If your beauty routine includes things like curling lashes and applying multiple layers of mascara,you may be wasting precious time. Though an upfront investment in both time and money, there’s a more permanent solution: eyelash extensions.

What are eyelash extensions?
Lash extensions are semi-permanent fibers that are individually applied to each strand of your natural lashes to give you longer, fuller lashes, and enhance your overall appearance by lifting, elongating, and opening the eye, says Clementina Richardson. During application, a professional glues each individual fiber onto your natural hair by hand. This makes the overall look highly customized and natural.

Are there different types of eyelash extensions?
These fibers—generally synthetic, faux mink, or silk—come in a variety of different sizes ranging from 6mm to 18mm, says Richardson, with a few curl width options as well. For a full set, most people need 80 to 150 lashes to create natural volume.

When it comes to lash extensions, there are also three general styles: classic, fan, and hybrid. With classic lashes, a single extension is attached to a single, natural lash; with fan, the tech can apply a few extensions a single lash for added volume; hybrid is exactly what it sounds like—a combination of the two.

How to choose the right extensions for your face.
“Most people don’t realize that applying lash extensions is an art,” says Richardson. “It’s not one size fits all. Since everyone has a different face shape and bone structure, it’s important for women to understand that lash extensions are an enhancement of your own natural lashes.”

A licensed and certified lash expert will customize each set of eyelash extensions for the individual client, using anywhere from three to five different lengths and up to two different curvatures, says Richardson.

Will extensions ruin my natural lashes?

Because application requires precise work around such a delicate area of your face, it’s important to find someone who is certified to apply lashes, says Richardson. In some states, the stylist also needs to be licensed.

“If you go to an inexperienced lash stylist, chances are, you’re going to end up with uneven, clumpy looking lashes,” says Richardson. “Even worse, they can damage your natural lashes, which can also prevent regrowth.”

But with proper application, eyelash extensions will not ruin your natural lashes, assures Richardson. Just be gentle with them—if you rub the area, the extensions may fall out or pull out whatever hair they are attached to, she says.

So… are they worth it?

Eyelash extensions are pricey and require upkeep, but they give your eye natural volume that renders mascara unnecessary. If you apply makeup regularly, this is a definite time-saver worthy of the commitment.