What beginners should know
HOUSTON – At Wink Lash Bar off the Katy Freeway, technician Sarah Lestage walks clients through the steps of selecting the length and curl of extensions. Most clients have a consultation before applying the lashes.
During the application, the technician tapes natural lashes down and separates each tiny strand to glue on an extension.
It’s tedious work, therefore, Lesatage wants you to protect the investment.
“You want to keep them clean at all times, which means that at the end of the night when you wash your face, you also want to wash your lashes,” Lestage said.
Oil-based creams and cleaners can break down the adhesive and damage lashes so make sure to use water-based cleansers.
Some ways to clean lashes well include water-based makeup solutions and wipes, baby shampoo (diluted), wands to brush the lashes often, and pat dry.
Be careful: Hot showers and saunas can also damage lashes.
The warning from doctors
Dr. Zaina Al-Mohtaseb from Baylor College of Medicine said maintaining good hygiene on your lashes is critical in protecting your eye health too.
Al-Mohtaseb said she has seen complications from lashes in patients with dry eye disease or allergies since the glue can cause red, itchy reactions or the lashes just don’t do well at keeping allergens out.
“When you make your eyes abnormally long, sometimes that would push the debris to the actual front of the eye into the cornea," she said. "So that would irritate your eyes and then there’s data that shows it can also prevent you from closing your eyes when you go to sleep, so you have a lot of dryness.”
That's why you don't want anything too long or heavy.
Lestage said she works to select the most natural fit for clients and warns against the idea of “not touching your lashes to keep them intact.” She said that only leads to trapping debris and allergens between lashes.
Also, make sure your salon is using safe glue.
Wink says they only use medical-grade glue, which should make it hypoallergenic and less likely to cause damage. Other salons have a "sensitive glue" alternative that you can ask for but Wink suggests not testing out too many different types of glue and then risk not knowing which glue caused an allergy in the event of a bad reaction.
“The other aspect is some people can have an acute allergic reaction, but this can be delayed. So for people have been doing it for a while, they can actually start having symptoms even years down the line,” Al-Mohtaseb said.
Wink says people who have allergies may want to consider a lash "lift" instead of extensions.
How much does it cost?
Most chain lash stores offer memberships, but on average, that is about $100 every two weeks.
While lashes are a luxury, Wink and Al-Mohtaseb agree if you’re going to do it, it’s worth paying for high-quality products and medical-grade glue to cut down on allergic reactions and overall bad experiences.
How frequently do I need refills?
The lash extensions will naturally fall out or twist with your natural lashes. Technicians suggest making an appointment to go in for maintenance every couple of weeks.
How do I know if the place is sanitary?
Wink Lash Bar says stylists should not ever use dirty tools or hands.
Every stylist should wash their hands before applying tape and your skin should be the first the tape ever touches. Wink says they also sanitize tools and tweezers between each client.
You can also verify that the technicians are licensed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration.
“I don’t want to clean my lashes. They’ll mess up!”
This is false and chances are avoiding cleaning will only damage your lashes and make them look worse.