One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to eyelash extensions is, “Will it damage my natural lashes?”
We get it, you don’t want to see a single natural lash fall out prematurely, and we don’t blame you! Lash health is just as important as lash beauty, perhaps even more important. So, to protect your natural eyelashes, here’s everything you need to know.
Like most important questions, this question doesn’t have a “yes” or “no” answer. There are a number of factors involved in how your salon eyelash extension application will impact your natural lashes.
Every lash extension specialist will tell you that when applied correctly, extensions will not damage your natural eyelashes. There are many people who wear a full set successfully with zero damage, while others experience notable damage — anywhere from slight irritation to natural lash breakage and loss. So, what’s the truth? Why do some people wear extensions with no issues while others experience damage?
We’ll start by acknowledging that even if the most experienced lash stylist applies your lashes, there are some risks due to the bonding agents used to adhere lash extensions. These glues contain cyanoacrylates and formaldehyde. Therefore, some people experience irritation, inflammation, dry eyes, and even allergic reactions.
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 cause irritation, itchiness, redness, or dryness. Before making an appointment, you should ask what type of extension fibers and glue will be used. Your lash technician should do a patch test to ensure you do not have an adverse reaction, just like a dermatologist would check for allergies.
Another factor that can cause damage even if you have a perfect application can be something as simple as rubbing your eyes as you sleep. Why? Because extension glue cures completely, which means 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 break your natural lash along with it.
This potential for breakage is also the main reason lash artists will tell you not to use mascara or a lash curler on your extensions. They 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.
If you’re experiencing irritation of any sort, a good lash technician will assist you by recommending changing the type of lash and using a lash serum. Lash serums are designed to stimulate the hair follicles along your lash line to improve the quality of your lashes and the speed at which they grow.
A good lash serum contains nourishing ingredients, like biotin, hyaluronic acid, and pumpkin seed extract. These ingredients can also help keep your lashes hydrated to prevent breakage.
The Type of Lash Extensions You Choose Matters
Choosing the wrong lash length or style can also lead to natural lash damage. Selecting a type of lash that is 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. In addition, the diameter of the extension fiber should not exceed the diameter of your natural, individual lashes.
These can be hard rules to abide by, as the whole point of extensions is to have the Kardashian-esque, long lashes you have dreamed of, but it’s best to put the health of your own natural lashes first for a simple reason; healthy lashes grow, damaged lashes don’t. If you give your lashes the care they need to grow stronger, gradually, you’ll be able to increase the length and volume of the lashes you wear without causing harm. Without growth serum, the average lash growth cycle for a single lash is four to eight weeks to regrow after falling out. Good things to those who wait for a full growth cycle!
Damage can also be caused by the improper lash application and lack of hygiene. Unclean tools, unwashed hands, or cross-contamination of spoolies might cause eye infections. As if that weren’t enough of a threat, some lash glues can also cause eye infections. Your eyes are extremely sensitive and they are one of the easiest ways for germs to enter your body, so in general, you should be very careful about the objects and products you place near your eye area.
Choosing a Properly Trained and Experienced Eyelash Extension Artist Is Critical
Unfortunately, in some states, this process isn’t regulated at all, and in other states, local governments only require a cosmetology license. What is the problem with that? Well, although they may be skilled in hair styling or other beauty industry services, not every person with a cosmetology license has been trained to work on the eye area. In addition to their cosmetology license, the artist would need certification in lash extensions. Even then, a licensed but poorly trained 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 choose to do your extensions. It’s always better to go to a lash technician with experience rather than a new lash tech. Visiting a studio that focuses on lash services and has experienced, licensed technicians are your best bet.
Removing Your Lashes
Removal habits can also play a factor. When it comes to removing your salon 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.
You should only DIY your removal when you’re using DIY kits. Even then, you need to make sure you have clean hands and tools and follow all the pro tips from experienced lash artists. Never just pull your lashes off, and always use a gentle, toxin-free, oil-based, or dual-phase remover to slide your lashes off delicately to avoid damaging your extensions and your natural lashes.
The Importance of Aftercare
Lastly, one other factor that can cause damage is a lack of hygiene during regular wear. Bacteria can build up under or on the glue and on the lashes themselves since lash extensions are worn for extended periods of time. Makeup, sweat, and natural body oil help trap bacteria, dirt, and other debris. Therefore, it’s important to regularly clean your extensionswhile you wear them with an oil-free cleanser, or, preferably, a lash wash specially formulated for eyelash extensions.
Eyelash Extensions Alone Don’t Damage Your Natural Lashes
Extensions themselves don’t damage your lashes when applied properly by a skilled professional and maintained by a dedicated and hygienic wearer. But there are some risks associated with false eyelashes that are really rooted in improper preparation to wear false lashes, such as being allergic, not caring for lashes properly, or lack of hygiene.