Home Eye Care Cosmetic

Is it safe to do your own eyelash extensions?

woman putting on her own eyelash extensions

If you love the look and benefits of eyelash extensions but not the cost of having them done professionally, you may wonder if it's safe to do your own eyelash extensions at home.

Eyelash extensions offer a semi-permanent way to add length and volume to your lashes and to try out a new look. But you could harm your eyes, lashes and lids by trying to do your own extensions.

Learn why DIY eyelash extensions are not safe and how to find a qualified eyelash technician. Also find out how to care for eyelash extensions and when to see your eye doctor if you have eye problems after getting extensions.

How are eyelash extensions done?

Eyelash extensions are not the same as false eyelashes, which come in a strip and can be attached just above your lash line with temporary glue. 

Eyelash extensions are natural or synthetic individual fibers that are attached one by one to each natural eyelash with a semi-permanent adhesive. They last until the natural lash falls out, typically months after application.

Here's how eyelash extensions are applied professionally:

  • You lie down on a table, possibly with relaxing music playing.

  • A technician tapes down your bottom lashes with medical tape to keep them from getting stuck to your top lashes.

  • The technician uses a tweezer to dip an eyelash extension in a special adhesive, then affixes one extension to a single natural lash.

  • The technician repeats this process with each lash until they get the desired look.

Considering the average person has 90 to 160 lashes on each upper eyelid, the whole process of getting lash extensions, from start to finish, can take several hours.

DIY eyelash extensions and safety

There are many benefits to eyelash extensions, but there are also risks even when the procedure is done by a qualified technician.

When applied professionally, risks of eyelash extensions include: 

  • Allergic reaction to the glue 

  • Injury to the cornea or eyelid 

  • Loss of your natural lashes 

Those risks multiply when you try to do eyelash extensions on your own. Doing lash extensions the right way requires skill, training and licensing. Qualified eyelash technicians know how to properly clean, disinfect and sterilize lash extension equipment. And they can get in the proper position to apply the lash extensions — something you can't do at home in front of a mirror.

Risks of DIY eyelash extensions include: 

  • Damaging your lashes or irritating your skin by using the wrong glue

  • Injuring your eyelids or poking yourself in the eye

  • Gluing your top and bottom lashes together

  • Getting an eye infection due to poor sanitation 

  • Ending up with bad results and having to remove the lash extensions

Doing your own eyelash extensions isn't worth it, no matter how much money you may save. If you cause permanent damage to your eyes, you’ll likely end up paying much more in the long run.

What is an eyelash extension kit?

Some companies, such as Lashify, sell "eyelash extension kits" that are actually more like false eyelashes than extensions. However, some of these kits claim that the lashes can be kept on for up to a week.

For example, one company sells a DIY eyelash extension kit that contains "lash clusters" made of synthetic fibers. This is different from professional eyelash extensions that are applied individually to each lash.

So, what is the difference between an eyelash extension kit and false eyelashes? 

  1. Lash extension kits include a stronger glue meant to stay in place for more than a day. 

  2. Some lash extension kits instruct you to glue the lashes to the underside of your natural lashes rather than above the lash line. This creates a more natural look, according to a Glamour magazine review of the Lashify extension kit.

What to do instead: Professional eyelash extensions

Instead of doing your own eyelash extensions, seek out a qualified professional. Here are a few tips to help you find a skilled eyelash technician:

  • Go to a good eyelash salon. Find a good salon by asking for recommendations, checking online reviews, looking at before-and-after photos from previous clients, and even visiting before your appointment.

  • Check tech qualifications. Ask about the eyelash technician's training, certification and experience. Find out how long the tech has been doing lash extensions.

  • Look at licensing. Verify that the technician meets your state's licensing requirements. Depending on the state, they may need a specific eyelash extension technician license or an aesthetician or cosmetology license.

  • Scrutinize the glue. Ask ahead of time for the type of glue and a list of ingredients, and look for allergens like formaldehyde. Ask the salon to apply a bit of glue to the inside of your wrist to test for a reaction.

Taking these steps doesn't eliminate the risks entirely, but it may help you stay safe and increase the odds that you'll be happy with your results.

Eyelash extensions FAQ

Want to know more about eyelash extensions? Here are the answers to several commonly asked lash extension questions:

How do you shower with eyelash extensions?

Your eyelash extension professional should give you instructions for caring for your lashes at home, including bathing and showering. You should be able to bathe and shower normally with lash extensions. Just make sure you don't rub or pull at your lashes in the shower or stand with your eyes directly under strong jets of water.

How long do eyelash extensions last?

Professionally done eyelash extensions should last until your natural lashes fall out. How long that takes will depend on the individual lash and its life cycle. Eyelashes typically last between four and 11 months before they fall out. When a lash comes out, a new eyelash will grow in its place.

How do you remove eyelash extensions?

Do not try to remove your eyelash extensions at home. They're applied with strong semi-permanent glue, and trying to remove them yourself could rip out your lashes, damage your eyelids and/or irritate your eyes. Let your lash extensions fall out on their own or have them removed by a qualified lash extension professional — ideally the same technician who applied the extensions.

Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

Yes, in some cases, eyelash extensions can cause you to temporarily or permanently lose your eyelashes. While it won't necessarily happen, it is a risk to consider carefully. Remember that your eyelashes help to keep your eyes moist and protected from dust, pollen and other debris that could cause damage or irritation.

See your eye doctor for lash extension problems

Did you try to do your own eyelash extensions, or have them professionally done, and experience an eye issue? See your eye doctor for any problems, including eye irritation, eye redness or eye pain. 

If you do have an allergy to the adhesive, an eye infection or some other problem, your eye doctor can offer a diagnosis and treatment along with advice on avoiding complications from eyelash extensions in the future.

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