The Problem With Wearing Fake Eyelashes

Faux lashes are the real deal when it comes to perfect peepers (and proper nutrition, of course). Inspired by the “wow” factor bold lashes deliver for everyone from chic celebrities to street-style stars, many are on a quest to create the look at home. Thus, temporary fake lashes have been enjoying a rebirth. And lash bars that provide eyelash extensions have become about as common as the corner nail salon.

But, what’s the real price of this beauty enhancement? While many people swear by the safety and success of fake eyelashes and lash extensions, it still doesn’t mean there aren’t some downfalls to consider. So, before you don a new set of faux lashes, consider the potential problems.

1. Adverse reactions

young woman getting eyelash extensions

Fake eyelashes can cause eye irritation and other adverse reactions. | iStock.com/mykeyruna

When buying fake lashes, it’s best to stay away from the cheapest drugstore finds. “The glue, for some people, can cause allergic reactions,” Dr. Robert Dorin from True and Dorin Medical Group in New York City told Medical Daily. Formaldehyde, which is often found in cheap, non-medical grade adhesives is generally the culprit for allergic reactions. From mild eye irritation to more serious swelling, redness, and itching, this type of reaction can obviously counteract the benefits of having faux lashes in the first place.

Likewise, it’s also important to go to an experienced, reputable lash expert or salon for lash extensions. Most of the time, this will ensure the adhesive used is safe and that application goes smoothly. This is no time to cut corners to save a few dollars.

2. Hygienic risks

Close-up of a woman preparing false eyelashes

There are some nasty hygiene risks being taken when you wear faux lashes. | iStock.com/Milan Markovic

One of the functional benefits of real eyelashes is that they protect the eyes from dust, foreign materials, sweat, and other debris encountered on a daily basis. However, rather than amplify the protective quality of real lashes, the faux versions can actually create problems. “Bacteria wants to stick with [the glue], and it could cause fungal or viral infections, as well,” Dorin said in the same Medical Daily story.

Again, it’s important to use high-quality products or go to a licensed professional should you opt to go down the faux route. This can help prevent any hygienic concerns. Of course, personal hygiene is important, too. Your hands can spread a lot of germs to your eyes, so avoid rubbing them. And remove the temporary lashes along with your eye makeup when you wash your face at the end of the day.

3. Damage to natural lashes

face close-up of beautiful young ethnic woman

Temporary lashes aren’t worth the risk of losing your real ones. | iStock.com/Jean-Philippe Wallet

Just as fake nails can weaken and damage the real fingernail underneath, the same thing can happen with faux eyelashes. The extra pressure caused by the false lashes can hurt the hair follicles, causing breakage and halting proper growth. For this reason, it’s important to use high-quality false lashes and to never sleep in the temporary lashes. Limit their use to special occasions. As for the eyelash extensions, proper application is key to protecting your natural lash line, so ensure the lash salon is well-trusted.

Mascaras that are just as good

woman using mascara in bathroom

Mascara can be a much safer alternative to eyelash extensions. | iStock.com/gpointstudio

Of course, to avoid all potential problems with fake eyelashes and lash extensions, it’s best to just say no and make the best of what Mother Nature has given you. There are a number of eyelash-enhancing mascaras on the market that lengthen, thicken, and embolden lashes. Take a look at these mascaras featured on Cosmopolitan, none of which cost more than $25, as well as some of our cult-favorite brands, such as Maybelline and Benefit.

Eyelash-enhancing products to consider

Eyelash Extension Procedure

Eyelash-enhancement can make a huge difference in a short amount of time. | iStock.com/licsiren

Just in case you are interested in something a little more lasting, there is one final hope: eyelash-enhancing products. Options like Latisse, RevitaLash, and RapidLash provide improvements in length, volume, and texture. However, these products also come with their own potential side effects, so it’s important to proceed with caution.

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