Women have long relied on false eyelashes to intensify their natural lashes with thickness and length. False eyelashes have come in many varieties through the years, from the classic adhesives to lash extensions individually woven onto lashes in specialty salons.
A new contender in the lash market, magnetic lashes are the latest trend to make news. But do magnetic lashes have staying power? And what are the health concerns, if any, with magnetic lashes?
Instead of fussing with glues and lashes, which often requires a delicate touch and lots of practice to master, falsies not lining up, or painful tearing out of natural lashes when it comes time for removal, magnetic lashes offer a new twist. These products work by sandwiching natural lashes between a false lash set that adheres with small magnets. To apply, one simply places the top lash and the bottom lash on the lash line with her natural lashes in between. The false lashes, which are reusable, click into place and are designed to be easily removed by sliding the magnetic strips apart.
As more people embrace magnetic lashes, some may begin to wonder if there are any potential health concerns associated with them. Magnetic lashes seem to present some of the same concerns of other false lashes and eyelash extensions. False eyelashes and eyelash extensions can cause various issues, advises Consumer Reports. Eyelash extensions have reportedly caused irritation to the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) or cornea (keratitis). The irritation may be caused by direct contact from the lashes themselves or hypersensitivity to the substances used to attach them. Also, the College of Optometrists in England has warned that "repeated use of eyelash extensions or false lashes can cause traction alopecia, a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft."
False lashes have been associated with other problems as well. According to a study from Guillermo Amador, a Ph.D. candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, changing the proportion of eyelash (which ideally is one-third the width of the eye in length) can increase airflow around the eye and lead to more dust hitting the surface of the eye. Consequently, this air and dust can dry out the eyes quickly.
While many proponents of magnetic lashes say they are easy to use, less messy and more convenient than glue varieties that may cause allergic reactions, there are those who lament that the magnetic lash strips, which need to be straight, do not bend with the curvature of the eye. This results in a less-than-natural appearance. There's also the risk of a disruption in the lay of the natural lashes because they're anchoring the magnetic sets. Exercise caution to reduce yanking on natural lashes during application and removal. False eyelashes should be cleaned and only be applied after freshly washing your hands.
Women interested in trying magnetic lashes should first speak with an eye doctor to gauge their safety prior to use, and with any false lashes, give the eyes a chance to rest between uses.