Learning the Basics of Mapping and Styling
No matter how experienced you are as a Lash Technician, it’s well worth knowing how and why to map your lash sets. By using a Lash Mapping Pen to draw out your maps on an Eyepatch, you’re ensuring symmetry and a nice even lash extensions application across both eyes, and you’re also creating unique lash sets that suit each individual client based on their own face and eye shape. If you’re new to lash maps and styling, don’t panic, we’re here to teach you the four core lash maps that you’ll need to know as a Lash Artist.
Style 1: Natural
This is the easiest, most universal lash map you’ll ever come across. It uses fewer length segments than most other lash maps and follows the natural growth of the lashes. This is what makes the Natural Lash Set such a universal style, and so easy to pick up for beginner Lash Techs. For the best results, use shorter lash extensions and a more natural curl, something like Chelsea 7-11 mm in a C curl or CC curl at most if you need a little extra lift.
A Natural lash map doesn’t have to be dull, you can add texture by including some longer lashes to add wisps through the lash line, or if you’re creating a volume lash set you can use some closed fans to add some spikes or texture to the set. Take a look at our blog post on a Wispy Lash set and how to achieve it here.
Style 2: Dolly
A Dolly lash extensions set is sometimes referred to as an ‘Open Eye’ style, it’s the most symmetrical one and is characterised by having its longest lengths in the middle of the eye, tapering down to shorter lashes in the inner and outer corners.
Start by making a mark on the eyepatch in the middle of the eye (you’ll be able to tell where this is by looking at where the iris/pupil bulges slightly under the eyelid) and then make a mark before the first lash and after the last lash on the eye. Next, cut each of those segments in half and fill that space with your longest length. Continue doing this until you have as many sections as you’d like, always mirroring what you do on the left side with what you do on the right for precise symmetry.
With a Dolly set, you can use as many lengths as you like, just consider that the more length you use, the more of a point you’ll end up getting toward the centre of the eye, you don't want to overwhelm the eye or the look. That being said, you’ll still do your best work when you start with quite short lengths in the inner and outer corners to protect the lashes there which tend to be shorter and finer or even weaker.
A Dolly style is best when used on clients with quite a bit of distance between their eyes, and/or those clients with smaller eyes as it creates the illusion of them being closer together, and opening them up wider.
Style 3: Squirrel
A Squirrel set is ever so slightly more dramatic of a style than Natural, as it follows a typical brow arch/the way that natural lashes grow. Your longest lengths on a Squirrel eyelash set will be from the centre of the eye out to half way through the outer section.
Squirrel lash sets are quite universal, the only clients they won’t suit too much would be those with a very wide set of eyes.
Like with a Dolly map style, start by marking out the middle of the eye, then cut the outer section in half. The space between the middle of the eye and that halfway mark is where your longest lengths will go. With a Squirrel, you’re aiming for quite a natural sweep from inner corners to the longest section, and then you’ll be dropping back down to those shorter lengths to keep it looking pretty natural.
Style 4: Cat
Whether you’ve been lashing for 5 minutes or 15 years, you’ve almost certainly been asked for a Cat Style at some point, even your clients may be asking for that 'cat eye effect'. The funny thing about Cat Style though, is that it suits very few eye shapes. Most Lash Techs would prefer to do a Squirrel which is more universal, yet lesser 'known'.
A Cat Style is characterised by that seductive lift towards the outer corners of the eye. To do this, you need to use longer lashes toward the outer corners, which is one of two main reasons it doesn’t always suit all clients. By using longer lengths on the outer corner lashes, you run the risk of weighing those lashes down, giving the eyes a sad and/or droopy appearance. True, you could opt for an M Curl for some added lift here, but it can be a slightly daunting curl to use when you’re newer to eyelash extensions, so it might be worth suggesting a Squirrel Style to your client instead which gives a similar overall effect with a hardly noticeable difference.
The second reason that a Cat Style doesn’t suit everyone is that it gives the appearance that the eyes are further apart than they are, so if your client already has a wide set of eyes, they’ll look even further apart. Again, a Squirrel is a nice, happy medium here! Needless to say, Cat Lash maps are not impossible and as a Lash Tech you're more than skilled to perform this procedure, it just so happens that it may not suit all clients and you do not want unhappy customers, so consulting with them is important.
With any of these lash maps, you can make them truly your own by adding in closed fans, longer classics, or even some Coloured Lash Extensions to really give the set a little bit of something extra and a pop to the finished lash look.