Unless you've been blessed with tarantulan lashes that could warrant their own Discovery Channel episode, you've probably thought about eyelash extensions at one point. Are they safe? Long-lasting? Able to transform you into a Maybelline model without actually having to apply any mascara? The answer to all the above, in short, is this: only when done right.
Go to the wrong professional, at the wrong salon, with the wrong tools, and you risk some seriously scary consequences. Consider this a cautionary tale: According to the Daily Mail, a woman walked in to Australian salon Emmaculate Beauty asking for a touch-up on her extensions. But when she went to check them out, salon owner and technician Emma Dhanjal discovered inflamed, infected skin that looked like the stuff of nightmares.
"Her natural lashes are sooooo damaged from the place she has been having her lashes done, they were falling out when I touched them with the tweezers," Dhanjal wrote on the Facebook post, which has since been deleted. "This should NEVER ever happen to your lashes, please do not be scared of having lash extensions applied, if you do your research and go to the right place your lash extensions can be applied for years and years without having a break."
We've reached out to the salon for more information, but the major takeaway is that doing your research before any beauty treatment is absolutely crucial. "Experienced lash technicians go through years of training, so make sure your technician is licensed," says Elizabeth Diaz, a senior lash artist for Pucker at Spruce & Bond in NYC. "A certification is not a license — please know the difference."
Unfortunately, results like this aren't exactly uncommon. Even the FDA felt it was necessary to issue a warning: "Since the eyelids are delicate, an allergic reaction, irritation, or injury in the eye area can occur," the FDA website reads. Of course, if you have allergies or sensitive skin, "ask for hypoallergenic glue," Diaz says. "Many [salons] make several options for this."
Here's hoping the woman at least remembered to make a wish for each lash lost — and that she sought help from a medical professional to help her skin heal in the interim.