Eyelash extensions: less toxic choice?

NOTE: I had a coupon for free eyelash extensions from Amazing Lash Dallas, which I used for this first application. They did not ask me to write about them or give me any compensation to do so.

If there’s one place that I tend to deviate from my eco-friendly and low-toxin lifestyle, it is beauty products. It’s a horrible vice, but I have to say that some of the “green” choices out there just don’t deliver the same quality as conventional brands. So far, I have done pretty well in replacing all my makeup with lower toxin and botanical choices. I have replaced almost all my makeup, but I really struggle with finding a natural mascara that a) doesn’t smell weird (looking at you, Aveda), 2) doesn’t flake into my contacts, and 3) actually makes my pale blonde lashes show up (most of the options so far don’t provide much length or thickness AT ALL).

Last week, a friend of mine invited me to the grand opening of Amazing Lash Dallas, where I got to talk to the owner and franchise owner about eyelash extensions. My main question was: are eyelash extensions a less toxic option for eye enhancement? Because apparently, when you have quality lash extensions you don’t actually need to wear any other eye makeup. What if, instead of trying to find natural eyeliner, mascara, highlighter and eyeshadows that actually work, I was able to stop smearing all that stuff on my eye and just glue extensions to my natural eyelashes?

I got my lash extensions on Tuesday. It took about 2 hours, total. It takes that long because they don’t glue the lashes to your eyelid, they glue the lashes to your existing lashes. This post from Real Posh Mom on 7 Tips You Need To Know Before Getting Lash Extensions was super helpful to read before I went.

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

Lash Extensions - how eco-friendly are they?

And for the comparison shot…

Lash Extensions Before & After

It’s now Thursday and I’ve had the extensions for 2 days. So far, here is my take on the green and not-so-green aspects of lash extensions.

Pros:

  • Eyes really don’t need any other makeup, in my opinion. I got the “Cute” style, which is a little more dramatic than the “Natural” and I haven’t worn makeup on my eyes in 2 days. See the pictures above for what they look like with no makeup.
  • No makeup on your eyes = no worry about crying and getting makeup everywhere!
  • You can get synthetic lashes or real mink. Synthetic would be the vegan, animal-friendly option.
  • The adhesive is applied to your lash, not to your skin, so technically there is no skin-to-skin contact with the chemicals in the adhesive.

Cons:

  • While the adhesive isn’t applied directly to your skin, there are fumes during application. You can ask them to turn on a fan, but the fact is, you’ll be breathing fumes for 2 hours at a time. It wasn’t noticeable at first but it got to be a little moreso toward the end. You might try bringing your own mask like the one the technician wears.
  • Even though there is no skin-to-skin contact with the adhesive, there can be a little bit of ongoing irritation if you wear contacts. I think this might be due to some of the chemicals being near the eye and the fact that my contacts are breathable. It isn’t really that bothersome to me, and not much of a “con”, in my mind.
  • Cost. You’ll have to see if extensions are something that fits into your budget. Factor in that the cost of most lower toxin eye makeup is higher than the conventional options — don’t compare extensions to the super low cost of cheap, toxic eye makeup.

I hope this little rundown might help you decide if lash extensions are a green option for you. I love mine but I’m not sure I can keep up the expense long term.

What about you? Have you had lash extensions? If so, what did you think — low toxin option or no? 

16 thoughts on “Eyelash extensions: less toxic choice?”

  1. Really interesting, I’ve never had this done. I generally don’t wear any eye make up simply bc I don’t know how to apply it. I have blonde eyelashes as well and the one thing I wear is mascara, like 4 times a year. I too haven’t found a natural mascara I like.

    I’m not sure I’d get this done. The fumes and the fact that the technician wears a mask is concerning. Did they give you a list of ingredients in the adhesives? I wonder about something so close to your eyes which absorb things? All that said, they look beautiful and natural!!

  2. I LOVE the idea of this and wish I was a multi-millionaire so that I could have extensions for the rest of my life. After a serious corneal abrasion that was caused by who-knows-what, I’m a bit paranoid about putting chemicals near my eyeballs. I hardly ever wear my contacts any more. But it’s definitely hard to find the right non-toxic mascara! I’m trying Josie Moran’s right now. There’s Tarte “Lights Camera Lashes” Natural Mascara that’s supposed to be good so I will try that next. It’s hell being a woman sometimes!

    1. I have heard good things about Tarte also! I think that might be the next one that I try. Let me know if you try it first! 🙂

  3. Tips from a lash salon owner.

    The adhesive should not be harsh in smell or burn… Our adhesive is made in the USA and formaldehyde free (unlike many adhesives in the market, coming in from overseas).

    Don’t do a “deal” or coupon for lashes. It’s labor intensive and good quality products are expensive. If the cost of service to start is less than $150 (lowest any good company could go before sacrificing quality), then one of the following us occurring: 1) new lash technicians practicing on YOU, 2) low cost (quality) products, 3) need more business because…. Fill in the blanks.

    It’s an excellent way to save time, eliminate eye makeup, wake up and look naturally beautiful and skip the chemical base / under the knife treatments for a quick fix that a 1.5 hr to 2 he appointment can take care of.

    Cheers!

    Judy

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Judy! Good to know about the adhesives. I feel confident about Amazing Lash because I only noticed slight odor well into the 2nd hour. I do want to let people know that they should be aware in case they are sensitive at all. The usual full application for the lashes I got would have been $250 – I received this coupon as a blogger who attended their Grand Opening. I was just looking at Groupons today, so I guess I should just be wary!

  4. You LOOK Mah-v-lous, Dah~ling!!

    The torture we have to go through to be beautiful….and to be toxic free beautiful, to boot. But the result looks amazing!! If the chem fume wasn’t a concern, I’d do it too!

    The question I have though, is how long does it last? Is it worth the hassle of sitting for 2 hours? I have no patience for a manicure…never mind sitting for 2 hours when someone is working near my eyes.

    1. I got a comment earlier in this stream from a studio in SF who uses non-toxic adhesive so I am suspecting there might be some studios that are a little greener with the glue.

      They told me I’d need a refill in 2 weeks but I am totally going to just see how long it lasts. I’ll probably let mine fall out naturally or help them along with a little coconut oil 😉 But yep, 2 hours the first time and something like an hour for refills.

  5. I LOVED having lashes, but I could never nail down exactly what is in the glue. Jenny did you ever get an ingredients list? Can you share? Seriously if there is a way to do it non-toxic I’d do it every three weeks! Which is how long they lasted for me, fyi Karen. And then doing the “filler” set is way less expensive, too…

  6. I’m pretty careful with my lungs as I have asthma so I know all to well how important they are so I just can’t see breathing those fumes for any amount of time. Also going to guess the stuff you use to take them off would be pretty toxic?

    I would never want to put on false lashes but I wonder if there is a low-toxin glue option for those? They are often reusable so I would think that would be greener plus cheaper.

    I personally use 100% Pure or Honeybee Garden’s mascara for now. Both work nicely but are very natural looking. I have more to try though.

    1. When I researched adhesive options for lash extensions, I found some low toxin/green options available at studios in California. Unfortunately, in Dallas there are very few people who care about toxins or chemical exposure so there’s not much motivation for studios here to pursue those greener options.

      I do like the Herban Luxe mascara we’re including in the Green Sisterhood giveaway as far as performance, but unfortunately I have almost zero natural lashes to start with! Today the lash technician told me, “If it weren’t for the contrast the tape (for lower lashes) provides, I don’t think I’d be able to find your natural lashes, they’re so pale!”. And it’s true! 🙁

  7. I’ve been interested in these for a while. I’m curious…You mentioned coconut oil as a way to speed up glue removal(in an above comment). For those of use that use the oil cleansing method, is this something we should avoid? I’d hate to put forth the money, only to have my daily routine sabotage it.

    1. Soooo, I actually attempted to remove the extensions myself last time in order to take a break for a while and not have to pay for removal. I tried all the things they told me NOT to do: steam exposure (a lot of it), coconut oil, olive oil, even professional fake eyelash adhesive remover and NONE of the lashes budged! Seriously impossible to remove by yourself. My conclusion is that possibly the rules about steam, oil, etc. are mostly for the first 48 hours while the adhesive is setting. Once it is set, I don’t think anything will remove them aside from making a removal appointment. When they did the removal, it only took 15-20 min and it was very gentle. Nothing like all the harsh things I was attempting on my own.

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