Lash shedding is part of the natural cycle of hair loss, re-growth, and regeneration. While it’s nothing to worry about, it can be quite annoying when you’re trying to keep your lashes on fleek! To get the most out of lash extensions, it’s important that both you and your client fully understand the process and implications of lash shedding. Here’s all you need to know about the hair growth cycle and how this can affect your work.
All hair on our bodies sheds and re-grows, and all hair does so in cycles – you’ve probably noticed this if you wax regularly, and you can notice it with the hair on your head as well.
Growing in cycles means that hair grows in generations. At any given time, we have hairs which are in either one of the three hair growth stages: the anagen stage (the beginning stage when the lashes have just started to grow out of the skin, they are small and barely visible), the catagen stage (the transitional stage during which the hair is mid length – this stage lasts the longest), and the telogen stage (the hair is full grown and ready to shed, and when it falls out, a new baby lash starts growing in its place, repeating the cycle).
Because hair grows in generations, we are never left hairless and we never truly notice that we are, in fact, losing hair all the time. Although it’s quite frustrating when it comes to keeping our legs smooth and clean, this is very handy when it comes to the hair on our heads and our lashes!
On average, every person loses one to five lashes per day, and each week you lose about 20% of your entire set of eyelashes. All the fallen lashes are immediately replaced by new “baby lashes” that have already started growing in their place, even before they were finally pushed out.
The growth cycle of one individual eye lash lasts anywhere between 60 to 90 days, depending on the person. On top of that, lash shedding, just like all hair shedding, is seasonal. Generally, we lose most hair in the fall, and this is referred to as “seasonal molting”, or “the shedding season”.
Being aware of lash shedding is very important when it comes to eyelash extensions. Lash extensions are glued to the already existing lashes which are mid-growth, in the catagen stage of the lash growth cycle. This is the best stage for the attachment of lash extensions because the natural lashes are long enough to amplify the effect, but young enough to keep the look fresh for a longer period of time – while your lashes may look longer if the extensions were attached to the lashes in the telogen stage of their growth cycle, those lashes would shed very quickly, and the extensions would be lost sooner.
Eyelash extensions can last only as long as the growth cycle of the natural lashes. Extensions are not immune to lash shedding, as they are attached to the natural lashes and fall out with them. This means that you can expect your lash extensions to last about 6 to 8 weeks, at the very most (read more below).
It’s very important to make sure your clients understand that lash extensions aren’t permanent. Discussing the hair growth cycle with your client will help them understand the process and manage their expectations. No matter how good you are at what you do, you can’t defy nature, and your client should understand this!
6-8 weeks is the best case scenario. Unfortunately, it may very well happen that the extensions lifespan is cut short by factors other than natural lash shedding:
Aftercare is key when it comes to maintaining the lash extensions. You must be particularly careful in the first 24 hours after the lash extension application. Eyes should be kept completely dry, and this includes avoiding all make up, crèmes, or lotions, as well as making sure you are not doing any physically demanding work that could cause you to sweat excessively. Spas, saunas and pools are strictly off limits in this period.
While it’s perfectly alright to use make up when you have lash extensions, you have to be more careful about the products you are choosing, especially when it comes to the products that will be in the close proximity of the lashes.
All oil-based make up and all products containing glycol should be avoided, as they will damage and weaken the glue, causing the lashes to fall out prematurely. Although putting mascara on lash extensions is quite risky and generally frowned upon as it puts too much stress on the fragile lashes and threatens to dissolve the glue, you theoretically could harmlessly apply any type other than waterproof and oil-based mascara.
This rule doesn’t apply only to make up, but to all products: lotions, eye crème, make up remover, soap, and even shampoo. You should make sure that you don’t get greasy, oil-based hair and body products near your eyes while you shower or take baths. The moisture threatens to dissolve glue and cause premature lash shedding.
As mentioned before, lash shedding, like all hair shedding, is seasonal, and you can expect your lash extensions to be weaker in the fall. On top of that, lash shedding can be an individual reaction to certain weather. For instance, those who have a harder time adjusting to heat waves will find themselves sweating more, and their skin becoming oilier with the first waves of summer heat. The natural sweat and oiliness affects the lash glue and damages the lashes just as much as moisturizing beauty products do.
We’ve already established that the level of moisture affects the strength of the lashes as well as influences the binding power of the glue that is used to attach the extensions. This unfortunately means that women with naturally oily skin are under the risk of having their lash extensions be shorter lived. Very active women who are no strangers to bouts of profuse sweating could also potentially damage their extensions with the oiliness and humidity of their skin.
Extensions are lost due to the natural lash shedding process, which means that just like your natural lashes, the extensions are lost in cycles. You won’t lose all your extensions at the same time, but the loss of the longest and thickest lashes will leave the lashes looking uneven as the shed lashes are replaced by new, smaller ones. This is why you should advise your client to book an infill every three to four weeks – depending on their lash shedding cycle.
The client’s diligence when it comes to personal hygiene and lash aftercare will also influence the retention of the extensions. While you can’t control your client’s behavior outside of the salon, you can make sure that they are well-informed.
In the end, getting the best out of the lash extensions is a team-effort which requires care on both sides!