There’s no shortage of horror stories when it comes to eyelash extensions. Causing infections, making your eyelashes fall out – it’s no wonder that many people are put off from trying the beauty treatment.
But for those that swear by them, eyelash extensions are the ultimate confidence booster and time saver. So what’s the reality? We asked Melbourne’s Studio 45 hair and beauty salon owner and senior eyelash technician Kerry-anne Fyffe who has over 10 years experience doing eyelash extensions for the facts.
1. Eyelash extensions will make your natural lashes fall out.
Not if they’re applied correctly.
“If the extensions are applied correctly and to each individual lash, they won’t damage your lashes but if they are applied with too much glue or if they are stuck together in clumps then they can,” explains Fyffe.
“Eyelashes have a growth cycle of six weeks and then they shed so that’s the reason why if you put lashes on individually, once they’ve grown out they’ll fall out naturally with your normal lash.
“But if they’re falling out in clumps because multiple lashes are stuck together then it’s going to pull on the lash and it can hurt.”
2. All lash technicians are the same.
While there are accredited courses now, Fyffe says there's no official qualification required to be an eyelash extension technician.
"So there are some people who are self-taught that could have learned from YouTube and then say they can do it," she says.
With nearly 11 years experience, seven years of which has been doing eyelash extensions full time, she says the best way to find a good, qualified eyelash technician is word of mouth followed by photos on social media.
"Even if I moved and I wanted to find someone to my lashes, it would still be hard for me to find someone who does them properly. I would first look at their photos, comments and reviews other people have made. Just word of mouth, it is really the best."
3. They have to be extreme.
In fact, the biggest concern Fyffe's clients have is them looking too fake.
"More conservative people are surprised about what you can achieve. Eyelash extensions cater to anyone, they can be big and bold or more subtle and natural looking," she says.
4. It's just 'young' people getting them.
While they are popular among young people, eyelash extensions are also beloved by older generations for a range of reasons.
"I've had clients in their 70s who get them because they can't wear mascara because it smudges and they don't want panda eyes because their vision is poorer and it's hard to put mascara on," she says.
"It's not to have them to looking like 'stripper' lashes, they just want the mascara look without the mess."
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5. It's a new treatment.
"Back when I first started [doing them] it wasn't really popular and people didn't know about them. If you had them on people might ask if your eyelashes were real, then it slowly started growing," she says.
"Now almost every second person has them. It has peaked now, every place does them now - hairdresser, nail places, from home. Five or six years ago, it wasn't as common."
The quality has also improved over that time, with styles like Russian lashes or 3D volume lashes offering dramatic results while being lightweight.
6. They can damage your lashes.
Again, not if they're applied correctly and are not too heavy.
"Most people do want them longer and you can generally see if their lashes are starting to look a little sparse," says Fyffe.
"A good technician will notice and let the client know they are getting to heavy that's causing minor lash damage, so they need to either go down a length or use a lighter type."
7. It's painful or uncomfortable.
Not at all. In fact, it's the perfect opportunity for a nap.
The process starts with the bottom lashes being taped down and your eyes closes.
"When your bottom lashes are taped down there shouldn't be any discomfort (e.g tape is touching your eyeball) it should feel comfortable," explains Fyffe.
"The eyelash technician will them pick up lashes with tweezers, dip them in glue, isolate one natural lash and then attach the synthetic lash onto your natural lash one by one."
It depends on experience or the number of lashes a person has, but general average time for a full set of lashes is one and a half to two hours.
8. You can pick them off when you're done with them.
Please, please don't.
"If you pick your eyelash, you can traumatise the follicle and it won't grow back from that spot. If you pick one here and there it might be ok, but it definitely can tramautise it and there's nothing you can do about it," says Fyffe.
"No growth serum will magically make them grow back unless there's a natural hair follicle."
Any good eyelash technician will offer a service to remove lashes. If they don't have the gel remover required, Fyffe said she's reconsider even going to them in the first place. If they're bothering you, go back to the salon and get them removed.
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9. You don't have to do anything to them.
Yes, they can save time but they do require minor maintenance.
"You can't get them wet for 24 hours, which is just a precaution while the glue is curing," she says.
"Also avoid products with oil for the whole duration as it softens the bonding of the glue."
You should also be washing your lashes with an oil-free cleanser everyday to remove a build up of dead skin, natural oils and makeup that collects. It's hygienic and will ensure you get the best out of your extensions (usually about three weeks).
10. You can't put mascara over them.
"Most people find that they don't need mascara on top but it depends on how dramatic you want that look. Once you've had them for a while, you may get used to them and feel the need to put mascara on," she says.
If you do, make sure it's oil-free.