Lash extension side effects are rare when a qualified, experienced lash artist does the procedure. But they’re possible. The most common negative effect is skin or eye irritation that clears before someone leaves the salon.
But what about headaches? Can you get headaches from lash extensions? And if yes, what can you do about it?
Whether you’re one of the people who’ll get a headache in addition to your dream lashes depends on various factors. I’ll break down these factors and explain what causes the pain in the head.
Let’s get straight to it!
Can Eyelash Extensions Cause Headaches?
Yes, headaches can develop while having eyelash extensions applied. This is an uncommon reaction to inhaling the low-dose fumes released by the eyelash extension adhesive as it is curing. The headaches usually subside once exposure to the fumes ends.
There are tons of headache triggers out there! Our bodies respond to these potential triggers differently – we might develop a full-blown headache or zero pain. For example, some people get a sore head when they eat certain foods; others get one when they skip meals.
Then, a few unfortunate people develop headaches while getting lash extensions.
Why does this happen?
Lash extensions need a glue specially formulated to be super-strong and fast-drying yet safe for lashes. The ingredient that meets these needs is called cyanoacrylate. Glues made of cyanoacrylate can dry in seconds and stick individual lash extension fibers to natural lashes for weeks!
While cyanoacrylate glues are curing, they release low levels of formaldehyde gasses. The small amount of formaldehyde you’re exposed to during a lash sesh at a reputable salon isn’t harmful, but it can bring on a headache in some people.1
Once the glue has dried, the fumes will stop,2 and your headache should ease up.
Warning! If you have trouble breathing after inhaling large amounts of cyanoacrylate adhesive, get medical help immediately.
How to Avoid Headaches at Your Lash Appointment
There are 3 ways to limit your exposure to headache-triggering fumes:
#1: Stay in a Well-Ventilated Space
Fumes are less likely to cause trouble when there’s good airflow.
#2: Choose a Low-Fume Glue
Cyanoacrylate has many forms, each with different properties.
The main form used for extensions is ethyl cyanoacrylate. It’s the most popular form because it dries in a flash and promises to keep extensions stuck for up to 6 weeks.
Another go-to glue in the extensions biz is ethoxyethyl cyanoacrylate. It’s the gentlest and the preferred pick for sensitive clients. The downside is that it takes longer to dry than the ethyl form and has a weaker hold.
Pro tip! My fave lash glue is The Lash Collection Pro Plus Eyelash Extension Adhesive because it releases a low amount of fumes, is generally well-tolerated by my clients, dries in 3 seconds max, and has incredible sticking power.
See my complete lash adhesive guide here.
#3: Use the Glue Properly
Carefully following lash glue instructions minimizes exposure to fumes.
Must-know! You’ll easily drop your headache risk by having your extensions applied by a licensed lash pro. Qualified, experienced lash artists work with lash adhesive daily and know how to use it safely and effectively.
Can False Eyelashes Cause Headaches?
Because false lashes (a.k.a. strip lashes) are meant to be worn for a short period of time and applied by yourself at home, the false lash glue typically doesn’t contain cyanoacrylate. As such, you shouldn’t get a headache since there would be no formaldehyde fumes released.
The Bottom Line
Headaches aren’t a common side effect of professionally applied lash extensions, but they are possible. When the lash glue cures, it releases fumes that can trigger headaches in sensitive individuals.
A pro lash tech will lower your headache risk by choosing a glue, application technique, and environment to minimize fume exposure.
– Asako 🙂
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (2014). Medical Management Guidelines for Formaldehyde. Retrieved from https://wwwn.cdc.gov/TSP/MMG/MMGDetails.aspx?mmgid=216&toxid=39 (Accessed on 3 October 2022)
- Diana N. Pei, PharmD. Is Eyelash Glue Toxic? Retrieved from https://www.poison.org/articles/is-eyelash-glue-toxic-203 (Accessed on 3 October 2022)