Eyelash Extensions: Dangers & Popularity

With eyelash extensions being the newest, hottest and biggest beauty trend in the world (recently surpassing breast implants), this is one trend that has even the smallest salons raking in the big bucks. Eyelash extensions are worn by famous celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Gwen Stefani, Lucy Liu, Naomi Campbell and Eva Longoria to name a few.

I know several women and young girls that have chosen to get this done for special occasions or "just cuz" they want longer, fuller lashes. But when has it ever been safe to mimic a look or participate in a trend because celebrities initiate it? Does anyone do the research necessary to find out what ingredients are in the "medical grade" eyelash adhesive used to apply these semi-permanent lashes prior to deciding on getting this procedure done? 

Here's some useful information I've found upon exploring these falsies –

Most high-end salons use products from a company named NovaLash. On NovaLash's website they advertise, "Award-winning, long-lasting, medical-grade lash extension adhesives have earned NovaLash its reputation as 'the healthiest' professional eyelash extension system." 

In reviewing their Material Safety Data Sheet for their Fume-Free Adhesive, I noticed their Hazards Identification section which reads as follows:

2- Composition/Information on Ingredients:

  • Hazadous Component (relative %)

  • Ester Proprietary 95-100% TWA 0.2 ppm

  • Urethane Rubber Trade Secret 5-10%

3- Hazards Identification:

  • Toxicity: Skin contact may cause burns. Bonds rapidly and strongly to skin.
    Skin and eye irritant. Estimated oral LD50 more than 5000mg/kg.

  • Primary routes of Entry: Inhalation

  • Signs of exposure: Vapor is irritating to eyes and mucous membranes above TLV. Prolonged
    and / or repeated overexposure to vapors may produce symptoms of non-
    allergic asthma in sensitive individuals.

Doesn't seem anywhere near fume free to me LOL.

On to their next available adhesive, Platinum Bond:


2 – Composition/Information on Ingredients:

  • Hazardous Component (relative %)

  • Ethyl-2 Cyanoacrylate (90) *. *below those levels specified by the FDA and OSHA as significant or hazardous) Exposure Limits (TWA) ACGIH (TLV)

3 – Hazards Identification:

  • Toxicity: Skin contact may cause burns. Bonds rapidly and strongly to skin. Skin and eye
    irritant. Estimated oral LD50 more than 5000mg/kg.

  • Primary routes of Entry: Inhalation

  • Signs of exposure: Vapor is irritating to eyes and mucous membranes above TLV.     Prolonged
    and / or repeated overexposure to vapors may produce symptoms of non-allergic asthma in sensitive individuals.

  • Poly Methyl Methacrylate (5)

  • Elastimer Agent (5)

  • Chemical composition testing has confirmed that this adhesive is essentially formaldehyde free
    (Ethyl2 Cyanoacrylate 0.2 ppm)

The active ingredient (which makes up 90% of the formula), Ethyl-2 Cyanoacrylate, in their Platinum Adhesive rates a "5" on EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database as a moderate hazard due to it being a known human immune system toxicant and has been classified by the European Union as an irritant.

Please do not interpret NovaLash's clever claim of being "the healthiest" extension system as being safe. Most other adhesives score an 8-10 (very high hazard warning) on the database because they contain formaldehyde and fragrances. One such super toxic, top rated, over-the-counter eyelash adhesive is Duo Eyelash Adhesive (a makeup artist favorite). But NovaLash's "essentially formaldehyde free" statement doesn't sound quite convincing enough and their rating of 5 is in no way HEALTHY!

If you decide to go to your local salon looking for a bargain, I can guarantee they will be using some other cheap adhesive formulated overseas that contains formaldehyde, which has been linked to Cancer, Developmental/reproductive toxicity, Neurotoxicity, Allergies/immunotoxicity, Organ system toxicity, Irritation (skin, eyes, or lungs) and Occupational hazards. Also, please note a recall in October of Locks Eyelash Extension Glue due to large amounts of formaldehyde present. Some salons could still be using this product.

If you read this post and still decide to get your lashes extended, you might also want to note that they cost a small fortune to maintain. The initial procedure costs about $200 and refills are $75 each and are to be done every four weeks. So you’re looking at over $1,000 per year ( a little pricier than really good mascara, wouldn’t you say?).  

Don't be afraid to ASK what adhesive is used at your chosen salon and certainly don't be afraid to WALK OUT if they don't volunteer the label for your inspection!

Here are the links to NovaLash's Material Safety Datasheets mentioned:

Fume-Free Adhesive

Platinum Bond Adhesive

Knowledge is EVERYTHING ~ attain it, retain it, share it with the world!TM

Mindy Perez

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