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How To Start A Career In Eyelash Extension: A Comprehensive Guide For Aspiring Professionals

Updated: Dec 11, 2023


Embarking on a career in eyelash extension? Understanding that the journey to becoming a skilled professional extends beyond basic beauty school training is crucial. This comprehensive guide is designed for aspiring eyelash extension professionals who aim to excel in this thriving industry. With this guide, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of advanced training and set a strong foundation for a successful career.

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Check Your State Law of Required Licensing

In most states, you're required to have a cosmetology or esthetician license to perform eyelash extensions. The requirements for these licenses vary by state but typically include completing a certain number of hours of training at an accredited school and passing a state licensing exam.

How do I know the requirement in my state? Each state has a cosmetology board that regulates licenses for beauty services. Their websites usually have detailed information on what services require a license, the type of license needed, and how to obtain it. If the information on the website isn't clear or you have specific questions, you can contact the state board directly via phone or email.

Here in Washington State, an esthetician license is required. That usually means you would need to go to a beauty school for that. If you know you want to do eyelash extension after you graduate and get licensed.

I would highly recommend you start getting eyelash extension training somewhere else before you graduate from beauty school. This way you could probably start working as soon as you get your license V.S. having to get additional training after you already got your license, proper training takes quite a bit of time.

Wait! I know that many beauty schools teach eyelash extension as part of their courses. Why do I need to get trained somewhere else?

Limitations of Beauty School Eyelash Extension Training

While beauty school provides a solid foundation for facial and waxing, it barely scratches the surface of what's needed for professional eyelash extension services. I encourage you to ask anyone who is working in eyelash extension industry a question: how ready you are to work in this industry from a scale of 1 to 10 if you have only received training in beauty school. Most of them would say 0.5, that's right, not even 1.

Most of the times, the eyelash extension instructors you met in the school are not professionals who truly work with clients on a daily basis, nor had they successfully ran any eyelash extension businesses. So they don't know the real world challenges and what could happen when you face lots of different clients. Some funny stories I heard is that there was an eyelash extension instructor at the beauty school searching for youtube tutorials in the class for very basic skills.

So you will need to receive additional professional eyelash extension training outside of the school for sure. But be careful when you choose, if you choose the wrong path you may waste a lot of your valuable time. We’ve seen people do eyelash extension for 10 years and they still are not skillful, thus of course not earning a compensation that makes them happy.

Just like good lawyers and doctors are expensive, eyelash extension professionals are no different in the sense that you should be a domain expert and be able to charge higher hourly rates if you are good enough in the industry. Good skill is the foundation for that, otherwise it's impossible.

Don't Be Obssesed with Certification

Be obssesed with your skill but not certification. One of the most common and biggest mistakes I've seen aspiring eyelash extension stylists make is that they value eyelash extension certification too much. They often say "I'm certified in eyelash extension", but to be honest, it litterally means nothing to your customers and employers. Because there is no universal recognized standard for eyelash extension certification. The standard of the certification issuer may not be honored by your future employer. What matters the most to your customers and employers is your skill.

If you are looking to seek a job with an employer, more than likely you will be asked to demo your skill on a live model. If you are looking to become an independent stylist, skill is even more important for you to keep your clients coming back. Certification provides 0 help in any of these cases.

Getting true professional level of training is the way to go.

Choosing the Right Advanced Training Path

You have two primary options for further training:

  1. Salon-based programs in exchange for work commitment

  2. Paid training from training providers.

Explore the advantages and drawbacks of each, focusing on the commitment and opportunities they offer. Understand the importance of making an informed decision to avoid wasting time and resources.

Evaluating Salon Training Programs

Many salons offer training programs, often in exchange for a work commitment. They will require you to sign a contract with them promising working for them for 1 or 2 years to make sure their time investment won’t be wasted. Which is totally understandable if you put yourself into their shoes. So make sure you do your research about the Salon, and take time to fully understand if you love to work at the place. Because you will be locked with the Salon for a long period of time if you don’t want to repay the training fee.

So how to tell if a Salon is reliable? 

Check their service price

Money speaks for itself! If a salon charges a relatively low price, it’s almost impossible for them to provide you with good compensation. If they are the one who is training you, you could expect your upper limit will be no higher than the price they are offering.

Try their online booking

If you could easily find a lot recent availabilities for their junior stylists that means they probably are not getting a lot of clients. So you won’t get clients either when you join. It also means they probably have bad customer retention rate which usually means their service quality is not good either.

Try their service as a client

Just like how anonymous Michelin inspectors award restaurants with stars. Be a secret client first before reaching out to a salon and show interest in working there.  Ask for a junior stylist, because if you work there you will be one. Feel it yourself as a true client, ask yourself do you love the service quality? If not, that means the salon is very likely not capable of providing proper training nor at retaining their client. 

Chat with the junior stylist there, ask them how many hours do they actually do lashes per day and how many days do they work. Are they fully booked everyday? That tells you a lot. The service fee you are paying is worth it and view it as an investment to avoid yourself into a bigger loss.

Independent Training Providers: What to Consider

Beware of low prices

You get what you pay for. As I mentioned before, like any other professionals, good eyelash extension professionals should be able to charge a higher price. You could roughly calculate the hourly rate of the instructor based on the tuition, course length and how many people are receiving training at the same time. If it turns out to be a low hourly rate, that means the time of the instructor is not worth much, which usually means they are not too capable.

Background of the instructor

Do you due diligence research on the background of the instructor. You would want to choose an instructor who had successfully built a reputable eyelash extension business. It's really important to make sure they have a lot of experience in the past to serve a large client base so that they could solve real world challenges.

Ask the training provider for reference

Talk to other trainees who received training from this provider in the past, ask about their experience. What they like and dislike about the training they received? How long did it take for them to find a job after the training?

Career support

Ask the training provider what kind of career support they could provide. Do they have a salon that could offer you job directly? Do they have partnership with salons who honor their recommendation? If so, check the salon that partners with them using my salon evaluation methods in last section.

Closing Thoughts: Building a Successful Career in Eyelash Extensions

Your journey in the world of eyelash extensions is more than enhancing beauty; it's about creating a rewarding career. Remember, do it the right way from the very beginning will save you a ton of time down the road. Go forth with confidence and commitment to excellence, and watch your career in eyelash extensions flourish.

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