handmade vs premade fight

Handmade vs Premade Fans

The debate over handmade vs premade fans has raged since premade fans first appeared on the scene around 2015. Can you believe that? It’s really only been about 6yrs! Oh how things have changed in such a short time.

Please note: when I say premade, I am not referring to cluster lashes or knot base style fans.

Why do artists hate on premade fans?

For those veteran lash artists who cringe at the very words “premade fan”, there is some history. The first premade fans were .15, 3-4D, flat square based monstrosities. To those artists (I was one of them for a long time), the idea of slapping that on someone’s eyes was comparable to using strip lashes with extension adhesive. Just ICK!

Until about 3 years ago, there really wasn’t a great premade fan available. More recently, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in quality and composition that makes premade fans a useful and time saving resource. Thankfully, we now have both promade – handmade fans made by a lash artist (yourself or someone else) or machine made fans, that are absolutely gorgeous. However, contrary to popular vernacular, both of these are Premade fans. All fans bonded before they are used in a lash application are Prepared/Made beforehand.

Aren’t premade fans “cheating”?

No! Here are a few reasons why…

For any lash artist, there is a learning curve when it comes to fanning. Using premade fans while you perfect your technique is Smart! You can offer more services without sacrificing your timing or sanity as you learn.

Some lash artists just don’t want to learn fanning. That’s OKAY! As long as you educate yourself on proper weight ratios and carry the different sizes you need to create beautiful work. Do you, Boo!

Some artists enjoy banging out volume sets as quickly as possible. This allows them to see more clients every day while minimizing appointment times. Awesome!

Every artist should do what works for them!

We all have to work within the limitations of our space, our climate and our demographics. The same is true for products. While X works great for me, it may not be the best fit for you. You should make the choices that are the best for YOU & YOUR BUSINESS!

A great way to test out some new products is The Lash Artist Box. I’ve found some awesome brands and gotten some fabulous products that I may never have tried if it weren’t for L.A.B.!

Pros and Cons…

My personal preference is to hand make my fans. While I’ve tried several brands of premade fans, I do see decreased retention rate for many clients. I also find it harder to customize my sets. I use 4-6 lengths, 2 curls and many different fan sizes and shapes on each set. Just the storage of the different premade trays and palette set up for each appointment is daunting, to me. Others don’t mind that inconvenience. I like having each diameter in a single drawer. I like being able to go from 2D to 8D from a single strip per length.

Fan wrapping is a big one for me, too. I like knowing every extension in a fan will be bonding to the natural lash, but premade fans cannot do this. Just like a classic lash, a premade fan attaches to a single side of the surface of the natural lash.

Consistency is Key! One of the beautiful things about premade fans is the consistency. You know that every fan will look the same, every time. A seasoned handmade artist can do great fans consistently, however there is no guarantee that every single fan will look the same when you’re making fans quickly. Volume Fans

Cost vs Time…

…is another consideration. Yes, using premade fans can be faster than fanning as you go for some artists. Those artists should be charging a premium rate and marketing the convenience of faster service, in my opinion. Because the material costs are much higher than for an artist fanning by hand.

Don’t believe me? The standard 16 strip tray of premade is 240 fans. I can get 90 fans out of a single strip by handmaking. From a 16 strip tray, that’s 1440 fans. Often at the same or lower price as the premade tray. 1 tray of handmade = 6 trays of premade number of fans.

To me, 6x the cost in materials is not equal to the additional 15-30min of time in wages that it takes me to fan as I go. But again, that is down to finding the tools and technique that works best for me and taking the time to practice to get to a fast fanning speed.

Do I have to handmake my fans to be an “artist”?

You don’t have to! Artistry comes from designing fabulous lash maps for your clients. It comes from using your skills to cover problem spots and choose lengths and widths to create a gorgeous set. It does not depend on what type of fans you use.

Many artists combine handmade and premade. Some artists don’t have the desire to practice different techniques to find what works for them. Many don’t have the extra time available to practice. That’s OKAY! Everyone has to work within their comfort zone and within the budget of their business. As I said above…Do what works for You!

If you’re interested in learning different techniques, take a fan making workshop! If you don’t know the volumetrics, please consider a volume course. Are you in BC, Canada? You’re welcome to check out the Sinful Lashes Brand Courses available in-person, at my studio.

What are your thoughts on the Handmade vs Premade debate? I’d love to hear what you have to say! Comment, email or reach out on social media below!