After gaining popularity, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations (TDLR) created a special license for applying lash extensions in 2011. Today, there are only 1,000 specialists in the state of Texas licensed to apply artificial lashes.
Now, optometrists say they are seeing more patients, thanks to adverse side effects after false lashes applications.
Last summer, Natasha Pieper decided to freshen up her look with false lashes.
"I really liked them at first," Pieper said. "The first time I didn't have a reaction, but the more I did it, the more intense the reaction was."
After four applications, the reaction was unbearable.
"My eyes were swollen up to my eyebrows, then my eyes were completely bloodshot and totally red, very itchy, lots of burning, very swollen. I think the reaction was to the glue," Pieper said.
It's an occurrence in Houston for the glues used in salons to contain formaldehyde, which is illegal. If you are unsure of what your salon uses, the TDLR recommends that you ask to see the glue. About 40-50 percent of people will have a reaction to glues containing formaldehyde.
"You need to make sure to go to a location that's properly trained and very sanitized, and that they adhere to laws as provided by the state of Texas for cosmetology," said the owner of Amazing Lash Studio Sugar Land Ann Le.
The growing problem is that specialists take a one or two day certification course, but are never fully licensed. The TDLR requires an eyelash extension specialist to complete 320 hours of schooling.
"Someone without the license, they don't know the proper sanitation; they don't necessarily know the proper application procedure," said Susan Stanford, the public information officer with the TDLR.
The glue should never touch the skin during the application process.
"Each synthetic lash is glued to your lash individually," said Le.
"A less experienced technician will apply to a group of lashes, which tends to cause clumping and pulling on those lashes, and tend to make them fall out earlier," said optometrist Brad Owens.
If you experience any adverse reactions to false lashes, Pieper warns it simply is not worth it.
"Your body's giving you a signal, you need to stop," Pieper said.
See if there is an order against your salon or service provider
Make sure their provider and salon are licensed
File a complaint with the TDLR
Lash Extension Aftercare Tips:
- Wait 48 hours before getting the lashes wet
- After, gently clean area around the eyes and lashes daily with a non-oil-based cleanser
- Wipe excess makeup and residue with a lint-free applicator
- Avoid extreme heat and humidity (i.e. - hot showers and saunas)
- Use a covered, retractable soft brush to groom and style eyelashes
- Avoid waterproof mascara and oil-based products used around the eyes
- Schedule an appointment every 3-4 weeks to keep lashes looking full