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Do lash extensions damage natural eyelashes?

Posted on: July 10th, 2019

If you’re anything like us, every time you open up your Instagram you probably get bombarded with beautiful before and after shots of women with eyelash extensions.  But as alluring as they may be, it’s prudent to do your research before jumping in.  So do eyelash extensions cause damage to your natural lashes? To get the answer we interviewed Master Lash Artist and Trainer Kyra Skairus.  With certifications from over a dozen of the top studios in the country and over a decade of experience, Kyra is an expert on the Do’s and Don’ts of Lash Extensions and gave us the low-down.

So, let’s get right to the nuts and bolts of it…do lash extensions cause damage to your natural lashes?

Kyra: In a word, no.  But, there are many things you want to be aware of when getting extensions.  You should only have lash extensions applied by a certified aesthetician or cosmetologist.  Be sure to research the studio you are going to before your appointment.  And if something doesn’t seem right during your appointment speak up.

Why is it so important to have extensions applied by a certified professional?

Kyra: A quick google search for lash extensions horror stories will pull up enough pictures to convince anyone that fluttery eyelashes are just a dream.  But if you see a certified professional they will know how to not only apply extensions but protect your eyes in the process.  Each appointment should include an assessment of the overall health of your lashes before any are applied.  A professional will also know how to avoid infection of the cornea and eyelid through proper sanitation.  Additionally, a reputable studio would never risk your health or eyes with a substandard glue.

Speaking of glues, can they be dangerous?

Kyra: The glues we use are not inherently dangerous.  10 years ago, formaldehyde-based glues were more common, but we never use them anymore.  With that being said, some people do have allergic reactions to the glues used to apply lash extensions.  During my initial consultations I always offer my clients a “patch test” to see if they may have an allergic reaction to the glue we use.

So if I see a licensed aesthetician at a reputable studio I don’t have to worry about my lashes being damaged?

Kyra: Yes.  A reputable studio should do several things to protect the health of your lashes.  First, a certified professional will NEVER apply a lash extension to multiple of your natural lashes.  This can cause breakage and be extremely painful.  As your natural lash falls out, the lash extension is supposed to fall out with it.  But when it is attached to multiple lashes I have seen clients pull out their own lashes to remove the extension so it’s not just “hanging on”.  Second, an experienced lash artist knows that not everybody is a candidate for lash extensions.  Anyone who is unable to lie still for up to 2 hours to have the initial set of lashes applied may not be able to get lash extensions.  Lash artists work with 2 sets of tweezers to separate the natural lashes and then apply the extension to one lash at a time.  While extremely uncommon, a patient who can’t stay still may endanger themselves as we work with the tweezers near their eyes.  Finally, a professional will never add more extensions than your natural lashes can support.  Adding too many extensions or too heavy of extensions can shorten your natural lash cycle.

Natural lash cycle? What’s that?

Kyra: Your natural lashes fall out every 4-6 weeks – this varies for everybody.  Most days you probably have 3-5 eyelashes fall out without even noticing.  But once you have extensions on it can become more noticeable.  If you wait too long to come in for a fill, you will probably start to get what I refer to as eyelash dysmorphia.  You start to forget what your natural lashes look like without extensions and its almost natural to wonder if there’s a problem with your lashes.

If lash extensions won’t damage my natural lashes, what will?

One of the most common things I’ve seen in my career is clients damaging their own eyelashes by pulling and picking at them.  If you pull at the extensions you are more likely to also pull out your own natural lashes.  This can leave your lashes looking stubby and sparser than before you had extensions.  I also can’t stress enough the importance of aftercare in keeping your lashes healthy.  Not only will proper aftercare keep your lashes healthy but it will also extend the amount of time between your fills and keep your lashes looking fuller longer.  In severe cases of not cleaning your lashes, microscopic mites can inflame your eyes and cause itchiness.  Just like the hair on your head, eyelashes can get oily and greasy if they aren’t washed.  This is a perfect breeding ground for Demodex mites.

What if my lashes are already damaged? Is there hope? Can I ever get lash extensions again?

More often than we would like we have clients visit us who have had damage to their lashes from either visiting a substandard studio or unlicensed aesthetician.  We can almost never apply lash extensions if your lashes are badly damaged.  That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless.  There are many products available that can help your natural lashes grow back fuller, longer and stronger.  In most cases any damage to the lashes from pulling or poor hygiene are temporary.  The best thing you can do is to use a lash serum and give your lashes time to recuperate which they normally do.

Do you have any final advice?

As with any beauty product or regimen, it’s not worth skimping on eyelash extensions.  You’re far better paying a fair price for a good service that won’t cause you problems than getting a discount set of lashes that will cause you more problems in the long run.  If you have concerns talk to your lash artist and don’t ignore warning signs.  If something doesn’t seem right it probably isn’t.

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