Eyelash extensions are a marvel and a testament to innovations in the beauty industry. A few years ago, the best eyelash help you could obtain was temporary eyelashes to cover your natural ones.

Fortunately, today you can get eyelash extensions and forego the process of wearing mascara while maintaining a more natural and beautiful look.

However, one of the most asked questions is just how safe are eyelash extensions? The answer to this question boils down to the application process, quality and type of extensions you decide to wear.

eyelash extensions

What Are Eyelash Extensions?

Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent fibers usually glued to the natural lashes. Once applied, extensions give natural eyelashes a longer, darker and more exotic appearance. They should not be confused with false eyelashes.

One of the major differences between fake lashes and extensions is the former are eyelash strips glued on top of your natural lashes for the day (or for going out in public) and removed at the end of the day.

Extensions are glued on individual lashes and meant to last the duration of the natural lash. The average lifespan of extensions ranges from six weeks to two months.

Different Types of Available Eyelash Extensions

Lash extensions can be broken down into three major categories:

  • Mink
  • Silk
  • Sable

Mink Eyelashes

Mink lashes are made from the fur of minks. While there has been some controversy regarding the practice, most manufacturers claim to brush the fur off the minks while they are alive and healthy.

Silk Eyelashes

Silk eyelashes are thicker and glossier than mink versions. They give off a dramatic look and are less noticeable as extensions. These lash extensions are made from synthetic fiber extracted from polyester. Silk lash extensions are relatively more affordable compared to the other lash types.

Sable Eyelashes

Sable lashes are made using the fur from sable, a rare animal found in Serbia, Russia, and parts of Asia. These extensions are light and don't weigh down your natural lashes. They are not as widely used as silk and mink lashes, so you may have to shop longer before finding an expert who can comfortably apply them.

Risks & Benefits of Eyelash Extensions

Before deciding whether eyelash extensions are right for you, you should weigh their advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of Eyelash Extensions: The Pros

Some of the apparent benefits of using eyelash extensions include:

  • They last longer.  Unlike fake/false lashes that have to be attached and detached every day, extensions require an application. After that, you’re good to go for several weeks or a few months.
  • They're safe. While you should check with your healthcare provider if you have any doubts about their safety, extensions are usually safe to apply. Although rare, there may be a slight risk of infection and irritation.
  • They're customizable. Because they come in a variety of shapes, lengths and colors and can be applied one at a time, you can choose to be as subtle or dramatic as you want to look.
  • They're painless. Applying lashes is painless, and you don't have to worry about removing them since they'll fall on their own when the attached natural lash does.
  • They're waterproof. Ideally, you shouldn't get the lash extensions wet for 48 hours from the time they're applied. After that, you can go swimming, walk in the rain, take a shower or participate in any water activities.

Risks of Eyelash Extensions: The Cons

Some of the risks and drawbacks of using eyelash extensions include:

  • They're expensive. While you can get false lashes cheaply, applying extensions will set you back anywhere between $300 and $500. Moreover, you must refill them every couple of weeks, which will cost a further $50 to $150.
  • They may lead to infection and irritation. Eyelash extensions require an adhesive to attach them to the natural follicle. While the glue used is meant to be hypoallergenic, it can still react to the eyes and skin, causing irritation, or even worse, infection.

Who Should Avoid Eyelash Extensions?

If you have an upcoming medical procedure, you should avoid getting the extensions or at least consult with your doctor before applying them. The procedures to worry about include LASIK, radiation or chemotherapy.

Additionally, if you have a history of certain conditions, you should inform your healthcare provider before getting eyelash extensions. The conditions to be concerned with include:

  • Alopecia areata
  • Blepharitis
  • Eyelid dermatitis
  • Trichotillomania

Eyelash Extension Care Tips

Observe the following tips to care for your lash extensions after they’ve been applied:

  • Don't get them wet for at least 48 hours after application.
  • Avoid using oil-based cleansers.
  • Sleep on your side or back to reduce damage.
  • Avoid standing under the showerhead for long.
  • Don't use eyelash curlers.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes or touching your new extensions.

How to Remove Eyelash Extensions

The best way to remove lash extensions is by letting them naturally fall off on their own. Prematurely removing them could leave you with bald spots where new lashes may not grow.

Usually, the lashes will fall off after a maximum period of eight weeks. While you'll find numerous tips and tricks to remove the lashes, most of the methods used could do more damage than good.

Are Eyelash Extensions Safe?

Eyelash extension safety is a question only you can answer after weighing the pros and cons. However, if you simply want to know if they work, they do

While it all boils down to personal choice and preference, you can always consult a professional to help you determine if they are the best choice for you.

References

Reasons You Shouldn't Get Mink Eyelashes. (July 2019). People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Eyelid cosmetic enhancements and their associated ocular adverse effects. (Summer 2019). Medical Hypothesis, Discovery & Innovation Ophthalmology Journal.

Eyelash Extensions: Your Eye’s New Best Frenemy. (April 2019). UW Medicine.

The information provided on this page should not be used in place of information provided by a doctor or specialist. To learn more, read our Privacy Policy and Editorial Policy pages.