In the quest for long, lush lashes, options abound. From daily use, lash-building serums and boosters to temporary fixes like mascaras and falsies, to longer-term investments like lash extensions — even the wimpiest of lashes can look luxurious.
The latest way to cop come-hither, fluttery lashes are magnetic — literally — and can elevate your lashes to look miles long and ultra voluminous. But are magnetic eyelashes actually safe? Let's find out. Plus, learn what you can do to encourage fuller, thicker lashes naturally.
For those days when even the best mascara just won't cut it, going faux can take your lashes to the next level. You’ve likely worn false eyelashes at some point (bridesmaid duty calls) — they are a tried-and-true makeup artist trick for a long, lush lash look. Until recently, falsies brought to mind the more traditional strip lashes — and with them, messy glues, pesky tweezers and tricky placement along your eyelids. The latest innovation, however, is done without glue. Instead, you use magnetic eyelashes that attach to magnetic eyeliner.
Unlike those false eyelashes that are glued on, magnetic eyelashes secure to each other, and your lash line, utilizing miniature magnets and, in some types, magnetic eyeliner. Essentially, these tiny magnets are virtually invisible when placed along the lash line with your natural eyelashes in the center of the magnetic "sandwich" force.
How Magnetic Lashes Work
"There are two versions of magnetic lashes,” said Terri Bryant, celebrity makeup artist and founder of GUIDE BEAUTY.
The first option works like the aforementioned lash “sandwich," utilizing two false lash strips for each eye. These false strips are applied above and below your natural lash line — with your natural eyelashes between them —and attached to one another using the tiny magnets.
“Magnetic lashes look like two sets of false lashes that adhere to each other magnetically with your real lashes sandwiched in between,” said Ramy Gafni, eyebrow expert and founder of Ramy Cosmetics. “Traditional false lashes require adhesive [glue] to make the lashes adhere to your lash line. Magnetic lashes require no glue and are less cumbersome to remove.”
The second type of magnetic eyelashes both looks and is applied in a similar manner to liquid eyeliner. The difference: It is actually magnetic eyeliner. After carefully applying the magnetic eyeliner, you place a single magnetic lash strip on top of the magnetic liner, and the two pieces will adhere to one other without glue.
Are Magnetic Lashes Safe?
If the thought of adhering metallic, magnetic clamps to your precious eyes makes you break out into a cold sweat, take a moment and breath. For the most part, magnetic eyelashes can be safe — provided you treat them as houseguests that don’t overextend their welcome.
“I think magnetic lashes are safe if you wear them on occasion. I don’t recommend them for everyday use. If you wear them too long, for example, or sleep with your magnetic lashes on, it can lead to infection of the eyelid or lash loss,” said Gafni. "I think they’re fine for special occasions but should not be your go-to for your everyday makeup routine."
And, as magnetic lashes are considerably easier to be removed, there may be a tendency to take less care when handling them as you might with the traditional method that involves glues. This can also result in further irritation and the risk of an eye infection.
“Magnetic lashes seem to be generally safe when used correctly and certainly solve the issue of potentially gluing the lashes together,” said Bryant. "You’re still working with the delicate eye area, so I recommend using lightweight options (from reputable brands) that don’t weigh heavily on the eyelid, replacing them often and taking your time to gently apply or remove magnetic eyeliner or magnetic lashes."
Let's Talk Lash Loss
The pros: These miniature magnets appear easier than adhesive lashes in that they don't require potentially irritating glue for their application and the removal process is generally less time-consuming than with traditional false eyelashes.
The cons: Magnetic lashes may come with side effects, especially in those with already sensitive eyes or skin.
Some side effects of using magnetic lashes can include:
- Contact dermatitis
- Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis
- Irritation to the sensitive skin on the eyelids
- Triggering certain types of hair loss, such as traction alopecia
- Reaction to the iron oxides found in magnetic eyeliner
- Excessive weight damaging or pulling out hair from the lash follicles
As with lash extensions, bearing extra weight over time may cause natural lashes to fall out or even leave bald spots along the lash line. However, the lashes that come with magnetic liner adhere to the eyeliner, which is on the eyelid skin. Thus, it shouldn’t cause lash loss in most people unless there is an allergic reaction to the liner or lashes themselves.
While it’s generally thought that magnetic false lashes are safer than false lashes that use glue, which can be very irritating for the eyes, they can also be harmful to your natural lashes if used incorrectly. This can cause breakage or the natural lashes to grow in the wrong direction — otherwise known as ingrown lashes.
There's also some concern over the health risks of iron oxides, which are mineral deposits that can cause staining of the skin, and one of the ingredients found in magnetic liner. However, iron oxide is found in a variety of makeup products, including traditional eyeliner, and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The iron oxide in the magnetic liner is synthetic, so it doesn’t have ferrous or ferric oxides.
It’s always best to practice safety first and speak with your doctor. Consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist before using any type of false eyelashes, especially if you have medical concerns or any preexisting eye conditions.
You can also try a patch test of any new-to-you products on less sensitive parts of the body like the back of your hand before applying them to your face. In order to prevent eye infections, eyelid or skin damage, it's also imperative to remove your eye makeup completely at the end of the day. Practicing the proper techniques in the application of magnetic lashes may also minimize their damaging effects such as breakage, lash or hair loss and skin irritation.
Gorgeous Lashes: The Natural Way
For an alternative and healthier way to boost your lashes, try a serum like the best-selling vegaLASH Volumizing Serum. Or opt for GRO+ Advanced Lash Serum which also includes the added power of microencapsulated, full-spectrum CBD.
It’s safe for daily use, free of known toxins and is formulated to quickly penetrate and soothe skin. The concentrated cannabidiol is paired with phyto-actives, such as mung bean and red clover extracts, for longer, thicker-looking lashes. Or, up the ante by boosting both your lashes and brows with an eyelash kit, such as the GRO+ Advanced Lash and Brow Kit.
Eyelash Do's & Don'ts
"While more traditional false lashes require lash glue that dries and sets the false lash in place, magnetic lashes allow for less of a commitment and are generally considered to be less wear and tear on our natural lashes provided they are cared for, applied and removed as recommended," said Marisal Mou, a cosmetic chemist with multiple patents who works with Wander Beauty.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious or forgo your usual due diligence when it comes to handling your eyelash kit, along with practicing extra-careful cleansing and hygiene habits. There are a number of important safety tips to keep in mind when using magnetic lashes.
Magnetic Lash Removal Dos:
- When removing magnetic lashes, take it slow and steady to avoid ripping out the natural lashes from the hair follicles.
- To remove magnetic lashes, gently pull them apart by lifting the top lash up and pulling the bottom one down.
- You can also slide the top and bottom magnets away from each other individually.
Magnetic Lash Removal Don'ts:
- Don't pull magnetic lashes straight off, as this could harm your natural lashes or rip them out.
- Don't use your thumb and index finger to slide them apart.
- Practice extra careful hygiene habits.
- “Anytime we need to touch around the eye area, it’s advised to do so with clean hands as eye infections can be introduced from our fingers," Mou said.
- Contact lens wearers should proceed with extra caution: "For contact lens wearers that don’t have chronic dry eyes, the key is always to wash hands first, put in the contact lens at least 10 minutes before proceeding with eye makeup and keep all the tools for eye area clean," Mou added. "That’s the first line of defense against irritation."
- Don't forget to replace false lashes on a regular basis.
- Don't share them with others.
Finally, do implement other healthy habits into your lifestyle to help improve your overall wellness, which, in turn, can help prevent or minimize potential stress-induced hair loss.
Try stress-reducing yoga, practice being mindful, engage in meditation, eat a nutritious diet, get adequate sleep and cultivate a self-care routine that takes care of the most important person in your life: You.