Looking for Lush Lashes Like Katy Perry and Beyoncé? Read These 7 Lash Extension Tips First

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 23-Nov-2015

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 cleaned.

In addition, 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 extensions.)

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.

IMPORTANT: Trust only a lash-certified, licensed esthetician or cosmetologist with your eyes.

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 one-size-fits-all service.

4. Make sure the lash salon uses professional grade, formaldehyde-free, eyelash glue.

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.

If you 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 basic tips:

  • Choose a gentle, oil-free cleanser. Consider Neutrogena Oil-Free Makeup 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

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