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Everything You Need to Know Before Your Appointment

Even though I write about beauty for a living, I legit couldn’t be lazier when it comes to my routine. The whole getting ready in the morning thing? Yeah, not really my thing. So when a friend mentioned eyelash extensions to me, I was immediately interested. Something that promises to (A) give me baby deer lashes without having to deal with coats of waterproof mascara and (B) cut down my AM routine? Sign me up.

If you’re into the idea of, IDK, waking up with full, long, dark lashes ever single day, you should definitely look into eyelash extensions. But before you book an appointment, you need to educate yourself on all the aspects of having I-woke-up-like-this, selfie-ready lashes. So keep reading for all the details you seriously need to know before hitting confirm on that appointment.

What are eyelash extensions?

Eyelash extensions are semipermanent lashes that are hand-glued on top of your natural lashes, says Andra Marin, artistic director and expert lash stylist at Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in NYC. (I promise it's less intense than it sounds.) Because lash extensions are glued on individually, unlike strip lashes, they're super customizable and actually look real.

How long do eyelash extensions last?

If you actually take care of them (more on that later), eyelash extensions can last for six to eight weeks until they naturally fall out like your lashes usually do. Once they start falling out, though, you can go back and have your lash stylist fill in the missing pieces. So, technically, you can make your extensions last indefinitely.

Do eyelash extensions ruin your natural lashes?

Not really—there isn't a ton of evidence that shows whether eyelash extensions actually affect your natural lash length or health long-term. There is, however, a teeny-tiny risk of developing traction alopecia, says Zaina Al-Mohtaseb, MD, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, which is where your natural lashes can fall out as a result of the constant weight of repeated eyelash extensions. But don’t stress—this isn't common.

“It usually takes years of bad application and improper care for long-term lash damage to happen as a result,” says Marin. So please, only go to legit, well-reviewed salons (no matter how good that Groupon deal is). Oh, and make sure your technician washes their hands between clients, wears a mask, uses sanitary pillow covers, sterilizes their tweezers, and uses disposable eyelash brushes. And don't feel awkward asking your technician to confirm that all of these precautions are being taken.

Are eyelash extensions dangerous?

Eyelash extensions aren't dangerous if your technician is following the correct methods and using the proper materials. Before you head to your appointment, ask the salon about the ingredients in the lash adhesive they use. If they can’t answer your question, cancel the appointment (you don’t want inexperienced people sticking things to your eyelids), and if they say the glue contains formaldehyde (a known eye irritant that can cause redness, irritation, and itchy, swollen eyelids), def cancel the appointment. It may cost you a little more, but it’s best to choose a salon that uses “glues made with butyl cyanoacrylate and octyl cyanoacrylate instead of formaldehyde—they’re less toxic to the eye area,” says Annie

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