Bye-bye, eyelashes

[Warning: gross eyeball pics ahead. Please skip if eyeballs and veins make you squeamish, or if you happen to be eating your lunch]

So, I’m a bit of a stubborn one. (It’s part of my Scorpio nature.) Sometimes it’s in my favor, as I think it helps me to work a little bit harder, and sometimes it bites me in the face. Or in the eye, in this case…

As you guys know, I got eyelash extensions a few months ago. I liked how they looked, but didn’t really love the procedure. It was uncomfortable, the glue burned a little, but when it was over, they were kind of fun while they lasted. I wasn’t in a hurry to get them done again, until one of my friends convinced me. She said that I needed to go somewhere else, since the procedure is NBD (even relaxing!) and her eyelashes always look insanely gorgeous. Since I don’t usually splurge on beauty services -my haircuts are courtesy of the madre, and I paint my own nails- I figured I’d treat myself and give it another whirl.

I researched quite a bit online, found a place with fantastic reviews, a great price ($89) and decided to go for it.

Surprisingly, the procedure was fun and relaxing. The eye pads didn’t hurt, the technician worked quickly, and they didn’t burn until the very end, when I opened my eyes.

They were long and luscious,


but when I looked in the mirror, I noticed my left eye was neon red.


“Oh, that’s normal. It will go away by tomorrow.”

Two days later, it was still there. I was still wearing my glasses since I didn’t want my contacts to irritate it further, and decided to get into the eye doc to make sure it wasn’t infected. Turns out, I had a cut in my eye from the procedure. Doctor visit (cha-ching!), antibiotic drops (cha-ching!) and had to wear my glasses until it cleared up (just annoying). Even though the cut healed and my eyes looked ok, the extensions never really felt good. They were always a little itchy and it was almost like I could feel them touching my eye. Multiple times during the day, I’d find myself looking in my eye to see if one had fallen in there and that’s what was bothering me.

This morning, I woke up with swollen, puffy eyelids. They were extremely itchy, and before attempting to peel them off myself -which would have been a nightmare- I called my favorite waxing technician (who also does extensions.. don’t ask me why I didn’t go to her in the first place) to see if she could remove them for me.

It took two and a half hours to get them taken off.

She was so patient; after waiting for the glue to dissolve, she gently removed the lashes one by one. I felt instantly better afterwards, and am so glad my eyes can finally breathe!

The problem: they had been glued onto my eyelids. Apparently, you’re supposed to glue the lashes 3/4 way down the lash so that it can easily fall out during the lashes natural growth cycle. Mine weren’t going ANYWHERE, and the follicles were clogged from the glue, hence the puffy eyes. Also, they were too heavy and thick for my eyelashes, which was already causing some breakage and damage. 

So there’s my sad lash story. They were pretty for about a week, but totally not worth the pain. Just thought I’d share if anyone is considering trying them out soon! Definitely research your technician, their procedures, the glue, and get a referral from someone you know.




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  1. Sana on January 16, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    That just sounds awful! I am so sorry 🙁 I totally splurge on beauty treatments, so I can’t say anything!

  2. Ali @ Peaches and Football on January 16, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Wow – that’s a scary story! I’m sure there’s horror stories about every possible thing imaginable but anything involving my eyes always makes me extra nervous!!!!

    Did you feel anything during the procedure that maybe in retrospect felt like when the cut occurred? Do you keep your eyes closed the whole time? I’m trying to figure out how this even happened – so scary. Have you since called back – I think that tech seems like they don’t understand the procedure very well and maybe needs another training class (or two!!).

    • Fitnessista on January 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      i didn’t feel anything! the eye doc said he thought it might have been from the eye pad. i called and she wouldn’t give me a refund… it was so bizarre

      • Ashley J on January 16, 2014 at 8:49 pm

        Wow!! I can’t believe after all that they won’t even give you a refund!? Youve shown great restraint by not naming them by name! I feel like I’d be so mad I’d want to call them out!!

        • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:26 am

          i was reeeeaalllyyyy tempted for a second haha. i’m determined to get a refund after i get all of my bills and expenses together

          • Caitlyn Miller on December 1, 2016 at 8:30 pm

            Omg I gabe been doing lash extensions for 3 moNths and the girl I was going too pissed me off one to many times like over charging me cause she couldn’t see me cuz she was booked so charging for a full set when shes the one who made me wait or paying $100 for my mom to get here and they were totally straight with no curl and thinking I dodnt have a apoitment when I did and she rushed they fell out in a week so I decided to try another girl but had to let them fall out first and OMG my natural lashes look like shit they say it doesn’t affect them but I’m here to tell you it does I naturally have long thick lashes and now they are short and frail 🙁 so.becarfule ladies if u handed nice ones I wouldn’t recconend doing it

  3. Megan on January 16, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Wow. This sounds awful! I once had a corneal abrasion due to sleeping in contacts and it was the most uncomfortable thing ever. Hopefully your doc gave you good meds to help it heal quickly. I think I’ll stick to fake lashes for a while. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 16, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      i’ve gotten that from my contacts before, too. thankfully the drops the doc gave me cleared in completely within a couple of days

  4. Livi on January 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    you poor thing! I am glad you are through this icky problem!

  5. sonia the mexigarian on January 16, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    The closest I’ve been to eyelash extensions is wearing the temp ones for weddings. I’m weird with my eyes. I don’t like anyone getting near them except for my own finger. haha. Contacts. I can’t imagine the annoyance of those extensions 🙁 hope it heals up soon.

  6. Hayley@healthyregardshayley on January 16, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    OH no!!! You should try latisse instead of these, works miracles!

    • Fitnessista on January 16, 2014 at 6:12 pm

      i’ve heard great things about it, but am worried about it with my eyes being so sensitive

      • Sarah on January 21, 2014 at 2:33 pm

        I was coming on here to tell you the same thing! Latisse is a miracle worker. I have very sensitive eyes and it’s a breeze. My mom and I both have to stop using Latisse every so often because our lashes get too long … a good problem to have after years of baby lashes. 🙂

        • Fitnessista on January 21, 2014 at 5:15 pm

          that’s good to know! i’ve been apprehensive about trying it. i ordered some lash food from sephora, so i’ll definitely post about it

          • Kris on June 16, 2014 at 6:36 pm

            How is the lash food working out for you? Which one did you try? I was thinking of doing Phyto-Medic……

            Horrible story by the way. They should definitely refund you. There is always a chance that something can go wrong in any profession, it is the customer service that makes a BIG difference! (my opinion). Glad you healed up!

          • Fitnessista on June 16, 2014 at 6:44 pm

            lash food worked extremely well UNTIL i had a horrible reaction to it! my eyes were burning and stinging, and bright red. so i’m not touching my eyelashes ever again haha. and yes, they should have refunded me. it was shocking how bad the customer service was. sephora on the other hand refunded my lash food even though my tube was almost gone

  7. Morgan M. on January 16, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Ugh, I’ll stick to mascara!

    My demanding self would be down there with my doctor and prescription bills until a refund check was written!

    • Fitnessista on January 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      when i get the actual bills, i’ll be there for sure.

  8. Nicole Frediani on January 16, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    Wow! Thank you for sharing your story. What a scary situation, happy to hear it was taken care of without any serious damage.

    I have had both good and bad experiences with different lash technicians. The technician I have been with for the last four months has been wonderful and I have grown addicted because they always look so nice! However, I just decided to take a break. Primarily because it is breaking my bank account 🙂 I’m sure I won’t be able to stay away too long…

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:29 am

      i feel like a hairless cat without them, but it’s not worth it.
      happy you found someone that you like that does a great job!

  9. Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs on January 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Yikes — that sounds terrible! 🙁

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:28 am

      it was atrocious

  10. Kristen on January 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Eeek!! This sounds like a nightmare!
    I know you said you don’t like mascara, but I’d seriously reconsider. There are so many brands and types out there. Surely you could find one that you love.

    Glad your eye is not seriously damaged.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:28 am

      that’s very true. i might be a mascara convert now 😉
      me too. eyes aren’t something you want to mess with.
      hope you have a great weekend <3

  11. Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork on January 16, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Yikes! That’s a scary story! Glad everything turned out okay!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:28 am

      thank you- me too!

  12. Lizzy @ Lizzy Lives in L.A. on January 16, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Oh my gosh!! What a nightmare (x2!!). Glad you’re okay!!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:28 am

      thank you!! <3

  13. Sam on January 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    that’s awful! I’m in optometry school & I’m really glad you shared your story so I can advise my future patients about being very careful with extensions. If you’re looking for a great falsie-esque mascara that doesn’t feel heavy or gunky, I’m newly obsessed with smashbox full exposure!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:27 am

      i’ll check it out- thank you!

  14. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on January 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    That sounds awful! I am glad you are done with it and your eyes can heal and get back to normal! I’m sorry they didn’t turn out as planned for you.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:27 am

      thank you! i’m just thankful there was no long-term damage

  15. Jackie on January 16, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    You poor thing!

  16. Michele on January 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Yikes! I’ve wanted these but couldn’t justify the expense plus I’m a big chicken anyway. I’m sorry that happened but thanks for posting about it.
    I guess I will stick to my eyelash curler and mascara.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:26 am

      safe choice 😉

  17. Lynnlee on January 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    That is so scary…it will definitely make me think twice about getting the extensions on my eyelashes! Also, thanks for the warning on the eye pics- eyes kinda gross me out so I’m glad I could just skip past it! Have you ever tried the Chanel volumizing mascara? It is my favorite and with an eyelash curler and 2-3 coats- looks like fake eyelashes!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:24 am

      haha glad the warning was appreciated 😉
      no, i haven’t! i don’t usually use mascara but i might start

  18. Alycia on January 16, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    They looked beautiful, but yeah, not worth the pain!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:22 am

      thank you! but yes, totally not worth it

  19. Laura on January 16, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    I had them for 3 months til I got an eye infection. Due to them sticking to my real lashes, they fell out and took half of my real ones with them. It took months for my real lashes to fully return. Thanks for sharing your story. Extensions are not worth the risks.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 12:22 am

      that is such a bummer 🙁 thankfully i was able to keep most of mine, but they’re definitely damaged

  20. Laura B @ FitMamaLove on January 17, 2014 at 1:08 am

    Ouch, that’s crazy! Glad you got it resolved! Crazy that it took so long to remove. I had them done once and only loved it for about a day because they got all screwed up by the next day and then they weren’t as easy to remove as I was told they would be. It’s not something I’ve been wanting to try again.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      yeah i’m kind of over it. i won’t say i’ll never get them again, but it won’t be anytime soon

  21. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on January 17, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Ahh! Thanks for sharing, Gina! Glad your eye is feeling better, but man, that’s scary. Anything to do with the eyes is always a worry. Some girlfriends of mine swear by extensions, but I’ve never taken the plunge because of cost and the frequency you need to maintain them. Isn’t it every few weeks or something? I agree that they look amazing, but when it can potentially damage your eye when done incorrectly, then it’s definitely not worth it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      yeah it’s every 2-4 weeks.

  22. Amanda on January 17, 2014 at 3:45 am

    OMG!!! Why would they glue them to your eyelid?! That’s awful. 🙁

    It was really awesome of her to take them off….I can’t imagine sitting still that long for it though.

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      i know!!!
      she was seriously wonderful. and yes, it was horrible having to lie down with my eyes closed for that long

  23. Annie @ Annie Get Your Run on January 17, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Wow! My grandmother used to say “It takes pain to be beautiful.” but I don’t think that’s what she meant. Glad you got it fixed!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      hahah seriously.

  24. Cassie Vaughn on January 17, 2014 at 10:37 am

    You’re beautiful even without them!

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      awww, thanks friend <3

  25. cait @pieceofcait on January 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

    wow that’s so scary! I know that sometimes “beauty is pain” but to go to the doctors, etc.. that’s no good! hope your feeling better <3

  26. Heather J on January 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    “Definitely research your technician, their procedures, the glue, and get a referral from someone you know.”

    Why not just go to the same technician as your friend with the glowing reviews & glorious lashes?

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Because she lives in another state…

      • Heather J on January 17, 2014 at 2:46 pm

        That makes sense! Just curious 🙂

        • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm

          Have a great weekend!

  27. Haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine on January 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Ahhh that’s scary!! Thanks for letting us know. I’m glad you are on the road to recovery!! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      thank you!

  28. Gina on January 17, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Ugh, I tried extensions once and while gorgeous, they bothered me the whole time. Every time my eyes watered a bit (usually going out in the sun…even with sunglasses) they burned like crazy:/ Also, they were a little too obvious and I felt a little self-conscious at work when my boss asked me if my eyelashes were real (fail!!!) Those buggers lasted about 2 months…I couldn’t WAIT for the last few to fall out! I’ve heard good things about Wink eyelash enhancer ( I may try that next!

  29. Anne Saunders on January 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I loved my eyelash extensions wore them for a year..Then developed a sensitivity to the glue had to take them off..My eye lashes underneath were stubs and I haas great lashes to start..It took me a year to get things back..I don’t recommend them at all!!!

  30. Dominique @ Eat, Pray, Lift on January 18, 2014 at 12:41 am

    Yeeesh, so sketch! Sounds miserable. Hope you’re able to get your money back, because that tech sounds like she’s not just incompetent but a liability.

    PS…ever since reading your last post where you mentioned not using mascara, I decided to give it up, too (never liked the feeling of gooey eyelashes and have dark thick lashes anyway). I’ve been loving it!! So thanks for being my “lashspiration!” 🙂

  31. Milania on January 18, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Glad u posted this! I’ve been looking into getting these as well… But now hmmm,mm I’m reconsidering… My friend has been using latisse for the past year and her lashes are amazing!!!! I’m gonna try em!!!

  32. Tracy on January 18, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Have you thought about using Latisse? My eye doctor gave me a free sample to try and now I’m dying to continue on with a prescription. My lashes are thicker and longer. It would be a bit more expensive but lasts much much longer!

  33. Nicole on January 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Check out %100 Pure Fruit Pigment Mascara. I have heard
    about it through Birchbox and it is suggested for sensitive eyes! I was
    thinking of trying it myself when my Benefit runs out. I am
    hoping a sample comes in my box!

    • mallory on January 21, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      In my experience, that mascara, while it smells amazing.. is terrible. It was great after the first application but quickly dried into a big, flaking mess. I hope it works out better for you guys. I loved the way it looked when it was fresh.

  34. Kerry on January 19, 2014 at 7:42 am

    You’ve certainly put me off having extensions. The very thought of anything near my eyes that causes pain would make me think twice.

  35. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen on January 19, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    AH! Thanks for sharing! I am so glad to hear you were able to figure out what the problem was. I am sorry that you had so many issues, but I appreciate you sharing the details with all of us!!

  36. Kayla on January 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story though! Hope your eye is feeling better! I’ve been curious about these, I thought maybe the next big event I would get some just for fun they always look so pretty. They definitely aren’t worth that pain and hassle though! Thanks again for sharing, I think I’ll just steer clear.

  37. Abby Weiss on January 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Btdt, my friend. I, too loved the way they looked and tried a few different places but I always felt them there and often they itched. I”m a trainer too and I just don’t think my active lifestyle could support those lashes. The final straw was when I went to hot yoga after getting my lashes done and it must have melted the glue into my eyes. Woke up the next day with crazy itchy swollen eyes. THat was it for me. I’d like to try Letisse but I have light eyes and I hear you can get spots on them from Letisse. You’re beautiful without he fake lashes!

    • Fitnessista on January 22, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      thank you, friend! i think you’re right that they’re harder to maintain when you’re active
      i started using lashfood. i’ll post an update when i’ve been using it for a while

  38. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on January 24, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Okay, so I am a Scorpio too, so YAY for Scorpios!

    Anyhoo, I was considering doing these for my wedding in August, and I’m horribly frightened now. I mean I want my eyelashes to look thick and voluptuous, but if I’m gonna be relegated to wearing my glasses and basically having my eyes glued shut nooooooo thanks!

  39. JennP on January 25, 2014 at 11:09 am

    I used to be the office manager for a plastic surgery center. I sold more Latisse than I can count, and I can’t recall any major adverse reactions. It seriously works too! Fun fact… Latisse is really just Lumigan (glaucoma drops) that have been repackaged. It was developed after doctors observed rapid eyelash growth in the eye that was receiving the glaucoma drops, so the sneaky pharmaceutical company just decided to sell the same stuff as a topical product instead of a drop and slapped a new name on it!

  40. Lex @ Flecks of Lex on January 28, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    This sounds so awful! I’m terrified of even wearing fake lashes. My sister got me in some for her wedding, but that’s it. For now, I’m just sticking to my Benefit, They’re Real! mascara. That stuff is amazing (and it was a free birthday gift from Sephora last year).

  41. Michelle on February 28, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Hey girl,

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story. Same thing has happened to me (sub-conjunctival hemorrhage) in my left eye after my first (and last) application of eyelash extensions! It’s not as scary as it sounds but it definitely is concerning. I did my research and found your helpful article along the way! Thanks for providing me with relief since you healed up just fine. Hope same goes for me in 1-2 weeks time!

    • Fitnessista on March 1, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      i hope so, too!! so sorry to hear the same thing happened to you <3

  42. HOLLY on June 9, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    This is definitely the technicians fault.

    I am a licensed cosmetologist and eyelash extension technician. Depending on what state you live and where you got them done, some states do not regulate the service meaning, anyone can become an eyelash tech. Which is terrifying, because there are a LOT of people who do lashes that should not be.
    Most states have started to regulate the service, however states like Connecticut, are till unregulated.

    Lash extensions must be applied 1-2mm away from the skin. Because if the extensions lift at the base, it can be itchy, and lead to be uncomfortable.
    I can tell by looking at your photos that she had to of used a semi-mink or synthetic lash, which can be pretty heavy or solid, meaning they might feel stiff or uncomfortable. Again depending on her skill, training, and licensing, she may not have given you options or explained things to you.

    I can easily tell from the photo, and because this has also happened to me, that its a cut on the eye from either improper application of the tape, eye pad, or both. Because everyone’s eyes are different shapes and sizes, and because each tech preps there base of how they apply the eye pads and tape, I am not sure how or what she used.
    But regardless, she was too close, and she should have known.

    Sorry this happened to you!
    I write a blog about all the problems the lash industry has. Its a great service, but people and certain brands have been giving such a great service a bad name and reputation.

    If you step into the lash world in the future, do your homework on a technician,
    good luck!

  43. Natalie on May 4, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    My eye is killing me! So red and sore. I’m running to an eye doc in the morning!

  44. Liz on September 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    I had basically the same thing happen when I got lashes 5 years ago, the pad cut my eye, they weren’t glued on right, etc. 5 years later I got them again, different lash technician and I’ve had no problems, I also go to someone who’s been doing them for 5 years and knows her stuff! So I’m curious, have you ever tried getting them again?

    • Fitnessista on September 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm

      that’s good to know you had a better experience! i’m too terrified to mess with them again. my eyes are so sensitive and i don’t like it when i have to wear glasses because something is going on with my eyes. extensions look SO good though!

  45. Keri on October 26, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Rodan + Fields has a new product coming out November 2nd called lash boost. I’ve heard it is nothing like Latisse. Not a prescription only product. Clinical tests show thicker, longer, darker looking lashes with no darkening of eyelids or change in color of iris. Might check it out… I’ve not heard anything about weather or not it would irritate sensitive eyes but anything sounds better than what happened to you.

    • Fitnessista on October 28, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      i saw it! the results are amazing!!! the list of ingredients was too much for me, unfortunately. my eyes are so sensitive, basically anytime i try something new i risk an eye infection

      • JoJo on December 1, 2016 at 6:39 am

        I tried the new Rodan + Fields Lash Boost for a week and had to discontinue because it made my eyes very red and dry. I even tried rewetting/lubricant drops but nothing helped until I just stopped using it. It could be that the active ingredient in Lash Boost was clashing with my daily disposable contact lenses, but it was a total fail for me. If your eyes are sensitive like mine are, avoid R+F Lash Boost. Someone recommended using lavender essential oil in your daily mascara, which I am going to try.

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