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What Are Mink Lashes? Everything You Need To Know

Those who are just getting started in the lash industry have a lot of important decisions to make. From selecting a location to advertising to hiring, it can be overwhelming at first. One of the most fun and also most vital decisions is choosing the right products to carry in-store.

This may lead a lash entrepreneur to question: what types of lash extensions should I be offering to my clients? Mink? Silk? Synthetic? The answer to this question is not as simple as one may think. 

Any modern-minded lash salon owner should carry a few options for lash extensions, and there are a great many advantages to providing a variety of options. Let’s start with what your options actually are for types of lashes for extensions and how each type performs. 

The Three Main Options for Lash Extensions

Let’s talk about the three main options for lash extensions: silk lashes, mink lashes, and synthetic lashes.

Silk Lashes

The term “silk” is actually a fairly misleading designation. It might sound pretty fancy and elegant, but silk lashes are NOT actually made from real silk. Real silk comes from the cocoon of a silkworm and would not be able to stand up and hold a curl. 

When some lash companies say that their lashes are “100% silk,” that’s not true. These so-called silk lashes are actually manufactured and are just a different version of synthetic polybutylene terephthalate or PBT fibre that all lash extensions are made out of. 

The word “silk” refers to a bold lash, with a lot of punch and slight taper to the tip. Sugarlash PRO renamed their silk lashes to RUNWAY lashes, to talk about attributes of the lashes, opposed to misleading material based names. 

Mink Lashes

There are basically two types of mink lashes: real mink and faux mink. We will get into this more in the rest of the article, but there are numerous reasons why as a lash entrepreneur, it’s not a great idea to go with real mink lashes.

The argument for mink lashes is that they have a more natural look. However, a good lash tech can easily duplicate the look with a quality synthetic lash, with no chance of animal cruelty, and no chance of misleading the customer. We will explain further on.

Synthetic Lashes

It might not sound as glamorous or luxurious as mink or silk, but synthetic lashes are the way to go for modern lashes. Almost every lash extension out there is synthetic anyways, but comes under a different name. Sugarlash PRO carries: RUNWAY, PLUSH, and FLAT lash extensions -- which are all made from PBT synthetic fibre, but carry different tapers, colours, and sheens.

RUNWAY: Ultra black, semi-sheen, and shallow taper. Our most dramatic.
PLUSH: Natural black, deep taper, and a matte finish. Our most natural looking.
FLAT: An oval PBT fibre, with lots of width and big impact. Our boldest classic lash.

Synthetic eyelashes are incredibly versatile and can be designed to meet and even exceed all of your clients’ needs and expectations. That is where YOUR artistry comes in!

The Problem With Mink Eyelashes

Okay, so they sound fantastic, and truth be told, they look pretty darn good too. In that case, what exactly is the problem with mink eyelashes?

First off, if they are truly real mink eyelashes, there’s really no way to know if they are cruelty-free. In all honesty, there is virtually no difference between wearing a mink coat and wearing mink eyelashes. They may be natural, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t cruel.

Most fur products, including lashes, come from what is commonly known as fur farms. This is where most of the world’s fur is derived. 

At fur farms, as one would expect, animals are kept in cages and removed from their natural environments. Minks in particular are semi-aquatic creatures and need to have access to swimming water. 

Some brands may claim that their mink are “brushed” in order to procure their fur and that the animals are not killed in the name of beauty. However, even if this were true (and there’s very little evidence to suggest that it is), that in itself is not even completely cruelty-free. 

Mink are wild animals who do not need to be brushed, and they are naturally afraid of humans.  The process of brushing would cause them great stress and anxiety, and they would still be kept in cages even if they weren’t being killed for their fur. 

What makes all of this even worse is that the European Mink is an endangered species.  In fact, they are classified as “Critically Endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are currently on their red list. 

All things considered, using real mink lash extensions as a product is not a good move. It’s 2021, and consumers are well informed and social justice-minded. Even if you personally don’t have a problem with real mink eyelashes, it’s fair to say that many of your clients will. It’s not worth the risk of losing business. 

Mink Lashes Can Be a Danger to the Consumer

Here’s something that you may have never thought about: mink lashes are extremely flammable, just like real hair. That’s because it IS real hair! In fact, many lash providers will tout flammability as a way to test whether or not the lashes are real mink.

Here’s how to test to see if the lashes are real mink: if you try to set fire to them and they quickly go up in flames, then they are real. Does anyone see a problem here? Isn’t it worth considering that perhaps it isn’t the best idea to glue highly flammable, long lashes to our eyes? 

Those who are in favor of mink lashes (typically the few retailers out there who still market them) seem to just glaze over this fact. It’s worth questioning whether or not this is worth the risk when there are safer, not to mention more humane, products on the market. 

What About Faux Mink Lash Extensions?

You may be convinced that real mink lashes are not the best choice for you and your clients. But what about faux mink? This is what most lash professionals are referring to when they say that they provide the client with “mink” lashes. Very few lash pros are utilizing real mink these days, for all the reasons mentioned above.

When eyelash extensions first started gaining popularity, there were silk and mink lashes. Then synthetic lashes came on the scene, and overall lash professionals began to realize that they were superior for many reasons.

Ultimately, faux mink lashes are just a type of synthetic lash! Sugarlash PRO carries lashes like this under the name “PLUSH LASH”. They give the effect of mink hair, without the cruelty. 

When people are talking about mink or faux mink lashes, typically what they are referring to is lashes that are light, fluffy, and fine. If that’s what you’re looking for for your clients, check out these PLUSH lashes. They are great for a simultaneously dramatic yet natural look. 

Synthetic Lashes: The Best Alternative

The best option for eyelash extensions is without a doubt synthetic lashes. There are so many pros and very few cons. 

The Pros of Synthetic Lashes:

  • Synthetic lashes are made of a super-strong synthetic material called PBT, or polybutylene terephthalate, which makes these the most durable of all types of lash extensions.
  • Synthetic lashes are much more cost-effective than lashes made of real fur. 
  • These lashes will work for clients who may have allergies to different types of animal fur.
  • Because synthetic lashes are man-made, they can be custom-tailored to fit your clients’ needs. You can get the degree of curl and drama that you and your clients want.
  • Synthetic lashes tend to offer a more dramatic effect for those who are looking for it but can also be made to look more subdued. They are incredibly versatile.

The Cons of Synthetic Lashes:

  • Synthetic lashes CAN be a little bit heavier than fur lashes. However, this can be offset by quality manufacturing. You should look for lashes with a steep taper and a fine, soft, light finish. 
  • Some synthetic lashes have a sheen that can make them look a bit less natural than real eyelashes. But again, this is more an issue of product quality than a true disadvantage. Investing in a good-quality synthetic lash line will pay off in the long run. (Read more about that here). 

In a Nutshell

What it all boils down to is that synthetic lash extensions are here to stay, while real mink lashes will almost certainly be completely phased out in the not-too-distant future. 

Even supposedly cruelty-free mink lash extensions cannot truly be so if wild animals are being held in cages, and most clients will tell you that a cruelty-free product is important to them. 

At the end of the day, a high-quality product will speak for itself. You will be doing your clients a tremendous service by offering a safe and healthy alternative to what used to be considered high-end lash fashion. Get with the times and go synthetic! 


Sources:

Your Simple Guide to Lash Extensions – Mink Vs. Silk Vs. Synthetic | The Help Guide

European mink | The Vincent Wildlife Trust  

Synthetic lash extensions and other types of falsies | You Are Fashionable 

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