I first heard about eyelash extensions back in 2011 when they were still relatively new to Aussie shores. They were a popular beauty treatment in Russia, Japan and had been gaining traction in the US before coming to Australia. When I learned a little about them, I booked myself in for a treatment and was HOOKED. I completed my training that same year and have been in the industry ever since.
Now the reason I’m telling you all of this is that I want you to know that this advice is backed by experience. The short answer to the question “I had an allergic reaction to eyelash extensions – should I get them again?” is a firm no.
I break this news to allergic women every week and it really makes me sad to have to tell them this….if you’ve ever had a reaction to lash glue, you simply cannot get lashes again.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve had lash extensions for years and then randomly react once – reacting that one time means that an allergy to the main ingredient in the adhesive (cyanoacrylate) has developed and sadly you will react again.
At The Lash Spa, we strictly do not apply lashes to any client who has previously experienced a reaction. The risk for us and for the client is just not worth it – we don’t want to be responsible for any discomfort to our clients.
We have been down that road before with clients who come in begging for us to try when they have known allergies. They think the reaction was caused by cheap glue from the previous salon or unsafe hygiene practices. And it’s true that we use the highest quality glues and have a 4 stage sterilisation process to ensure all our tools are completely sterile – but the issue is with the glue – and the main ingredient is always the same.
Women get upset when I break the news to them that we won’t perform a patch test for clients who have previously reacted. The reason is – we are very strict on not getting involved with allergies after going down that road a few years ago with clients who passed the patch test and then still had allergic reactions once the lashes were on – it’s just so unpredictable!
For a salon owner, you can imagine the stress of this situation…
A lady calls and says she’s unsure if she is allergic and would like a patch test. I agree and invite the lady in for a complimentary consultation, we apply some adhesive behind her ear and there is no reaction. We then apply a few lashes to the outer corners of her eyes and leave it a few days…no reaction. YAY!
THEN, we apply a full set of lashes and sadly the client reacts. We invite her in for a complimentary removal of the lashes which is usually a paid appointment. She wants to come in at 7am because she’s uncomfortable – and I have to tell her we’re booked solid for a few days but I’ll see what I can do. I desperately arrange an after-hours babysitter for my son – at the appointment she says she doesn’t want them removed anymore and leaves after I apply saline solution to the lashes to cleanse them. I give her a complimentary bottle of saline solution so she can clean them at home.
The client calls again the next day, very distressed and upset (angry with me) because the reaction is now worse and once again wants to come in ASAP. I arrange a sitter for my baby again. The removal takes over an hour because we have to be extra gentle due to the reaction. Then the client asks for a full refund which I felt too awkward to refuse despite the client having 3 appointments, fully understanding that the reaction was due to an allergy and outside our control, and receiving multiple products.
You can see how after going through this experience and others just like it multiple times, that we simply don’t take the risk of working with allergic clients. An alternative to eyelash extensions is growth serum called Eyenvy (we are stockists if you’d like to purchase some) – it won’t give you the instant and dramatic results of extensions, but it promises to lengthen and thicken up your natural lashes over time.
I wish you luck with your lash journey and do sincerely apologise again if you were trying to get in for an appointment and we said no. We really have your best interests at heart as well as needing to protect ourselves too.