Do you want to speed up your routine in the morning without makeup? Are you getting married or attending a formal event? Do you long for longer, fuller and more defined eyelashes? All of these reasons and more have contributed to why eyelash extensions have become so popular over the last few years.
Unfortunately, before getting fake lashes, many people don’t think about the potential downfalls. After all, something is being glued to your eyelids!
Personally, I have had a number of friends and patients who have gotten eyelash extensions. Some have done very well with them, while others have experienced issues. Therefore, knowing the facts before you decide if eyelash extensions are right for you can make all the difference!
What are eyelash extensions?
Eyelash extensions are single fibers glued on top of your natural eyelash, usually on your upper eyelid. Forceps are used to apply the lashes and the initial application can take anywhere from 90 minutes to upwards of 2 hours. This all depends on the number of eyelashes being glued on.
One thing many people overlook is that eyelash extensions fall out with your natural lashes. In fact, eyelash extensions can last 4-6 weeks, which is a natural lash growth cycle. However, most salons recommend getting refills done every 2-3 weeks to keep them looking full and neat. Also, touch up visits are typically shorter in duration, but may break the bank as time goes on.
Overall, the general cost of eyelash extensions is as follows:
- A full set of eyelash extensions at your initial visit can range from $100 to $300
- Eyelash extension touch ups average between $80 to $150 a visit
What to know before you get eyelash extensions
What type of eyelash extensions will be used?
Eyelash extensions are typically made of synthetic fibers like nylon, silk, or mink. Synthetic mink lashes tend to be the most popular since they are lightweight and can decrease the risk of natural lash breakage. Real mink lashes look the most natural but are exponentially more expensive.
Is there formaldehyde in the glue?
This is a really important question to ask before getting eyelash extensions. Why? Many people are allergic to formaldehyde and can develop irritation and inflammation along their eyelid margin.
Is your salon known for cleanliness and is the technician certified?
Again, another MUST ASK question! They are your eyes, after all.
4 potential complications from eyelash extensions
Just like any service, there are risks of complications from getting eyelash extensions. Below are a few of the most common complications I’ve seen in my practice:
In particular, a hypersensitivity to the glue, tape, or solvents used to remove the eyelash extensions.
2) Breakage of your natural eyelashes
Lash breakage can damage your hair follicle and slow down, or even completely halt, lash growth. Unfortunately, this often leads to eyelash loss.
3) Microbial complications
In particular, dirty salon conditions or a poor lash cleansing routine can cause pink eye and inflammation along your lid margin. This can lead to pain, light sensitivity, styes, blurred vision, and many other unwanted symptoms.
4) Dry eye
Dry eye disease can occur when your eyelash extensions do not mimic the natural way that eyelashes protect the front surface of your eye. Also, your eyelid oil glands can get damaged during application.
My professional advice on eyelash extensions
Get into a cleaning routine beforehand
If you decide to get eyelash extensions, the most important thing to remember is to get into a lash cleansing routine every night!
I highly recommend that you never use mascara on your lash extensions. Also, make sure to cleanse them with an oil-free lash cleanser and a silicone brush (this is the one I recommend).
Another tip is to apply conditioner after cleansing (I recommend this one). This can help to strengthen the natural lash underneath and prevent breakage.
Do your research and find a reputable salon
While it might be tempting to get a Groupon for that new eyelash salon that popped up overnight, I highly recommend you go with an established salon instead.
Consider the time, upkeep, and lifestyle changes required beforehand
Make sure you know what you are signing up for! Although it may be quicker in the morning, you need to remember to clean the lashes every single night (which can end up adding time to your overall routine).
Also, lifestyle changes like not getting your face wet in the shower, getting rid of all oil-based makeup removers and moisturizers, and more difficult contact lens insertion are all things to consider.
Final thoughts on eyelash extensions
Overall, I will admit, eyelash extensions look amazing! However, keep in mind, they come with a cost (in more ways than one). As an optometrist, I highly recommend you keep these things in mind before you consider getting eyelash extensions.
Author bio: Dr. Christine Morra spent the majority of her life living and studying in upstate New York before moving to Manhattan to pursue her dreams of becoming an optometrist at the State University of New York College of Optometry. She continues to reside in Manhattan and works at a group private practice in the heart of Midtown, with a focus on ocular disease and specialty contact lens fittings. In her spare time, she loves to spread knowledge about eye care through her platform, morrathanmeetstheeye.com, and her Instagram @morrathanmeetstheeye. Optometry has always been a huge part of her life, and she is so happy to continue to share her passion.