Beyoncé. Kylie Jenner. Jennifer Lopez. These ladies have made names for themselves as female bosses in the entertainment and music industry. They are also some of many celebrities who helped catapult the trend of eyelash extensions.
What exactly are lash extensions?
Natalia Stateczna of Lash House AZ, 3240 E Camelback Road in Phoenix, says lash extensions are a precise procedure that dramatically enhances the length, thickness and fullness of an individual’s natural eyelashes with the application of fiber extensions. Lash extensions vary by different weights, curls, and lengths. Classic lashes generally cost between $100 and $200.
“Once people get extensions done, they will see how addicting they are,” Stateczna says. “Personally, I have stopped wearing eye makeup, so even if I’m going to the gym or the grocery store, I still look alive.”
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Arizona State University freshman Abby Vaerewyck loves wearing eyelash extensions because it is easier than putting on mascara. She said she could just have her lashes on and look normal.
“I think it has become popular because it works for people who don’t like to wear a lot of makeup,” Vaerewyck says. “It’s kind of a one and done step.”
However, not everyone has an initial positive experience with eyelash extensions.
Arizona State University freshman Azaria Ford started getting eyelash extensions at the beginning of the school year. She first had her eyelashes done at a person’s house and believes it was the glue that caused her eyes to act up.
“The glue completely turned my eyes bloodshot,” Ford says. “It did not hurt, but it looked like I had been crying for hours.”
At times, her eyes would get a bit swollen. She used eye drops, but it did not help much with the irritation. Usually, the reaction would die down in a day or two.
Stateczna says people think that they are allergic to the glue, but really, it is the fumes of that glue that you are sensitive to. It explains why technicians make clients keep their eyes closed during the whole procedure.
“If you were to open your eyes, your eyes would probably feel the fumes and some people are just more sensitive to that,” Stateczna says.
If a client has sensitive eyes or is sensitive to the fumes, she will remove the lashes with a professional remover. Then, she will use glue that is specifically for sensitive eyes. Additionally, she has another glue that does not have any black carbon in it. It is the best one for sensitivity since it is clear.
“Sometimes, people who thought they were sensitive actually had their eyes open during the procedure, especially if they fell asleep,” Stateczna says. “Now, I’ll put pennies on their eyelid and tape it down. Just a little weight there to make sure the eyes are completely closed.”
Additionally, optometrist Dr. Katie Chu, based in Rosemead, California, has seen her patients come in with their eyes really irritated due to some glue getting in their eye.
“When the lash accidentally falls in the eyeball, sometimes, they get the residual glue onto the cornea,” Chu says. “That’s the most sensitive part of your eye.”
The sclera, the white part of the eye, is tougher and does not have as many nerve endings. Therefore, when stuff gets on the white part, it is not as irritating as getting it right on the cornea.
“The lash glue is similar to super glue, and glue dissipates over time,” Chu says. “A lot of times, that leads to a reaction where the eyes are burning or stinging.”
Another concern Chu brings up is when extensions are on, under the magnifier, she sees that when the technician glues the extensions onto the lash, it is not a perfect fit. There are still edges of the extensions lifted up. Anytime there are edges, deposits of dead skin cells, facial oil and makeup can get in there. It provides more “food” for the bacteria to grow and produce waste product.
“The waste product from the bacteria that’s along your lid margin then gets into your tears,” Chu says. “All the waste product from the bacteria residing in your tears can cause patients to have an infection.”
Both Chu and Stateczna stress the importance of cleaning your lash line to avoid an infection. There are cleansers specific for lashes, but Stateczna says baby shampoo works best. It is less expensive and it easier to get. She advises to take a little bit of water and a little bit of baby shampoo with a wet Q-tip and clean the lash line itself.
Stateczna also addresses the myth regarding lash extensions ruining people’s natural lashes. It will only occur if you go to an uneducated artist. The technician is not supposed to use too much glue because it can glue your lashes to one another.
“What happens is we shed our lashes on a daily basis,” Stateczna says. “When I put a fake lash on one real lash and the real lash is ready to shed and fall off, your fake lash will fall with it, and you’ll grow a new lash just like you normally would.”
However, if there is too much glue clumped together, the lash that is ready to shed will pull on the lash glued next to it and force it to also come out when it is not ready to shed. If it occurs a certain amount of times, it will injure the lash follicle and not grow back properly. She also advises people to avoid clusters, which are clusters of lashes that are really thick at the base. They break off your lashes because they are too heavy, and the glue gets everywhere because technicians glue it to multiple lashes.
Example of cluster lashes:
Now, Ford goes to a professional salon and has not had an allergic reaction ever since. Although she had problems along the way, she says she will keep getting her lashes done because it gives her a boost of self-confidence.
“People should always start at a lash studio if they really know they are going to keep the lashes,” Ford says. “But, if they are indecisive about getting lashes, they should go to a small place that’s cheap. They can just see how the lashes will look on them.”
Additionally, Stateczna says to make sure to do your research beforehand. Eyelashes have the power to transform the facial features completely, making it essential to choose a qualified, and well-trained cosmetic specialist for the job.
“The artist should be a licensed cosmetologist with a rich experience in doing the job,” Stateczna says. “It is essential to ask all relevant questions, such as what type of adhesive is used during the application, the variety of lashes used and precautions to be taken before and after eyelash extensions application.”