Classic vs Volume Lashes: Which style is best for you?

To volume lash or not to volume lash, that is the question of late. 

It used to be that there was only one style of eyelash extensions. 

Classic eyelash extensions. 

Classic lash extensions are now what is considered the "traditional" technique. 

Russian Volume lashes, 3D lashes, and volume lashes are synonymous. They are one in the same.

Austinites are all too familiar with synonyms. Mopac and Loop 1, for example. 

So what are classic lashes?

Classic eyelash extensions are where one extension is applied individually to one natural lash.

This gives a classic lash set a 1:1 ratio. 

This style is the original method, and while still a very favored style in the market, it is lacking some strengths for certain individuals. 

This is why Russian Volume was created.

What are russian volume lashes?

No, this does not mean a Russian must apply the lashes. 

Unless she is trained in the technique, of course. 

This style originated in Russia and Ukraine, hence the name. 

Volume lashing is the technique in which anywhere from 2-6 synthetic extensions are applied to each individual lash. 

This is up to a 6:1 ratio. Quite a difference!

A  lash stylist will create a fan, customized to you, in a variety of ways. 

A 4D fan created using the pinching method. 

A 4D fan created using the pinching method. 


I was trained with five fan-creating options. They are pinching, fan & grab, lonely fan, weaving, and one by one. 

As a client, this doesn't really mean anything to you. As a stylist, it is everything. Not every method is for everyone, but every technique has a time and place. 

Personally, I like the pinching technique. 

If you are a client, feel free to ask your artist what her favorite is! If anything, it's a great conversation starter. 

Are volume lashes the same thing as cluster lashes?


Volume lashing is not to be confused with cluster lashes. 

Cluster lashes are a quick and easy alternative to volume lashes. 

If you've read any of my previous articles, by now I hope you know that "quick and easy" is not "bigger or better."

Cluster lashes are pre-made fans with 4-7 synthetic fibers bound together at their base. They usually are married at the base with a tiny plastic knot. 

There are a few problems with clusters lashes. 

1. They are HEAVY. 

The beauty of volume lashes is the weight, which I explain later in detail. 

2. They are NOT customizable. 

Sometimes you want a 3D fan and other times you want a 5D fan, or any other combo between 2 and 6. 

3. Cluster lashes are not applied to individual lashes. 

They are applied at the base of the lash line to MULTIPLE natural lashes at a time. 

This creates a very dense and unnatural look to the lashes. 

4. Cluster lashes ignore lash growth cycles.

Many people don't realize, or they forget that eyelashes go through growth cycles and every follicle is on its own schedule, regardless of its neighboring lashes.

When multiple natural lashes have the same cluster of lashes attached to them, it becomes very difficult for the proper lash cycles to take place.

The result is usually patches of missing eyelashes and natural lash damage. 

5. Cluster lashes are not a long term gig.

For the reasons stated in #4, cluster lashes should NEVER be maintained long-term. 

Cluster lashes = BAD

Volume lashes = GOOD

So you know you don't want cluster lashes, but what about classic or volume?

classic vs volume

As previously stated, classic lashes are a 1:1 ratio. 

This means that the number of extensions applied will only meet the number of natural lashes you have. 

If you have naturally thick lashes, this look is great for you.

However, if you have very few natural lashes, volume lashes are the choice for you. 

Classic lashes are going to look more like mascara. 

Each individual eyelash is going to be thicker in diameter than volume lashes. 

Classic lashes are most widely used in a diameter of 0.15 mm, 0.18 mm, and 0.20 mm. 0.12 mm is also an option, but is minimally used. 

What this means is that the WEIGHT load put on the natural lash increases with each diameter. 

The more length an extension has will also affect the weight. 

So even if someone has a plethora of natural lashes, but they are very short, they will be limited on what look they can achieve with classic lashes.

Volume lashes range in diameter from 0.03 mm, 0.05 mm, 0.07 mm, and 0.10 mm. 0.10 mm is similar in the volume world as 0.12 mm is in the classic world. 

With volume lashes, an artist is able to apply MULTIPLE extensions, created into a fan, to ONE natural lash, WITHOUT damaging the natural. 

This is what a 5D 0.07 mm fan looks like.

This is what a 5D 0.07 mm fan looks like.


It's all in the weight. 

Borboleta Beauty took the liberty of weighing thousands of their extensions to showcase the difference between volume lash weight and classic lash weight. 

  • One 0.20 diameter lash weighs 0.00030 g
  • One 0.18 diameter lash weighs 0.00025 g
  • One 0.15 diameter lash weighs 0.00015 g
  • One 0.12 diameter lash weighs 0.00013 g
  • One 0.10 diameter lash weighs 0.00010 g
  • One 0.07 diameter lash weighs 0.00006 g

That means...

FIVE 0.07 lashes weigh as much as ONE 0.20 lash.

FOUR 0.07 lashes weigh less than ONE 0.18 lash.

THREE 0.07 lashes weigh more than ONE 0.15 lash. 

TWO 0.07 lashes weigh less than ONE 0.12 lash. 

Volume lashes are going to look more full and fluffy. 


Classic lashes:

If you want a natural look. 

If you want to look like you are wearing mascara.

If you have naturally thick lashes.

If you have a lot of natural lashes. 

If you have thick and long lashes.

If you want a voluminous look, but you have thick, dense, long natural lashes.

Volume lashes:

If you have very sparse natural lashes. 

If you have very fine or weak natural lashes. 

If you want more volume to your lash look.

If you used to wear strip lashes and enjoy the look of them.

If you want more volume, even though your natural lashes are thick, dense, and long.  

If you want to come for fills less often. 

Every length, diameter, and curl is going to look completely different on each individual. In this picture you can see that the volume lashes up top are much more fluffy and soft and the classic lashes look more like mascara. 

Every length, diameter, and curl is going to look completely different on each individual. In this picture you can see that the volume lashes up top are much more fluffy and soft and the classic lashes look more like mascara. 


Not every client who is a prime candidate for volume will want volume and not every client who has fabulous natural lashes will want classic.

Ultimately, you want to deliver the desired results, without damaging the natural lashes. 

(Click here to learn what truly causes lash damage.)

Hybridizing the two techniques is also popular in the industry. 

It is not always possible to get length with volume, but you may choose to collaborate the techniques so that the client may have both. 

Really, this is all just a bunch of fun and games. 

Test things out. Get creative. Talk to your clients about it. PLAY with it. 

While lashing is a very tedious and meticulous skill that is acquired over hours and years of practice, it is also one that is full of expression and creation. 

Expressing creativity is freedom. Never be afraid to practice it and never be afraid to ask for it. 

Happy lashing!


Allison Bingham