Don't you hate when you get your eyelash extensions, and they feel crunchy? Or when you wake up the next day, and your eyes are all itchy and red?
Unfortunately, these are signs of lousy lash extensions, extremely dirty lashes or possibly an infection (or a combination of all three).
Let's start with the crunchy feeling. Crunchy lashes are usually caused by the glue you or the technician used to apply the lashes. If the adhesive is old or of poor quality, it can make the lashes feel stiff and crunchy.
You can get itchy red eyes because of an allergic reaction to the glue or the lashes themselves. Sometimes, people can develop blepharitis (an inflammation of the eyelids) from having lash extensions and not looking after them properly.
What is blepharitis? How can I get rid of it?
Blepharitis is eyelid inflammation, and several things can cause it, including the following:
- Bacteria build-up
- Allergies to the adhesive and the extensions
- Dirty lashes, lack of good hygiene
- Bad quality lash extensions poorly applied
- A combination of the above
If you have blepharitis, you'll notice that your eyelids are red, itchy and crusty. You might also have swollen eyelids, and your lashes may fall out easily.
To get rid of blepharitis, you need to see a doctor or an optometrist, who will prescribe you some medication. In the meantime, try using a warm compress to soothe your eyelids and remove any crusting.
Read our ultimate guide on how to clean eyelash extensions.
How can I prevent getting blepharitis from my lash extensions?
The best way to prevent blepharitis is to practice good hygiene. This means:
- Washing your hands before you touch your eyes or lashes
- Not sleeping in your makeup or falsies
- Avoiding rubbing your eyes
- Using a clean pillowcase often
- Keeping your lashes and eyelids clean (you can use a gentle cleanser or baby shampoo)
- Seeing an optometrist or doctor if you have any concerns
Is blepharitis the same as contagious conjunctivitis?
No, blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids, while conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva -the transparent membrane that covers the white part of your eye.
However, both conditions can cause red, itchy eyes.
Both conditions are treatable. But conjunctivitis is contagious, so you must see a doctor if you think you have either condition.
How can I tell if my lash extensions cause my blepharitis?
If you develop blepharitis soon after getting lash extensions and it's not clearing up even with good lash hygiene, the lashes or the adhesive are likely the cause.
In this case, you should have the lashes removed and think about other options while you wait for the condition to clear up.
How can I avoid blepharitis?
The first thing you should do before having eyelash extensions applied is, have a patch test.
A patch or sensitivity test is when a small amount of the adhesive is applied to your skin, usually behind your ear or on your arm, to see if you have an allergic reaction.
If the test proves positive (you see red dots or a rash on your arm or behind your ear), it's best to avoid having eyelash extensions altogether.
If you're determined to have them, make sure you use a good quality adhesive that has been allergy tested and is safe for use on the eyes.
Read our patch test advice, especially if you’re going to try applying false eyelash extensions to yourself or a friend.
What are the signs of a lousy lash job?
Several signs indicate a terrible lash job, including:
- Early completion: A professional lash technician will take their time on your eyelash extension. If the job has been done too quickly (under 1.5 hours), the lashes will likely fail.
- Uncomfortable placement: Your lash technician should place the lashes comfortably so they don't irritate your eyes. If the placement is uncomfortable, it's likely because the technician is inexperienced.
- Too much glue: If there's too much glue on the lashes, they will be heavy and feel crunchy. This can also cause the lashes to fall out prematurely.
- Unable to brush: If you can't brush your lashes, you can't look after them properly. Professional application means you should be able to comb your lashes effortlessly.
- Early eyelash loss: This can be caused by not using enough glue or not being an experienced enough technician. It can also happen if you rub your eyes or pick at your lashes because they are uncomfortable.
- Irritated eyes: If your eyes are red, itchy or watery, it could be a sign that the glue used contains formaldehyde (a known irritant).
- Eyelid swelling: This could be caused by an allergy to the adhesive or the lashes themselves. It could also mean that you have blepharitis.
If you see any of these signs, it's best to go back to the technician who did your lash extensions and ask them to replace them with new lashes and use different glue.
Your eyelash extension may not hurt, but they look odd. What does that mean?
Suppose your extensions look odd, for example. In that case, they are all one length, not graduated at all, or longer on the inner edge than the outer edge. The technician who applied them is likely inexperienced or, at worst untrained.
An experienced technician will know how to create a natural look by varying the length and curl of the lashes. They will also take into account your eye shape when applying the extensions.
Remember, in most cases; you get what you pay for. If the technician doesn't charge the going rate, there's usually a reason. It's different if you agree to be an eyelash model or allow a student to practice on you.
Allowing a student to practice on you is okay as long as it's done with an experienced eyelash extension technician or tutor stating by.
If you're unhappy with how your lash extensions look, it's best to go back to the technician and ask them to redo them. If they are unwilling or unable to do so, find someone else who can.
I've had my lash extensions for a few weeks, and they are starting to feel crunchy and odd. Is this normal?
If your lash extensions start to feel crunchy and odd, it could be a sign that the adhesive is breaking down. Glue breakdown happens if you've been touching your eyes a lot or the extensions have been in for longer than six weeks.
If the adhesive is breaking down, it's best to go back to the technician who did your lash extensions and ask them to remove and replace them with new ones.
The old saying used to say, 'no pain, no gain' - we disagree with this motto about everything in beauty. There shouldn't be any pain. If your eyelash extension hurt, have them taken out immediately.
How to make a bad lash experience right
If you've had a bad lash experience, you shouldn't let it put you off having lovely lashes in the future. Just remember to do your research before you book an appointment, and make sure you go to a reputable technician with plenty of experience.
You can always train yourself. DIY lash extensions are possible if you buy the best lashes, glue and equipment you can afford and, watch enough YouTube tutorials, practice on yourself enough times; you might get it right.
Practice makes perfect, and even then, we recommend you only attempt this once you are confident with the application process.
If you're unsure, plenty of reputable salons and technicians can apply your lash extensions. Just do your research first, so you can avoid ending up with another bad experience.
What else can you do if you don't want to chance it?
If you decide eyelash extensions aren't for you, there are loads of fake lash options you can try. Magnetic lashes, strip lashes and even heated eyelash curlers can give you a look you want without the hassle of lash extensions.
Here's a list of our favourite alternatives:
- Kiss Magnetic Eyeliner and Lash Kit - Charm
- Ardell Magnetic Lash Kit - Double Demi Wispies
- Eylure Eyelashes - Fluttery Collection in Natural
- Lola's Lashes Magnetic Lash Kit - Rose Quartz
- Lilly Lashes 3D Faux Mink Lashes – Miami
If all else fails, there's always good old mascara. Why not read our blog about mascara with false eyelashes - do's and don'ts? Get all the mascara tips you need in one place.
And finally, remember that you can always take your individual eyelash extension off yourself if you're not happy with them. Use an oil-based makeup remover on a cotton pad and gently press it onto your lashes. Hold for a few seconds, then wipe away. Repeat until all the lashes are gone.
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