So you just got your extensions and are loving your new look, but then you notice that your lashes are starting to look a little bit short and stubby. What gives?
Why would you get short stubby lashes after extensions?
Don’t worry, it’s not just you. In fact, it’s a pretty common problem of poor application. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to help repair and care for your lashes.
In this article, I’ll give cover the most likely reasons for your short and stubby lashes, as well as some actionable tips to help you get your lash game back on track.
Ready? Let’s get started!
Why Do Lashes Get Shorter After Extensions?
Lashes can get shorter after wearing extensions if they were applied by an inexperienced, uncertified, or untrained lash technician that committed a lash crime!
Normally, your natural eyelashes shouldn’t be harmed by wearing extensions. The eyelash artist isolates and applies the extensions one by one on your natural lashes, creating beautiful fluttering lashes.
The key to avoid damaging the natural lashes is perfect isolation. Each extension should be applied to one natural lash, and one lash only. When an extension is glued to multiple natural lashes, it can result in breakage, loss, and thinning of your natural eyelashes.
Here are five things that can cause short stubby lashes from lash extensions.
Stickies are one of the common results of poor application of lash extensions. It happens when two or more natural lashes/extensions are glued together.
Since your natural lashes are not all in the same growth stage at the same time, one lash (the strongest) will keep pulling on the other one (the weakest) and may eventually cause the weaker lash to fall out prematurely.
Your lash line will appear thinner, and you will have fewer lashes overall. And that’s how you end up with short stubby lashes.
2. Applying Extensions On Baby Lashes
If a lash artist isolates a baby lash and affixes a synthetic lash of, say, C curl and 11 mm length, it may turn out to be too heavy for the baby lash.
During the growth cycle, such a lash can break and fall off prematurely due to the heavy weight of the synthetic lash extensions.
That’s why lash techs NEVER apply extensions on baby lashes. Extensions are only applied on eyelashes that have progressed far enough in the growth cycle to support the weight of the extension.
3. Choosing the Wrong Lenght
To illustrate this concept, I’ll use an example.
Let’s say your natural eyelashes are around 9 mm long and you want to achieve a natural look that would extend them by 2 mm.
Your lash tech will select the extension’s length to achieve this goal, so it can give you the look you desire – a natural one.
However, not all natural lashes will be exactly 9 mm long!
Because all hair follicles progress independently through the growth cycle, you might have some that are 7, 8 and even 10 mm long.
So, how do lash techs deal with this?
Simple, the shorter natural eyelashes should still be extended by 2 mm which means the lash tech needs to use different extension lengths to complete the set. You can’t just use the same length across the entire lash line. You don’t want to have an extension that’s too heavy for the natural eyelash, do you?
All this to say that there’s a delicate balance between the extension’s length and the natural lash capacity to bear the weight.
When a lash tech doesn’t choose the right length and weight of extensions, the natural lash may shed prematurely due to excess stress.
For instance, if you’ve been wearing too many dramatic volume styles like Kim-K that your natural eyelashes cannot support (some people can pull it off! It’s different for everyone), they will face a lot of tension and breakage. And in such cases, you may observe your lashes getting shorter than they were before the lash extension.
Here’s an example of a client that came to my studio after getting a mega-volume set at another salon.
I almost had a heart attack when I took a look at her lashes. First, the lash tech used the same extension length across the entire lash line. Also, almost all the natural lashes had extensions on! This is terrible and completely disregards the growth cycle. To top it off, extensions were attached to multiple eyelashes (stickies). Needless to say, this was sadly a case where I recommended taking a break from extensions.
Also referred to as ‘glued on the skin,’ Nailheads are one of the worst results of poor lash treatment.
When an untrained eyelash technician attaches the extension to the skin of your eyelid, it creates a Nailhead.
The extension should be affixed to the natural lash only (not the skin). There should be a 1 mm to 2 mm space between the base of the extension and the eyelid.
This poor application will prevent the natural lash from growing normally since it’ll be stuck to the skin. As a result, you’ll observe your natural lashes getting shorter and stubbier.
Check out my recent article on 3 common mistakes that damage your lash extensions to continue reading about stickies, results of heavy extensions, nailheads, and more!
How Long Does It Take for Eyelashes to Grow Back After Extensions?
Once you stop wearing your extensions, it takes 9 to 12 weeks for new natural lashes to grow back to their original state. The period represents the time needed for eyelashes to complete the growth cycle.
So, the good news is that your natural lashes will eventually grow back.1
The rate at which a natural lash grows varies from person to person. On average, a natural lash grows half an inch per month and takes 90 days, give or take 5 days, to shed completely.
Here’s a picture of the different phases of the lash growth cycle:
Here’s a quick look at how long each stage of lash growth lasts:
|Growth Phase||Also known as:||Lasts up to:|
|Anagen Phase||Growth Phase||4 to 10 Weeks|
|Catagen Phase||Transition Phase||2 to 3 weeks|
|Telogen Phase||Resting/ Shedding Phase||3 to 4 months|
Read more about it in my Case Study on How Long Lash Extensions Last.
5 Ways to Repair Your Eyelashes After Bad Extensions
Waking up every day as gorgeous with lash extensions is NOT as bad as waking up every day with short and stubby lashes.
Here are five things to do to help repair them.
#1 Take A Break
The first and most important step towards healthier natural lashes is to take a break from lash extensions. This will help your natural lashes rest and regain their strength.
However, remember that your natural lashes will stay short in the Telogen phase until new lashes grow again in a few weeks. So, prepare ahead for a few weeks!
Once your natural lashes are back to full strength, make sure to go to a licensed lash tech!
#2 Try a Lash Serum
Lash growth serums are a wonderful way to nurture your natural lashes while you flaunt lash extensions. But they can also be useful when trying to grow new healthy eyelashes.
According to a study in the American Academy of Dermatology, some ingredients can thicken, lengthen, and even darken natural lashes. Read more about it in my article on does eyelash serum work.
The exciting thing is, lash serums also help damaged natural lashes regrow with the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Compare the 5 top lash serums to find the one that’s best for you!
#3 Don’t Use Waterproof Mascara
One of the best ways to let your lash hair follicles grow is by avoiding anything along the lash line, such as waterproof mascara.
You should minimize the use of waterproof eye makeup to avoid rubbing along the lash line frequently. Doing so stops you from losing natural lashes when wearing eye makeup.
Waterproof mascara is also bad with lash extensions. Read more about it here!
#4 Apply Natural Oils
Castrol Oil is an excellent natural oil to help your natural lashes grow. Vitamin E is also a good Lash nutrient. You can apply any of these oils to a cotton tip and apply it along your lash line.
#5 Use a Good Lash Cleanser
Cleansing your eyelashes daily is key to maintaining healthy and long lashes. It helps to remove makeup, dirt, and pollution that can damage your lashes.
I recommend using a gentle and hypoallergenic lash cleanser to avoid any irritation. You can also use baby shampoo or oil-free makeup remover to clean your lashes.
The Bottom Line
Eyelash extensions don’t damage your natural lashes when applied properly nor shorten your natural lashes.
But a poor application can affect the growth of natural lashes or break them off mid-growth.
If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting your lashes done by a notice that committed one of the lash crimes mentioned in this article, the best thing you can do is take a break and let your natural lashes grow back.
To speed up the process, you can use lash growth serums, safe eye makeup, natural oils, or mild lash shampoos
I’d love to hear any concerns you have over lash repair. Write to me below!
– Asako 🙂
Additional Readings on DivineLashes.ca: If you’re curious about what can go wrong with eyelash extensions, check out my articles on ruining your lashes with extensions & do lash extensions hurt. I also share the story of a client with a lash mite infestation after wearing extensions.
- MaryAnn De Pietro (2020). Do eyelashes grow back? What you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321849 (Accessed on June 16, 2022)