Imagine this, your superstar costume is almost complete, but you need to apply the finishing touches…some glamorous eyelash extension you found at your local supermarket. They were cheap and looked great, but are they safe to glue to your eyelid?

Most problems with eyelash extensions are caused by the glue that’s used to bond the false lashes in place. These often contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that can cause irritation and allergic reaction. Some people actually lose eyelashes in the processes damaging follicles responsible for growth. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t regulate products used to apply eyelash extensions. Following these tips can help protect your eyes.

  • Only let a certified aesthetician apply eyelash extensions
  • Ensure the aestheticians practice proper hygiene and handwashing.
  • Check the eyelash adhesive ingredients before use.

A few optometrists believe extensions may increase the risk of dry eyes. Further studies show there is an optimal length for eyelashes to protect the eyes from wind, dust, and other debris. Longer, fuller eyelashes have a fan-like effect with each blink. This will increase airflow on the surface of the eye causing dryness.

Removing eyelash extensions can be dangerous as well. The eyelashes are attached using a substance similar to superglue. The safest way is to let them grow out and shed naturally or, if you are impatient, returning to the aesthetician to remove the extensions. You can also try these two home removal methods.

The first is an olive oil and steam method.

  • Remove all mascara and eye makeup from your eyelids.
  • Heat a pan of water on the stove until it is boiling, then turn off the heat.
  • When the water is steaming but no longer boiling, lean over the pan so the steam can reach your face. Drape a towel over the back of your head to help capture the steam.
  • After about five to 10 minutes, apply a few drops of olive oil onto a cotton ball and gently wipe your eyelashes until the extensions begin to come off. Avoid touching your eye or getting the olive oil in your eye.
  • Rinse your eyelids with warm water and gently dry.

You can also try Solvent (glue remover) method.

  • Purchase eyelash glue remover from your salon or a drugstore.
  • Remove all mascara and eye makeup using your normal method.
  • Wet a cotton swab with the glue remover.
  • While looking in a mirror, pull down one eyelid. (Keep the other eye open so you can see what you are doing.)
  • Gently wipe your eyelashes with the cotton swab several times until the extensions start to loosen.
  • Gently remove each extension with your thumb and index finger.
  • Apply more glue remover to your eyelashes with a cotton swab if the extensions don’t release easily.

Obviously, great care should be taken when applying a solvent (glue remover) near your eye. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product carefully, and don’t let any solvent touch the surface of your eye.

Finally, if you do experience an infection, an allergic reaction or other irritation after receiving eyelash extensions or attempting to remove them, contact your eye doctor immediately. If your eyes the next morning give you a fright, make sure to call the Mabee Eye Clinic for help.

Notes and References
Jealous of long eyelashes? Why extensions may be a bad idea. NBC Today. January
How do you treat an eye infection/irritation due to eyelash extensions (glue)? American
Academy of Ophthalmology. November 2013.
American Academy of Ophthalmology warns consumers about the dangers of eyelash
extensions. American Academy of Ophthalmology. May 2013.