Not everyone was born with long, thick, dark, fluttery eyelashes — but almost everyone wants them. Sure, you can enhance them with dye or a perm, but eyelash extensions allow you to hack your way to the lashes of your dreams. Since the process can be pricey and invasive, doing your homework before signing on the dotted line is key. Keep reading for five tips to follow before you get lashed.

1. Get familiar with the types of lashes. Not all lashes are created equal. Synthetic, mink, faux mink, and silk options are all fair game, so make sure you chat with your lash artist about which is right for you. “It’s important to know what product line is used,” says Mandy Jacobellis, owner of the Makeup Mandy and creator of LAshX System. “You should know where the lashes are made and what they’re made of. Synthetic lashes, for example, are typically polyester and feel stiff, while silk tend to be very shiny and look plastic. I prefer a faux mink because they’re soft and matte.”

2. Avoid potential reactions by asking if allergy tests are performed.Chemicals and tools will be very, very close to your precious peepers, which leaves room for adverse reactions, so having an allergy test before your service is key. “This consists of applying a few extensions on each eye and letting the client wait 24 hours to check for a reaction,” Jacobellis explains. “About one percent of people cannot wear any extensions due to allergies.”

3. Ensure the lash artists have proper credentials.Don’t let a too-good-to-be-true price trick you into getting lashed by someone who’s unlicensed. “Currently there is no regulation in most states on lash extensions,” Jacobelli warns. “Make sure your pro is licensed by the State Board of Cosmetology and has an eyelash extension certification from an in-person training program, not an online video.”

4. The one-size-fits-all model shouldn’t apply to lashes.“Before you book your appointment, ask the artist what kind of styles and sizes they have,” she explains. “Healthy, beautiful lashes should be customized for each client individually, and designing the lashes should be an art.”

5. New fringe should last between four to eight weeks. You should get at least one month’s worth of wear out of a quality set of extensions. If a shop tells you that you’ll need a fill after two or three weeks, take a pause. “Poor retention on the lashes is usually a sign of poor products, shoddy application, or no education in aftercare,” Jacobellis warns. “If the salon’s lashes only last two to three weeks at a time, you will be paying more and may not want to invest in that kind of maintenance.”

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