My advice? Skip the extensions and splurge on a good mascara instead. Here’s why: Getting extensions involves having an aesthetician use pointed tweezers right by your eyes to glue synthetic lashes to your real ones. The process of gluing them on and removing them can damage your real eyelashes or even result in permanent lash loss. Eyelash extensions can also lead to an infection of the cornea or eyelid, allergic reactions, or swollen eyelids if you’re sensitive to the adhesive, which can contain irritating chemicals (and the ingredients in the glues and lash removers aren’t strictly regulated). The synthetic fibers also start to fall out after a few weeks, as your natural ones do, and you’ll have to spend time and money to keep getting them reapplied.
If you decide to give extensions a go anyway, be sure to do your research. Visit a reputable salon and check that the person applying your lash extensions is a licensed aesthetician. (Look on the salon’s website or call ahead for confirmation that all the aestheticians are certified; it’s completely reasonable to request to see the actual paperwork. You can also read client reviews.) If any eye irritation comes on later, see an ophthalmologist right away.
Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.