Eyelash Extensions: Pros & Cons + How Long They Really Last

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Eyelash Extensions: Pros & Cons + How Long They Really Last
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Eyelash extensions can be a beautiful way to instantly make a face look more awake and vibrant, are great for looking photo ready, and make you look like you're wearing eye makeup when you aren't.

They are increasingly popular and used by many to accentuate their look, and can be applied at a spa or salon. (However, it's not recommended to add your own extensions, as doing so can be dangerous and even blind you. But fake lashes and glue is always an option!)

Fake eyelashes come at various price points, depending on how many lashes, as well as thickness and volume.

RELATED: 20 Best Lash Curlers For Extra-Long Lashes

While there are all different types of eyelash extensions, including DIY eyelash extensions for beginners, they are great for an upcoming special occasion, especially if you want a dramatic look and don't have that with the lashes nature gave you!

Are eyelash extensions worth it?

For many, eyelash extensions are worth the time, effort and expense in obtaining them. There are a few benefits to adding extensions to your eyelashes when you want a pop of volume.

1. You don't need to apply mascara.

One great benefit is you will no longer need to use mascara, which, in turn, will cut your morning routine time down by at least half.

“You wake up looking already put-together without having to put forth any effort,” says Jayne Castiglia, hair stylist and eyelash specialist at Warren Tricomi Salons.

2. Lash extensions save you money.

Another benefit to falsies? Not wearing that mascara saves money as well.

Adds Natalia Harris, owner and founder of Glam Parlor, "The biggest pro for having eyelash extensions is that there is no need to spend time or money applying mascara or putting on strip lashes. You can just wake up glam every morning!”

3. You also save time.

Saying goodbye to fake lashes you add on as a strip every time you get ready can be time consuming.

Says Castiglia, “You do not have to fuss with putting false eyelashes on that can be time consuming when dealing with having to cut the false lash to fit your eye and then gluing them.”

The gluing of the false lash alone can be messy if the person is inexperienced. So, eyelash extensions resolves all of those issues.

4. Lash extensions keep things looking fresh.

“Eyelash extensions also give you a fresh, open eye look so even if you had a rough night sleeping, no one ever has to know,” adds Harris.

Lashes pull a look together you don’t to wear much makeup, or any at all, when you have your lashes done.

How long do eyelash extensions last?

The time can vary in terms of how long eyelash extensions last. In fact, how long they last really depends on how well you care for them. 

“They don’t all come out at once, but gradually,” advises Harris. So, you will need a fill every 2-3 weeks to keep them looking great, similar to the schedule of getting your nails done. The more you keep them clean and take care of them, the longer they will last you.

It's always important to do your research, no matter what service you’re receiving. And a skilled technician will be able to tell you if your natural lash can support the type/look you desire.

“One size does not fit all, and that goes for lashes as well,” says Castiglia. “The thicker your natural lash is, the more dramatic/full your extensions can be.”

RELATED: 20 Best Eyelash Primers And Mascara Primers Of 2020

How much do eyelash extensions cost?

Lash extensions cost will vary widely depending on where you have it done, the type of lashes you get it, and how many you get per eye, much like the cost of hair extensions can wildly vary. 

As fuller, more volume-inducing sets can take as much as two hours to apply, expect to pay around $150 and up for a full set. But when you work in custom lashes or those made of specialty materials (such as mink or silk), that price can get to the $400 range!

Generally, lash salons have a menu to guide you through different lash types and application options, to find a set that works for you and your budget.

How do you care for lash extensions?

Taking care of lashes and the eye area properly is not only good for eye health, but for maintaining the life of your lashes. “It's important to properly and regularly cleanse the area once you get eyelash extensions,” warns cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green

So, how do you shower with eyelash extensions? While some people may have told you that washing the lashes will cause them to fall off, that's simply not true. However, cleaning them is an essential part of upkeep.

Says Dr. Green, “Cleaning your eyelashes on a daily basis helps to prevent build-up of microorganisms. Another way is to also wash your lashes with tea tree oil.” Here's how:

  1. Use an oil-free makeup remover on a clean brush, and gently wash over the eyelid and lash-line.
  2. Rinse with lukewarm water until all product is completely removed.
  3. Be sure to not rub back and forth, as this can be too abrasive on the eyelash extensions.
  4. Gently wash in a downward motion over the eyelid and lash-line: “Pat the skin dry around the eyelashes with a microfiber towel."
  5. Lastly, brush through the eyelashes with a clean mascara wand to separate the lashes.

It's important to remember to cleanse your eyelash extensions at least 2-3 times a week, or even nightly if you have oily skin or if you apply eye makeup on a daily basis.

When you don’t clean your eyelash extensions, this causes dead skin cells to build up on the eyelids, leading to itchiness as well as inflammation. Adds Dr. Green about keeping your extensions clean:

“It’s important to clean eyelash extensions in order to prevent dirt and any other residue from building up, causing an allergic reaction or irritation of the eye. The eyes/eyelids will feel super-itchy, and will be red and sore in appearance. With severe itching, this can cause the eyelash extensions to fall off. It’s also common for lice/mites to appear in eyelashes if not cleansed properly.”

Yikes!

How do you remove eyelash extensions?

Eyelash extensions are a lot easier to remove than apply. While they should always be applied by professionals in a reputable salon, you can remove them carefully at home if they are causing discomfort or you simply don't like them.

To remove them at home, rather than wait for them to naturally shed, which they will, follow these steps:

1. Dab a cotton ball with coconut oil or olive oil.

Mineral oil works for this, too.

2. Gently swipe against your lash line.

Do so until the lashes start to drop off onto your cotton ball.

3. Rinse your face.

You'll want to rinse your face with some water after you're done so you don't end up with excess oils and cause a breakout.

RELATED: 20 Best Eyebrow Scissors To Tame Unruly Brows

What are the risks? And do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

The main thing to consider is the preservation of your natural lash.

“With anything, there can be some wear and tear,” advises Castiglia. This depends on how the extension was applied, and for how long you’ve been getting the service done. 

Unfortunately, eyelash extensions can cause certain issues, particularly if they are not being cleaned properly.

1. Damage to hair follicles

If the extension was not properly applied, it can cause damage to the hair follicle. Warns Castiglia, “With eyelashes, similar to the hair on our head, once the follicle Is disrupted it can eventually cause permanent damage.”

This is why it's so important to do your research and go to a technician that has a lot of experience. 

2. Bacteria build-up

Another con would be if you’re the type of person who likes to sleep on your face or scrub your face when washing up. If so, the eyelash extensions will not last long.

“It's important to keep the area around the lashes clean, but in order to do so a cleansing wipe is needed,” suggests Castiglia.

3. Lash lice

Lash lice, which is also known as Demodex, is another risk to be aware of.

“Just like head lice, lash lice can easily be spread through direct contact with hair, also with lash combs, especially when they’re living near the hair follicle because they love to feed off the host’s blood,” warns Dr. Green.

You’d rarely think it’s possible to get lash lice, but it can happen. Through eyelash extensions, lice can spread through unsanitized lash combs, towels, and also the applicators being used. Make sure you do your research before booking an appointment to make sure this place is 100 percent sanitary. 

4. Eye infection

Eye infections are common for those who wear eyelash extensions and are prone to seasonal allergies.

Recommends Dr. Green, “If your eye is red, oozing mucus, tearing and you're experiencing pain or blurred vision, you may have an eye infection.” 

5. Damage to natural lashes

A big piece of keeping the lashes looking great is maintaining them, which can get a little pricey; however, you do not want to bargain shop!

“Make sure you are visiting a reputable salon. If not applied properly, they can cause damage to your natural lashes, which is why it's very important to go to a licensed artist,” says Harris.

6. Allergic reaction

If you don’t take care of eyelash extensions properly, things can get bad — fast.

“A number of things could happen if you’re not careful with your eyelash extensions: allergic reaction to the glue, infection of the cornea, scratch of the cornea, infection of the eyelid or swollen eyelids,” advises VSP Network eye doctor, Arian Fartash.

With allergic reactions, you may also experience dryness around the eyes, itchiness and tearing.

RELATED: 20 Best Lash Serums For Thicker, Fuller Lashes

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.