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Applying extensions to the eyelashes is a practice that enhances the length, thickness and fullness of natural eyelashes. The extensions may consist of silk, mink, synthetic hair, or human hair. The main method of applying eyelash extensions is individually (one-by-one). False eyelashes and eyelash extensions are not the same. Eyelash extensions must be applied one by one to avoid having them stick together.
In 1879, James D. McCabe wrote in his book The National Encyclopaedia of Business and Social Forms, section "Laws of Ettiquete," that eyelashes can be lengthened by cutting the extreme ends with a pair of scissors. Other beauty books, such as My Lady's Dressing Room (1892) by Baronne Staffe and Beauty's Aids or How to be Beautiful (1901) by Countess C also state the trimming of eyelashes and the use of the pomade Trikogene for promoting eyelash growth. Countess C also suggested that eyelashes can be given length and strength by washing them every evening with a concoction of water and walnut leaves. In 1882, Henry Labouchère of Truth reported that the "Parisians have found out how to make false eyelashes" by having hair sewn into the eyelids. Similarly reported, the 6 July 1899 edition of The Dundee Courier also described the painful sounding method for lengthening the lashes. The headline read, “Irresistible Eyes May Be Had by Transplanting the Hair.” The article explained how the procedure achieved longer lashes by having hair from the head sewn into the eyelids. In 1902, German-born hair specialist and noted inventor Charles Nessler (aka Karl Nessler or Charles Nestle) patented "A New or Improved Method of and Means for the Manufacture of Artificial Eyebrows, Eyelashes and the like" in the United Kingdom. By 1903, he was selling artificial eyelashes at his London salon on Great Castle Street. He used the profits from his sales to fund his next invention, the permanent wave machine. In 1911, a Canadian woman named Anna Taylor patented false eyelashes in the United States. In 1916, while making his film Intolerance, director D.W. Griffith wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes "that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life." These false eyelashes were made of human hair woven through fine gauze by a local wig maker. They were then attached to Owen's eyes.
Types of lashes
Temporary false lashes
Temporary false lashes are any lashes designed to be worn for a short period of 1-2 days. They can be made with a variety of materials and are not designed to be worn when showering, sleeping or swimming. They are applied with lash glue designed specifically for temporary lashes, the technique is called one by one application. Semi-permanent lashes, also known as individual eyelash extensions, are eyelashes applied with an FDA approved adhesive with a stronger bond. Adhesive for lash extensions consists mainly of cyanoacrylate. There are various types of cyanoacrylates including ethyl, methyl, butyl, octyl and more. Different types of cyanoacrylates are designed for bonding to different surfaces. For example, lash adhesives are made from methyl-2 cyanoacrylate which is designed to bond a smooth surface (the eyelash extension) to a porous surface (the natural eyelash). Lash adhesive (methyl-2 cyanoacrylate) is designed to be used around the eyes and on the natural lashes, never touching the skin. All cyanoacrylate adhesives are made using the same properties and ingredients found in medical-grade adhesives. Medical-grade adhesives are used by surgeons to close wounds without stitches, a practice called suture-less wound closure. Generally, a single lash is applied to each natural lash. When applied properly, neither the extension lash nor the glue should touch the eyelid. The bond is designed to last until the lashes naturally fall out, though the extensions may fall out faster if one uses oil-based eye makeup remover or rubs eyes regularly, as oil weakens the bond between the glue and the lash. Eyelash extensions create eyelashes that remain on for approximately 3–4 weeks with their natural growth and shedding cycle. To keep the eyelashes full, one must maintain them by refilling bi-monthly. Eyelash extensions are waterproof and give the appearance of having mascara on without the messy clumps and smudging of makeup. To keep your eyelashes maintained, one should not rub on their eyes or wear any mascara. Instead, you should use oil-free make up removal wipes, eyelid cleanser, and avoid rubbing around the eye area.
Eyelash extensions come in various types, lengths, colors, curves and thicknesses, from natural-looking, to glamorous, as well as dramatic.
Eyelash extension services can range between $100 to $500 in the United States, depending on the type and number of lashes used, the skill of the cosmetician, and the venue where extensions are performed. It usually takes an hour to two hours to attach a full new set. An average person might have anywhere from thirty to eighty lashes per eye. The variance in the number of lashes accounts for the difference in how long it takes to apply them. Eyelash extensions usually last around 3–4 weeks, after which you will notice that the eyelash extensions have started falling out or thinning. Maintaining a full set of lashes will require refill service approximately every 3–4 weeks.
Negative impact of wearing eyelash extensions
Dr. Rick Fraunfelder at OHSU’s Casey Eye Institute says the lashes aren't sterile, and the poly-nylon blend ones especially can lead to infections. Fraunfelder maintains that spaces in the fibers allow bacteria to reside because the wet and warm environment of eyelash margin favors bacteria. Using eyelash extension with a glue that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may cause allergic reaction, either locally or body-wide. Fraunfelder claims that people could lose their real eyelashes permanently due to the improper pull of the eyelash extension, and there could be eyelash dropout over time from chronic use. However, other sources in rebuttal state that eyelashes themselves aren't sterile, and allergic reactions to the glue (which is not applied to the skin itself) are rare.
Eyelash extensions training and certification
Professionals trained in Lash Artistry go by various titles including "Lash Technicians", "Lash Artists", and "Lash Stylists". There are various companies that provide training and certification for potential Eyelash Extensions Technicians. In the UK, the Guild of Professional Beauty Therapists accredit courses for the safe application of semi-permanent individual eyelash extensions. The value of the course content can be judged by the number of CPD (Continued Professional Development) points that the course is awarded.
- Baronne Staffe with introduction and additions by Harriett Hubbard Ayer (1892). My Lady's Dressing Room. New York: Cassell Publishing Company.
- The Countess C-- (1901). Beauty's Aids or How to be Beautiful. Boston: L.C. Page & Company. pp. 97–98.
- George Frederick Shrady and Thomas Lathrop Stedman (1882). Medical Record, Volume 22. p. 252.
- "IRRESISTIBLE EYES MAY BE HAD BY TRANSPLANTING THE HAIR.". The Dundee Courier. The Quack Doctor. 6 July 1899.
- A New or Improved Method of and Means for the Manufacture of Artificial Eyebrows, Eyelashes and the like. British patent GB000190218723A, submitted August 26, 1902, approved November 6, 1902.
- Williams, Neville (1957). Powder and Paint: A History of the Englishwoman's Toilet, Elizabeth I--Elizabeth II.
- "Art Eyelashes". Nashua Daily Telegraph. July 14, 1903. p. 3.
- "Hair Waving Machine is 50 Years Old". The Milwaukee Sentinel. September 21, 1934. p. 11.
- "Beauty Boon Has Made Many Changes in 50 Years". Rome News Tribune. p. 28.
- ARTIFICIAL EYELASH. Anna Taylor, Ottawa. Ontario. Canada. Serial No. 607,810. US994619. Filed February 10, 1911.
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