THE TRUTH ABOUT LASH EXTENSIONS: THE OIL MYTH, INGREDIENT SAFETY & MORE

Posted by Courtney Macdougall on

Let’s chat lash extensions. We get asked often if our serum works with extensions, and the answer is yes! So today we’re talking about why, and we’re digging a little deeper into the extension world for you. Keep reading for:

  • Using oil-based products with extensions – the truth
  • Extensions + our Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum
  • What can affect your lash extensions + how to make them last
  • How to find a qualified lash technician
  • Are lash extensions safe? Digging into the ingredients

OIL & EXTENSIONS 

The main ingredient in lash extension adhesives is cyanoacrylate - a quick-drying acrylic resin that's in most super glues. For years, people have been warned against using any type of oils on their extensions as it could dissolve the cyanoacrylate bond. Is this true? And which oils have this effect?

It’s true – some oils can cause the adhesive on your lash extensions to weaken. What isn’t true, is that ALL oils have this effect on eyelash adhesive.

Four oils to stay away from – mineral oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, and canola oil. These oils have been shown to weaken extension adhesives. Many other oils however, like those contained in our Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum (Coleus Forskohlii Root Oil, Castor Seed Oil, and Sweet Almond Oil), are completely safe for use with lash extensions.

WHAT ELSE CAN WEAKEN LASH EXTENSION GLUE? 

Beyond the oils listed above, the enemies of lash adhesives are HEAT AND MOISTURE. Alone, and especially together, these elements can dissolve cyanoacrylate when applied in large enough/intense enough quantities. Sadly that means hot yoga, saunas, and hot tubs are no longer your friend. 

Also, glycols, which are used in cosmetics as solvents, have been shown to dissolve adhesive bonds. Stay away from eye products that contain any type of glycol including propylene glycol, butylene glycol, and phenoxyethanol.

EXTENSIONS + OUR LASH & BROW ENHANCING SERUM

Our Lash & Brow Enhancing serum has been tested to have no effect on cyanoacrylate-based adhesives and their esters (Methyl-cyanoacrylate, Ethyl-cyanoacrylate, Ocytlcyanoacrylate).

The nearly universally-used cyanoacrylate-based adhesives can have a drying effect on your natural lashes, which can inhibit healthy growth. This is why many lash artists recommend using our serum with your extensions to restore moisture and keep your own lashes healthy. 

Our serum will also help your extensions last longer by extending the growth-cycle and shortening the falling-out cycle of your own lashes. Since the extensions are attached to individual eyelashes, when less of your own lashes fall out, more of your extensions stay put.

If you do have a bad experience with lash extensions, our serum is also incredibly effective in bringing your natural lashes back to life. Improperly applied extensions or inadequate home care can result in lash breakage, thinning, or fallout. Many people have used our serum to restore their natural lashes and grow them longer and thicker than ever before.

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Image: Good Housekeeping - The 8 Best Eyelash Serums & How They Work

CAN I USE ANY LASH SERUM WITH EXTENSIONS?

Not all lash serums are compatible with lash extensions. There are a couple of things to look out for when evaluating a lash serum for extensions:

  • To start, ask your lash artist – if they’re experienced and well-researched, they should be able to advise you.
  • Avoid lash serums that contain any type of glycols. As we said above, glycols are solvents and can have a weakening effect on lash extension glue. Though many lash serums claim to be safe with extensions, read the ingredient label to determine the truth to these claims.
  • Avoid lash serums with harsh, drying chemicals. The adhesive is already very drying, so adding in another drying element could be damaging to your natural lashes.

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Many lash serums have multiple glycols and synthetic prostaglandins (see our blog on hormones in your lash serum) 

WHAT ELSE CAN AFFECT MY EXTENSIONS?

LASH ARTIST

The main factor in lash extension longevity is your lash artist. With an experienced, skilled, and meticulous lash expert, your experience is likely to go smoothly. With an inexperienced lash artist, however, a lot of things can go wrong:

  • Improperly applied extensions can cause your own lashes to break, weaken, and/or fall out.
  • Some lash techs may apply “cluster” lashes which are multiple lashes grouped together. These clusters are laid across multiple natural lashes which interrupts the growth cycle of your own lashes. This causes immense stress on the hair follicle and can result in traction alopecia. If an artist recommends this, run far away.
  • An inexperienced lash tech may use extensions that are too long or too thick for your lashes to bear. If you already have fine, sparse, short lashes, they won’t be able to withstand the weight and length of extreme volume lashes. An experienced, prudent lash tech will assess each case individually and advise you on the safest option.
  • With poor application, lash adhesive could touch your skin causing irritation, allergic reactions, or other skin sensitivities.
  • Eyelash extension adhesive is not suitable for people with acrylic allergy or sensitivity to tapes and adhesives. Ask for an allergy test beforehand if you’re unsure.
HOME CARE

Other than an inexperienced lash technician, the most important factor is your own care at home. It’s important to baby your extensions if you want them to last. Our top tips:

  • Wash your extensions daily. Bacteria have more room to breed with your newly extended lashes so keep them pristine.
  • Don’t play with, or pull on your extensions. Avoid rubbing your eyes roughly.
  • Avoid heat and moisture for 24-48 hours after application, and avoid touching them at all if you can.
  • Avoid sleeping face-down as you may damage your extensions.

HOW TO FIND A QUALIFIED LASH TECH

So, now that we know the importance of your lash artist, how do you find one?

  • Find a reputable salon that specializes in lash extensions.
  • Check what type of glue they use. Many adhesives are filled with harmful toxins – if you’re set on extensions, find the most sensitive, gentle adhesive available. More on lash adhesive ingredients down below.
  • Find out about specific technicians – what type of training have they received and what is their level of experience? You don’t want a trainee with a 1-day course touching your eyelashes.
  • Peruse before/after images and read reviews on your chosen lash artist’s services. If possible, use a lash artist that a friend recommends. If you know one or more people that have had a great experience with a lash artist, that’s a good place to start.

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ARE LASH EXTENSION ADHESIVES SAFE? BREAKING DOWN THE INGREDIENTS.

Most eyelash extension adhesives contain 4 main ingredients: Ethyl Cyanoacrylate, Poly (Methyl Methacrylate), Hydroquinone, and Carbon BlackLet's dig into each ingredient:

ETHYL CYANOACRYLATE

Ethyl Cyanoacrylate is the main ingredient in basically all eyelash glues. It helps the adhesive adhere to lashes and dry almost instantly.

When ethyl cyanoacrylate is made, formaldehyde is formed as a contaminant. While some lash adhesive brands may claim to be ‘formaldehyde-free’, the truth is that all lash adhesives contain at least trace amounts of formaldehyde.

‘Formaldehyde-free’ options go through a purification process which eliminates most of the contaminate – there are, however, still trace amounts of formaldehyde leftover. While the amount is very small, it’s still present, and it’s up to you whether you want to expose yourself to any amount of this contaminant.

POLYMETHYL METHACRYLATE

Polymethyl Methacrylate is a plastic filler that helps form the super-strong, long-lasting bond in lash adhesives. It’s also used in dental implants and various surgical procedures. There have been questions about the safety/toxicity of this ingredient, but there’s not enough research to draw a definite conclusion.

According to Future Derm, “based on the evidence available thus far, PMMA is perfectly safe in topically-applied beauty products (e.g., skincare, cosmetics) unless you have a rare sensitivity to methacrylates.”

HYDROQUINONE

Hydroquinone is used as a stabilizer in extension adhesives – it stops the glue from hardening inside the bottle. Credo Beauty includes this ingredient on their dirty list, saying “this ingredient inhibits melanin synthesis, causes skin irritation, and may cause discoloration of the skin. Hydroquinone is a metabolite of the carcinogen benzene.”

This ingredient is usually present in a concentration of about 0.1%, which is very low but still present. Hydroquinone is banned in concentrations over 2% for use in cosmetics in Canada.

CARBON BLACK

Classified as a possible human carcinogen, the FDA has banned Carbon Black from use in cosmetics, especially for eye products. Despite this ban, this colorant is still used in many mascaras, eyeliners, brow products, eyeshadows, and of course, lash extension adhesive. Carbon Black is listed on Environment Canada Domestic Substance List as a high human health priority that’s expected to be harmful or toxic.

Also known as: CI 77266 or Black no. 2 D&C

There are clear lash adhesives available that don’t contain carbon black. Ask your lash artist if they carry this safer option or if they can order it in for you. 

LASH GROWTH WITHOUT EYELASH EXTENSIONS

If you want to avoid the maintenance or potential risks of lash extensions altogether, a lash serum alone is another great option. While you won’t achieve the ultra-dramatic, volume-extension-look with your own lashes, you can expect noticeably longer, thicker-looking lashes (and fuller brows!) Read our blog on how our Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum works to grow your lashes and brows to learn more. 

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Thanks for tuning into our blog Pluminati! We hope you found this blog helpful – if you have any questions or comments, leave them below or send us a message anytime!

-The Plume Team <3

eyelash extensions LASH EXTENSIONS

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