Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

Unhealthy Lash Extensions: How to Avoid a Sticky Mess

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for lash extension.jpg With proper application, lash extensions are a wonderful, natural looking, affordable and easy to-wear addition to your life; however when applied improperly or with low grade materials, they can create big, painful problems. Want to know how to avoid getting into a sticky mess? Read on!


As the word of the wonder of lash extensions has spread, many women are choosing to have them applied. And, as it is with any service, some practitioners are skilled and unfortunately others are not.

I became certified in lash extension application in 2006 after seeing a practical demonstration at a show in Philly, and have been doing them ever since. I have been an independent trainer for years, helping other licensed* professionals learn application procedures. (*In New York State, lash extensionists must be Licensed as a Nurse, Aesthetician or Cosmetologist to perform the service.)

From the standpoint of application, lash extensions are a difficult service to perform - as you can imagine when you think about constructing a set of eyelashes one by-one using a surgical type adhesive - and yet, they are incredibly beautiful when applied well.

Although extremely popular among the rich and famous, lash extensions have taken some time to reach the general public. In my opinion, this is because many women may not want to advertise that they're wearing lash extensions and also that when people see you with them on, they will most likely not notice the extensions but will notice that you look well and say things like, "You look rested."

As the popularity of this service grows, I find myself treating victims of lash botch jobs. These problems are mainly due to poor application like the use of too much adhesive causing natural lashes to stick together that can ultimately have an adverse affect on the natural lash, or poor quality product like low grade lashes, and/or adhesive that is rough and irritating to the eye. Poor application can result in the lashes being too heavy for your natural lash, causing drooping, pulling, and poking of the loose lashes into the tender skin of the lid.

But there are other, stranger problems. Just last week, I treated a lovely woman who had had lashes applied at a nail salon. A nail salon? Since Licensed Nail Specialists may not legally perform lash extension application, it is dubious as to whether the practitioner(s) of this establishment is licensed/trained/certified to put on eyelash extensions.

This problem application included not only an 1/8 inch layer of some kind of adhesive which was almost impossible to remove, but also the use of rows upon rows of knotted flares to create the lash set. People - listen up! This technique (if you can call it that!) is not a lash extension application! Lash extentions are applied one lash to one lash.

Lash extensions are not the same as false eyelash strips. False eyelashes are meant to be applied to the skin above the lash at the lash line - not on the lashes themselves! - with a rubbery glue made for false eyelashes. They are not meant to be applied to the natural lash with a semi-permanent glue where they will gather dirt, dust and other debris. Lash extensions are applied to the lash with a surgical type, semi-permanent adhesive.

My client was in a lot of pain and luckily, I was able to safely and gently remove all the lash clumps without hurting or breaking her own lashes. After a short break, I applied a fresh, new set of single, high quality lash extensions and she was thrilled.

Just yesterday, I saw yet another client who, I suspect, had gone to the same place. After struggling for a day with the same problems as my other clients, she returned to the shop to have the lash botch job removed. In the process, they pulled out many of her own lashes. I would not recommend going back to a place that had done a poor job. Go somewhere else! When I mentioned this, my new client said that she had called other places to have them removed and that none of those establishments were willing to help her, which is really sad to hear. She said that she wished she had found me sooner!

Unfortunately, not all practitioners are skilled, trained, have integrity and, in some cases may not have the proper licensure to perform the services that they offer. It's uber important for you, the consumer, to ensure your safety.

Please keep in mind that you are working around your eyes! We don't want to be fooling around. Proper sanitation, quality product and certified training are of the utmost importance.

The cost should be appropriate and within range of all other places in the specific area! If it's too inexpensive - there's a reason!

So, how do you avoid having a sticky mess? Here are some suggestions:

1. Check out the establishment by searching the web, and set up a time to go to there to see their work.
2. Do some research about the practitioner and ask questions like how many years the extentionist has been practicing lash extensions.
3. Ask for references.
4. Research the cost in your area.
5. Stay away from "deals" or prices that are too low. High quality extensions and adhesives are expensive and experienced lash artists expect to be paid for their expertise AND expert extensionists will be quite busy with happy customers!
6. Ask around and get a recommendation from someone you know whose lashes you like!

Questions? Feel free to ask me anytime online here, or email or call!

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...


Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Whether the goal is to lessen pain, find an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or improve your quality of life, Dr. LoBisco's Naturopathic Medicine lets you get the best of both worlds conventional medicine, combined with safe and proven complementary therapies.

Dr. Sarah LoBisco has been involved in wellness for over 8 years. Her experience includes mentoring with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. Read more...