The Beauty Mistake I Regret

Anita Horan with eyelash extensions.

So… most of you are familiar with my approach to writing – I often share stories about how imperfect I am. Well, I have a doozy of a confession.

Part of me wants to keep my faux pas a secret because I’m opening myself up for criticism from extremists, by sharing it. But my desire to prevent other people making the same mistake compels me to confess.

I love my children and I always seek opportunities to bond with them. My teen daughter in year 12 was preparing to attend her school formal. This was a big deal for her as it’s the first and last one she will attend. To mark the occasion, she decided to get eyelash extensions. If you live in Sydney, you can’t help but notice that eyelash extensions and bad lip injections are all the rage. I have snobbishly turned my nose up at the over the top puffy lips. I haven’t died my hair for 8 months, and I often go out with no make-up, hair scruffily tied in a bun with a cap hiding my lame attempt to look tidy.

If you live in Sydney, you can’t help but notice that eyelash extensions and bad lip injections are all the rage.

But when my daughter needed me to drive her to the beauty specialist to get eyelash extensions, I thought it might be a nice opportunity for us to share a mother-daughter bonding session, something ‘girly’ together. I did not do any research I imagined the extensions were like false lashes, which I have never had. My daughter had asked around and chose someone her friend recommended. On the big extension day, she was up first, and all seemed to be fine, her eyes looked a little red when the specialist had finished with her, but my daughter’s lashes looked amazing. She is a gorgeous girl and the lashes totally suited the shape of her eyes and had lovely fine fair ends to suit her hair and made her look even more beautiful.

When it was my turn, I lay down and the specialist painted the glue onto my lashes. Immediately glue ran straight into my eyes and burnt like acid. I have a high pain tolerance and am not one to make a scene unnecessarily. We didn’t have time for me to make a fuss, to wash it out and start over as we were on a tight schedule and I had to rush to work immediately after the appointment. For the entire hour it felt like I had acid in one eye, and I thought I was going to be blind. When I had the chance to finally open my eyes an hour later, I was surprised I could still see.

For the entire hour it felt like I had acid in one eye, and I thought I was going to be blind.

I requested the lashes to look like they were mine, not too long or fake looking. The specialist did a pretty good job, but my eyes were red raw and stung for ages afterwards.

The good thing is that for the next few weeks, I looked great even without any make up on. It was amazing what a difference, just having long lashes did for my looks, most days I didn’t wear any make up and still looked glamorous.

Anita Horan and daughter.
Me, without makeup (no that’s not me in the middle. I’m on the left and my daughter is on the right).

But everything else with my experience was negative. Every time I had a shower or my eyes watered, the glue ran into my eyes again and stung. The lashes would get tangled on each other and go the wrong way and look weird. After a few weeks they looked way too fake because they grow longer as your own lashes grow; because of my age, hair colour and shape of my eyes, the longer they got, the more ridiculous they looked.

Every time I had a shower or my eyes watered, the glue ran into my eyes again and stung.

To ‘tame’ them, I trimmed them with scissors, but then they lost the nice narrow end and became blunt and looked bad, but you can’t get rid of them! Often, I felt intense pain and it felt like needles sticking into me and the pain would not stop until I pulled my natural lash out. Yes, that’s right, you can’t pull the fake lash off, when you pull it, it pulls your own lash out because the glue is so strong. It’s been about 2 months now and finally they are all gone, and I have never appreciated the softness of my own lashes so much, but they are very short as they are all new lashes coming through.

My daughter’s lashes continued to look amazing, and then fell out gracefully with no problem. Even the remaining few looked nice because they were so fair and fine on the ends. My experience was vastly different to hers. I will never get eyelash extensions again, and recommend you learn from my mistake. Go zero waste eyelashes and save your vision and your lashes.

Have you made a beauty mistake you regret?

21 Replies to “The Beauty Mistake I Regret”

  1. I totally understand why you did this. I have a daughter (my baby) in year 12 this year. It is hard to share bonding experiences like this without compromise. I look at these things like living clean and healthy and then having that peice of cake with a friend or too many drinks at a wedding. You know its not good for your body and it suffers a little bit, but the respect you pay it most of the time is not lost and a connection with loved ones is and important. Your daughter will remember that time you put your eyesight on the line 😅 and had to trim your lashes.
    It does make you wonder about what those chemicals are and what the lashes are made from and where they end up. 🤔
    Valuable experience.

  2. Having the gift of being a caring, thoughtful human who does the best for their family and works tirelessly to make our planet a better and healthier place is stunningly beautiful.

  3. Geez thanks for the heads up! I’ve never felt the desire to be part of this fad but I do like the lashes on some friends… the glue is what spooks me with fancy nails so I shouldn’t be surprised they use the same kind of thing for eyelashes. Glad your eyes survived!

  4. Thanks for the honest review.
    I’ve only used false eyelashes twice.
    Both times the glue irritated the skin next to my lashes and made my eyes water, I’m not surprised the much stronger glue on extensions caused you so much hassle.
    I was also upset at how warped they were after taking them off. Definitely only single-use, which really irked me. More small plastic in the bin.
    I’ll stick with my tiny, blonde lashes. They’re not glamorous, but at least I know what they’re made from..

  5. I was lucky enough to be chosen for eyelash extensions model. It tools almost 3 hours to add long hairs to my minuscule lashes. A very uncomfortable 3 hours. The results were nice for the first week but was losing so many. I’m glad I didn’t and won’t pay $80+ for extensions. I prefer a no fuss beauty regime, just getting my white eyebrows died every 6 weeks or so and letting the greys on my head bloom naturally

  6. I am glad that I can’t get fake lashes and tints as I seem to have a reaction to the glues and tints – tried twice with same reaction.
    Now I am older, I see so many fake lashes and I just can’t justify the $50-80 a month to maintain them. Thank you for the honest account of your experience

  7. I think that experiences like this help us grow. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this story. The glue in the eyes sounds horrible! I haven’t ever had eyelash extensions, but I was doing a performance once and bought fake eyelashes. I got an entire packet of 5 different ones though and they’re just sitting in my bathroom. I feel terrible as I tell my friends and family to think about purchases and try to reduce waste. Yet I have this set of fake eyelashes I’ll probably never use… and they’re made from plastic! I’ve definitely learned my lesson, and I believe we’ve got to make mistakes before we learn. It only takes one moment like this to alter our opinion. Next time more research would be involved and less would be purchased.

    1. Thanks for reading and for your feedback Erin. I think we all have purchases like that, sitting in a draw somewhere.

      I had intended to research but then didn’t get around to it, trusting that ‘so many people were doing it, it must be fine’. I know now not to presume and definitely will make research a priority before any kind of commitment like this in the future.

  8. Hi Anita,

    These stories are the stories that make me very angry and sad. She obviously used too much glue and had no idea what she was doing. This should not happen when lash extenstions are applied properly. I am a lash artist and educator that has come to Sydney from America. Unfortunatley there is a lot of crap here in Sydney when it comes to lash extensions. Hopefully that will change soon and australia steps up their game with lash training. You are supposed to leave with a painless and joyful experience.

  9. To me it’s a mistake that I used to feel pressured to shave my armpits and legs and perhaps also nail polish. These days I prefer to go almost waste-free (some days I wear makeup…just foundation because I feel I need the shield against the world).

    It’s relatable though and how would you know without trying?

  10. I don’t remember any beauty mistakes that I’ve regret – maybe not communicating clearly enough when a hairdresser cut my hair the wrong way?
    Anyway, I wanted to comment to say that I knew someone who got eyelash extensions that only looked good for about 2wks before about half had fallen out and left the remaining few looking patchy. She would have to get them redone every week to keep up! Waste of time and money in my opinion, having to get it done so regularly.

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