Ashley MacInnis: The Frenzied Fashionista


What You Need to Know Before You Get Those Eyelash Extensions

From spidery lashes to traction alopecia, it's not all glitz and glamour

What you should know about lash extensions

Thick, long, curled eyelashes are a beauty want most women I know can attest to. I mean, who doesn’t want gorgeous eyelashes? 

I used to have my eyelashes tinted every three weeks taking my naturally long, blonde lashes to a rich black so they’d be visible without mascara - which was great except that they still didn’t pop without a coat or two of volumizing mascara. After months of debate and research, I took the plunge and made an appointment to have eyelash extensions done - and I’ve been going back every six weeks for fills. 

I heard a lot of rumours and believed a lot of myths prior to having my eyelash extensions put on. Now that I’m a six-month veteran, I’ve learned quite a few things that have completely changed my tune and given me a new appreciation for my eyelashes, my eyelash technician and my skincare routine.

What you should know before you get lash extensions

You are harder on your eyes than you realize

Between rubbing itchy, tired eyes and washing your face, your gentle eye area takes a pretty good beating day-to-day. It wasn’t until I had my extensions that I realized how often I rub my eyes. I’m now hyper-aware of how I handle my eye area and how often a touch my eyes, and this awareness has resulted in my becoming extra careful about how I handle my delicate skin. 

And it’s paying off: my extensions last on average 5-6 weeks before I need a fill, versus some of my friends who return every 2-3 weeks religiously. Plus, I swear my eye area looks better.

You might need to change your sleep habits

I have always been a belly down, face in pillow-sleeper… or at least, I was until I had my extensions put on. The friction from rubbing my face into the pillow spells DISASTER for my lash extensions - no thanks! It took about a week for me to grow accustomed to sleeping on my back, slightly propped up. 

The good news? Your face will be less puffy in the mornings and you won't have pillow/sheet lines on your face or chest when you wake. 

What you should know before you get lash extensions

They’re as low or high maintenance as you make them

I read mixed reviews about lash extension “ease” as it related to life, and I questioned whether or not I was ready for blow drying spider-like eyelashes after every shower as a trade-off for not needing mascara and makeup remover every day. 

I’ve never had spider lashes when my face has gotten wet but I do try to avoid it when possible and simply run a lash brush through when they start to go in different directions. I do sometimes get my upper lashes tangled in my lower lashes, though, which is never cute and hurts a little. If you're wearing eye makeup, you need to be very careful when you remove it - using a Q-Tip and oil-free remover, which is time-consuming. 

What you should know before you get lash extensions

You have no idea how many of your beauty products aren’t oil-free

Oil-based products are a big no-no when you have extensions, as the oil breaks down the bonds that keep your extension attached to your natural lash. As I went through my beauty products, I realized just how few oil-free products I own. 

OK, actually, probably half of your eye makeup collection is toast (Sorry.)

Because your lashes can get tangled (it’s true!), dragging a sticky pencil liner across your lash line isn’t ideal. Cream and gel eyeliners? Yeah, they’ll leave an icky residue on your lashes - which you can’t use your trusty oil-based remover to get off. Your tubing mascara will wreck your falsies - adhering to the extensions like glue. Waterproof eyeliner is hard to get off, so you’ll be reaching for your oil-based remover again. Your eyelash curler? Nope - it’ll break the bond. But don’t fret - a heated eyelash curler and some liquid eyeliner (look for “ water resistant” not “waterproof” or use a damp angled brush and eye shadow to line your eyes). 

Want to go really low-maintenance? With full lashes, you don’t need any other eye makeup so you can focus on perfecting a bright pout instead!

Eyelash extensions might actually ruin your natural lashes

So, this is a tricky one. On the one hand, there’s a misconception that eyelash extensions always ruin your natural lashes, causing them to fall out and never grow back in. This is not entirely true. 

Eyelashes (like all hair) naturally shed, and new lashes grow in their place. If your new lashes didn’t come in, there would be nothing for a lash tech to glue the falsies onto. 

Your eyelashes will, of course, look shorter and less full post-extensions because a) you’ve had long, full lashes glued on and you’re accustomed to seeing them now and, B) eyelash extensions are longer and fuller than your natural lashes (which is why you put them on in the first place, no?). 

Having said all of that, go to a reputable, trained technician and don’t try to cut corners. Lash extensions can cause traction alopecia, especially if they’re poorly applied. I recommend using a lash serum to help keep your natural lashes healthy, and giving your natural lashes a break - go a couple of months sans extensions so they can grow normally. 

What you should know before you get lash extensions


At the end of the day, deciding whether the risk/reward of eyelash extensions is worth it is a personal decision, like whether you want to shave or wax. I've had a number of women ask me if I think they should do it and my answer is always this: You know you best. Are you up for attending fill appointments every four-to-six weeks? Are you ready to take on the financial commitment (cause this shit ain't cheap, girl)? If you think you'd like to try but you're not ready to commit, grab a set of falsies from Sephora (you can ask a team member to show you how to apply) and wear them for a day or two to see how you feel! 

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