Prevention is Better Than Cure: When You Know How Problems Arise, You Know How to Stop Them From Happening.

Without a doubt, lash extensions revolutionized the beauty industry, offering clients a way to achieve that glamorous, wide-eyed look without daily mascara application, and only a lash fill every 2-3 weeks to keep their lashes looking fresh and full. As lash technicians, it's our responsibility to ensure that while we're enhancing our clients’ natural beauty, we’re also preserving the health their natural lashes.

Knowing how problems can arise means that we know how to prevent them, and we all know that prevention is far better than cure – both where our clients’ lash health and our own reputation is concerned. Let's take a look at what exactly can go wrong with eyelash extensions and what can lead to natural lash damage, so that you know how to avoid any damage completely!

Traction Alopecia

Traction Alopecia happens when the hair is routinely subjected to stress or tension – when it comes to the hair on our head, this can be the result of us pulling our hair back too tightly too often. With our lashes, this is going to happen if we’re applying extensions that are too heavy for the natural lashes to hold. 

Extra weight usually comes from the thickness of the lashes – this is one of the reasons that lash extensions have a bit of a bad reputation in some circles because back when they were newer on the scene, classic lashes came in thicknesses like 0.30, which is HUGE. Now though, we’re really fortunate to have a wide range of thicknesses for classic lashes, and we’re also in a time where we’re able to safely create volume lash fans using super lightweight lash extensions that don’t upset the natural lashes, as long as we’re not making fans too large, and we’re not using classic lashes that are too thick for our clients’ lashes to safely hold. 

a digital drawing showcasing the different lengths, curls and thicknesses available in the london lash mayfair lash range

Damage can also come from lashes that would be a perfectly safe thickness, but they’re too long for the lashes to support. As a general rule, we should only be using lash extensions that are 3mm longer than the natural lash they’ll be stuck to. For wispy lashes though, we’re likely to want to use longer lengths than this so that they stand out from the other lashes in the set. In this case, you can do any one of a few different things:

  • Use flat lashes which have the appearance of a regular classic lash but only weigh around half as much. This is a good option if you’re going for a dense look.
  • Use closed fans to create spikes. Two 0.07 lashes weigh less than a 0.15 classic lash, so it’s safer to use a closed 2D fan using 0.07 lashes for those longer wispy lashes.
  • Use finer lashes in general for the wispy lashes. Having a mixture of thicknesses can create such a visually interesting lash set, so don’t feel like you ever have to stick to one thickness through the whole eye.
  • Shorten the other lashes in the set. If the lashes aren’t able to hold a longer lash, chances are they won’t be stoked about the thickness either. By dropping down by 1 or 2 millimeters, not only do the longer lashes stand out at a safe length, but you’re actually going to be creating a more dense lash look. 

Remember that most often, this particular issue with the length of lashes comes from too long of a length being used in the inner corners, where the lashes tend to be shorter and finer than throughout the rest of the eye. Never go longer than 9mm in the inner corners, and only opt for 9mm if you’re absolutely sure that the lashes can hold them.

a fox eye lash map

The last way that we might inadvertently cause traction alopecia is by applying extensions to baby lashes. As the lashes grow, all of the weight of the lash extensions will be on the tips, which puts pressure on them. This can lead to lashes twisting and/or falling out prematurely due to the follicle being strained. Avoid lashing baby lashes – there is a temptation, and dare we say a pressure, to cover each and every lash but we should never be doing that at the expense of natural lash health. If baby lashes are causing gaps in your lash set, use wider fans on either side of it, (if you’re applying classic lashes, you can still apply a 2D fan on either side of the missing lash just to close the gap). 

Improper Application 

We’ve talked a bit in the last point about proper application, i.e., not applying lashes that are too heavy, but it’s so important to make sure the lashes are being applied cleanly and at the right distance from the eyelid. 

Let’s start with distance. Of course, we all know that lash extensions should never be applied to the skin – first of all, cyanoacrylate based lash glue isn’t designed to come into contact with the skin so can lead to irritation or allergic reactions. While it’s not ideal to be applying lash extensions too far away (the ideal distance for lash placement is 0.5mm through the lash line, and 0.3mm in the inner and outer corners), it’s far better to apply the lashes a bit too far from the eyelid and work towards closing that distance as you gain more experience. One thing that will help you apply the lashes at the correct distance safely is to gently lift the eyelids toward you with some eyelid tape – take a look at this blog post for help with taping techniques if this is something that could help you!

a gif showing the eyelid being lifted with a piece of tape making the lashes in the inner corners more accessible

Clean application comes down to the amount of glue that’s used (which we’ll talk more about in the next section), and the actual attachment of the extension to the natural lash. 

The base of your extension should be flush with the natural lash – no lifting at the base and no criss-crossing lashes in a fan if you’re applying volume lashes. Lifted or crisscrossed bases at the very least are annoying to your clients’ eyelids, and at worst painful as they will tickle and/or stab at their skin from time to time. True, this will become less annoying as their natural lashes grow, but would you want to put up with that kind of annoyance for even a day? 

Now, onto glue…


A stickie is a lash industry term, which basically means that your eyelash extensions are stuck together. There are a few different types of stickie, and they don’t all come down to you using too much glue, but it certainly doesn’t help.

Any stickie is damaging, but the worst kind is when an eyelash extension is stuck to a baby lash. Not only does this damage the hair follicle by pulling the baby lash out before it’s ready, but it’s also super difficult to see them, especially when you’ve used too much glue. Not only can stickies be uncomfortable for your client, but they also lead to lash damage as the natural lashes grow out at different rates, causing stress on the follicles. 

a graphic showing three different types of stickie

There’s not much you can do to prevent stickies entirely as they happen so easily, but one of the main ways to at least reduce them is to be mindful of the amount of glue you’re using. 

In the next part of this series, we’ll go into detail about how damage to the natural lashes can sometimes come down to your clients’ behaviors after they leave the salon, so be sure to keep an eye out so that you can provide your clients with the best information to help them keep their lashes happy and healthy!