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The #1 Reason You Have an Allergic Reaction to Natural-looking Lash Extensions

Senior Eyelash Extension Artist
Patty V
July 19, 2021
Eyelash Extension glue
Read Time

If you have sensitive eyes, do this one thing to help you wear natural-looking lash extensions.

If you have sensitive eyes, you may have experienced some discomfort wearing eyelash extensions. However, that shouldn’t mean you have to write them off completely.

Natural-looking lash extensions can elevate your look, boosting your confidence from the moment you roll out of bed!

That said, you shouldn’t be uncomfortable wearing extensions. So what can you do to make sure you have a positive experience? Keep reading to find out.

The Power of Eyelash Extensions

Let's face it—makeup is something that most of us can't live without. We sacrifice sleep, spending time in front of the mirror making sure our skin, hair, and eyebrows are perfect before we head out for work or school. But did you know there’s one thing that can help you cut down on the time you spend on your routine without sacrificing a single bit of glam? That’s the beauty treatment we’ll be talking about today: eyelash extensions.

Natural-looking lash extensions are a great way to make your lashes more prominent. They’re usually applied by a professional who uses synthetic silk fiber threads to attach individual lashes to your natural lash line. Eyelash extensions are a popular beauty trend—and for good reason! They can give you a lush, dramatic look that makes you look more glamorous than ever before.

Why Your Lash Extensions May Be Causing an Allergic Reaction

While the appeal of Natural-looking lash extensions can’t be understated, those of you who have sensitive eyes may also experience some discomfort and even the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

The cheapest eyelash extensions are made from synthetic materials like nylon, which has been known to cause skin irritation on contact with sensitive skin types. The high concentration of protein molecules in other natural fibers such as silk and mink can also cause discomfort in some people. However, none of these materials are likely to be the leading cause of allergic reactions. This leaves only one common culprit: the adhesive.

In the past, eyelash extension adhesive was known to contain latex and formaldehyde. This was one of the major causes of irritation at that time. Through the years, however, the industry evolved and did away with the chemical. The replacement? Cyanoacrylate.

When natural-looking lash extensions are applied to individual natural lashes, the adhesive is tasked with creating a strong bond between each extension and the natural lash line. When attached, the extensions need time to cure on the natural lash to create this strong bond. Cyanoacrylate is the chemical that makes this process possible.

Today, all professional lash extension adhesives in the market contain cyanoacrylates. If you experience an allergic reaction when wearing eyelash extensions, chances are that this fast-acting adhesive is to blame. Does that mean you have to do away with extensions completely? Not necessarily—and you’ll find out more about this below.

Understanding What Is in Your Eyelash Extension Glue

Cyanoacrylates are a family of fast-acting adhesives—not just one. Each one boasts different applications, with some being preferred for industrial use while others are milder and considered safe to use around the eye area.

Let’s take a quick look at the five types of cyanoacrylates and what each one can do:

Methyl Cyanoacrylate

Methyl cyanoacrylate is strictly used for industrial applications—you will never find this adhesive in eyelash extension glue. Methyl is very strong and can dissolve proteins. If used in eyelash application, it can lead to sight loss.

Ethyl Cyanoacrylate

Ethyl cyanoacrylate is the most common culprit of your allergic reaction. As the component most frequently used in eyelash extensions glue, it is preferred for its fast drying time and strong adhesion. Unfortunately, ethyl cyanoacrylate also has a strong odor, which often has a hand in the discomfort experienced by those with sensitive eyes.

Butyl Cyanoacrylate

Butyl cyanoacrylate is the most hypoallergenic among the medical-grade cyanoacrylate glues. It is fully compliant with ISO 10993-5 cytotoxicity requirements and is a biocompatible glue that is safe to use with eyelash extensions. The main characteristic of this cyanoacrylate is low fumes and odor, making it the best alternative for those with sensitive eyes. In medical and veterinary applications, butyl cyanoacrylate is commonly used for rapid wound closure.

Alkoxy Cyanoacrylate

Alkoxy cyanoacrylate is another type of cyanoacrylate, distinguished for its low odor and barely any fumes. Its non-toxic formulation provides noticeable advantages over other types of adhesives because it has no smell or risk of coating your bonding surface. Unfortunately, it is also approximately eight times the price of ethyl cyanoacrylate, making it a product with a price tag most people can’t stomach.

Methoxy Cyanoacrylate

Methoxy cyanoacrylate is a medical-grade adhesive that comes with the least irritants and is practically odor-free. Unfortunately, these benefits do come with some disadvantages. With an incredibly slow drying time and weak adhesion, this cyanoacrylate is impractical for eyelash extensions.

The goal of any natural-looking lash extension glue producer is to make a perfectly balanced adhesive that has low fumes, but still dries quickly and provides strong adhesion. This can be difficult because the right combination needs many different components working in harmony so as not to produce excessive fumes or leave behind unwanted residue.

As in the case of methoxy cyanoacrylate, the fact that it has low fumes and minimal irritants does not make it the prime choice; for all intents and purposes, it is not an effective adhesive. All factors—usability, effectiveness, and safety—need to be considered.

The Best Eyelash Extension Adhesive for Sensitive Eyes

As mentioned above, ethyl cyanoacrylate is the type of cyanoacrylate most commonly found in eyelash extension adhesives. It creates a great bond to polymer-type materials such as natural-looking lash extensions. Under 3 seconds are needed to form a bond, which will hold for up to 3 to 8 weeks. The high level of usability, in addition to its price point, makes ethyl cyanoacrylate-based adhesives attractive product offerings for many lash extension artists out there.

The issue with this glue mostly impacts those who are allergic or sensitive to the fumes, odor, and irritants that result from ethyl cyanoacrylate. Fortunately, this does not mean they have to say goodbye to the dramatic lashes they dream of having!
A less potent variation of ethyl cyanoacrylate is butyl cyanoacrylate. If you’ve had poor experiences with the former, it’s time to give a more sensitive adhesive a try.

We’ve tested several types of glue made with butyl cyanoacrylate and we have mixed opinions about them. The first thing to mention is that it is not a very common glue. Its specialized characteristics make it a challenge to source, and it requires exhaustive research on suppliers. There were even some that were not happy to disclose all of the ingredients included in their product.

We found it best to source our glue from local wholesalers or retailers. Many have the formula posted on their website, and others will provide a full list upon request. We make it a point to procure our adhesives from local sources, meaning they are all produced in the US. These are usually small retailers who also use the glues they sell to apply eyelashes to their customers. This is great because if any issues are encountered, it’s easy to get in touch and ask for insight on how to best use and store the glue.

How We Apply Lash Extensions to Allergy-Prone Customers

In the past, we have encountered the occasional customer who experienced a reaction with our normal adhesives. To make sure they have a positive lash experience, we have to do some spot-testing. LashSavvy’s BioBond Sensitive Adhesive—which contains butyl cyanoacrylate—is often the best alternative, and we test the theory out by performing a spot check. After a couple of days of no reaction, we can proceed to apply a full set of lashes using the BioBond product.

If you still react to an adhesive containing butyl cyanoacrylate, you still have options. Alkoxy cyanoacrylate—while more expensive—is still a possible alternative that you can consider. Speak to your eyelash extension artist about other options you may have, and don’t forget to check the ingredients list before applying any to your skin.

Sensitive Eyes, Rejoice—Get Gorgeous Lashes at Lashout Studio!

We love the look of longer and fuller-looking eyelashes that seamlessly blend in with your natural lash line. We love it so much that we specialized in it!

Cut down on the time you spend gluing on strip lashes and applying mascara. Our synthetic cashmere lashes will last you approximately 3 weeks—and they only take an hour to install. Book an appointment to get our Premium Activity-Z Lashes today!

Lashout Studio in Granada Hills
Lashout Studio is a premier lash boutique that finds inspiration in empowering women. We believe every woman deserves to feel beautiful and confident. Every session at Lashout Salon is 100% private with no distractions or interruptions-the perfect place for you (and your lashes) to shine.

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