Lash extensions, sans sugarcoat

I get a lot of concerned questions about lash extensions. Everyone seems to know someone who knows someone whose lashes all fell out after getting extensions, or whose eyes got glued shut, or what have you….

The popularity of lash extensions has risen significantly over the course of the past few years and licensing boards previously struggled to keep up with implementing regulations. However, the good news is that when done correctly, extensions DO NOT damage your natural lashes. As in, zero damage. None.

When they are done correctly.

The proper way to do it is to cover the lower lashes with tape or pads designed for this purpose, separate one lash from the others with a set of tweezers, dip the extension into the glue with another pair of tweezers, and gently place the extension on the natural lash while simultaneously distributing the glue evenly over it. Finally, the extensionist uses a dryer or waits a few moments for the glue to solidify. It’s time consuming and tedious, but definitely not a complicated process for someone with experience. Here’s a video (not mine) that might give you a better idea of what it’s like. However, problems do arise in certain circumstances. However, however, you need not be a victim of fear! I’m going to let you know about how to avoid some problems you may have heard about and what you can do about them as an informed consumer. Knowledge is power!!!

  1. One of the most common issue is getting lashes glued together. For people who aren’t into learning about hair growth cycles this may not make a lot of sense at first, but I’ll clarify. This can be a major problem because your individual lash hairs (just like any other hairs) are at different stages of growth at any given time. A lash in the “growing” stage may be right next to another that’s in a “resting” stage. If the two get glued together, the growing hair will pull out the one that is resting before its time. If this happens enough, you might end up with bald patches on your lash line over the course of a couple of weeks. One lash slowly pulling out another won’t feel like the same pain you get when you tweeze a hair, it’ll feel more like a dull ache. If you start feeling a persistent ache like this you may still have time to get it fixed with minimal damage. A good extensionist knows this and is going to allow your glue to dry properly before moving on to the next one. They’ll periodically stop to pull lashes apart an brush through them at the end of your service to make sure they’re not stuck.
  2. Applying lashes that are too heavy can be a problem because the lash hair isn’t used to supporting that much weight. Your extensionist shouldn’t be giving you a lash that’s more than twice the length or diameter of the natural lash to avoid this problem. If the extensions start sagging into your eye-line having them removed or replaced with shorter or thinner extensions should solve your problem. You can always start with more natural lashes and bump up the length and diameter once you know your lashes can handle it. This is  a fairly uncommon issue and happens mostly to people with extremely fine, short natural lashes.
  3. The trouble with your eyes being glued shut is that it happens. Now, before you freak out, let me explain. It happens on a micro-level, one lash at a time. A good extensionist will periodically pause during your service and see if there are any lashes she needs to free up. Easy-peasy! A good extensionist won’t let it get to the point where you can’t open your eyes at all at the end of the service. There might be a few straggling lashes hanging on at the end to release, but that’s normal. The other thing an extensionist does to prevent this is to tape down or otherwise cover your lower lashes. This does a couple of things: 1) it prevents the extensionist from gluing extensions to random lower lashes, 2) and it keeps the extensions you just glued to the top lashes from being glued to bottom ones. Instead, if the glue gets stuck on the surface of the lower lash covering you can just gently pluck it off without ruining the extension or accidentally removing any hairs.

The good news here is that the recent rise in popularity of lash extensions has led to state licensing boards cracking down on who can perform it. Gone are the days when you could buy the supplies online, watch a YouTube video of someone else doing it, and set up shop. Most states now require that you be a licensed Esthetician or Cosmetologist in addition to having a special certification. Here’s a quick list of how to make sure you don’t become a victim of someone else’s inexperience:

  • If you can, when shopping around for an extensionist, get a recommendation.
  • Beware of extensionists offering prices that are way outside of the local market value.
  • Ask for your extensionist’s credentials and pictures of their work.
  • If you sense something is wrong before, during, or after the appointment, speak up. You may not want to embarrass the extensionist by bringing up a problem, but you should also be happy with your results
  • If you suspect you got a botched job, ask your extensionist if they’ll fix it free of charge. Chances are, they don’t want to have a negative review of their work floating around. A lot of extensionists will fix poorly done extensions, but it’ll cost you.

My purpose in writing this post was not to scare you, but to empower you. Like I said, with new regulations, these problems are much less common. But just in case, a little information goes a long way!

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