By Vanessa Quinteros
One of the most commonly asked questions and concerns when it comes to eyelash extensions is… will it damage my natural lashes? Every lash extension specialist will tell you that when applied correctly, they will not damage your natural lashes. There are many people who wear them successfully with zero damage, while others experience notable damage— anywhere from a slight irritation, to natural lash breakage and loss. So, what’s the truth? Why do some wear with no issues while others experience damage?
We’ll start by acknowledging that even if the most experienced lash technician applies your lashes, there are some risks due to the bonding agents used to adhere lash extensions. These glues contain cyanoacrylates and formaldehydes. Therefore, some people experience irritation, inflammation, dry eyes, and even an allergic reaction. A reaction, although rare, could also be due to the lash fibers themselves. For example, if you are allergic to cats, you might find that extensions made of natural mink hair could cause irritation, itchiness, redness or dryness. Before making an appointment, you should ask what type of extension fibers and glue are being used. It is also suggested that your lash technician do a patch test to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction.
Another factor that can cause damage even if you have the perfect application can be something as simple as rubbing your eyes as you sleep. Why? Because extension glue cures all the way… meaning, they dry and harden to the core. So, rubbing your eyes, or squishing them for hours at night can cause the bond to break, and therefore break your natural lash along with it. This is also the main reason lash technicians will tell you not to use mascara or use a lash curler on your extensions. It will break the bond. Most people will not realize this has happened until they fully remove their extensions, and notice they have stubs for lashes. A good lash technician will notify you and recommend changing the type of lash and using a lash serum.
Some will also experience damage due to choosing the wrong lash length and style. Selecting lashes that are too long or too thick can cause stress to the hair follicles. This can cause the natural lashes to fall out prematurely and possibly cause permanent damage. Therefore, it's recommended that the extension length is not more than 2mm longer than your natural lash and a diameter that does not exceed that of your natural lash. This can be hard to do, as the whole point of extensions is to have the lashes you have dreamed of!!
Damage can also be caused by improper lash application and lack of hygiene. It’s very important to choose a properly trained and experienced eyelash extension artist. Unfortunately, in some states this process isn’t regulated. And in other states they only require the cosmetology license. What is the problem with that? Well, although they may be skilled in hair or other beauty services, they aren’t required to be trained to work on the eye area to get a license. In addition to their cosmetology license, they would need a certification in lash extensions. Even then, a licensed professional can go online and easily get eyelash extension training and certification. Licensed estheticians on the other hand, are trained in skin and eyelash services. Therefore, it’s important to do your research on who you will choose to do your extensions. Visiting a studio that focuses on lash services and has experienced, licensed technicians is your best bet.
Removal can also play a factor. When it comes to removing your extensions, you must go back to a professional to properly remove them. So many change their minds about having lash extensions, and decide to try different methods to remove them. This caused them to break and damage their lashes in the process. Whatever you do, DO NOT try removing them yourself! Go back to a skilled professional.
And lastly, one other factor that can cause damage is lack of hygiene. Bacteria can build up under or on the glue and on the lashes themselves since lash extensions are worn for extended periods of time. Therefore, it’s important to regularly clean your extensions with an oil-free cleanser. Or preferably a lash wash specially formulated for eyelash extensions.
As you can see, extensions themselves don’t damage your lashes when applied properly by a skilled professional. But there are some risks that can be caused by other factors such as being allergic, not caring for lashes properly, or lack of hygiene.
Do you feel traditional salon extensions are not for you, but still want to have the lash of your dreams? Don’t worry there are now other options! My favorite….. Lashify!