Are eyelash extensions bad for your eyes and lashes? Experts weigh in

We asked the experts if eyelash extensions are bad for your lashes – here's what they had to say

A close in shot of a woman with eyelash extensions to illustrate the question of are eyelash extensions bad
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you’re a lash extension enthusiast, you’ve probably wondered, are eyelash extensions bad for me? 

In-salon lash treatments are a great way of getting a full flutter without the commitment that even the best eyelash growth serums require. They’re a great go-to before weddings, vacations, or if you want to cut down your morning makeup routine. But is there a downside to this convenience? 

This treatment is a divisive one – you probably either love eyelash extensions or you hate them. Having had eyelash extensions a couple of times, I can vouch for the experience of having mega, fluttery lashes for weeks on end, without having to figure out how to apply false lashes (my beauty Achilles heel). But, they’re not something I would ever get regularly, purely because I find the experience of getting my lashes poked for an hour quite claustrophobic.

Still, I don't want my pokey-eye bias to get in the way of really answering the question, so I spoke to a lot of experts. That includes three lash technicians, a lash education expert, and an optometrist, to answer once and for all – are eyelash extensions bad for your eyes and natural lashes? 

Are eyelash extensions bad for you?

According to optometrist and co-founder of Peep Club eye care, Nicola Alexander-Cross, that all depends. "Extensions themselves are as good or bad as the person who applies them (are they qualified, meticulous, and hygenic?), and who they are applied to (are they a good candidate, will they take daily care of the extensions and will they take regular breaks?)"

Global Master Educator at RevitaLash Cosmetics, Claire Larsen, agrees there is potential for issues to arise, "They aren’t bad for you, per se, but when worn long term, extensions are likely to cause some damage. This is due to the weight and stress on the natural lash that they’re adhered to." Beautician and founder of Park Lane Beauty, Claire Blackwood, notes that this is avoidable, "I would 100% say no, they're not bad. When applied correctly and with the correct weight and length in mind, they should do no damage whatsoever." 

When it comes to eye health, Alexander Cross warns, "Some individuals can develop an allergy to the adhesive and it makes their eyes red and irritated. It’s so important to ensure you’re seeing a certified, experienced professional that places high value in safety and sanitation practices, and is knowledgeable in safe application." 

Do lash extensions pull out your real lashes?

This is the first question that usually comes up when people dig into whether eyelash extensions are bad – the fall-out factor. Alexander-Cross explains that it can be the case. "Just like hair extensions, eyelash extensions do tend to weaken and break your natural eyelashes – it's an unnatural weight attached to quite a fine hair follicle," she says. "The glue is also important - each lash extension should be glued to one individual natural eyelash - not clumps of lashes at a time."

Head of Education at Blink Brow Bar, Jaimineey Patel adds that lash style is key. " The extensions won’t damage your natural lashes unless you opt for a very heavy style that can weigh them down," she explains. "This causes them stress which can lead to premature loss of your natural lashes." While celebrity brow and lash expert Shavata Singh notes removal is as important as application, "Provided you have your eyelash extensions removed professionally to avoid pulling out or causing trauma to your natural lashes, extensions should cause no damage."

Is it bad to have eyelash extensions for years?

All the experts agreed on this one. Getting extensions for special occasions once or twice a year shouldn't have you worrying too much over whether eyelash extensions are bad, but back-to-back appointments could tip things the other way. 

"Like hair and nail extensions, it is always advisable to give your lashes a break occasionally to allow them time to recover," says Singh. "I’d suggest a break after every three applications and during this time, apply castor oil in the evening to the base of the lashes along the eyelid line to encourage them to grow faster and thicker."

Maintenance and aftercare should also be observed if you want to wear lashes long-term, according to Larsen. "It’s so important that you're willing to commit to proper post-care at home, like brushing and cleaning your lash extensions daily, and using the right eye makeup removers."

Are eyelash extensions bad: W&H beauty editor's verdict

As you can see, all of the experts basically agreed that eyelash extensions aren't intrinsically bad for you – provided that they're applied and removed safely, and that you care for them properly. Taking a break in between applications was also a key clause, which I'd argue would be the most important factor of all. Truthfully, I'd advise taking a break between any consistent beauty treatment – whether that's in-salon treatments like BIAB nails, or at-home hair dye

As for my opinion as a beauty editor, the next time I'm asked, "are eyelash extensions bad for my lashes?", I'd parrot what the experts said - they're not, but you should tread carefully. For me personally, I'll save lash extensions for rare occasions like wedding season, or if I'm ever on a long road trip with no access to mascara (unlikely, I'm a high-maintenance vacation kind of girl.)  

Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick