Take a close look at today’s top Hollywood stars, and you’ll
notice most have one thing in common: Beautiful, long and luxurious eyelashes,
often in the form of lash extensions. And they’re not alone! Considering
the abundance of lash salons and lash extension artists popping up everywhere,
it’s abundantly clear many women are embracing this trend.
However, before you hop on the lash extension bandwagon, it’s important
to do your research first. Lash extensions are not for everyone, they
require maintenance and can
cause a host of eye health issues when not properly applied or cleansed.
a recent study by Georgia Tech Ph.D. candidate Guillermo Amador revealed, “When eyelashes are shorter than the
one-third ratio, they have only a slight effect on the [airflow]. Their
effect is more pronounced as they lengthen up until one-third. After that,
they start funneling air and dust particles into the eye.”
Amador goes on to add, “This is why long, elegant, fake eyelashes
aren’t ideal,” said Amador. “They may look good, but
they’re not the best thing for the health of your eyes.”
Before you take the plunge, consider these seven tips first:
1. Be prepared, lash extensions aren’t cheap.
A full set of eyelash extensions from a licensed esthetician or cosmetologist,
who is also lash certified, can cost upwards of $200, $300 and more, not
to mention the $50 to $75 (or more) to fill in or replace lashes as they
naturally shed (the pros typically recommend a lash fill every 2 to 4 weeks).
(Believe it or not, Beyoncé’s make-up artist applied her
famous mink lashes in strips, which are supposedly much more economical than individual lash
2. Go to an experienced, licensed pro or don’t go.
Sure it’s tempting … you see an online deal or sign outside
your local lash salon for a low-ball price and think, why not? Put on
the breaks. As with any beauty service, you get what you pay for when
it comes to lash extensions, and Key-Whitman Eye Centers
Dallas eye doctor Pat Colerick, O.D., has seen the consequences.
“If you try to cut corners on eyelash extension costs, you could
very well end up with an inexperienced, non-licensed technician who doesn’t
understand the proper technique for applying lash extensions safely (one
extension per lash, appropriate amount and type of glue, equipment sterilization
protocol, etc.). Consequently, you could end up with corneal abrasions,
eye irritations and redness, or a serious eye infection,” Dr. Colerick warns.
Trust only a lash-certified, licensed esthetician or cosmetologist with
3. Shop around for the best talent (NOT the best deal).
Before you schedule a lash extension appointment, check multiple reviews
on sites such as Yelp or Google (one or two reviews are not enough), ask
friends for recommendations, then schedule a consultation with the lash
stylist prior to committing.
Most reputable salons offer free consultations, which provide an ideal
opportunity to assess the salon’s cleanliness, verify the stylist
is licensed and/or certified and allow you to check out before and after
photos of his or her work. Experienced lash stylists will also ask you
about your goals and make recommendations based on your eye shape and
natural lash length and thickness. Lash extension procedures are NOT a
4. Make sure the lash salon uses professional grade, formaldehyde-free,
According to Dr. Colerick, “Another downside to lash extensions for
some people is an allergy to the eyelash glue. If you have an allergic
reaction – or contact dermatitis – to the glue, you can end
up with puffy, red eyes until the extensions are removed.”
(Actress Kristen Chenoweth said she had an allergic reaction to the formaldehyde in eyelash glue and ended up looking like she had
“lips on her eyelids.”)
“This condition is reversible once the lashes and glue are removed,
but you may need to take an oral Benadryl, anti-inflammatory medication,
cortisone cream and/or eye drops to control the inflammation, reduce discomfort
and return eyes to normal appearance. Some people even miss work following
allergic reactions to the glue,” Dr. Colerick warns.
5. Don’t be afraid to (carefully) wash your lash extensions. Lash
hygiene is vital for eye health!
Depending on the salon and type of extensions used, lash artists typically
recommend you allow the glue to cure for 24 to 48 hours before getting
extensions wet. That doesn’t mean you should forgo washing the area
around your eyes, your lash line and the lashes themselves afterwards.
You just need to use a gentle hand.
don’t follow a regular eyelid and lash cleansing protocol, bacteria can grow
– which can lead to eye infections – and dry eye issues can
arise or be exacerbated.
As Dr. Colerick explains, “Many people with eyelash extensions avoid
washing their eyes and eyelids regularly, if at all, which increases the
chance of eye redness, infection and conjunctivitis. This occurs when
the natural bacteria flora found on the surface of the eyelids isn’t
properly controlled due to poor hygiene.
We also see an
increased incidence of dry eye syndrome in patients who avoid lid hygiene and the lid massage that naturally occurs
when you wash your face and eye area. Lid massage is important, because
it helps keep the oils that control dryness present in the tear film.
When we scrub our eyes, the natural massaging motion helps keep the oil
producing meibomian glands open.”
You can safely wash your eyelids and lash extensions, just follow these
Choose a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Consider Neutrogena Oil-Free Make-up
Remover or Johnson’s Baby Wash, or ask your lash stylist for a recommendation.
(Key-Whitman also offers antibacterial lid scrubs. Visit our
Shop Optical page to learn more.)
- Using your finger or a cosmetic sponge, gently rub the cleanser over lashes
in an upward motion toward your brow to remove debris (avoid cotton swabs
or pads, as fibers can get stuck in lashes).
- Rinse with water.
- Gently pat dry.
- Comb lashes out with a clean mascara wand or lash brush.
6. Consider a prescription for LATISSE® as an alternative.
If you think the cost, maintenance or eye health complications associated
with eyelash extensions aren’t worth the trouble, there is another
option you may want to consider.
“LATISSE is a product that actually increases the density and length
of the eyelashes, while allowing you to control lash hygiene and eye dryness.
Using an applicator, you apply the product to the lash margins at bedtime,
and over a 30 to 45 day period, most individuals see an increase in lash
density and length,” Dr. Colerick says.
Your prescribing eye doctor can review the benefits and risks associated
with LATISSE and help you determine if it’s a good option for you.
(You can also find more
information about LATISSE on our website.)
7. Weigh the pros and cons before opting for lash extensions.
Many people can safely enjoy the beauty enhancement eyelash extensions
afford. Just make sure to take time to find an experienced lash stylist,
follow up with proper lid hygiene and contact your eye doctor should any
eye irritation or discomfort occur.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club