5 On Your Side

New eyelash enhancements could be risky

Posted June 25, 2013

One of the many things men don't have to worry about when it comes to appearances is their eyelashes.

Women, on the other hand, have wanted dark, thick lashes since before Cleopatra. Now there are new ways to enhance lashes, but are they safe?

Women have used mascara forever. False eyelashes have come and gone. Now they're back with other lash-enhancing trends. The problem is that some of them are risky.

You can't miss the super-long lashes of celebrities like Adele and Nicki Minaj. But Consumer Reports' medical adviser Dr. Orly Avitzur said to be careful how you get that long-lash look.

"False eyelashes can trap dirt and bacteria, creating irritation and infection,” Avitzur said. “And they can be difficult to remove."

Up-and-coming singer Vanessa Racioppo wanted her eyes to pop at a photo shoot for her CD cover. However, she said fake eyelashes made her miserable. She also said her eyelids ached and taking off the lashes was tough.

"I had to, like, soak my eye and pull really hard,” Racioppo said. “And then I kind of pulled some of my eyelashes out. There was irritation."

Actress Kristin Chenoweth wore sunglasses on the David Letterman show after her eyelids swelled up. She got what are called eyelash extensions, where single fibers are glued to your individual eyelashes.

"It looked like I had lips on my eyelids," Chenoweth said.

The Internet promotes even more exotic eyelash enhancements, like weaving tiny glass beads onto ultra-thin wire and applying them with an adhesive to your eyelids.

"The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue but erosion of the inner surface of the eyelids,” Avitzur said. “And they can cause permanent damage to your natural lashes. It doesn’t take an expert to see trouble coming with sharp objects placed so close to the eye."

Consumer Reports said you're better off doing what Racioppo does now -- just using mascara for fuller, thicker lashes. Consumer Reports also said you should replace mascara every few months, but you don't necessarily need to buy expensive mascara. A tried-and-true choice is Maybelline Great Lash Mascara for a little more than $6 per tube.


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  • carrboroyouth Jun 28, 2013

    Women have to do the most outrageous things to be considered pretty. Only if we buy stuff to smear on our faces, wax and pluck hair, paint out fingernails, line our eyes, starve ourselves, dye our hair and now apparently get extensions for our eyelashes.

    I'm 23 and have never liked the way I look, but I am beginning to accept it with less of the cosmetics.

  • outhousecat Jun 26, 2013

    I don't understand the need to trowel on all the spackle just to run to the Piggly Wiggly. Our country is obsessed with beauty instead of appreciating what we were born with. I really don't know why anybody would risk their eyesight for this mess. Those extensions make women look like they have caterpillars crawling on their eyelids. It's really not the look.

  • superman Jun 26, 2013

    People do foolish things for vanity.

  • tierneemalinadeveaux Jun 25, 2013

    If you read the ingredients on most packs of eyelashes, it will tell you that the glue contains formaldehyde. That alone made me leery of using them on a regular basis. I know that Monica suggested Maybelline Great Lash, but honestly, that mascara is not that good. I use Maybelline Mega Plush Volume Express, and I only have to use a little to make my lashes appear much longer than they really are.

    I am curious about the comment Monica made on hair extensions. What is wrong with those?