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Eyelash Extension After-Care: Preventing Lash Mite Mania and Blepharitis

I provide a free bottle of lash cleanser with a full set of extensions. All new clients agree and sign a consent form ,that we go over in detail, initialing next to the do's and don'ts of eyelash extensions and after-care. I use to hand out an after-care card to all new clients but over time, I realized they were being thrown away. More and more, I'm asking a lot of the same questions to the same people, "are you washing your lashes regularly?", "are you putting on unadvised makeup or sleeping in your makeup?", "can you see the build-up in your lash line?" "why are your lashes are all stuck together with black shit?" I already know the answers to the questions I ask because I know what extensions look like when they are not being taken care of correctly, and I can see in magnified detail, what's on your eyelashes! Unfortunately, it's more and more Blepharitis and lash mite infestations. Why? Because people say they are "afraid" to wash their lash extensions. You should be afraid of what happens if you don't, because it will, its only a matter of time. I don't ask these questions to make you feel bad or to put you down. It's my ethical and professional responsibility to educate you and hold you accountable for the health risks involved with improper after-care of the service I am providing you, prevent it from happening at the level below when I see early signs and symptoms, and the bad habits that will get you there quickly.

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Blepharitis and lash mite infestations do not go away on their own, and it's harder to get rid of them with the extensions on, especially when it gets to the level in these pictures. This WILL happen to people that do not clean their lashes regularly with eyelash extension cleanser (NOT baby shampoo and not just water), **whether you wear make-up or not**, they must be cleansed regularly. If you're slacking or using the wrong stuff, it's only a matter of time before symptoms start to occur and when they do, you need to step up your cleansing routine immediately, before it gets way out of control. Eyelash extension cleanser is designed to prevent blepharitis and keep lash mites at bay, while not ​breaking down the adhesive that's holding them onto the natural lash. That build-up effects retention and will cause lashes to shed sooner because the lash mites burrow down into the follicle.

One symptom of eyelash mites is the presence of a clear or yellowish substance that encircles the base of the eyelashes. It is made up of the oil and dandruff that is stirred up by the mites as they burrow into the hair follicles. Itching of the eyebrows and eyelids, particularly in the morning, is also a common symptom of eyelash mites. This occurs when the eyelash mites are exposed to light and they bury themselves into the hair follicles looking for darkness, leading to irritation.

Much like the swelling and itching that occurs after a mosquito bite, some people are allergic to the bite of an eyelash mite. This will result in flushed, inflamed eyelids and itching around the bite area.Dry eye syndrome can also occur due to eyelash mites. Eyelash mites can affect the oil production of the glands (Meibomian Gland) within the eyelids. Without the presence of oil, tears will not properly lubricate the eye, which can cause the eyes to burn, feel itchy, and turn red. Blepharitis and lash mite mania go hand-in-hand, a feeding frenzy taking place across the length of your eyelids and in-between all of those tiny lashes.

Blepharitis (blef-uh-RYE-tis) is inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis usually involves the part of the eyelid where the eyelashes grow and affects both eyelids and commonly occurs when tiny oil glands located near the base of the eyelashes become clogged (with your skin cell build-up). This leads to irritated and red eyes. Blepharitis is often a chronic condition that is difficult to treat, especially while you have extensions on. It can be uncomfortable and unsightly, but it usually doesn't cause permanent damage to your eyesight, and it's not contagious.

Styes and chalazia are often singular, red bumps that can appear on either the lower or upper eyelid. These bumps are caused by an inflamed or blocked oil gland on the eyelid. They can be red and painful, sometimes hard, and may blur or block vision, or cause an increase in tears.

Eyelash extensions have been around long enough now, that the majority of people know oil based products, including propylene glycol (derived from petroleum), breaks down eyelash extension adhesive. So when you're putting cosmetics on your eyelids or extensions that either A. Are advised against using or B. Not washing them off at night, your ruining your extensions and the adhesive's bonding ability. When you spend money on handmade volume fans and then ruin them with mascara, eyeliner, or sleeping in your concealer and eye shadow, this closes the fans and also makes them fall off over time. and your 1 Hr. fills will not get you 100% full. It becomes a downward cycle of retention issues and unappealing extensions.

Eyelash extension mascara is for classic lash extensions and lower lashes ONLY, but still needs to be washed off before going to sleep, every night! If you don't have makeup around your eyes, hopefully you are still washing your face, but you won't have to cleanse your lashes daily. For normal to dry skin, 2-3 days a week is enough. If your skin is exceptionally oily, 4-5 times a week. This literally takes less than 5 minutes to do, and the pay-off is a far greater reward than ruining your investment a health of your lashes and eyelids.

During the winter, everyone's skin becomes more sensitive in the dry air. You MUST use oil-free serums (hyaluronic acid is ideal) and moisturizers on your skin after you cleanse it. Your eyelids are NO DIFFERENT!! They need moisture too! Just as you condition after you shampoo your hair, you moisturize after you wash your skin. You're stripping away oils, dirt, and bacteria when you cleanse your skin (and eyelashes and eyelids). You MUST replenish that moisture and add additional hydration, especially when the air gets really dry, to prevent red, irritated, flaky skin. This is a breeding ground for the lash mites and blepharitis will take over.

Other important guidelines to follow to keep up your retention and lash line health:

-Do NOT brush your lashes when they are wet. Your natural lashes are already being weighed down by the extensions and adhesive. The additional water weight while brushing will cause premature lash shedding to the hairs that have a shrinking follicle or in the resting phase. A new lash does not grow back for up to 2 months, depending on what phase the lash was in when it came out. You want to blot your lashes with a smooth sponge, towel, paper towel or rag to remove excess water. They will fan back out as they dry. Do NOT use hot air from your blow dryer to dry them, the heat can singe the tips of the fans. The cool shot is ok!(Opening and oven quickly or steam from boiling water can also singe the tips if your face is directly over it)

-Do NOT pick, pull, or rub your extensions. Do NOT sleep on your stomach. Keep your pillow tucked back from your eyes if you sleep on your side. Friction and weight tremendously loosens your bonds and they will fall off prematurely. You'll blame it on washing your lashes, because that's when you'll notice them falling off.

**Extensions don't fall off unless something is weakening their bond or I don't put enough adhesive on the extension during application (in that case, it will fall off right away and not over time)**

-Do NOT wear mascara or eyeliner with volume lashes. Pressed or loose eye shadow is OK. Cream based shadows should be avoided. Do not use any waterproof makeup, you need oil based removers to take it off. No strip lashes on top of your extensions and do not use mechanical curlers. Eyelash extension mascara should be used on the lower lash line. It will not transfer up every time you blink and easily washes off with your lash cleanser. Sleeping in your makeup will give you retention problems and close your fans. A routine lash cleansing schedule is required. Frequency depends on your skin type and makeup usage.

-Do NOT come to your fills with makeup on your lashes or eyes. You will not get a long lasting fill as dirty lashes interfere with the adhesive's ability to bond to the natural lash. My primer is for opening the cuticle of the hair, for a stronger bond. It's not a makeup remover and it doesn't work with residue in the way. Thick makeup under and on the eyes prevents the under eye pads and tape from sticking to your skin. Major discomfort and potentially a scratched sclera (the white of your eye) will occur from them slipping, causing redness and pain.

-PLEASE keep your eyes completely shut during your fills AND refrain from a lot of eye and head movement! I cannot isolate a single lash and get them attached well when you or your eyes are constantly moving, and this majorly slows down the amount of lashes I'm able to extend. Additionally, an open seal allows for the adhesive fumes to enter. Your eyes WILL burn and/or water and this prevents me from isolating and extending anything until they're dry. Your eyeballs will thank you because chemical burns and scratches from the tape movement hurts for several days afterwards and will be red.

-You MUST maintain an average 50% ratio of lashes extended. When you drop below this, you will not get back to 100% full, which is where you need to be to get to your next fill and your lashes still look good. Fills at 2 weeks have shed (your natural lash falls out, new growth comes in) anywhere between 30-45 natural lashes, when not in a heavy shedding phase. Your inner and outer corners always have some extensions fall off, they get the most friction/rubbing. Some extensions will need to be removed as they've grown out. Fills at 3 weeks have shed approx 40-65 natural lashes. If you have retention issues, on top of what I already do during a fill (that takes 1 hr), you can understand how you will not leave 100% full. The additional work cannot be done in 1 hr, which is why the 1.5 hr fill was added... for those that have retention issues. Retention is 100% the client's responsibility. I've seen a lot of lashes and have a lot of clients, 70-80% of my clients have no problems with retention. If you're not following any part of the after-care guidelines, including your role when you come in for a fill, do NOT expect to leave with the full set you had when you first came in and do not expect your lashes to hold up well through your next fill.

*Natural lash density will always vary, as eyelashes do not shed symmetrically between the two eyes and you will experience a heavy shedding phase at the end of your growth cycle, occurring every 3-4 months* Natural lashes weaken and thin from stress, diet, hormones, medication and too much weight. If your lashes start thinning out to the point that they aren't growing back in at a average, normal rate, I will recommend lash serum or removal.* If you are not satisfied with the length of extensions your natural lashes provide, that is an easy enough fix with growth serum, but does take a little time! I specialize in extensions that do NOT damage the natural lash line. This can mean that I'm not the right fit for some clients, but if those clients are willing to follow my instructions with a growth serum, they will be wearing the longest lengths I have within 3 months time*

Your eyelash extension results and longevity are a two-way partnership between you and your lash extensionist. Coming into a fill with dirty lashes and expecting a full, long lasting result is NOT going to happen! Coming to a fill with over half of your extensions gone and expecting them to look good until your next fill is also not going to happen. Moving your eyes and head throughout your fill slows down my normal working speed=less lashes extended. Your extensions should never get to the point to where they "look bad" in-between fills. If they are, something is going on that was mentioned somewhere above, and lets be honest, you know what it is and so do I!!

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