Have Eyelash Extensions Overtaken Mascara?

In the history of beloved beauty tools, mascara has always been ubiquitous. For over a century, it’s been the affordable, go-to makeup product for anyone wanting to create the illusion of full, long, dark lashes. On the other hand, lash artists — and their clients — have long known that lash services, such as extensions and lifts, are the most dependable methods for clients who are serious about creating a lash-ting impact (get it?). But new data now shows that a ton of beauty consumers are getting on the same page.

Over the summer, Business of Fashion released a report delving into why mascara is seeing its first big sales drop in decades. And, as reported by Elle, Forbes, Teen Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar, one major reason may lie in savvy consumers turning to lash treatments for longer-lasting lash effects.

The report outlines that although mascara is an $8.1 billion industry, growth is actually expected to slow over the next three years from 4% to 2%, according to market research firm, Euromonitor. Even for the biggest brands, mascara is an expensive product to create (it took Glossier 248 formulations to get theirs right!) and new, hot beauty companies are taking note. Business of Fashion brings to light that the product lines of many young, popular cosmetics companies, such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, Huda Kattan’s Huda Beauty, and Kylie Jenner’s juggernaut, Kylie Cosmetics, do not feature mascara AT ALL. Is that because mascara is too expensive to design, or because it’s not worth it?

The answer may be both. Not only is mascara difficult to formulate, but lash treatments like lifts, extensions, and tinting are skyrocketing in popularity. The appeal lies in the fact that these treatments that last for weeks, and give clients the always-coveted natural look — without needing to apply product every day. It’s why they’re becoming a much more integrated part of millennial women’s beauty routines. In fact, 52% of women surveyed by Mintel reported that they visit a salon for an eyelash “extension or tinting” every four to six weeks.


“The comfort level with consumers to go and get these different kinds of [lash] treatments and services has definitely reached an all-time high,” said Sarah Jindal, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, in an interview with BoF. “People are willing to invest a little bit more in going and getting a lash lift or lash extensions, because they know it then makes their routine in the morning that much easier.”

For the seasoned lash artist — and the savvy lash treatment enthusiast — none of this information is shocking. But it’s always nice to know that the numbers back us up.


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