eyelash extensions...why I DON'T do them

While I was trained and certified to do eyelash extensions, and at one point was "addicted" to them as many are, I refuse to offer them at my spa.

After being told countless times how "safe" it was, and how it wouldn't effect my own lashes.... I was continuously lied to, and after a year of being consistent with my appointments and touch-ups, I ended up with NO lashes left at all. When I saw my lashes for the first time after having done them for a full year, I was astonished, horrified, beyond upset and completely taken for a fool... it actually hurt to look at what was left of my natural lashes. There were practically no lashes left, what I had was baby, tiny, brittle little lashes that were painful to see. I felt betrayed. I felt like a fool. I resented the woman I trusted for a year promising me my lashes would be fine... I swore I would NEVER do this to anyone EVER.

While there are "lash lounges" and this lash CRAZE... I feel bad for those that are in the same boat I was in and want to educate those and hopefully change at least a few of your minds the next time you go for a simple touch-up, or a new full set.

Most beauty trends come and go, but a select few — like lipstick and long eyelashes — have stood the test of time and are likely here to stay, and you don’t even have to have any certification or license to do them. In the case of long lashes, mascara is a staple in most makeup bags. But newer alternatives, including eyelash extensions, are being used to help women's eyes pop. Eyelash extensions are a growing trend and have gotten a fair share of publicity in recent years, with several big stars showing them off in Hollywood and beyond. But not all the press on eyelash extensions has been attractive. When actress Kristin Chenoweth showed up wearing sunglasses on a late night talk show a few years ago, she explained that the reason was an eyelash extension mishap that left her with badly swollen eyelids. Soon after Chenoweth's appearance, Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Ophthalmology weighed in on this growing beauty trend, urging consumers to proceed with caution if they are considering having extensions applied.

What Can Go Wrong

Certainly, anytime you're touching an area near the eye, there's cause for concern. But with eyelash extensions, problems don't usually result from sharp tweezers. Instead, most problems are caused by the glue that's used to bond the synthetic extensions in place, since these often contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that can cause irritation and allergic reactions.

An article published in Consumer Reports discusses several cases in which patients experienced infections and allergic reactions to the formaldehyde-based adhesives that were used to apply their eyelash extensions. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) likewise responded to reports cautioning consumers about the dangers of cosmetic eyelash extensions.AAO cites the following specific dangers of using eyelash extensions:Infection of the cornea...

- Infection of the eyelid

- Swollen eyelids - Temporary or permanent loss of eyelashes

As the AAO notes, in addition to infections and allergic reactions, some people actually lose eyelashes in the process of trying to make them look more plentiful. This is because frequent use of eyelash extensions can damage the hair follicles responsible for eyelash growth and maintenance.

Other, less common, complications with eyelash extensions include forceps wounds, reactions to solvents used to remove the extensions, and reactions to the tape that may be used to hold your lids closed during the procedure.

Also, some eye doctors and researchers believe eyelash extensions may increase your risk of dry eyes. It appears there is an optimal length for eyelashes to protect the eyes from wind, dust and other debris. Animal studies suggest this optimal eyelash length is one-third the width of the eye.

Longer, fuller eyelashes create a fan-like effect with each blink, increasing air flow on the surface of the eye that can cause dry eye symptoms, according to Deepinder Dhaliwal, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In closing, I myself, Rona Schwartz, LE, know how to do eyelash extensions and have for a long time... I got them over 10 years ago when they were not popular at all. At the end of the day, anything else sits on your lashes that is the same weight or heavier, or even going to sleep with mascara every night, will eventually break down the fibers of your lashes and will continue to ruin them. Even though I know how to do them, I will never do them at my spa because I know how awful they really are for the lashes and I would never do anything to hurt my clients in any way.

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