Eyelash Extension Adhesive Myths

Adhesive Myths: The truth about eyelash extension adhesives.

eyelash extension application

The safest and most marketed eyelash extension adhesives mean little if not in the hands of skilled, licensed extension technicians.

Eyelash Extensions FDA APPROVED? Las Vegas wants to know!
There is not a single eyelash extension glue or adhesive that is FDA approved. Some manufactures lead you to believe that their glue is FDA approved when really their glue is simply with in FDA guidelines for not having more than 2% formaldehyde as a preservative. It is simple, most cosmetics in the USA contain preservatives and many use formaldehyde. This includes your shampoos, makeup and various other products. Many dry cleaners use formaldehyde. Some people have an allergy to formaldehyde and it could cause a reaction to the eyelash extension adhesive. So, many extension companies manufacture adhesives that do not contain it but not a single eyelash extension glue has an FDA approval.

Is the lash extension adhesive “surgical grade”?
Eyelash extension adhesives are not used in surgery or used to glue soft tissue on humans. This is another silly marketing tactic. Please ask what medical facility or organisation is using the eyelash glue in a medical procedure if you are told this rubbish. Adhesive produced for medical applications has some similarities and may share an ingredient or two with eyelash extension adhesives but it is doubtful that if the local hospital runs out of surgical glue that they will reach for some eyelash glue. “Nurse Davis! I need your eyelash glue stat!” Yeah right!

Hypoallergenic Eyelash Extension Adhesive: It must be awesome if it is hypoallergenic! What does hypoallergenic mean anyways? The term “hypoallergenic” is purely a marketing term. There is really no standard of this term. It is not a scientific, medical or government regulated term. Greek prefix hypo means “less” and allergenic means “causing allergies.” The American Food and Drug Administration states, “ Hypoallergenic cosmetics are products that manufacturers claim produce fewer allergic reactions than other cosmetic products. Consumers with hypersensitive skin, and even those with “normal” skin, may be led to believe that these products will be gentler to their skin than non-hypoallergenic cosmetics. There are no Federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term “hypoallergenic.” So what this means is that hypoallergenic means absolutely NOTHING.

Fantastic claims: I personally have a huge issue with any big eyelash extension company who claims “FDA approved, surgical grade and hypoallergenic” as though they have a superior adhesive that is so mild and has lasting power to boot. None of these claims are truthful and I must question the integrity and quality of the company for making such false claims.

Allergic Reactions: In almost 8 years and servicing around 3000 eyelash clients, we have seen about 6 authentic allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are possible no matter how rare they are. Unfortunately what some think is irritation due to allergic reactions to eyelash extensions is just very sloppy application by technicians. This can cause itching, pinching and massive clumping that doesn’t allow the natural lashes to move and shed freely. Using too much adhesive and getting it all over the skin can and will be irritating. This poorly applied extension irritation is far more common than a true allergic reaction.

Bad Glue: Yes there are some bad glues. If it was $5 from China, I would avoid it. Some nail shops are using flair glue from the drug stores and other crummy glues that are not manufactured for eyelash extensions. Yes these should be avoided! If you are getting a full set at your local little salon or got a mobile technician for cheap, you may want to think of why it is so cheap? The average quality adhesive costs the professional about $80 to $150 for a tiny bottle. The cheap stuff can be $5 from China or the drug store in the automotive department.

Facts: The fact is, eyelash extension adhesive is supposed to be applied to eyelash hair. It is not to be applied to the skin like surgical glue. Any time a technician uses too much glue or poorly applies the extensions so the glue contacts the skin, there are going to be issues. This stuff is strong. It has to be to use so very little of it and still have the holding strength to last as long as it does. It is supposed to be expertly applied by a licensed, experienced technician so no glue comes in contact with the skin.

Safe, quality glue is important but no matter how safe the manufacturer claims the glue is, it is the skill of the lash artist that ensures ultimate safety, quality and comfort. Adhesive is important but the best adhesive doesn’t ensure an excellent eyelash experience, that experience is in the hands of the technician.

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  1. Alison - December 31, 2012 5:35 pm

    My eyelash lady said her glue was hypoallergenic. What is that all about? Is there such a thing?

    • Administrator - December 31, 2012 11:19 pm

      Due to your comment I added more information on this article addressing the hypoallergenic issue. You will see the full updated version above because I think it is a VERY important issue to address. And in short, no no no… there is NO SUCH THING.

  2. shelly - January 6, 2013 10:43 pm

    I am really confused. I was told that my Novalash eyelash extensions were FDA approved and the only eyelash glue that is. So is it false advertising or a scam?

    • Theresa Garcia - January 6, 2013 10:58 pm

      First off….. we have Novalash extensions and platinum adhesive by Novalash.

      Novalash does not advertise that they are FDA or government endorsed anymore. They claim that they use the approved amount of FDA approved ingredients. That is all.

      Now a lash technician may take that information and tell clients that the product is FDA approved. That is typically just because that individual is not understanding the nature of the Novalash advertising campaigns. It may be her misunderstood interpretation. Novalash is disclosing that they use only the FDA approved cosmetic ingredients and preservatives in the approved percentages. A technician with limited knowledge of ingredients or FDA regulations may misunderstand this information and summarize it as “FDA approved eyelash extensions”.

      So, no I don’t think it is false advertising or a scam unless you technician is intentionally deceiving you.

      Did you know there isn’t a single permanent makeup pigment, mascara or eyeliner product that is “FDA approved”? This does not mean that it isn’t appropriate or safe.

      • Theresa Garcia - January 14, 2013 7:31 am

        Make sure to bookmark this site. We will be posting a lot of great information on eyelash extensions for consumers and prifessionals.

      • Shawn - January 21, 2014 1:34 am

        Not true, for years Novalash “claimed” their adhesive was FDA approved – hince the reason you say “they dont say it anymore” therefore, it is not the technician that is misunderstanding the information it is clearly misleading by Novalash. In addition, Novalash has claimed their adhesive is patient pending for over 7 years now – still pending? No, there is no patent. The reason is that their glue is a cyanoacrolate made and used in the shoe industry. You cant patent what you don’t own. Lastly, their adhesive does have formaldehyde and because they lost in court against the real leader in this industry, they have to list it on their website but found a clever way of doing it.

        • Theresa Garcia - February 7, 2014 11:19 pm

          We use their lashes. We like their synthetic lashes and many clients request Novalash. We however do not use their adhesive. We find it thick and it doesn’t hold like others. We all have our personal opinions on Novalash and their history but they make a good extension. Their glue isn’t to our standards. I can’t say more due to being accused of slander ect. By Novalash. I’m sure you can understand my position.

  3. Alison - February 1, 2013 2:43 am

    I’m not in Las Vegas but I did get Novalash eyelash extensions in Miami 2 days ago. I found a mobile girl on craigslist and she charged $90. I got mink fur with some glitter and clear glue. My eyes burned after and my lash artist said it would go away. It didn’t. I tried to call but no one returned my calls. I woke up the next day and the glue is all crystal white and hard. I had red swollen eyes. Nothing helped and no one answered the phone or returned my calls. I ripped them out taking out my real eyelashes too. I was so red and itchy. I assume this was the allergic reaction. The lash girl said Novalash was FDA approved, totally hypoallergenic and she said said that it was the best. From reading this article, I better understand the definition of those terms. I do want to know, is there a better glue and do I have other options so I can have eyelashes? I liked the look. It was beautiful. I just don’t want to go through that again.

    • Theresa Garcia - February 1, 2013 2:57 am

      Hmmmmmm .. ok, gonna address a few things about your eyelash extension issue.

      Obviously, I think you had a reaction to the adhesive/glue. However, I don’t think you had Novalash. Clear glue and mink fur are not a Novalash staple. The burning is not a big deal with Novalash. Slight fumes that dissipate quickly are not uncommon but “burning” is not a characteristic of this brand.

      Mobile? Beware of mobile and craigslist services because there is zero way of holding them accountable. Real professionals work in licensed, inspected facilities. You come to us. We don’t come to you.

      The price of $90 is really great but if you think you are getting real mink fur for that, you are sadly mistaken.

      I would be hesitantly cautious about putting lashes on you so I recommend getting a patch test first.

      I have no idea what you got on your eyelashes but I am strongly opposed to believing they were Novalash.

      Go to a REPUTABLE lash technician in a well reviewed spa or salon.

      • CJ - February 1, 2014 1:55 pm

        I made the horrible mistake of having cheap extensions and am still undergoing medical treatment of its aftermath. My eyelids were swollen shut with burns that looked like my eyelids had huge lips and blurred my vision from sloppy excessive glue application at a professional salon. They ripped out my natural lashes when removing them several months ago. They were silk extensions that cost $200 here in CT and $75 every two weeks for maintenance. They cost me a fortune and caused me great pain and missed time from work. We even switched to the ‘sensitive’ glue which appeared no different as far as reaction and did not last more than a week. Nightmare experience that I’m still spending a fortune on medical co-pays as a result. This allergic result is called: peri orbital/lid swelling in mass or lump causing elephant dermatitis. Formaldehyde is not the only culprit here. Several months of medical testing resulting in the following allergy irritants; acetates, hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), ethyl. Acrylates (EA), methyl methacrylate (MMA). These irritants are found in cheap adhesives and …
        acrylates – gel or acrylic nails … Yes nails will cause eye swelling if allergic. I am not at all in any way in the medical field but a patient with severe aftermath of cheap extensions who is sharing her doctor report. PMID: 21504694 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]. Look it up yourself! Ask to see ingredients and I’ve been told a glue does not exist without these acetates to date. Good luck!


        • Theresa Garcia - February 18, 2014 3:29 am

          This is why it is so important to use only quality products. Have a LICENSED not MOBILE (illegal) technician at a licensed spa/salon provide extensions. Do not mess around with the cheap nail salons or mobile here today gone tomorrow provider.

  4. Coco - February 20, 2013 12:12 am

    I had my eyelash extensions applied 5 days ago. I think the adhesive is called Savashana. They look absolutely perfect, but now my eyes have began itching and burning several days later. My face and nose feels itchy as well. Taking a shower makes my eyes feel painful. What is up??

    • Theresa Garcia - February 22, 2013 3:25 am

      I’m not sure how your application was done. You may be having a reaction to glue being on your skin, a sealer, improperly applied extensions or an adhesive sensitivity.

      I can’t say for sure but I highly suggest you consult with the technician who applied them. If you are allergic to the adhesive ect. She will remove them ASAP.

      Hope this helps.

    • Theresa Garcia - February 22, 2013 3:27 am

      FYI… we do not use that brand and this client did not receive her extensions with us.

  5. Laura - March 30, 2013 5:25 am

    Hi, I live in Ohio and had my lashes done at JNicole and then again at Salon Lofts. Both applications caused my upper and lower lids to swell for the next two days. The eyes were very red. The lids went down after I applied tea bags. Eyes were red for three after lashes applied. After the swelling went down and eyes were not red, the lashes look great and remained full for 3-4 weeks. Does this sound like adhesive reaction? As an FYI, the lower lid was just as swollen if not more than the top where the lashes were applied. Could it be the gel pad that is used on the lower lid?

    • Theresa Garcia - April 1, 2013 11:31 pm

      It may be the pads. If you had eye watering during the application, it could have spread the gel pad ingredients to the base line of the upper lid. Once that was gone your irritation subsided. However, they may have used a sealer that caused an issue. I’m not entirely sure. Sorry.

  6. Kourtney Moehring - June 7, 2013 8:40 am

    Most people will have some problem with allergies or allergic reactions at some point in their lives. Allergic reactions can range from mild and annoying to sudden and life-threatening. Most allergic reactions are mild, and home treatment can relieve many of the symptoms. An allergic reaction is more serious when severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) occurs, when allergies cause other problems (such as nosebleeds, ear problems, wheezing, or coughing), or when home treatment doesn’t help.

    • Theresa Garcia - June 11, 2013 4:37 am

      Thank you for the comment.

  7. Matty - June 18, 2013 8:31 am

    Hi! I’m having trouble with our Platinum Bond from Novalash. The consistency is either very thick or very watery. We don’t know if we maybe got a bad batch of glue or if we are maybe doing something wrong. We are storing it at room temperature as required. Do you have any suggestions as to what the problem might be?

    • Theresa Garcia - August 12, 2013 7:18 am

      Honestly….. I am really unhappy with Novlash Platinum Bond. Most of the time it is thick and sticky. It is almost stringy. We don’t want clients with clumpy lashes and it doesn’t hold. In addition, the allergic reactions are plentiful. I feel ya! I don’t think it is just you. I think their quality control is not too controlled.

  8. Amber - June 26, 2013 10:15 am

    I had the Novalashes applied yesterday. During the procedure my right eye began tearing. Last night and today my lower eye is still very red. Is there a drop I can use to help? I’m getting married in two weeks and really hope this is an irritation that will go away. I was going to get a fill before the wedding, but now I’m worried.

    • Theresa Garcia - August 12, 2013 7:15 am

      I know you were not a client of ours right? We aren’t using the Novalash glue at this time. We love their lashes but their adhesive causes reactions far more than any others we have tried. It sounds like you had a reaction to the Novalash glue. I would suggest getting them soaked off ASAP.

  9. Nickie310 - August 7, 2013 8:44 am

    Eyelash extensions was a very good money making business for me until my clients developed sensitivity to some of the ingredients. My friend and I were testing everything in the kit and realized that the sensitivity and bad reactions are coming from gel pads and adhesive tapes. There no hypoallergenic pads/patches/tapes on market. NOPE! I tried a plastic mascara shield to hold under the eye while I was doing the procedure, however it is very stressful to do because of fear of pocking my client’s eye. Client is not a good help to hold it. Do not even try to ask her to hold it for so long. Mascara shield is handheld thing and this is its disadvantage. However, at least it can prevent the reaction if your client is allergic to pads and tape.
    I ordered some new thing – eyelash guard that suppose would hold bottom lashes without adhesives. I read some aesthetician in Warsaw use it to isolate bottom lashes. Also, she suggested covering eyelids with the second one to protect the skin from the fumes. I will post my review after we will try it. May be it will solve many issues. I hope. Monies are too good to lose. Do you have a better suggestion for this issue? Please share.

    • Theresa Garcia - August 12, 2013 7:05 am

      We have not really had issues with tape or gel pads. We do not use tape but found eye treatment gel pads to work fine.

  10. Jen - August 29, 2013 8:01 am

    Hello. I am going on 4 years of doing lash extensions. I have been doing them along with other services, waxing & facials. The past year I have begun to develope allergic reactions to the glue fumes myself from repeated exposure some days I’d be doing lashes for 6-7 hrs straight with no break. I now cannot do more than one touch up a day with out becoming sick. Sinus, bronchial, eye irritation and headaches. Of course I did start using a mask with in the past year as well and it helped a little. But now it doesn’t. Has anyone heard of technicians having reactions over time to the glue exposure? In my training with nova lash they never mentioned the need for a mask or protective eyeware. The MSDS at that time stated to have proper ventilation or a fan, but no eyeware. The MSDS now states to wear protective eyeware. Anyone have the MSDS from last year or older? Thank you.

    • Theresa Garcia - December 28, 2013 6:41 am

      Haven’t heard of that before. You should call the manufacturer.

  11. Diane - August 31, 2013 9:27 pm

    I need help ASAP! I bought a groupon from a salon claiming to do eyelash extensions. What she gave me are regular cluster lashes with a super, super strong glue. They are extremely uncomfortable. I have hairs poking one of my eyes everytime I blink. What do I use to get these off? I’m desperate right now. My normal eyelash girl I use is booked. I should’ve know this was a deal to go to be true.

  12. Christine - July 9, 2014 5:04 pm

    I’m a licensed esthetician looking to get my lash certification. I’ve reasearch Nova Lash and Xtreme. Seems like most allergic reactions are coming from Nova lash products via adhesive or pads. It’s a big investment and would hate to spend a lot of money, I want to go with the better lash line. Do you have any info or personal experience with either line. I read you use Nova lash, but hindsight being 20/20, would you still have gone through Nova Lash?
    What glue are you using, you’ve made a couple of references but didn’t say which glue it is.
    Thanks for your help!


    • Theresa Garcia - October 27, 2014 12:45 am

      We use 4 different glues now. It depends on which lashes we are using.

  13. carolina - October 7, 2014 12:45 am

    My name is Carolina, I’m from Brazil, and I work with eyelashes extension for 4 years now. I moved to Canada and I’m looking for a good brand to work, I didn’t bring my things thinking that here could be easier, can you tell me the brand of the glue and a good kit that you use? I want to keep de quality of my work, so it doesn’t matter the cost. You can contact me for email carolchenta@gmail.com.
    Thank you very much.

    • Theresa Garcia - October 27, 2014 12:47 am

      We use many brands and types of extensions. We do not favor only one brand as no single brand can accommodate every clients needs.

  14. Michelle - October 16, 2014 3:51 pm

    I had a reputable salon apply my extensions, mink. After the third refill, I experienced the itching,swelling, and redness. It was awful. I had to be under the care of my eye doctor for three weeks. I believe it was the careless application of the technician. She was more concerned about texting yes texting during my service. A cell phone is a bacteria haven and she is touching my face and eyes. I was insane, I should have jumped off that table and got the manager. I love lash extensions but never again.

    • Theresa Garcia - October 27, 2014 12:48 am

      The issues you had most likely is due to a reaction to the adhesive. That is an allergy not a dirty cell phone issue.

  15. Theresa Garcia - August 12, 2013 7:10 am

    We have never had an issue with our pads. A client who has sensitive skin or a history of allergic reactions to skin care products is just not a client who can have extensions. Again, we have not had an issue with our pads. We have seen problems with eyelash extension adhesives and are using only the best US brands as to avoid reactions. We have done thousands of clients and our pads are great. It was tape and stickers that caused problems.

  16. Theresa Garcia - February 7, 2014 11:21 pm

    :-) Wow….

  17. Theresa Garcia - February 7, 2014 11:27 pm

    We can count reactions from our clients on one hand in 8 years. Yes we used the Novalash adhesive for a short time but we use another type for a variety of reasons. We love Novalash lashes but their adhesive is not our preferred adhesive. We keep it to accommodate clients who demand it. Novalash did state they were FDA approved and it wasn’t so. They made a few claims we found to be misleading and decided to not use their adhesive. Unfortunately, this sort of advertising hurts us all. We use their synthetic lashes only. Their adhesive was the culprit in some reactions so we went another direction. We care about our clients.

  18. Theresa Garcia - July 6, 2014 10:26 am

    We use two excellent adhesives.


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