The pros and cons of eyelash extensions

Closeup portrait of a beautiful eyes
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If you feel like traditional mascara just isn’t creating that wow factor you’re after for your eyes, and you’re fine putting in some extra maintenance — and cash — to plump your lashes, eyelash extensions might be worth a try. Since you won’t need to put mascara on with eyelash extensions, they can save you time putting on and taking off makeup.

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As long as you see a trained technician and follow good aftercare procedures, eyelash extensions are a safe way to enhance your look. While a lot of people think they’re a one-and-done kind of deal, there is still actually maintenance afterward.

Unlike strip eyelashes you buy from a store and glue on yourself, eyelash extensions are semi-permanent lashes that are hand-glued on top of your natural lashes. These highly customizable lashes are very natural, lasting for six to eight weeks until they fall out like natural eyelashes. However, you can make them last indefinitely if you have your lash stylist replace spots that have fallen out.

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Depending on where you live, eyelash extensions can range from $120 and up, plus tip. Fill-ins cost between $50 to $165, depending on how many new lashes you put on. You might think you can save a few bucks by spacing out your visits, but it’s actually the opposite. The longer you stretch it, the more lashes you’ll need to replace.

MORE: Do lash growth serums actually work?

Potential Risks of Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions are fairly new and there’s not much research behind how they’ll affect natural lash growth long term. However there is a small chance you can develop traction alopecia, which occurs when natural lashes fall out as a result of the constant weight of the extensions.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says the main risks associated with eyelash extensions are swelling, skin irritation of the eyelid, infection and temporary or permanent loss of eyelashes.

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To keep your lashes looking as good as possible you’ll have to take a few things into consideration. Don’t tug or rub them, and avoid applying any oily formula that could break down the glue.  Wait at least 24 hours after your appointment before getting them wet, so the adhesive can properly cure.

Extension Alternatives for Equally Long Lashes

If you’re looking for something that can still make your eyes stand out but that requires less maintenance, luckily there are alternatives on the market.

For a quick lash boost without the commitment or the price tag, consider using a pre-mascara primer. The best mascara primer covers each lash with a moisturizing shield and preps the lashes to create dramatic volume and definition. Apply the primer first, wait 30 seconds for it to dry and then apply your favorite mascara. If you’re shopping around for one, check out our selection of the best mascara primers that’s been vetted by a team of experts.

Another option is using fiber mascara, which contains minuscule fibers made of silk, nylon or rayon that stick to natural lashes and create added oomph. Adding false lashes, either the traditional or magnetic kind, will also give you more luscious lashes without the upkeep or the expense.

About the Author

Emily O'Brien

Emily is a freelance writer who loves connecting the dots among facts and finding obscure little details to weave in throughout her work. Whether she's interviewing Olympic athletes, small business owners, dessert cookbook writers, or world-renowned architects, she's passionate about shining the spotlight on good people doing remarkable work. More.

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