Have you ever experienced itchy eyelash extensions? If you have, you know how uncomfortable it is. If you landed here, it’s because you want to find a quick treatment.
As a lash tech, I’ve lashed thousands of clients in my salon and I’ve seen a couple of adverse reactions. That’s why I wanted to explain what causes them in the first place, but more importantly, how to relieve itchy eyes from lash extensions.
There are many things both the lash technician and the client can do to minimize the risks.
Let’s dive in!
Why Are My Eyelashes Itchy After Extensions?
Eyelashes can get itchy from eyelash extensions due to formaldehyde fumes released during the curing process of the adhesive used to affix the extensions to the natural lashes. A poor application technique or inadequate aftercare can also be the cause.
Having said that, in my experience, such an adverse reaction remains quite rare and thankfully, can be remedied quickly. But yes, there are some severe cases of allergic reactions that might require visiting a healthcare professional.
Did you know that natural lashes can get itchy without eyelash extensions? Makeup, shampoos, medications, contact lens solution, stye, and dry eyes are all possible causes for itchy eyelashes.1
Now, let’s review the 4 most likely reasons why your eyelashes feel itchy after the procedure:
#1 Exposure to Formaldehyde Fumes
Formaldehyde is a by-product of the curing process of the lash adhesive. Although the amount of formaldehyde released during the curing process is very low, it can still cause irritation, watering eyes, and bloodshot red eyes.
So how can you minimize the risk of exposure to formaldehyde fumes?
- Make sure the area is well-ventilated during your lash appointment. This will help to disperse the fumes and avoid a high concentration near your eyes.
- Use a low-fume adhesive. These lash glues sacrifice speed and a strong bond for a more gentle formulation. If you have sensitivities, this is a trade-off you should make.
- Make sure to “force-cure” the lashes at the end of your appointment. This is done by bringing moisture to the lash glue which cures it much faster than it would otherwise. This way, all the fumes are released in a controlled environment (with good ventilation). You’ll avoid exposure over a long period of time.
- Keep your eyes closed at all times during the appointment. That way, the fumes won’t be able to penetrate the eye and reach more sensitive tissues.
Eyelash extensions themselves don’t trigger allergies, but the lash glue might. Specifically, the most likely culprits are ingredients found in most adhesives: carbon black (a frequent pigment), latex (quite rare since most lash artists use latex-free glues), and formaldehyde (technically not an ingredient since it’s a by-product).
Contrary to a chemical burn or a mild sensitivity, an allergic reaction won’t improve over time. If you still have symptoms after more than 24 hours, or if your symptoms are getting worse, consult a doctor.
When a client of mine has an allergic reaction, I immediately suggest a complementary removal. For the reaction to stop, you have to remove what’s triggering it in the first place. Once the extensions are removed, you should wash your face and eyelids with a hypoallergenic cleanser and apply a cool compress to the eye area.
#3 Poor Application Technique
A less-than-ideal application technique can cause various types of itchiness. For instance, the lash tech should insure that the extensions are glued directly onto your natural eyelashes.
Extensions should never be glued to the skin of the eyelid!
If the extensions are glued to the skin and the natural lash, it will prevent the natural lash from growing and shedding as it would normally do. As a result, you’ll have inflammation, redness, and itching.
Another common mistake I see is multiple lashes glued to one another, causing stickies. The bad news is that this faux pas will cause itchiness and pain. When the shorter natural lash starts growing, it will pull on the other one.
#4 Inadequate Aftercare
There are quite a few aftercare tips you can follow, but the most important ones to avoid itchy lash extensions are:
- Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes
- Avoid using oily makeup removers or oily products around the eye area
- Avoid using waterproof mascara
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or face down
- Be gentle when cleansing your lash line
Lack of care when wearing lash extensions can wreak havoc with lash mites, infections, and early falling-out of lashes. Learn how to take care of your eyelash extensions in this post I wrote recently.
How to Relieve Itchy Eyes From Lash Extensions
#1 Clean Your Eyelash Extensions Daily
Making sure you clean your lashes every day is the most important thing you can do (as a client) to prevent itchiness. Washing your lash line removes sebum, dirt, makeup, and other allergens that can accumulate during the day.
#2 Express Your Concerns To The Lash Artist
Let me start by saying that itchiness from lash extensions is not normal! Therefore, don’t be shy to voice your concerns to your lash artist. A good lash tech will want to know about any discomfort you’re experiencing so they can make the necessary adjustments.
If the cause of your itchiness is an improper application, the lash tech should be able to fix it for you (or refer you to someone else!).
#3 Take Oral Antihistamines
If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to your lash adhesive, oral antihistamines can help provide relief. The one most frequently used is Benadryl and it worked well for my clients.
However, it’s recommended to consult an ophthalmologist or allergist before taking any medication.
#4 Use a Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and itchiness. Cold temperatures are known to numb the skin and provide relief from pain and irritations.
To make a cold compress, simply soak a clean washcloth in cold water and apply it to the area for 5-10 minutes.
#5 Remove The Lash Extensions
It only makes sense. If your itchiness has been going on for a few days, your lash tech should recommend removing the extensions so that the trigger is also removed.
If you’re ready to fix the situation on your own, you can try to remove lash extensions at home with coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, or baby oil.
Timeline & Causes
The following is a typical timeline that can help you identify the cause of your itchiness.
- Eyelash extensions itchy after 4 hours: Possible causes are a chemical burn, irritation, and lash glue allergy.
- Eyelash extensions itchy after 24 hours: Possible causes are a chemical burn, irritation, and lash glue allergy.
- Eyelash extensions itchy after 48 Hours: Possible causes are a lash glue allergy and a poor application technique.
- Eyelash extensions itchy after 1 week: Possible causes are poor application technique, a lash glue allergy, and poor aftercare.
- Eyelash extensions itchy after 3 weeks: Possible causes are poor application technique, a lash glue allergy, and poor aftercare.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Usually Itch?
How long the itchiness lasts depends on the cause. For instance, if you have an allergic reaction, the itchiness will last until you remove the lash extensions and treat the allergic reaction.
If the itchiness is caused by poor application technique, it might last for a few days or weeks until your natural lashes grow out and shed the problematic lash extensions.
In rare cases, the itchiness can be a sign of a more serious problem such as blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) or an infection. If the itchiness is accompanied by other symptoms such as discharge, redness, or swelling, you should consult a doctor immediately.
The Bottom Line
If you experience itchiness after getting your lashes done (or any other symptoms), you should inform your lash tech immediately. A good tech will help you determine the cause, and in the worst cases, should remove your extensions (I do it for free – an allergic reaction is nobody’s fault. It just happens sometimes).
Keep in mind that itchiness is not expected. You shouldn’t have to tolerate any discomfort when wearing lash extensions.
Have you experienced anything like that? Don’t hesitate to write to me in the comments below if you’ve any concerns.
– Asako 🙂
Additional Readings on DivineLashes.ca: If you want to know more about what could go wrong with eyelash extensions (and how to fix it!), you might want to read my guides on allergic reactions from lash glues, how to treat red eyes from lash extensions and how to avoid lash mites when wearing extensions.
- Corey Whelan (2018). Itchy Eyelashes: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/itchy-eyelashes (Accessed on June 29, 2022)
- American Academy of Dermatology Association (2022). How To Relieve Itchy Skin. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/itch-relief/relieve-itchy-skin (Accessed on June 29, 2022)
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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.