What Are The Signs Of An Allergic Reaction to Eyelash Extensions?

Picture this: your client leaves your beauty room with a gorgeous set of full, fluffy lashes. The next day, they message you ‘I’m having an allergic reaction!’ - what comes next? Well, panic - naturally, but then what? 

How Can You Recognise An Allergic Reaction To Eyelash Extensions?

First things first, you need to know how to correctly identify the signs of an allergic reaction - is this actually an allergy or is it something else? A common sign that your client is having an allergic reaction to eyelash extensions will be puffy eyelids. You may also see some of these other symptoms like: 

  • Watery eyes
  • Redness of the skin
  • Itchy lash line 
  • Soreness 

Allergic reactions can be present on both eyes or even just one eye as it varies from client to client.eyelash extension allergy, eyelash allergy reaction, eyelash glue, allergic reaction to eyelash extensions, allergic to eyelash glue

However, if your client comes to you with bloodshot eyes, you can be safe in the knowledge that it’s unlikely to be an allergic reaction. Bloodshot eyes are usually the result of a chemical burn which, though uncomfortable, will go down by itself and is pretty easy to prevent! We have a post which goes into much more depth about chemical burns, so if this is what you’re dealing with, we’d recommend that you go ahead and read that for some tips and advice! 

Lash clients with chemical burns caused by eyelash extension glue

Can You Actually Be Allergic To Eyelash Extensions?

The eyelash extensions themselves? No. The eyelash extensions that we use these days are made from a synthetic fibre known as PBT and the common names used for lash extensions like ‘mink’, ‘silk’ and ‘cashmere’ are just to signify that the lashes in two different collections look different from one another. 

What your client is reacting to will almost certainly be to the eyelash glue - and we say ‘almost certainly’ and not ‘without a shadow of a doubt’ because some clients can be allergic to under eye patches as well. This will show up as soon as you remove them though, and will go down after a few hours. Allergic reactions to any of the Pre-treatment Products that you usually use during your pre-treatment routine for the natural lashes are also highly unlikely too, as they’re not in contact with the skin, and don’t linger and produce fumes. However, if a client is very sensitive then just make sure that they’re okay with the ingredients in anything that does touch the skin, such as Lash Shampoo and Protein Removing Cleaning Pads.

Lash glue contains an ingredient called cyanoacrylate - it’s present in every eyelash glue (yes, even those that are labelled ‘sensitive’), which is why we never suggest that your clients try lashes again after having an allergic reaction to it reaction.  

Collection of eyelash extension glue for Lash Technicians

What Should You Do If Your Client Has An Allergic Reaction?

If your client has an allergic reaction, you should suggest that they visit their local pharmacy, or doctor to see if they can recommend any treatments and advice to help reduce the swelling and discomfort. As a Lash Technician, NEVER recommend any medicine yourself as you’re not a medical professional - leave it for a doctor or pharmacist to say ‘antihistamines will help’ - it’s not worth getting into any trouble over! 

One thing that you can actually do yourself to help a client in this situation is that you can remove their eyelash extensions if they want you to. Keep in mind that after removing their lash extensions, the allergic reaction won’t go subside straight away as their body is still reacting to it having been there.

On the other hand, if your client is still happy to have their lash extensions, then you can absolutely leave them on. Once the bonds have cured and are no longer producing any lash glue fumes, the body will stop reacting to it.

Now, if your client is a frequenter of hot yoga, saunas and steam rooms, you definitely SHOULD remove their lash extensions! Why? When eyelash extension glue is exposed to very high levels of heat, it will soften and more glue fumes will be emitted. We love lashes as much as the next person, but no set of eyelash extensions is worth having puffy eyes every two weeks!

If your client would like their lash extensions to be removed but their eyelids are super puffy, it might make it difficult for you to access the eyelash glue bonds. In this instance, let the swelling go down and then proceed to safely remove the lashes. Getting eyelash remover in your eye is so much worse than allergy enflamed eyelids, we promise you! 


Can Clients Who’ve Had An Allergic Reaction To Eyelash Extensions Have Them Again?

To be on the safe side, we'd say no. It’s highly likely that one allergic reaction will lead to more allergic reactions. An allergic reaction to the cyanoacrylate in eyelash extension glue is an accumulative reaction, which means that the body builds up a resistance to it over time, until one day it just refuses to cooperate (this is why it's more common for a long-time client to suddenly have an allergic reaction than a brand-new client!). It also means that each subsequent allergict reaction is likely to be worse than the last, so it’s really not worth trying again and again…

However, there may be a silver lining for these clients who are allergic to lash glue but still love lashes. Our body's cells do regenerate and our tolerance to allergens changes over time, so perhaps a year down the line that client may be okay to have lashes again, but client safety comes first ALWAYS, so you’ll still need to be very careful!