To Wear or Not to Wear Fake Eyelashes – What You Need to Know

Fake Eyelashes and Eye Extensions - What you need to knowLights, Camera, Pose! Okay, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but that’s somewhat close to my experience last Saturday during a professional hair and makeup photoshoot session. My hairdresser and good friend had asked me to be a hair model to help promote her upcoming hair show.  The allure of a photoshoot complete with a professional makeup artist and photographer (plus the desire to support an awesome friend) was irresistible so I jumped at the chance! Besides, when was the last time I got an opportunity to get glammed up by some pros, dress up, and model for free?  Never!

I let it be known that I was open to anything she wanted to try with me (remind me not make such bold declarations next time :-)).  I anticipated that the most over-the-top things that could happen were colorful hair styling (after all, it’s hair art!), heavy make up, wild outfits, and maybe some awkwardness while posing for the photos.  Little did I know that I would be in for much more!

While my hairdresser was styling my hair, the makeup artist began to work on one of the other models.  Curious to know what to expect when I sat at her chair and of course eager to pick up some tips for myself, I watched intently. She began with the usual suspects; concealer, liquid foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara…and just when I thought she was almost done, she reached for a packet in her make up set and pulled out fake eyelashes.  Oo..oh, I thought!  Not fake lashes!  I’m I going to have to wear those as well?  What did I get myself into?

Though intrigued by fake eyelashes (they’re ubiquitous, especially with celebrities and have been for a while), I’ve really not had the urge to wear them yet.  I figure that my mascara, even though not as distinct as fake eyelashes, still glams me up enough.  Admittedly, my anxiety was caused by the very little knowledge I have about fake eyelashes.  Also, other than hair extensions (braids specifically), I tend to shy away from adding anything fake (other than applying makeup occasionally) to my face.

My biggest concern was the effect they might have on my real eyelashes; would they rip them off during removal?  It didn’t help that I noticed the adhesive used to attach the fake lashes was some type of glue.  To calm my nerves, I asked about the glue and was assured that it was safe.   With some apprehension and a mental note that I would find out more about it on my own, I decided to go for it.  The outcome after the hair, makeup, dress up, and photoshoot…glam, retro, and pure fun!

Professional photoshoot complete with hair and makeup (fake lashes and all!)

Glam! Retro! Fun!

Wearing the lashes was not so bad after all.  It took a while to get used to having some weight on my eyes but overall, I liked the look! With my curiosity piqued, I set out to find out more about fake eyelashes.  Here are my discoveries and what you need to know before you decide to go ahead and try them out, if you haven’t done so already:

  • There is a difference between Eyelash Extensions and False Eyelashes: eyelash extensions are single synthetic fibers that are glued one by one to your natural lashes and are typically done by a professional while false eyelashes, which are applied to the upper eyelid, come in strip form and you can easily apply them yourself.
  • Both types of of fake eyelashes come with their own set of risksalthough there are some similarities¹:
    • Eyelash Extensions:
      • Allergic reactions – Formaldehyde-based adhesives and other biologic glues used to attach the eyelashes and solvents used to remove the glue can cause allergic reactions
      • Eye-related deseases – conjunctivitis (irritation to the conjuctiva)
      • Temporary or permanent hair loss – thinning of your natural lashes, hair falling off and in some cases alopecia (permanent hair loss)
    • False Eyelashes:
      • Infection and irritation – this happens since false eyelashes have the ability to collect and trap dirt and bacteria
      • Hair loss – traction alopecia can happen when you pull off your natural eyelashes as you’re removing the false eyelashes
      • Allergic reactions, such as swelling of the eyelids caused by the glue you use to attach the false eyelashes.
  • Adding eyelash bling can cause injury to the eye

If you choose to wear eyelash extensions, the American Academy of Opthalmology offers some great advice on what you should do to avoid the above risks.  In addition, the  style section of the Huffington Post has some great tips on what you should know before you decide to wear fake eyelashes. Finally, check out this slideshow from WebMD (via MedicineNet.com), which highlights some insights on certain hair and beauty products.

After learning more about fake eyelashes, I’ll stick to mascara for now.  In the event I do decide to go for it, at least I’ll be confident that I’m making a more informed decision.

What about you?  Are are you a fan of fake eyelashes?  Have you had any experience with them (both good or bad)?

References

Avitzur, Orly, M.D. (May 2013) “Eyelash Extensions Can Pose Health Risks; The popular trend can cause allergic reactions, infections, and more.” ConsumerReports.org.

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