As a disclaimer, I have a lot of friends that have lash extensions and have had a good experience. My experience may not be the norm but I wanted to share it anyway because it can happen to anybody. Since sharing this, I have also received a lot of feedback from women that had the same experience I did.
I was at an event a couple of months ago and met some fellow bloggers that had gorgeous lashes. I learned they had lash extensions, which I had considered in the past, but I didn’t want to deal with the maintenance. So, when they told me I could have my lashes applied in the comfort of my own home via their lash tech, I was all in.
The actual experience of having them applied was not bad at all. It took about two hours. It was the aftermath that made me regret my decision.
I liked the way they looked, especially in photos. However, looking back, I wish my lash tech would have applied lashes in a more natural length since my extensions were very obvious. Of course I wanted them to be noticeable, but it basically looked like I had applied super long fake lashes daily and you can see “gaps” between the super long lashes and the others. I had expressed wanting full/voluminous lashes over long ones, but looking back at photos, you can definitely tell that there should have been a more consistent fullness to them.
Below are some examples of eyelash extensions that have the fuller look I’m talking about:
The first couple of days, my lash extensions hurt a little bit. Not consistently but I did feel some “pulling.” I was told that some of the areas where the lashes had clumped together a little bit would separate and I used the lash brush I received to comb through them as instructed (they didn’t separate, the clumping just got worse).
The main issue with my lashes is that as they began to fall out, my real lashes came with them. I didn’t like the way they felt on my eyes and it was more difficult to do simple things like wash my face because they project so much from your eyes and they’re very firm/stiff.
Now that I’ve had them removed, I’ve lost a significant amount of my real lashes and the ones left are at least half the length they were before, if I’m being generous. Below are my pros and cons of lash extensions.
P R O S
You can wear less makeup:
With lash extensions, I never wore eyeliner on my top lash line and didn’t have to curl my lashes in the morning or wear mascara. My morning routine was SO fast. However, the time you save getting ready in the morning is negated by the time you have to spend to get (fairly frequent) fills.
Your eyes look so open:
I loved that the curl of the extensions really opened up my eyes since naturally, I have stick-straight lashes and smaller eyes.
C O N S
They’re high maintenance:
Ideally, you’d get a “fill” every 2-3 weeks, which basically means that your lash tech will fill in the areas of your lashes that have grown out or fallen out (lashes have a natural growth cycle and each lash grows at a different rate based on where they are in the cycle). I barely have time to get my hair trimmed every 8 weeks, so thinking I would make the time for regular lash appointments (fills can take an hour) was unrealistic for me. I mean, I’m the girl who paints her nails at night, in bed, while pumping. So time consuming beauty regimens may not be a good fit for me, ha.
Most lash salons charge around $150-$300 for a full set and $35-$85 per fill. I paid much less for mine since they were not done at a salon and I received a discount, but the cost to maintain lash extensions month after month really adds up.
They can be uncomfortable:
My lashes always felt heavy and I knew they were there even after I got used to them. I didn’t like the feeling and it was hard to wash my face, use a cotton ball to remove eye makeup on my lower lash line (cotton would get caught in my lashes and was difficult to take out since I had areas of clumping) and if I accidentally pressed them the wrong way (like when drying my face) the feeling was uncomfortable.
You can ruin your real lashes:
I never thought this would happen to me, but here I am. I only had my lash extensions for a little over three weeks and in that time I lost a lot of my real lashes and the ones that were left were literally half the length of my lashes before. It was honestly shocking how short they were. It wasn’t an illusion either— a lot of women feel their lashes are shorter/stumpy simply because they get used to seeing themselves with very long lashes, but it is very clear that mine are sparse and very short now. It was a lesson learned, and it sucks, but I have to be patient until they grow back.
(my lashes, post removal of the extensions after just three weeks with no makeup on—notice the gaps, broken areas and overall decrease in length. To be honest, they actually look shorter in person than they do in this photo).
I had my extensions removed by a lash tech recommended by a friend that had hers for a long time and he did a great job with the removal. He did mention that I had several areas where there was clumping/too much glue, which can cause real lashes to fall out. It made sense but who knows, maybe I just didn’t respond well to them.
Everything I have read online (and believe me, I googled the crap out of this) is that when lashes are applied correctly (ie: one extension per one real lash, no clumping together, no overuse of glue), then they should not in any way damage your real lashes and should grow out with your lashes like they naturally do. The guy who removed my lashes also said he would have not used that size of lash on me (I believe mine were 14mm C curl). I personally prefer thicker/voluminous lashes to super long ones, so be sure you communicate your preferences to your lash stylist instead of just assuming there’s only one way to go. Lash extensions are very customizable and a good lash tech should be able to provide guidance based on the look you’re seeking and whether or not those lashes are an appropriate weight for your own lashes. There is a good article on the topic of proper application, here.
(my lashes now, with mascara primer and a couple of coats of mascara. They look a little bit longer with mascara on, but they’re still quite stubby without it)
Would I do it again?
After what happened this first time, I’m extremely hesitant to ever try extensions again. I don’t think it’s worth the risk of ruining my lashes, as I had nice lashes before I had this done. When I’m done nursing in October, I plan to start a cycle of Latisse. You can read my (very old) review of it here.
I realize that having them done at a different lash place might mean that my results would be better and not cause damage to my real lashes, but I think I would rather just use growth serums and mascara because I don’t want to go through this again as repeated damage to the eye lash follicles can cause permanent hair loss.
In the meantime, I have read a lot about the benefits of castor oil in helping to grow your lashes so I ordered this one and this one. The reviews speak for themselves! Let me know if you’re planning to try it as well— I’m going to document the progress.