Maybe you are going to get eyelash extensions for the first time and you are wondering if they hurt. Or maybe you just got extensions and experienced some pain. My first-time clients commonly ask if the application process will cause discomfort since the eyes are such a sensitive area.
Keep on reading to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain and learn what to do about it.
Let’s find all the right answers right away!
Do Eyelash Extensions Hurt?
Eyelash extensions don’t hurt when applied properly by a certified professional who uses high-quality products. Any pain experienced during or after the appointment should be immediately communicated to the lash stylist for resolution. The most frequent causes of pain are poorly attached lash extensions and an allergic reaction to the adhesive.
Lash extensions shouldn’t be painful. The pain comes only when there’s a problem.
When a client mentions discomfort, it’s important to immediately isolate the source of discomfort. I generally break down the possibilities into two buckets:
- Pain that occurred DURING the appointment.
- Pain that occurred AFTER the appointment.
Let’s review each of these causes and their solutions.
Fun fact. Going back in history, lash extensions weren’t so painless. In the 19th-century, artificial lash fibers were sewn into the lash line and before that lash extensions were directly glued to the eyelids. Learn more about eyelash extensions history and everything about lashes with our comprehensive lash extension guide here.
Why Lash Extensions Hurt During the Appointment
Let’s find out what type of symptoms to look for during the treatment and the reasons why you might feel pain.
Signs of Discomfort During an Eyelash Extension Appointment
- Eyelid pain: You might feel stinging pain on your eyelids during a session. Some people might report a tingling sensation along with the pain too.
- Pulling sensation: Oftentimes, you might feel a tugging feeling on your lash line or natural lashes when the lash tech applies extensions. It might feel like extensions are pulling onto your natural lashes.
- Irritation: There’s a chance you might feel like your eyes are burning, often called a chemical burn. In most cases, it’s transient, often mild, doesn’t get worse after the first irritation, and often disappears rapidly. If it persists, have your lashes removed.
5 Reasons Why Lash Extensions Hurt During the Appointment
Take a look at the common causes of pain felt during a lash extension session below.
- Craftsmanship: If the technician who did your lash extensions isn’t well-experienced, your best bet for the pain experienced might be their poor technique.
Any mistake by the lash tech during the treatment can end up hurting your eyes during the treatment whether it has to do with the application or curing of the glue.
If the lash tech accidentally attaches the glue to your eyelids instead of the natural lashes, it can hurt your lids.
It may also hurt if the tech applies the lash tape well passed the waterline instead of immediately bordering it. This is a typical reason for corneal abrasion.
- Poor products: Another common cause of eye irritations during lash extension treatment owes to the poor quality of lash products such as lash extensions to primers, cleansers, and even tapes used by the technician.
If the lash artist isn’t using proper products or maintaining them appropriately, adverse reactions can happen that might lead to reactions during the treatment session.
- Crying: If you feel any irritation, it’s possible you might start crying or your eyes might tear up.
This can end up causing lash glue to polymerize rapidly, causing irritation. This can also cause the extension to pop off prematurely due to the nature of the lash bond.
- Opening the eyes when they should be closed: Typically, the technician should be working while your eyes are closed, but if you still happen to open them, there could be adverse consequences.
If you happen to open your eyes in between the treatment session, especially when the lash glue is freshly applied and not cured yet, it can lead to irritation during the treatment. That’s because vapors from the adhesive make their way into your eyes.
- Adjustment: For some clients having their eyes closed for the duration of the appointment may cause their eyes to dry.
Also, the technician would be using very bright lights for better visibility. This can cause mild discomfort and your eyes and you may need a few minutes to adjust.
Why Lash Extensions Hurt After the Appointment
Unlike mistakes that happen during the lash session owing to your lash tech, eye pain after the session might not be all their fault.
Take a look at what type of pain happens after a lash session, if at all. Also, figure out the reasons for the same.
Signs of Discomfort After an Eyelash Extension Session
- Itchiness: Your lash line may feel itchy soon after an appointment that may extend for days or weeks.
It may be localized occurring solely around the lash line or may expand to the eyelids and inside the eye. Blepharitis is another condition where the eyelids tend to itch and hurt. Keep in mind that it may happen in one or both eyes.
- Swollen: Mild irritation soon after getting eyelash extensions often comes with inflammation. You might notice your eyes are sore and hard to open too. Swollen eyes are typical symptoms of an allergic reaction to the lash adhesive.
- Tangled: You might feel your eyelashes are twisted and tangled after your first wash. This is quite normal unless it becomes a long-term issue even after cleaning.
- Eye infection: A bacterial infection like a sty looks like a pimple. It can cause pain and often comes with a red bum alongside the edge of the eyelids.
- Uneasiness: For some people, eyelash extensions may feel too heavy, long, or thick such that it pains them to open and close their eyes as usual.
- Bloodshot eyes: It’s possible to develop red eyeballs two to three days after your lash extension treatment. Such a reaction may be accompanied with or without pain and often to both eyes.
10 Reasons Why Lash Extensions Hurt After the Appointment
What are the factors that lead to lash extension discomfort after the session? The following will tell you all about it!
Keep in mind that factors unrelated to the lash extensions like contagious diseases or preexisting conditions may also cause discomfort after you get a lash extension.
- Poor adhesion: If the lash extension isn’t attached properly to individual natural lashes, it can cause discomfort and even permanent harm to your eyes and eyelashes.
In the unfortunate event, the same can even rip out your natural lashes when they grow. In such a case, you won’t be able to comb through your false lashes comfortably too.
- Clumping: When your lash tech applies a single extension to multiple natural lashes, it can lead to clumping of natural lashes which leads to pain and discomfort when opening and closing your eyes.
It’s typically referred to as a botched job in the industry. Here are a few examples of terrible lash jobs and the most common mistakes I have seen.
- Choice of extensions: Another main reason that adds eyelash pain is if the lash tech picks the wrong type of extensions for your eyes.
Typically, lash extensions must match the length, thickness, and shape of your eye so that it feels comfortable. If the professional who worked on you ends up selecting thick lashes, they will feel heavy just as they might poke into your eyelids if they’re too long or curly.
- Excess glue: If the lash tech applies too much lash glue chemical burn may be the culprit. This can lead to excessive fumes from the glue that can end up irritating your eyes.
If irritation doesn’t happen during the session, it can pop up a day or two after the appointment with inflammation and redness.
This could be the reason why your eyes pain every time you wash them with water too. Because lash extensions are waterproof, there shouldn’t be any discomfort anyway.
- Allergic reaction: Eyelash extensions are affixed to your natural lashes using a medical-grade adhesive using an ingredient called ‘cyanoacrylate’.
Fun Fact: There are several ingredients in a typical lash adhesive. Make sure to read my article about lash glues to make the best choice.
It can be allergic to some people with sensitive eyes and if you have this problem, it could end up as inflammation, redness, itching, and contact dermatitis after the lash extension session.
- Improper cleaning: Oftentimes, pain around the lash line could be a direct cause of your poor cleaning routine.
If you wear mascara and eye makeup on top of lash extensions regularly and fail to clean them properly at the end of the day, the same can accumulate around your hair follicles and lead to diseases that cause pain around your eyelashes.
- Forceful lash extension removal: Because lash techs use a medical-grade glue that’s equivalent to the superglue, removing the lash extensions on your own by pulling or rubbing can cause immense pain and irritation.
In case of a problem, your lash tech will remove it professionally using a remover designed for eyelash extensions. In short, don’t do so yourself unless the lash extension has fallen out on its own.
- Corneal abrasion: If your eyelash extensions end up scratching the cornea, corneal abrasion may occur. Such a grave problem is the result of excessive glue and poking extensions that scratch the cornea upon shedding because they are too long or applied improperly.
- Sparse application: If lash extensions are applied too far off from the lash line, they can often get twisted, droopy, and turned, leading to pain and discomforts around the eye.
- Glued to the skin instead of lashes: When eyelash extensions are glued to the skin, it creates something called a nailhead.
This will eventually pull out natural lashes and hurt your eyes within days or weeks after the treatment.
Why Do My Eyelash Extensions Hurt at the Root?
The most likely cause of pain near the root of your eyelashes is a poor application from your lash technician. If the extensions are attached too close to the skin, it can cause discomfort and pulling when the natural lashes grow.
That’s why it’s important to never glue the extension at the very base of the natural eyelash, or even worst, to the eyelid. There should always be a small gap of about 1 mm between the lash and the skin.
How to fix: This is a big no-no and if your lash technician is doing this, you should alert them immediately and get the extensions removed.
Why Do My Eyelash Extensions Hurt When I Blink?
Painful lash extensions when blinking are usually caused by too-long extensions that are hitting your eyelid when you blink. Eyelash extensions should be the right size for your natural lashes so they don’t end up too long and hitting the eyelid when you blink.
Another possible cause would be extensions that are too heavy. If the lashes are too heavy, it can cause them to feel uncomfortable and even pull on your natural lashes.
How to fix: In both cases, you don’t have any other choice but to visit the salon to get them fixed.
Why Do My Eyelash Extensions Hurt When I Touch Them?
The most likely reason for lash extensions to hurt when you touch them is extensions that are stuck together. This happens when the lash technician uses too much glue or doesn’t isolate the natural lashes properly.
You might even feel a pulling sensation when you try to separate the lashes.
How to fix: The best thing to do is go back to your lash technician for the clumped extensions to be removed and replaced.
Why Are My Eyelash Extensions Poking Me?
The number cause of eyelash extensions poking you is using extensions that are too long for your natural lashes. This causes the natural eyelash to bend and even twist, poking you in the process.
Sometimes, the poking feeling may be experienced after a few days or weeks from getting extensions done when your natural lashes begin to grow.
How to fix: To fix this, the extensions need to be replaced with shorter ones that fit your natural lash size.
What to Do When Your Lash Extensions Are Hurting
The eyes are one of the most sensitive parts of the human body. So obviously you’re seriously worried when they start hurting, itching, swelling, poking, or irritating you in any way.
What to do in such a case?
First off, Inform the lash tech. The first thing to do is get in touch with the lash tech so that they can do a thorough analysis to determine whether it’s from the glue, lash products, or their application.
If you experience constant pain or discomfort from your lashes, you’ll most probably have to go to the salon again for an inspection. Based on the evaluation, they might remove the extensions carefully.
You might also be advised to go to an eye doctor if your condition worsens. But keep in mind the doctor can’t help unless the irritating factor (your lash extensions) is removed, in such a case.
Why do my eyelashes hurt?
The most frequent cause of eyelash pain is eyelid inflammation. Inflammation is often caused by irritation from makeup, contact lenses, or improper application of eyelash extensions. It can also be caused by allergies to products used on the eyelashes, such as mascara or eyeliners. In some cases, an infection may be the cause of eyelid inflammation.
Can you feel eyelash extensions?
No, because each lash extension is applied very carefully and securely to a single natural lash at a time, they should not be felt at all. However, if the extensions are applied too close to the eyelid margin or are glued on improperly, it may cause some discomfort.
Why do my lash extensions feel hard?
Using too much glue during the application process of the lash extensions can cause them to feel hard and uncomfortable. That’s why an experienced lash artist will only dip the base of the extension in the adhesive to make sure that only a small amount of glue is used each time.
Eyelash extension treatments are painless. It’s so comfortable that most of my clients even doze off during the appointment.
The key takeaway here is that pain is not normal! I repeat pain shouldn’t be endured when getting your lashes done!
If you experience pain during or after your appointment, don’t be shy to communicate it to your lash technician. They can adjust the extensions or even remove them if necessary.
Remember, you’re always in control of your lash experience and should never be afraid to speak up when something doesn’t feel right.
If you’re still worried or wondering, feel free to drop a comment below explaining your type of pain and what your lash tech instructed and we’ll help you based on our experience.
– Asako 🙂
- Mayo Clinic. Blepharitis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/blepharitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20370141 (Accessed on 5 May 2021)
- Mayo Clinic (2020). Sty. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sty/symptoms-causes/syc-20378017 (Accessed on 5 May 2021)
- I. Lindström, H. Suojalehto, M.-L. Henriks-Eckerman, K. Suuronen (2013). Occupational asthma and rhinitis caused by cyanoacrylate-based eyelash extension glues. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/occmed/article/63/4/294/1429196 (Accessed on 5 May 2021)
- Rebecca L. Forand (2020). Risks for injury, irritation and infection associated with eyelash extensions can be minimized. Retrieved from https://www.healio.com/news/ophthalmology/20200213/risks-for-injury-irritation-and-infection-associated-with-eyelash-extensions-can-be-minimized (Accessed on 5 May 2021)
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Asako Ito is the Co-Founder of Divine Lashes and a certified eyelash stylist. She has garnered acclaim for her cutting-edge techniques in the lash industry.
Holding multiple certifications and licenses, including Luxury Eye, THE LASH SHOP, World Microblading, and The Lash Bible, she has a constant thirst for knowledge. These credentials reflect her commitment to excellence and staying at the forefront of lash and brow artistry.
With over 10 years of experience, Asako continuously increases her knowledge both as a technician and educator by collaborating with top lash artists worldwide. You can read her full bio here.