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11 Sep Damage: The Dreadful D-Word!

I had someone recently notice that we sell a lash growth serum (City Lash). She said, “Oh, is that for people who don’t wear extensions?” It dawned on me that maybe that’s a common conception for most people.

I guess an immediate answer could’ve been Yes, absolutely! However, that isn’t entirely true for us. Most of our clients that use growth serums are actually wearing lash extensions too. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why do I need a growth serum if I’m wearing extensions?” Totally valid thought! But here’s the thing.. Lash extensions can cause damage. I specifically use the word “can because that does not mean it will, and it certainly doesn’t mean it will be the irreparable kind.

So what are the major components of lash damage from extensions?

In this photo you can see connections from excess adhesive, and also how much thicker the extension is compared to the natural lash.

In this photo you can see connections from excess
adhesive, and also how much thicker the extension is
compared to the natural lash.

  • Connections – This is what we call it when your lashes get stuck to each other. Now, it’s not uncommon for the lashes to get stuck to their neighbor every once in a while during the application. But a good lash tech will check through your lashes and make sure that each one is separated before you leave. Using the right amount of adhesive is everything! If too much is used it causes the lashes to come out in chunks. The lashes getting stuck together can also be pretty painful if it’s pulling on your natural lash. This is probably the most common type of damage we see coming from other salons.
  • Weight/Length – What happens when you try to put a heavy object on a much lighter one? It tips over because the lighter object isn’t strong enough to hold it. Or maybe the heavy object crushes the lighter one because the weight is just too heavy. Your lashes work the same way. If someone puts a lash extension on you that is too heavy/thick for your natural lash to handle, it will break off or droop downward (think bowling ball on a trampoline), all while taking your natural lash with it. If someone puts a lash extension on you that is too -9long for your natural lash to handle, it will flip downward (think wilted flower), lean sideways, fall off, etc. This excess weight can cause premature loss of the natural lash and stress on the follicle, resulting in a slowed growth. When we recommend not going to extreme lengths, this is why!
  • Stacking Lashes – There is a technique called Volume Lashing where you put a few paper thin lashes (.05-.07mm) onto 1 natural lash in a fanned shape to create more volume. Stacking is not that!! With Volume Lashing, the combined weight of the few lashes per eye equals roughly the same as 1 standard size lash (totaling the weight of a .15mm lash). With Stacking, you’re looking at a few lashes per eye stacked on top of each other, not fanned out, that are a standard size or sometimes even thicker (totaling the weight of a .30mm+ lash)! Another difference with this is that often times A LOT more adhesive is used to get the lashes to hold. So now you’ve got weight and excessive lash adhesive both working against the health of your natural lash.
  • -1Cluster/Tab Lashes – Beware a salon that uses clusters! A Cluster or Tab Lash is basically several lashes connected to a knotted base that is then applied to your one lash. With these lashes, weight is a huge problem. Another problem is Tabs can cause the lashes to come out in clumps rather than one at a time. They often get stuck together and pull or tug on your natural lashes causing a pinching pain. This can pull natural lashes out from the base causing serious damage. I have also heard of places making you do a removal and full set over again every few weeks, and when the remover isn’t enough to take them off, they cut them out. Scary stuff people!!

Now I know that’s a lot of information! But all these things add up to make or break what type of lash experience you will have. A good lash stylist knows to avoid these scenarios at all costs! Even if it means going shorter or thinner than you were hoping to go, or having you take a few months off from getting lash extensions.

What can also help to combat damage, is that lash growth serum! I would say that the majority of clients can keep their lashes up longer and take less breaks if they are using a lash serum with the extensions. We usually recommend City Lash, Careprost, or Latisse.

Vitamins can also help like Biotin, MSM, or pretty much any vitamins for hair, skin, and nails. A good diet makes a huge impact on the health of your lashes too. Let me clarify, a low calorie diet is not good for your lashes. I’m not saying pig out. Just be aware, a well balanced diet with plant or animal proteins are key.

One thing’s for sure though, if minimizing damage is something that’s important to you, make sure you know the right questions to ask! Here’s a list of the top questions to ask if you’re getting lash extensions:

  1. What type of adhesive do you use? The Lashe, Xtreme Lash, Lash Savvy, Euro Silk – all great brands! You’ll want to avoid anything like Ardell, JB Lash, or hair/nail glue. When in doubt, google it! You can find reviews and feedback about brands on forums from lash stylists.
  2. Do you do single extensions or tab lashes? It is always a safe bet to avoid tab or cluster lashes. Even if they are meticulously applied it is still a lot more weight on your natural lash then anyone should have. It also makes for much more visible gaps because you’re not losing 1 single lash at a time, you’re losing a whole cluster of them.
  3. Do you wear magnifiers? I have a VERY hard time believing that any lash stylist that doesn’t wear mags can do a good job. It’s just too small an area and too precise of a job to be able to tell what you are doing without them.
  4. What type of lashes do you carry? A good rule of thumb is to stick with a lighter weight lash. So if all they carry is .20mm thickness, you may want to look elsewhere. Anything .15mm or lighter in thickness should be okay, but keep in mind if you have very short or very thin lashes naturally, you may even want to splurge for mink lashes over synthetics.
Remember, the internet can be such a helpful tool! Check out reviews on Yelp or Google. If a place doesn’t have any photos of their work online or only uses generic stock photos of lashes, don’t be afraid to ask them to email you some pictures of their work.
If you know in advance you have allergies to band-aids, adhesives, or latex, make sure you ask them what they can do for that. Even the under eye pads can give you a reaction, so you want to make sure they have alternate options like lint-free pads or hypoallergenic (sensitive) lash adhesives. Sometimes taking antihistamines a couple days before and after your appointment, or even using cortisone on your lids or under eyes can make the difference too!
Don’t let the prospect of damage deter you! Do your homework! Any place that does good work is proud of it and they will take the time to educate you, answer ALL of your questions, and take the utmost care of you and your lashes!