer the growth phase, the longer the lashes grow, and less frequent shedding means fuller lashes as well. Some formulas work by simply conditioning the lashes, which can prevent excess shedding and breakage, and promote lash health which can result in the growth of healthier, thicker lashes.


Lash lift

Pros- It's your natural lashes enhanced, no daily maintenance, no glue, no limits on makeup or skincare, great for straight lashes that won't hold a curl.

Cons- Cannot be paired with last extensions, allergy or sensitivity to the perming solution, can damage the lashes if done too often, grow out phase can be awkward until a fresh lift can be safely done.

A lash lift is a great option for your wedding day! Especially for those with super straight lashes, a lift will expose all those lashes you never even realized you had, and there is no reason you can't pop some strip lashes on top, no lash curler needed. My lashes are naturally dark and when I had mine lifted and I couldn't believe they where my real lashes, I could go mascara (and eyeshadow) free and I loved it!

If your lashes are lighter in color, pairing a lift with a lash tint can be life more mascara needed! 

The grow out phase between appointments can be slightly awkward, as the lashes naturally shed and regrow and you may notice your straight lashes growing in while many of your curled lashes are still present. A lash curler can help to ease the transition between appointments. Also consider pairing your lift with a lash serum, as a serum that extends the growth phase can also extend the amount of time between lift appointments.

Lash lifts are performed by a technician using a mold that is placed on the lid along the lash line. The lashes are adhered to the mold and a perming solution is applied (this is a great opportunity to sneak in a quick nap!). The perming solution works in a similar way to regular perming so over doing it can damage the lashes and cause fraying and or breakage.


Pros- Easy, elegant, maintenance free

Cons- Dependent on the quality of your natural lashes, risk of smudging or transferring onto the skin.

Your natural lashes with a curler and coat of mascara is the easy and elegant choice! There is no prep, no maintenance, no pricey application or removal, and in some makeup artists opinions is the most elevated and elegant option.

However, not everyone is blessed in the natural lash department. Depending on how full/thick your natural lashes are, and if you suffer from too few or no lashes, you may want to consider any one of the other options. Do they have to be super dramatic and glam? Of course not! But lashes are still important in finishing and balancing a makeup look so a little something there is important.

If you are happy with your natural lashes, finding a great mascara is a must! On your wedding day a waterproof formula is ideal. However most brides wrongly assume that a water proof mascara means a smudge proof mascara. It’s important to have realistic expectations when it comes to mascaras and nothing is truly bullet proof.

Water is not the main culprit in breaking down mascara and causing it to smudge…what you need to look out for is oil, which will break down any makeup waterproof or not, and cause smudging. Oil can come from your skin, from your skincare, or your makeup, and the only way to avoid under eye smudging completely is to go mascara free on the lower lashes. A tubing mascara may be a good alternative if you just can’t live without defined lower lashes, as the formula creates a “tube” around the natural lash and sheds off the same way. These are much less likely to smudge however with a good amount of crying the “tubes” may start to release from the lash and can come off in chunks.

When applying mascara for my brides, I love to use a mascara fan brush instead of a mascara wand which doesn't allow for as much precision as a brush and can get messy. A fan brush coats the lashes beautifully and precisely and can easily build upon the formula with zero clumping or mess. However when applying on yourself, the wand that comes with the mascara will be the most user friendly option. If you do get mascara anywhere else that is not your lashes, it's important to let it dry completely before attempting to clean it off. Mascara is formulated to adhere to lashes, not other makeup or skin so it should flake off easily and gently with a dry Q-tip, otherwise you risk smudging or smearing it into your makeup and that will definitely be work to try to fix.

Lashes can make or break your bridal makeup look, and when done right can elevate your natural beauty. My biggest suggestion to you is to do your homework on what will work the best for you, and get out there and test drive some options! Have more questions not answered here or just need some help deciding what to do? Shoot me an email and ask, I’m always available to help with any of your beauty needs! Looking for a lash extension or lash lift technician in Chicago? Feel free to reach out to me by email for my list of trusted professionals.



Image credits:

Photography: Mandi Forbes