How damaging are lash extensions – Really?

Lash extensions are extremely popular, but most people have a lash horror story that they’ve heard or experienced. Many people are nervous to try lash extensions because of potential damage. So what exactly are the risks of trying lash extensions?

You should be able to brush your lashes all the way through without any snagging or pulling

How does the application affect my natural lashes?

The quality of the application is EVERYTHING. Isolation of the natural lash is the determining factor. Each natural lash needs to be nice and separated, not sticking together. You should be able to brush your lashes all the way through without any snagging or pulling. I have seen so many botched sets from untrained technicians where the lashes are glued together in clumps. When those clumps grow out, they are going to take the natural lashes attached with them, ripping them out. Properly applied lash extensions will shed individually, leaving the natural lash behind most of the time. Keep in mind that your lashes have natural growth and shedding cycles, so it’s normal for a natural lash to occasionally shed by itself. Never in clumps!

NOT MY WORK! Botched lashes from another salon

Also, how much glue the technician is using will affect the health of your lashes. Only the tip of the extension should be dipped in glue and attached close to the base of the natural lash. I’ve seen too many incidences from other salons where they have dipped the ENTIRE extension in glue, suffocating the natural lash from base to end. Proper application will still allow the client’s lashes to breathe. Using too much glue will make the lashes brittle. You should not be able to see the glue.

NOT MY WORK! Glued together in clumps - "You should not be able to see the glue"

Are different types of lashes more damaging than others?

Yes, actually, your natural lashes can only handle so much weight. Your technician needs to assess the strength of your natural lashes. People with long, thick, healthy natural lashes can handle more. People with sparse lashes, naturally thinner lashes, or damaged lashes (from strip lashes, previous lash extensions, etc.), can’t handle as much weight on their lashes.

Longer, thicker, dramatic extensions are heavier, and require healthy lashes. Natural looks use lighter extensions, which don’t weigh down as much. Classic looks use one extension to each natural lash. Classic lashes are the lightest. Volume and hybrid looks use multiple lightweight, fluffy lash extensions to each natural lash. Volume lashes are heavier than classic lashes and should only be applied to strong natural lashes. Mega-volume is a look that uses even more fluffy lashes (10-12 per natural lash). I don’t believe in mega-volume. It is not possible to maintain a look that heavy without damaging your natural lashes.

I recommend classic lashes for everybody, and volume lashes only to those who can handle that extra weight. Even with classic lashes, the strength of the natural lashes must be kept in mind when choosing the length.

A quality classic full set

How does aftercare affect the health of my lashes?

It’s important to be brushing and washing your lashes regularly. You should be brushing your lashes every morning, and whenever you get them wet, so that they don’t dry stuck together. If you go weeks without brushing your lashes (which sounds crazy – but I’ve actually seen it!!), your lashes will crisscross, tangle, and pull on each other, which can cause damage and feel uncomfortable. I always give my clients a disposable brush each visit. Those wands are *disposable* meaning, replace your brush regularly.

Washing your lashes regularly prevents eye infection and eye conditions such as blepharitis, pink eye, and eye mites. Lash extensions are foreign bodies glued next to your eye, creating crevices for bacteria if not properly taken care of. It’s essential to be washing the eye area with antibacterial lash wash.

Can I use baby shampoo or antibacterial soap to wash my lashes?

Please DO NOT! Baby shampoo is not antibacterial and contains fragrance. Antibacterial soap is not meant for the eye area and will strip the skin of its natural oils and PH balance. Please use a lash wash specifically formulated for the eye area. I recommend washing with lash wash every other day, or as needed, such as after working out or wearing makeup.

Should I be taking breaks from lashes?

Everybody is different, but I usually recommend taking your lashes off for a month or two, once a year. It’s beneficial to let your lashes breathe and to take the glue off for a bit. You may use a lash serum after the extensions have been removed. If you have gotten a damaging lash application from another salon, I recommend taking a break and using a lash serum for 6-8 weeks before trying lashes again.

Are lash extensions really worth the risk?

100% yes! I’m not trying to scare anyone, just educate! Lash extensions are actually LESS damaging than using strip lashes or a lash curler. Removing strip lashes is extremely damaging to your natural lashes. I have seen more bald spots from strip lashes than from botched sets from other salons. Lash curlers bend and break your natural lashes. Heated lash curlers cause brittleness and breakage. Even mascara is suffocating to the lashes. As long as you are going to a quality technician and taking care of your lashes at home, your lashes will remain healthy!