Eyelash Extension Retail Products – What do You Really Need to Buy from Your Eyelash Extension Shop or Boise Hair Salon?

If you are reading this blog, then you are probably in love with the cosmetic attraction of long, luscious eyelashes. If you are a consumer of eyelash extensions, then you know that the marketing messages regarding the need for various retail products for post care of eyelash extensions is big business.  Do you really need a growth serum? Do you really need a special post application cleanser?  Do you really need  special makeup?   We will address all of that in this blog post.

Do you need to buy a brand name eyelash extension cleanser? In our experience, no.  You can make your own cleanser at home using a few drops of baby shampoo mixed with water.  This will not affect the retention of your eyelash extensions and will not affect the adhesive. We can back up this claim through our own experience of having our entire clientele using a home made solution. The bigger question is – Do you really need to clean your eyelash extensions daily?  YES! (Even if you didn’t have eyelash extensions, you need to clean your lashes daily. ) However, when you are wearing eyelash extensions, you have a margin where the extensions meet the natural lash.  This margin creates another surface for debris, dust, skin oils, eye secretions, bacteria and even parasites to build up.  The eyelashes and eyelids have their own microflora that must be kept in balance. This balance will be thrown off if debris is allowed to accumulate at the eyelash extension margin. The bacteria will thrive and this leads to blepharitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids where the lids become red, itchy and slightly swollen. In severe cases, this will lead to crusts, flakes and gland dysfunction.  (In addition, blepharitis can also be caused by parasites of which there are three types that can inhabit the lid margin: Demodex folliculorum, Demodex brevis and Phthirus pubis. Bugs living in the eyelashes is a contagious condition and is one of many reasons you should patronize a licensed facility with licensed techs.)

Of course, you must always clean the lashes before undergoing the eyelash extension procedure.  Any debris or residue on the lashes will negatively affect the retention. We always have clients thoroughly clean their lashes before they come for a full set or fill, and always do a cleansing primer immediately before extension placement. In addition, if we see that clients are not properly cleaning and caring for their lashes, allowing unhealthy or contagious conditions to develop, Idaho state cosmetological laws require us to discontinue service for the client until the condition is deemed resolved by a doctor.  Even though we are dedicated to making beautiful, full sets of eyelash extensions, our first and foremost responsibility is the health and safety of all of our clients!

Now, onto the the next question – Do you need special makeup/products if using it around the eyelash extensions? For two reasons, the answer is yes.  You don’t necessarily have to use the retail products sold at your eyelash extension shop or Boise Hair Salon, but you must find “eyelash extension compatible mascara and/or eyeliner.” Using the wrong makeup/products is going to lead to eyelash extension retention problems as well as create a hygiene issue.  If any makeup or products that contain oil touch the adhesive, it will weaken the adhesive, turning it into a jelly-like mess.  This mess is an even bigger breeding ground for bacteria and parasites.  Your eyelash extensions will eventually begin to fall off as well.  We tell our clients not even to wear regular mascara and eyeliner on the lower lashes because it still comes into contact with the upper lashes when blinking.  Most people who wear eyelash extensions love the freedom from all the eye makeup.  However, if you still want to wear mascara and eyeliner, you can easily buy it online.  As far as eyeshadow, you can use it in a powder form. Eye creams, lid primers, etc., must all be kept away from the eyelash extensions.

How about eyelash growth serum?  Do you need it in order to wear eyelash extensions? Does it work?  How does it work?  Is it safe? The answers to these questions is highly individual. If you have no eyelashes (or very few of them), an eyelash growth serum might help you grow more lashes in order to wear eyelash extensions. The causes of eyelash thinning and loss are many, including hereditary, aging, chemotherapy, other medical treatments, physical trauma involving the face, eye surgery, trichotillomania, and traction alopecia (hair follicle destruction caused by an overload and/or glued together eyelash extensions and lash strips). If this is your situation, then yes, you should consider trying (after thorough research) the eyelash growth serum. If you are not in this situation, you do not need a growth serum simply to wear eyelash extensions. The eyelash extension artist should be recommending and placing extensions that are the appropriate length and weight to your natural lashes so there shouldn’t be any damaging effects.  However, if a lash serum is being recommended in order to grow your natural lashes longer in order to wear longer eyelash extensions, then that makes sense.

Do eyelash growth serums work? Depending on the brand, the answer is yes, but how do the serums work?  In order to understand this, one must have an understanding of the growth phases of the eyelashes.  Each of our eyelashes lasts for a period of 3 to 6 months and goes through three phases during that time. The growth phase (anagen) lasts for approximately 30 days. After the growth phase, the follicle stops producing hair cells (catagen), which occurs over a 15 day period. Then, the follicle enters its longest stage, which is a resting phase (telogen). Lasting about 100 days, this leads to the detachment and shedding of the eyelash from its follicle. At least 50% of upper eyelash follicles are in the telogen phase at any given time.  You should never pull out an eyelash because the follicle will continue through these phases anyway.  So, if you yank out an eyelash during anlagen phase, you won’t get another hair from that follicle for up to 6 months. Most eyelash growth serums are marketed as cosmetics and are not thoroughly studied or regulated. Therefore, the exact mechanism of how these serums work is not known. They are thought to work by increasing the percentage of eyelashes in the anagen phase by stimulating and waking up the follicle from its resting phase earlier than normal.  It is also thought that it keeps the hair in the anagen phase longer, thus resulting in a longer eyelash. What it doesn’t do is increase the thickness of the eyelashes.  So, if you have weak, fine natural eyelashes, then a growth serum will only stimulate more of them to grow at the same time, and make them longer.  If you want thicker,  stronger lashes, talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements and/or correcting hormone deficiencies.

Are the growth serums safe to use? That is up to the consumer to decide. The eyelash growth serums that are known to actually work contain prostaglandin analogs: bimatoprost, latanoprost and/or travoprostenhances. The side effects are including, but not limited to: conjunctival hyperemia, eye pruritus, eye dryness, a burning sensation in the eye, eyelid pigmentation (that means a change in eye color), foreign body sensation, eye pain, and visual disturbance.  These side effects have been severe enough to spark multiple class action lawsuits against well-known brands and have caused irreversible problems for many people.

At Tease Hair and Lash Studio, we do not retail any growth serums, but encourage interested clients to do thorough research before using and choosing these products.  We also do not retail any post care eyelash extension cleanser because we instruct clients on how to make their own cleanser at home for pennies. There is a lot of marketing out there with big claims insisting that you need to buy retail products to maintain your eyelash extensions. Eyelash extensions are a luxury, and they are expensive enough on their own.  We would certainly sell the products if they were needed because our business success would depend on it! However, in all of our years of experience, we have boiled down the eyelash extension care/maintenance to the following 6 rules: 1) Have your eyelash extensions placed by a competent, skilled tech whose recommendations for length/weight you are willing to accept. 2) Wait for 24 hours, then clean the lashes daily with a few drops of  baby shampoo mixed with water. 3) Keep eyelash extensions free of any substance that contains oil. 4) Keep heat sources away from the lashes. 5) Brush through the lashes gently with a spoolie daily and never pull at the lashes. This includes not using eyelash curlers or aggressive eye rubbing. 6) Finally, get in-fills every 14-18 days to replace the lashes that have shed. That’s it!  Now go out, bat those lashes, and enjoy your beauty, glamour and confidence!