What Are Eyelash Extensions?
Eyelash extensions are commercially available attachments which are glued with the help of semi-permanent adhesive with the natural eyelashes individually to enhance the length, thickness and appearance of the eyelashes.
They are different from fake eyelash which is a cluster of eyelashes in one piece. Fake eyelashes (temporary) are meant for 1-2 days duration whereas eyelash extensions (also called as semi-permanent eyelashes) remain in place for 4-6 weeks or even longer if proper care is taken.
Extensions can be applied to upper as well as to the lower eyelids. The size and curls may be customized for both eyelids.
What are the Types and Sizes of Eyelash Extensions?
There are multiple options to choose from:
- Human hair
Eyelash extensions are available in 6-17 mm lengths. 10-12 mm long extensions are most commonly preferred. You can also choose different lengths in the same eyelid to give it a dramatic effect. Curls also vary – ‘J’ curl and ‘C’ curl are there to choose from. Extensions are also available in various colors and thickness.
How Much Does It Cost to Have Lash Extensions?
Eyelash extensions can cost anywhere between $50 to $600. The prices vary depending on these factors:
- The number of individual extensions to be applied which may vary from 50 to 150
- How skilled and competent the technician or stylist is
- How much the salon has invested in their business
- The city in which the salon is located
How Long Does the Eyelash Extension Application Process Take?
The duration of application of extensions can take 1-3 hours depending on the number of extensions applied and the skill level of the stylist. If it’s a refill or touchup, the time it would take would be less accordingly.
Which Glue Is Used for Applying Eyelash Extension?
The adhesive/glue used for eyelash extensions is mostly cyanoacrylate. The subtype specifically used for this purpose is methyl-2-cyanoacrylate. Care should be taken by the stylist not to allow the adhesive to touch the skin of the eyelid since it can cause irritation and pain.
The duration of good strength of adhesion between the extension and natural eyelash is long enough for the life of natural eyelash.
Oil-based makeup removal wipes and eyelid cleansers should be avoided since they weaken the adhesive and the eyelash extension may fall off prematurely.
How Are Eyelash Extensions Applied?
The eyelash extension application procedure is one of the most relaxing experiences to go through. You just lie down on your back and do nothing. The procedure does not hurt your eyelids or eyes. You only need to be patient because the whole process may take 1-3 hours.
The technician or stylist sits on your head-end side to perform the procedure. Your lower eyelashes are protected from the glue used in the procedure with an eye patch or tape which covers the lower eyelid and lashes.
The natural eyelashes are then cleaned with a cleanser especially to remove makeup or mascara if it was applied on the lashes. This step also cleans any oil present on the eyelashes. These oils are produced naturally by the glands present near the root of the lashes.
The technician then assesses the size of the natural eyelashes and finalizes the desired size of eyelash extensions. The extensions are then picked with forceps one at a time, one end dipped in the adhesive and then it is glued to an isolated natural eyelash. The isolation of eyelash is done with a forceps in the other hand. This is repeated for all the extensions individually until all of them have been applied.
How Long Do the Eyelash Extensions Last?
The life of extensions mainly depends on the life of the natural eyelash itself on which it is glued. The full cycle of a natural eyelash – from its appearance from the hair follicle on the eyelid margin to its shedding – is about 6-8 weeks. It implies that the eyelash extension glued to natural eyelash cannot last longer than that. When the eyelash falls off naturally, its attached extension is also lost.
The life of extensions is shortened because of some factors such as rubbing the eyes and sleeping on your stomach face down. Any contact of eyelids with a physical surface (bed/pillow) especially when it is prolonged (which is common during the sleep) will lead to damage to the eyelashes and extensions.
Taking into account all possible factors, eyelash extensions last about 4-6 weeks.
Can You Apply Mascara on Eyelash Extensions?
Yes, you can but you must keep one important point in mind. Whether it is the application of mascara or its removal, oil-based agents are not recommended. They weaken the glue with which the eyelash extensions are kept in place. If you don’t take this precaution, it will reduce the life of eyelash extensions.
Use only water-based makeup remover but don’t allow water contact with eyelash extensions in the first 24 hours after their application when the glue is still getting stronger to keep extensions in place for several weeks.
Do Eyelash Extensions Cause Damage to the Natural Eyelashes?
The short answer is – no. If the eye is not rubbed and the eyelashes not pulled (for instance, while removing the extensions by yourself), the natural eyelashes remain healthy until they are shed naturally. The adhesive used for applying the extensions is harmless to the natural eyelashes.
Can Problems of Allergy and Infection be Caused by Extensions?
Most of the people who use extensions don’t experience any issues. A small number of users may develop an allergic reaction to the adhesive agent if it comes into contact with the eyelid skin.
If the extension application procedure is performed with disinfected hands or instruments, it may even lead to infection of the eyelid or the eye itself. The nylon type of extensions have spaces in which bacteria may reside and can cause infection. Most of such infections are minor and can be easily managed by identifying the condition early and prompt referral to an ophthalmologist.
It is important to differentiate between allergy and infection because the treatment differs for both the conditions. Allergy may be caused by adhesive agents not approved by Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Apart from allergy and infection, sometimes a toxic chemical injury to the eyelids may occur because of presence of formaldehyde in the adhesive. The damaged eyelid skin eventually heals but can cause significant pain and irritation before the inflammation subsides.
How Do You Remove Eyelash Extension?
It is advisable to get the extensions removed by a technician, preferably the one who applied the eyelash extensions. If this is not the available option, they can be removed by yourself with the help of steam and oil. First of all remove all the makeup wiping it away with a makeup remover. You can wrap a wipe around your index finger and use sideways motion to remove makeup. Don’t use vertical movement of your finger to avoid rubbing on the eyelashes. Then steam your face for about 10 minutes. Steaming softens the glue and loosens the extensions. Lastly, take cotton ball wet with olive oil and wipe the eyelashes with it. This will remove the eyelash extensions without causing pain and without damaging the natural eyelashes.
What are Some Tips for Care and Maintenance of Eyelash Extensions?
- When you have decided to get eyelash extensions done, do your research about the salon or spa. They should be licensed professionals and experienced in this procedure. It’s not difficult to find online reviews and testimonials about the salon or spa you are planning to visit. Do ask them about the type of adhesive they use and what their clients’ experience is about their services. Ask them to show you before-and-after pictures of their work so that you can get a broad idea of what kind of results you are going to get.
- After you get eyelash extensions done, ask your salon about the aftercare and if they have or recommend any products to take care of the extensions. Their instructions should be followed diligently for the best results.
- Don’t apply water to the eyelash extensions for about 24-48 hours after application or refill. That includes washing your face, showering and swimming. Also, avoid applying makeup for the first 24 hours.
- Because of natural shedding of eyelashes and of extensions along with it, the number of extensions will reduce with time. They can be redone after every few weeks depending on the lost extensions. For example, you can get your extension refill done in 3-4 weeks time or when necessary to maintain the fullness of your eyelashes.
- Avoid rubbing the eyes and knowingly or unknowingly pulling the eyelashes.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach thereby avoiding pressure on the eyelids. This prevents twisting, turning and kinking of eyelash extensions.
- Oil-based makeup products and makeup removers should not be used on the eyelids and around the eyes.
- Avoid applying shampoo and conditioner on the eyelashes. They usually loosen the bond of the glue and reduce the life of eyelash extensions. To avoid wetting the eyelashes with shampoo or conditioner, you can bend your head backward while washing your hair.
- While dressing and undressing and while using the towel, make sure your eyelashes are not caught on clothes and towel.
- While removing the makeup (shadow or eyeliner), use wipes instead of cotton.
- Use spoolie brush to comb your eyelashes (along with extensions) to fan them out and keep them untangled.
- You can use a hair dryer to dry the eyelashes after taking bath. Make sure it is adjusted at the lowest setting.
- Do all you can to keep your natural eyelashes healthy. If they stay healthy, the extensions will last longer.