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Eyelash Extensions retention

Why don’t my eyelash extensions last between infills? Eyelash Extension Retention issues.

Unfortunately there are many reasons why we have eyelash extension retention issues.

But first what is Retention? The dictionary classifies retention as “the action of absorbing and continuing to hold a substance”. This means the ability for the Eyelash Extension to hold onto the natural lash.

Ideally the extension should stay on the natural lash until, due to the lash cycle, it falls out naturally. However this is not always the case. Some will “pop” off at different stages prior to the natural lash falling out.


How does this happen? 

If the eyelash extensions are “popping” off between infills, it’s a process of elimination. Lets assume everything was OK and done correctly from the application process by the technician. They stayed on for a few days then started to come off. You need to ask yourself a few questions to find the answer. A good place to start is with the products used on a daily basis.


What products are used on the skin around the eye?

Oil of any kind is bad for eyelash extensions. Check the ingredient list on the face products used. Everything from cleanser to makeup. Another ingredient that is bad for lashes is Glycol. More specifically polyethylene glycol (P.E.G). This ingredient is found in many cosmetic products, oral hygiene and food items because it’s used as a preservative, binder and moisture retaining agent. Unfortunately it compromises the stability of the glue. Eventho Cyanoacrylate based glue used in Eyelash Extensions loves moisture, the chemical compound makeup of the molecule reacts with the chemical compound of the glue and breaks down the chemical chain causing it to pop off. This also happens with mineral oil that is found in a lot of cosmetic products. Coconut oil is a popular oil in shampoos, conditioners and facial products which can cause retention issues.


What are the daily activities during that time? Here are some examples.

Heat exposure. Ovens, hairdryers and lighters all may affect the retention. Direct extreme heat can cause the extensions to curl, warp or come off. Really hot showers can also cause issues. Always avoid direct heat of any kind.

Gym. During physical exercise some people sweat more then others. Unfortunately I am one of those people. Like our tears, our sweat has salt in it. Salt left on the extensions for too long slowly dissolves the glue. This can be avoided by using a headband and wiping away the sweat before it reaches the lashes.

Swimming. Just like salt from our skin, salt and chlorine from pools can sit on our extensions and cause the glue to break down. After the gym and pool, rinse the lashes off with clean, fresh water. This will neutralise the salt and chlorine from the extensions. Do this after swimming in the ocean too.

Sunscreen. We all need to protect our skin from the UVA and UVB rays however most sunscreens contain ingredients that can break down the glue. Avoid using spray on sunscreen and apply it thoughtfully so it doesn’t get onto the extensions. There is also oil free sunscreen available.

Sleep. We don’t know what we do when we sleep but our sleeping pattern can affect our retention. Sleeping on our face will definitely cause retention issues. Tugging, pulling and rubbing will greatly affect retention. Friction is one of the biggest problems. Think about how you sleep. Sometimes a sleeping mask can help to prevent friction. Sleeping on our back also helps.

Hay-fever or flu. It’s surprising how many times we touch our face and eyes on a normal day.  BUT when we have hay-fever, eye irritations, flu or other issues around our eyes this can increase significantly. Before you rub your eyes, ask yourself why you are about to rub them? Solve the problem before rubbing your eyelashes off.

Eye-drops and saline water.  Again saline = salt. It’s great for cleaning the eyes but don’t let the salt sit on the lashes. Rinse with clean, fresh water. Check the ingredients in the eye drops.

Towels. We all like a nice soft towel after a shower or bath. However, the fibres from a bath towel can catch on the eyelash extensions causing it to pop off. Use a towel on your body but use a microfiber cloth on your face and pat dry. They also feel really nice on the skin. Why not have a touch of luxury?

Dirt.  A lot of people don’t clean their lashes properly which causes daily dust, dirt and dead skin cells to build up on the eyelash extensions. Eyelash extensions should be cleaned every other day with a proper eyelash cleanser. This will also minimise the risk of eye infections.

Brushing. Brushing is good but TOO much brushing can cause the extensions to pop off. Again this is a friction issue. Use a gentle, clean mascara wand and don’t be too harsh while brushing. Gently brush down along the extensions and back up. This will re-position the eyelash extensions.

Shampoo, conditioner and soap. Some people tend to go a little crazy on how much product they use and get it all over their face. Again check the ingredients because no matter how careful we are some shampoo and conditioner can go over our face and onto our lashes. Build up can occur if it’s not rinsed off properly. Some people also use soap on their face that has moisturiser in it. The ingredients in the soap can also compromise the lash glue.

Medication. Unfortunately some medication can cause issue with our hormones which in turn causes issues with our hair. This includes our eyelashes. If you notice you are losing a lot of hair on your head, chances are you are losing a lot of eyelashes as well. Hormone replacement therapy, thyroid medication and other medications can all cause issues. There is no way on knowing how your body will react to medication until it does. Sometimes we need to take a break from lashes until our body recovers and the chemical makeup in our body is stable again.

Lash cycle. We all have different lash growth cycles. Twice a year during Autumn and Spring we go through a “shedding” phase. Just like our animal counterparts we will lose more hair during those times then any other time. This won’t be lashes “popping off” but it will feel like they are. This is a natural occurrence and during this time you will have more baby lashes and gaps. Don’t worry tho, this is temporary. They will grow back!

Lash serums. There are some lash serums that can be used in conjunction with eyelash extensions. This will cause the eyelash to grow faster! During the first few months the lash cycle will be quicker and then it will slow down and return to normal. Some serums can cause the lash cycle to go longer which actually helps with retention but other lash serums can compromise the glue causing retention issues.

Makeup. Not all makeup works well with eyelash extensions. Like I said previously, always check ingredients. Click on this link for makeup products that can be used with eyelash extensions.


Other things to consider that might cause Eyelash Extension Retention issues. 

Glue. Sometimes the humidity, temperature, age of the glue used and technique of the technician can all cause retention issues. Not ALL eyelash extensions will be applied with the exact amount of glue required for adhesion. Not every extension will want to stay put on a natural lash. If the natural lash has any residue buildup on them prior to the extension be placed on it, it won’t hold. If the glue “sets” too fast and drys too fast it can crack and fall off prematurely. No matter how good everything is, there will always be some that just don’t want to stay on.


First 24 hours.

This is the most crucial time for retention. Proper aftercare is key. This is what I tell ALL my clients.

  • Keep your lashes dry for at least 7 hours (24 hours is ideal).
  • No swimming, steam rooms, saunas or facials for 48 hours
  • Use only water based makeup removers and cleansers. Oily/cream based products will shorten the life of your Eyelash Extensions.
  • A foaming cleanser MUST be used on your lashes at least 2-3 times a week to help prevent eye infection.
  • Regular Cleansing will keep your lashes healthy, your Eyelash Extensions lashing longer and will help prevent a build-up of natural oils, dust and makeup.
  • Avoid exfoliates around the eye area. This includes chemical exfoliators like AHAs & Glycolic Acid cleansers.
  • No mascara for Volume Eyelash Extensions.
  • No eyelash curlers to be used while wearing Eyelash Extensions.
  • Avoid rubbing, touching or picking your Eyelash Extensions. This can become addictive, so just don’t go there!
  • Use a tissue to blot dry lashes after washing your face and brush with your lash spoolie if needed.
  • Let your Lash Stylist know immediately if you experience any irritation or discomfort.
  • Don’t forget to pre-book your eyelash refills at 2-4 week intervals in order to maintain the fullness of your Eyelash Extensions. Most clients come in every 3 weeks.



As you can see there are many factors which can cause eyelash extension retention issues. The good news is, most of them can be avoided by knowing why. There are a lot of products to avoid but there are also a lot more products available that will work. Might have to change a couple of minor things but it will be worth it when you have great lashes with great retention. For many of my clients, lashes are life!



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