In the modern beauty business, there aren’t many cosmetic enhancements that appear as desired as longer eyelashes, and women have always aspired to have long, luxurious lashes. And suppose you think that’s an overstatement. In that case, you might be astonished to learn that augmented eyelashes have a history that stretches back to 2500 BC, when Egyptians first began using ointments and brushes to achieve a mascara-like effect. Hence, it is fairly understandable why we have so many options for the same, from serums to false lashes, eyelash curlers to lash extensions, all of which operate towards a similar objective.
Another henchman on the list is lash perming, often known as the “lash lift,” which curls lashes from root to tip to lift and lengthen them while preserving their natural appearance. Compared to layering on mascara and creating clumpy, unflattering lashes, a quick and painless semi-permanent procedure that gives you the impression of bigger, thicker eyelashes might surely feel like a better deal. But there are ways to preserve them, and if you want to curl your lashes after a lash lift, you need to be extra careful.
You won’t be alone in thinking this, as the lash lift was a big deal when it first came out on the market, with coverage in magazines, on daytime TV, in advertisements, beauty influencers sharing their results, and the quintessential dramatic before-and-after photos that went viral online. You can find several of these photographs for yourself by just searching for “lash lift.”
No matter how straightforward and efficient the procedure could be, is it truly the safest choice for lash enhancement? Or can there be risky side effects, just like with any other cosmetic procedure? Given that the skin around your eyes and on your eyelids is delicate and prone to irritation, it should not be surprising if a lash lift produces disappointing results and jeopardizes your health. This report covers how Lash Lift gone wrong for some people with common side effects, health concerns, and real-world examples of lash lift treatment failures that you should be aware of before visiting an aesthetician’s office.
Lash Lift Gone Wrong | What to Do Based On True Incidents
What exactly is a lash lift?
A lash lift, which we previously compared to a perm for your eyelashes, can significantly alter your lashes in less than an hour. Applying a protective shield to the top and bottom of the eyelids using nontoxic glues is the first step in having a lash lift; ideally, this is the only thing that will come in contact with your skin. Thereafter, a silicon curler in the shape of a rod is placed on top, and depending on the desired curl, various rods with differing cross-sections are utilized; the larger the cross-section, the softer the curl.
The lashes are laid over the mold to create a curl and bent upward and outward. The keratin shaft is then broken down, and the hair is coaxed to conform to the shape of the curler by combing a perm solution through the lashes. A setting solution is applied after the first and second solutions have been in place for 10 to 15 minutes, and the complete process takes around 45 minutes.
If properly maintained, which means avoiding contact with water and steam for 24 hours following treatment, the lashes will remain intact for the duration of the hair growth cycle of your lashes, which is roughly 6–8 weeks.
True Incidents | Lash Lift Failures and Mishaps
Social media instilled aspirations and fantasies of long, thick lashes in 21-year-old Stephanie Branley from Australia, and her first three experiences were as smooth as running a hot knife through butter. When her fourth appointment rolled around, she discovered that her beautician had switched locations. She went through with it, but as her eyelashes started to frizz and fall off, she realized something was wrong. Upon contacting her beautician, she was advised to treat her lashes with castor oil, but that didn’t change much, if anything at all.
Two months and a half, her lashes were gone, and the ones that remained were crooked and unflattering. In addition to being more self-conscious, Stepahnie’s eyes also grew more vulnerable as a result of the absence of lashes, which shield the eyeballs from debris and dust. The clinic never offered her a refund, failed to acknowledge their error, and generally treated her poorly. After getting in touch with the business that manufactures the chemicals used, she was shocked to learn that they had been applied for almost twice as long as was advised.
As she noticed her eyelashes turning white, it was determined that she had chemically caused blepharitis, a chronic infection of the eye. She spent thousands of dollars attempting restoration, but her lashes didn’t regrow properly after several months. She still loses several lashes every day, and to get rid of the flaking, she must extensively clean both her lashes and lids. She can no longer use eye makeup and sincerely regrets her choice, hoping that sharing her experience may encourage young girls to make their own inquiries.
The second case is of Kelly, whose blog post about her lash lift failure soared in popularity, and messages from hundreds of people who went through something similar. Her blog is called No Thanks To Cake, and in this particular post, she writes about getting influenced by social media and beauty bloggers to try a lash lift after not being a fan of lash extensions. There seems to be a pattern here.
She mentions that the initial greetings were quite like going for a wax with a few questions and warnings, but in retrospect, those should have driven her away. Her procedure went alright overall, with slight burning but nothing worrisome. She was initially delighted with the outcomes as well, but the fact that the technicians were unable to respond to her questions did stand out to her. She also inquired about aftercare, but when they offered no advice, she decided to head home with wet lashes despite her misgivings. And from all that we have learned about lash lifts, we know that this one statement contains a multitude of problems.
When she got home, she saw that her eyelashes had curled considerably more than she had anticipated, and a chemical residue quickly caused her eyes to swell and become red. However fortunate for Kelly that she did not suffer any major irreversible repercussions as her swelling subsided in a few weeks, and her lashes started returning to normal in about 3 months. She highly warns against getting a lash lift without a referral and urges you to do your homework and necessary testing in advance.
Another example comes from a Reddit post made by an anonymous user, who recounts visiting a reputable salon to get the procedure done after giving it some thought. As expected, the procedure continued as the technician cleaned and applied silicon pads. For 19 and 9 minutes, respectively, the first and second solutions were left on. After removing everything, the technician began rubbing her eyes and then asked her to do the same, which is something that should never happen during a lash lift procedure.
Our writer rushed to the restroom to rinse her eyes after being handed the mirror since she could not see anything. Her vision did clear up later that night, but over the next few days, she developed a strong sensitivity to light. She exercised good judgment by scheduling a doctor’s appointment, which fortunately went smoothly. But she is a little worried because her lashes have clumped up.
One of the people who responded to her comments highlighted how unusual the rubbing is in general and how it might have irritated their corneas while also offering them some helpful tips and practical advice.
Learnings & Measures
Based on these three cases, it is clear that lash lifts gone wrong can have serious consequences, ranging from damaged or lost lashes to eye infections and even corneal damage. Therefore, taking certain measures to minimize the risks associated with the procedure is essential.
First and foremost, it is crucial to research the salon and technician beforehand. This includes reading reviews and asking for referrals from trusted sources. Additionally, it is essential to communicate clearly with the technician before the procedure, asking about the process, aftercare, and any potential risks. If the technician seems evasive or unprofessional, it is best to look for another salon.
During the procedure, it is vital to keep one’s eyes closed and avoid rubbing or touching them in any way. If the client feels any burning or discomfort, they should speak up immediately. After the procedure, it is crucial to follow the aftercare instructions carefully, which may include avoiding certain products or activities for a period of time.
Finally, if anything seems off, such as excessive swelling or irritation, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. Ignoring such symptoms can lead to serious and permanent damage, so it is better to be safe than sorry. These measures can minimize the risks associated with lash lifts and ensure a positive experience.
Proven Lash Lift Side Effects
Despite the fact that in 2018, mascaras were overtaken in popularity by lash lifts, this procedure is still relatively new, and there is little information available regarding its ramifications. Yet, as we have seen, several testimonials provide firsthand accounts of all the potential complications. However, there are still some speculations about using mascara after lash lift.
Given their susceptibility to allergies and reactions, dry and sensitive skin certainly gets the short end of the stick, but a system that relies solely on protective pads to keep your skin and eyes from coming into contact with chemicals does not seem infallible. The most typical side effects that people have experienced over time are listed below.
Irritation and Allergic Reactions
When undergoing a lash lift treatment, people with dry or sensitive skin may experience some discomfort in the form of allergies or itchiness. In particular, the adhesive employed could give your skin a burning or stinging feeling. If you have any severe allergies, you might want to think again before proceeding. To find out, you might choose to get a patch test.
Before the treatment, wearers of contact lenses should take them out, and those who have had any ocular surgery must wait up to a year for their eyes to heal fully. Aestheticians also strongly advise against conducting a lash lift on a person who has a history of allergy to the eyes, eye infections, or chronic dry eyes. You should carefully read through the thorough FAQs they have provided to understand any potential hazards.
Brittle Lash Hair
A possibility with any chemicals employed in the procedure is brittle and weak lash hair, which is certainly not irrevocable. Yet, longer exposure times to the perming solution or more traction are two prominent reasons for the same. Make sure you visit a licensed and experienced lash technician and clearly understand time frames because this frequently occurs at the hands of amateur practitioners.
Damage To The Cornea
The perming solution used by various businesses and clinics may differ, but it typically contains ammonium, thioglycolic acid, or polyacrylamide. In addition, compared to the medical sector, the beauty sector is relatively loosely regulated, and businesses are not obligated to disclose the list of ingredients and the concentrations employed. Yet, numerous studies have indicated that even tiny levels of ammonium are harmful to the cornea and conjunctiva.
Although a protective pad separates the solution from your eyes, depending on the consistency, it can still trickle into your eye, causing severe irritation, retinal burns, ulcers, and, if you accidentally rub your irritated eye, corneal abrasion. All of them are quite traumatic for your eyes; therefore, you should see a doctor right away.
Worth the Risk?
We would encourage you to take the required measures and not treat a lash lift or any other cosmetic procedure any differently than a medical procedure. The customer is accountable for paying meticulous attention to all of the documentation and taking the warnings seriously. It is advisable first to get examined for any health conditions you may or may not have that could make the lash lift procedure risky for you.
Surprisingly, only 8 million of the anticipated 25–30 million Americans have received a clinical diagnosis for the condition of chronic dry eyes, for which the procedure is not permitted. So, it is baffling to think of the number of people who would never visit a doctor before jumping into an aesthetician’s chair.
There will always be potential dangers when working with one of the most delicate areas of our bodies; therefore, you can never be too careful. Your experience might be jubilant, like several people that have benefitted from this procedure and have become regulars, or you may have adverse reactions. But being aware of the risks and dangers is the first at minimizing them and assessing whether you are susceptible.
If that’s the case, there is no harm in avoiding the procedure and perhaps exploring other options. If the procedure is safe for you to choose, take your time choosing the right aesthetician, pay attention to all of their instructions, and take great care of your eyelashes and the skin around your eyes afterward.
Statistical knowledge regarding lash lift’s short- and long-term effects is limited despite the procedure’s enormous popularity; thus, it’s critical to understand both perspectives. Any cosmetic procedure is filled with risk, and you should not let any celebrity or influencer tell you otherwise and sell it to you as a quick fix. If you decide to have the treatment done, exercise extreme caution and care, pick your practitioner carefully, and ensure that the procedure is performed in a clean and safe setting.
We hope you learned how occasionally semi-permanent operations can turn into permanent disasters and how Lash Lift gone wrong, and how using rational thinking and staying informed are our best defenses against this.
If you found this article insightful, you may also enjoy reading our report on Latisse Gone Wrong.
I’m Sarah Abraham, the founder and co-author of Blushastic.com and a professional makeup artist. Beauty is more than just skin deep, and that’s why I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and experience to help people feel confident and beautiful on the inside and out.
Whether it’s skincare, haircare, or fashion, my goal is to empower women to feel their best. With my expertise in the beauty industry, I strive to provide practical advice and tips that are accessible to everyone, regardless of their skill level or budget.