The Ultimate Guide to Lash Mapping: Techniques and Patterns

✅Written by Nicki Mah, Lash Artist and Lashin Out Brand Ambassador

The art of lash mapping is an essential technique that every lash artist should master. It involves creating a customized design for each client's unique eye shape to enhance their natural features and create a flawless look.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about lash mapping, including techniques, patterns, and tips to achieve perfect results.

What Is Lash Mapping?

Lash mapping is the process of planning and designing the placement of individual eyelash extensions on a client's natural eyelashes. It involves taking into consideration the client’s:

  • Eye shape
  • Bone structure
  • Natural lash growth pattern
  • Personal style preferences

The Importance of Lash Mapping for Artists and Clients

Lash mapping is the foundation of a successful lash application. Artists create that ‘wow’ factor by tailoring the lash extensions to the individual client.

For artists, it provides a structured approach that streamlines the application process. 

For clients, it promises a look that complements their unique features and style.

Understanding Eye Shapes and Lash Lines

A lash artist's canvas is their client's face, and the eyes are the focal point. By understanding lash mapping and how it works with eye shape, you can create a beautiful and symmetrical look for your client. There are four main eye shapes that you should be familiar with:

  • Almond: The most versatile eye shape for lash mapping, almond eyes have a balanced proportion and a slightly pointed outer corner.
  • Round: The round eye shape has a larger iris and less visible eyelid crease. Lash extensions should be longer towards the outer corners to create a more elongated appearance.
  • Hooded: For hooded eyes, the skin folds over the natural lash line, making it challenging to apply lashes evenly. Use lash mapping to create a lifted effect and open the eyes.
  • Monolid: Monolid eyes have no visible crease, and the lash line is less prominent. The goal of lash mapping for monolid eyes is to create a more defined crease and add volume.

Basic Lash Mapping Techniques

Lash mapping requires strategy and technique. Preparation is key to achieving the desired look, from selecting appropriate tools to choosing the correct lengths and curls.

Tools and Materials Needed for Effective Lash Mapping

Quality tools are an extension of a lash tech's hands. You should have the following items on hand before starting the lash mapping process:

  • Makeup pencil:  A white or light-colored pencil is used to mark the lash line and create the desired mapping design.
  • Hydrogel eye pads: Pads hold the bottom lashes down and give you a surface to work on. You could also use lash mapping stickers. The sticker can be placed directly on the gel eye pads and acts as a guide for your own custom mapping techniques. 
  • A coloured pen: This is used to mark the lash map on the hydrogel pads or mapping stickers. We recommend red ink for a more visible contrast against the lash extensions.
  • Lash extensions: Choose from various lengths, curls, and thicknesses. You should have a wide range of options available to cater to different eye shapes and preferences.
  • Tweezers: Precision tweezers are essential for accurately picking up and applying individual lash extensions.
  • Adhesive: Choose a high-quality adhesive with a quick drying time to ensure the lashes stay in place.

Step-by-Step Guide to Preparing for Lash Application

Follow these steps to prepare for the application process:

  1. Consultation: Start with a thorough client consultation. Discuss their natural lash health, previous lash experiences, allergies, and the desired look.
  2. Clean: Ensure the natural lashes are free of makeup or residue, and use a lash-safe cleanser if necessary. We recommend Lash Suds to maintain lash health.
  3. Isolate: Place the Hydrogel Eye Pads on the bottom lashes, ensuring they are secure and comfortable for the client.
  4. Assess: Look at the eye shape and lash line. Measure the natural lashes to decide on length and curl.
  5. Mapping: Mark focal points, such as the center of the eye, the highest point of the arch, and any asymmetry, to guide your lash application. Use a colored pen to draw the desired lash map design on the hydrogel pads or mapping stickers.

Identifying the Right Lash Length and Curl for Each Eye Shape

Choosing the right length and curl for each eye shape can make the eyes look more beautiful and balanced. Here’s a guide to help you select the best options for each eye shape:

  • Almond eyes: For this versatile shape, medium lengths with a C or D curl can create a stunning, natural enhancement. Almond eyes can support a variety of lengths and curls.
  • Round eyes: To elongate the appearance of round eyes, focus on using longer lash extensions towards the outer corners with a C or CC curl. This technique will help to create a more cat-eye effect, drawing attention horizontally.
  • Hooded eyes: Hooded eyes benefit from a mix of lengths. Keep them shorter to prevent the lashes from touching the hooded part of the eyelid. A C curl can lift the appearance of the eye without excessive curling that might touch the eyelid.
  • Monolid eyes: For monolid eyes, adding volume at the base and using a D or M curl can help to open up the eyes and create the illusion of a more defined crease. Medium to longer lengths can be used strategically in the center to enhance the open-eye effect.

Read our Eyelash Extension Guide for Lash Artists for more information on choosing the correct length and curl for your client.

Advanced Lash Mapping Strategies

Once you master the basics, practice advanced mapping strategies to unlock the potential for truly unique looks.

Customizing Lash Maps for Unique Eye Shapes

Not all eye shapes fall neatly into the four basic categories. It’s essential to recognize and cater to unique features that require customized mapping techniques. For example:

  • Deep-set eyes: With a prominent brow bone, deep-set eyes may require longer lengths on the center of the eye with shorter extensions on the ends for balance.
  • Close-set eyes: The lash map should create the illusion of a more significant distance between the eyes. Longer lashes on the outer corners and shorter ones in the center can help achieve this effect.
  • Wide-set eyes: To bring focus towards the center, longer lengths with a D curl in the middle and shorter extensions on the ends can create a beautiful balance for wide-set eyes.
  • Asymmetrical eyes: A customized lash map can help offset imbalances in asymmetrical eyes. Focus on lengthening or shortening lashes in areas as needed to create a symmetrical appearance.

Pro Tip 🌟

When you have a client with deep-set eyes, it can create the illusion of a more prominent brow bone. To make the appearance of the eye look more open and full, you need to use longer lengths and a gentler curl. C or M Curl works best to take the attention away from the brow bone. 

Mixing Curls and Lengths for a Natural Look

Eyelashes are not naturally the same length or curl. Following the natural pattern of your client’s lashes can achieve a stunning yet undetectable look. They will love being asked, “Are those your real lashes?”

By layering shorter lashes over longer ones or blending two different curl patterns, you can create a feathered, lifelike appearance that complements your client's natural eye shape.

Techniques for Creating Volume and Fullness

Volume lashes are a great way to add depth and fullness to natural lashes. If you are struggling to get your sets to look full, try out these tips:

  • Use shorter lengths: Instead of long extensions, try working with shorter ones. Because shorter lengths don't cover as much area, they tend to look more dense.
  • Mix diameters: Use a mix of different diameters to create more dimension. In areas that need more fullness, try making bigger fans using a lash with a smaller diameter.
  • Use the tape-back method: Once the top layers of the lashes are lashed, tape them back to isolate the bottom layer. Those little bottom lashes become more accessible and easier to lash to create a fuller set.

Pro Tip 🌟

If you have a client with curly lashes, place the extension on the underside of the natural lash to create a softer effect. This method also prevents the lashes from being too upright and hitting the lower part of the brow bone.

Lash Mapping Patterns Explained

Lash maps are not one-size-fits-all. They come in various styles that cater to different preferences and trends.

Doll Eye Lash Map

The 'Doll Eye' lash map creates an open, alert appearance that mimics the wide-eyed look of a doll. This lash mapping technique suits clients seeking a youthful, enchanting eye appearance.

For the doll eye look, use longer lash extensions in the center of the eye and gradually decrease the length towards the corners. We recommend marking where the pupil is when your client's eyes are open. The pupil's position when the eyes are closed might differ from where it is when their eyes are open.

Cat Eye Lash Map

The 'Cat Eye' lash map is a popular style that aims to elongate and lift the eye towards the outer corners. The result is a seductive, almond-shaped appearance reminiscent of a cat's eye. This technique involves placing longer lash extensions towards the ends of the eyes and gradually shortening them as you move toward the inner corner.

To create a cat eye look, find the highest point on your eyelid where you want the lifted effect most prominent. This point is usually at the outer third of the eye. From there, use it as a guide to gradually reduce the length of the eyelashes towards the inner corner and increase them towards the peak point. 

Lash artists often use D or M curl extensions to lift the outer corners of the eyes and enhance the illusion of a cat eye.

Pro Tip 🌟

If your client wants a cat-eye look without the "droopy" effect, consider mixing in M curl lashes at the outer half of the eye. The M curl gives a beautiful lifting impact and looks stunning on practically every eye shape!

Squirrel Eye Lash Map

The 'Squirrel Eye' lash map, also known as the 'Flick,' offers an elegant and distinctive tapering effect. It mirrors the arch of the eyebrow and closely resembles the natural lash growth pattern. This highly versatile lash map complements a wide range of clients with its universal appeal!

To create a squirrel eye, start by marking the arch of the brow. Place the longest lashes here, about two-thirds of the way across the lash line. Gradually reduce the length towards the ends by about four lengths on the outside and four to five on the inside. This technique will give a natural-looking lift that emphasizes the eyes, making them appear larger and more defined.

Strip Lash Map

The glamorous look of celebrity Kim Kardashian inspires the 'Strip Lash' lash map. This style is characterized by its wispy, textured appearance that mimics the effect of wearing strip lashes. The signature of the Kim K or strip lash look is the mixture of longer and shorter lash extensions placed alternately across the lash line, creating a staggered yet stunningly full and fluffy finish.

To achieve the Kim K lash design, we recommend working in layers. First, place your spikes. Next, tape back your spikes and lash the bottom layer first. Then lash the 2nd layer and go up by 1mm in length. Finish by lashing the top layer closest to the spikes. These fans should be at least 4mm shorter than the spikes. 

Watch our biz owner and educator Jaz do a Strip Lash set here.

Pro Tip 🌟

If you want to create a perfect wispy or strip lash look, our Pre-Made Lash Spikes make it easy. These spikes allow you to achieve perfectly symmetrical results every time.

However, if you run out of pre-made spikes and need to make handmade ones, we have just the trick for you! Simply apply saline solution to the tips of the volume lashes of your choice while they are still on the strip using a micro brush. When you pull them off the strip, they will stick together in perfect spikes that you can then apply to your lash.

Eyeliner Lash Map

The 'Eyeliner' lash map is designed to mimic the sleek and defined look of eyeliner. It creates the illusion of a thicker lash line and more dramatic eye makeup without actual cosmetics. This style focuses on achieving a denser appearance at the base of the lashes, progressively tapering to finer tips.

To achieve the eyeliner lash look, begin by applying shorter, denser fans at the inner corner of the eyes and gradually increase the length towards the middle and outer corners. For a clean and impactful eyeliner look, maintain consistency in the density throughout the base of the lashes and keep your lengths short. Shorter lengths help to darken the lash line and give a 'winged' eyeliner effect.

Troubleshooting Common Lash Mapping Issues

No art is without its challenges, and lash mapping is no exception. This section addresses common issues and offers solutions to keep your lash designs on point.

Addressing Asymmetrical Eyes and Uneven Lash Lines

When dealing with asymmetrical eyes and uneven lash lines, you can customize your lash map for each eye to achieve a balanced appearance.

Begin by closely examining your client's eye shape and lash line, noting any asymmetries. For eyes that appear smaller or more downturned on one side, you can create an illusion of symmetry by using slightly longer or more curled lash extensions at the outer corners of the smaller eye. This technique helps to visually lift and enlarge the eye, balancing it with its counterpart.

For uneven lash lines, the key is to adjust the length and curl of your extensions to create a more uniform line across both eyes. If one lash line is naturally fuller or longer, consider using finer, shorter lash extensions on this eye and slightly bolder, longer extensions on the less dense side to even out the volume and length across both eyes.

The goal is not to replicate the natural asymmetry but to gently correct it to enhance your client's overall appearance while maintaining a natural, flattering look.

Correcting Overextension and Preventing Lash Damage

Overextension occurs when extensions that are too long or heavy are applied, putting undue stress on the natural lashes. When the lashes are too long, it can lead to lash damage or premature shedding. 

The first step in preventing lash damage is to carefully select extensions appropriate for the client’s natural lash type.

To begin with, you need to assess the strength and length of your client's natural lashes. A good rule of thumb is to choose extensions that are no more than 2-3mm longer than the natural lash and only slightly thicker than the client's natural lash diameter.

Pro Tip 🌟

At lash fills, make sure you remove all the grown-out extensions. As they grow out, they become heavy on the end of the lash and can cause premature shedding. Encourage your clients to come in every 2-3 weeks for touch-ups. 

Elevate Your Lash Game With Lashin’ Out!

Are you ready to take your lash game to the next level? We know it can be a struggle to achieve perfect symmetry or choose the best lash map for your client's eye. Lashin' Out's mentorship program is here to help! Our program will help you improve your lash artistry skills and boost your business. With personalized 1:1 mentorship from a lash expert, you can invest in yourself and your business.