Are Lash Lifts Bad for Your Eyelashes? Lash Lift Risks

By Emily M.| Last updated on July 14, 2022
are lash lifts bad for your eyelashes
⏱️ 4 min read

A lash lift is done by using chemicals directly on your eyelashes, and they change their structure and texture. This is a red flag for many people who worry are lash lifts bad for your eyelashes. Obviously, the results of the treatment are stunning, but people don’t want to risk damaging their lashes.

Well, luckily, lash lifts don’t generally do that, but there are some risks involved with the treatment.

Here’s a discussion on when, how and why a lash lift could potentially be bad for the lashes.

What Chemicals Are Used in a Lash Lift Treatment?

The lash lift is a 2-step procedure that uses the following products:

  • a cleanser for cleaning the lashes before the treatment
  • an adhesive used to stick the silicone shaping rod to the eyelid and the lashes to the rod
  • a perming solution that straightens the lashes
  • a neutralizing solution that fixes the lashes into the curled shape
  • a lash tint to darken the lashes (this is optional).

If used properly, none of these chemicals are harmful. But if they are not used according to instructions, or if the technician misjudges the state of your lashes and leaves the chemicals on for too long, they could potentially be bad for your eyelashes.

What Chemicals Are Used in a Lash Lift TreatmentImage source: Instagram @nouveaulashesaustralia

What Can Happen If the Chemicals Aren’t Used Properly?

First off, the chemicals are never supposed to come into contact with the skin. While protecting your lashes is important, making sure the skin isn’t affected is arguably even more important, especially since eyelids are generally sensitive.

A silicone shield is stuck onto the eyelid above the lash line, and the lashes are brushed upwards, and fixed onto it. This makes sure the chemicals only go onto the lashes, and not into your eyes or onto the skin. Coating the lashes with the products has to be done carefully so the chemicals don’t get where they’re not supposed to.

The lashes themselves can get damaged by the perming and the neutralizing solutions, which are supposed to sit on the lashes for 10 minutes*. Any longer than that, and there’s a risk of damage. Timing is very important here, and the tech needs to be precise, because leaving the solutions on for even a couple of extra minutes can be bad for your eyelashes.

Experienced techs can sometimes adjust the timing to the state of your lashes: thinner lashes might need less time than thicker ones.

The perming solution is one of the reasons why lash lifts are bad for your eyelashes if they’re not done right. This solution works by breaking up the disulfide bond in the hair, and if this process isn’t stopped by the neutralizing solution at the right time, the lashes can get overprocessed.

But perhaps an even bigger risk is the neutralizing solution which fixes the lashes into the desired shape. If this solution is left on for too long, the lashes can get frizzy, brittle, fragile, and so damaged they end up breaking or even falling out (only in the most extreme cases).

The potential damage may not be visible immediately after the treatment. As the solutions are distributed over the lashes, they also affect the tips of those short, baby lashes which are just growing out and are much thinner, so they get damaged more easily. Damage to the baby hairs will only be visible once they grow longer.

*10 minutes is what most solutions require, but the timing might differ depending on the manufacturer. Some solutions work in as little as 5 minutes. It’s important to always follow the instructions provided with the products.


Even a lash lift done perfectly can be drying for your eyelashes, but this isn’t a problem as long as you keep them nourished afterwards. Be prepared for them to change the texture slightly, but anything more severe can be a sign of a lash lift gone wrong.

Lash lift correctionImage source: Instagram @yulia.lash.brow

Are There Any Other Risks?

Whenever you’re getting a treatment for the first time, you should have a patch test done beforehand to make sure you’re not allergic to any of the products used. This includes the lash lift.

However, the perming solution, the neutralizing solution and the tinting solution are never supposed to come into contact with the skin, so unless this happens, this is highly unlikely to happen with those 2 products. The adhesive used for the silicone rod is another story.

The silicone rod is stuck to the eyelid, so the adhesive comes into direct contact with the skin of the eyelid, which is quite delicate and sensitive. The allergic reaction can therefore be quite severe, and this product should be patch tested.

You should be aware that if the lash lift solutions get onto your skin or eyes, they can cause irritation, burning, itching, etc.

Some eye irritation is expected since your eye is poked around for like 45 minutes during the treatment, but any burning or a similar sensation might be a sign of a more severe reaction. If you experience anything severe, contact your lash tech and an ophthalmologist. In the case of skin irritation, contact a dermatologist.

Read more about the risks and side effects of a lash lift.

bad lash liftsImage source: Instagram @labeauteatelier

So, Are Lash Lifts Bad for Your Eyelashes?

Not if they’re done right. If you go to a trained, licensed and experienced technician who will do the treatment right, assessing the state of your lashes correctly, there’s very little chance of anything going wrong.

The case when are lash lifts bad for your eyelashes more often is if you decide to do it yourself. Lash lifts can be done at home, but you have to be extremely careful. You’re not a trained professional and you might misjudge the state of your lashes. Make sure to adhere to the instructions provided with your lash lift kit as closely as possible.

Read more about doing a lash lift yourself.

Cover image source: Freepik



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