Not all of us are blessed with naturally long and thick eyelashes. While mascara is a staple in most women’s beauty stashes to make those small lashes look big and beautiful, there is another relatively newer and more attractive alternative that can make your eyes pop like never before. We are talking about fake eyelashes, which accentuate the beauty of eyes and add oomph to the style. The growing beauty trend has earned a fair share of publicity in recent years by giving mascara a real run for its length and volume. But fake eyelash mishap is natural, and you might end up affecting both your eyes and skin during the process. So, if you have also been pondering the thought of getting fake lashes to make your eyes stand out, this post is totally for you. Know the hidden dangers of fake eyelashes along with the ways to stay away from them.
What Are Fake Eyelashes?
The name says it all! Fake or false eyelashes are a type of eye makeup product that can help you transform your look entirely by raising your lash game to a whole new level. They are small bunches of natural or synthetic hair fibers glued together to form a strip of lashes. Once applied to the natural eyelashes delicately, these false lashes enhance their appearance in terms of both length and fullness. Fake eyelashes can do a lot for you, from giving the eye makeup a more dramatic effect with longer-looking lashes to achieving a full-out elegant look. However, the glamorized product has also been reported to cause eye contamination and several other complications.
Eyelash extensions are longer-lasting alternative to fake or false eyelashes in which individual hair fibers made of silk, nylon, mink (natural fur), etc. are used in small groups to get desired lash looks. They are glued onto the natural eyelashes one at a time by a professional cosmetologist, which are usually shed with the natural eyelashes.
How Are Fake Eyelashes Applied?
The process of fake eyelash application can be tricky. So let us start with unveiling the steps:
- Identify your eye shape (prominent eyes, deep-set eyes, hooded eyes, downturned eyes, close-set eyes, wide-set eyes, etc.) to find the ideal product for yourself. However, women with almond eyes can go for all types of fake lashes.
- Peel the lashes from their outer corners and tease them out gently with your fingers or a pair of tweezers to remove them from the box.
- Align them with your natural lash lines to figure out if they need to be trimmed or not. They should start from where your natural bulk of lashes begin and end 2-4 lashes inward from the outer corners.
- If necessary, trim your fake eyelashes to the shape and size of your eyes by cutting them at the vein from the outer edges.
- Roll the lashes around a makeup brush for a minute to maintain the curved shape and prevent them from popping up at the inner or outer corners after application.
- Apply the glue in a very thin layer from one corner to another corner of the eyelash strip along its vein. It should be tacky in just a few seconds. Repeat the same for the other lash.
- Place the lashes onto your natural lashes carefully by looking down and pressing them against your lash lines in the center, outer, and inner edges, respectively.
- Squeeze them gently down onto your natural lashes with your fingertips and push them together a bit so that they bond well.
- Push against the lashes at the edge of your inner lash line to create some uplift.
How Are Fake Eyelashes Removed?
Like the application, removing fake eyelashes can also be difficult if you do not follow the proper technique. The easiest method is the ‘solvent method,’ in which a good quality glue remover (solvent) is used with the help of a cotton swab. Otherwise, opt for the ‘steam and olive oil method,’ in which face steaming is followed by the application of olive oil for taking off the fake lashes.
Risks Of Wearing Fake Eyelashes
While fake eyelashes aim at turning short, sparse eyelashes into thicker and longer ones, they also come with potential risks to the eyes and the surrounding skin. Following are the hidden dangers of fake eyelashes specified by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) (1):
1. Allergic Reactions
Getting allergies after wearing a pair of falsies has become pretty common these days. The materials used in these products can contain something allergic, which can give you irritation, constant itch, and rashes. The adhesive used for holding the lashes in place also contains formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, and many other chemical compounds. It causes allergic reactions along with the sensation of stinging or burning. The lashes can irritate the cornea, and the thickened adhesive can scratch it too.
2. Eye Infections
False eyelashes can subject your eyes to moderate to threatening infections. While natural eyelashes protect the eyes from dust, sweat, foreign elements, etc., fake lashes make them too full for performing this action. They expose your eyes to dirt, dust, and bacteria rather than preventing them from getting into your eyes. The application of glue for sticking the fake lashes also creates a moist environment where bacteria and fungi can get trapped and thrive easily. These can lead to heavy and swollen eyelids, redness, clogged lash follicles, pain around the eyes, and corneal ulcer. Low-quality falsies and poor hygienic practices can even worsen the condition (2).
3. Eye Sensitivity
Eye sensitivity differs from individual to individual. If you have sensitive or allergy-prone eyes, the chances are high that they will react to fake eyelashes, glues, and removers adversely. Chemicals found in fake eyelash glues are latex, formaldehyde, cellulose gum, benzoic acid, cyanoacrylates, geraniol, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, etc. are some other chemicals used in fake eyelash removers. The reaction can lead to bloodshot eyes, burning sensation, pain, itching, rashes, redness, eyelid inflammation, and severe swelling.
4. Dry Eyes
Too long and voluminous eyelashes can increase your risk of dry eyes. According to studies, there is an optimal length for eyelashes, i.e., one-third the eye’s width, which must be maintained to protect the eyes from dust, dirt, and wind. However, after applying the falsies, your lashes become longer and fuller than this, and they create a fan-like effect with every blink. As a result, the airflow on the surface of your eyes gets enhanced, and you end up experiencing the symptoms of dry eyes.
5. Damage To Lashes
Fake eyelashes can cause permanent or temporary damage to your natural eyelashes. This is because they are much heavier than your real lashes and put stress on your lash follicles. Hence, wearing them frequently can cause your lashes to fall out and temporarily or even permanently stop their growth. Furthermore, handling the falsies with a heavy hand can also harm your original lashes as they can get broken or ripped out during the process. Moreover, irritation of eyes or eyelids caused by fake lashes can thin out your real eyelashes and lead to a condition called ‘madarosis’ (loss of lashes) eventually.
6. Vision Loss
Though rare but bacterial conjunctivitis or corneal ulcer can also result in corneal scarring in some people. In the worst scenario, this can even lead to vision loss.
How To Treat Eye Infections?
When experiencing the symptoms of allergic reactions or mild eye infections after applying your false lashes, follow a few simple at-home remedies to get relief from the discomfort. Check them out below:
- Place moist tea bags over your infected and closed eyes to reduce mild irritation.
- Boil acacia leaves, cool down the infusion, and apply it to your infected eyes to reduce the symptoms.
- Take an oral antihistamine to help reduce the swelling of your eyelids or the skin around your eyes.
- Apply topical hydrocortisone cream to get rid of rashes and redness.
- Use an OTC eye drop for allergy.
When To Consult A Doctor?
The best and the safest method to treat eye infections caused by falsies is to get appropriate medical help. Some severe symptoms that can arise are too much redness, extreme swelling, soreness, acute pain, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, eye discharge, and fever. If you notice any of the following symptoms for longer than 24 to 48 hours, seek immediate medical attention. As many eye infections are highly contagious, getting the proper treatment as early as possible is crucial.
Safety Tips About Using Fake Eyelashes
Prevention is always better than care. So, try to take some preventive measures beforehand that can prevent the dangers of fake eyelashes and ensure the safety of your eyes. Here we go:
- Avoid wearing fake eyelashes if you have irritated or broken skin (on eyelids), alopecia reata, trichotillomania, etc., or are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation.
- Always invest in high-quality fake eyelashes from reputed brands.
- Stay away from using false eyelashes that come with glitter or jewels.
- Do not use falsies made of synthetic fibers. Instead, choose the ones made of natural hair fibers.
- Make sure to check the ingredients of the eyelash glue before investing in it. Try to find one that does not contain toxic irritants like formaldehyde.
- Conduct a patch test before applying your falsies, especially if you have sensitive or allergy-prone eyes.
- Stop using lots of glue for placing the false lashes onto your natural lashes. Only dotting a thin layer along the veins of the lashes will do.
- Be extremely gentle with the application and removal of your fake eyelashes. Constant rubbing and tugging should be avoided at all costs.
- Use an eye makeup remover to cleanse your eyelids once you are done removing your fake lashes.
- Never go to sleep with your fake lashes on. Wearing them for more than one day is also harmful.
- Keep cross-contamination at bay by avoiding the sharing of fake eyelashes and their adhesives.
- Practice proper hygiene while applying or removing falsies.
- Try to use falsies as sparingly as possible to steer clear of all sorts of damage to your lashes and eyes.
Alternatives To Fake Eyelashes
Well, fake eyelashes are not the only way to achieve longer and lustrous eyelashes. There are many other great substitutes too. The simplest and the least expensive method you can try is the traditional mascara. All you need to do is choose the right formula to increase your lashes in length and volume. Maybelline, Almay, and Covergirl have super thick mascaras to give you fuller and more voluminous looks. You can also use the infamous eyelash curler to help your lashes stand out. It also works great while keeping your eyes healthy and beautiful in a safer way.
Eyelash transplants, medical lash enhancers, pharmaceuticals that promote lash growth, eyelash perms, permanent lash makeup, etc. are some other alternatives to fake eyelashes. However, they all come with potential risks or side effects.
Read Also – ‘Floating Eyeliner’ – Are You Game For It?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Fake Lashes Cause Permanent Damage?
Unless and until you make improper use of fake eyelashes, they do not cause permanent damage to your eyes.
Can I Sleep With False Eyelashes?
No, you can’t. It increases the risk of developing eye infections.
Can I Reuse Fake Eyelashes?
If your fake eyelashes are durable and made of natural fibers, you can reuse them safely. However, make sure that you maintain them rightly and limit the number of usage to 20 times only.
Can I Wash Fake Eyelashes?
If you want to reuse your fake eyelashes, you need to maintain the well by cleaning and washing regularly. For this, you have to dip a q-tip or cotton swab in makeup remover and clean the strips of lashes slowly yet thoroughly.
- “Beauty Expert Warns Against The Hidden Dangers Of Fake Eyelash Extensions,” EliteReaders.com
- “3 Dangers Of False Eyelashes“, TrueSelf.com