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I got an awful eyelash extension now my eyes are fused shut

Jul 06, 2023

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"Maybe I shouldn't be in this industry…"

That's what lash technician, @__lashedbychloe messaged her 17-year-old client, Sarah*, after Sarah claims she botched her eyelash extensions and left her with her eyes fused together.

The text, which came after a lengthy exchange between the two, suggests that the mobile technician finally recognized the impact of her work.

But that did little to help the teen, whose been left with corneal abrasions, blurry vision and lost many of her natural lashes, some of which were found in the back of her eye socket.

After multiple hospital visits and optometrist appointments, Sarah has been told she could face permanent damage to her vision.

The shocking story serves as a warning of the dangers of the backyard beauty business and what some have claimed is a grossly unregulated industry.

Kidspot spoke exclusively to Sarah and her mum Jo* to find out exactly what happened, including the red flags during the service and their ongoing battle to get financial compensation for the procedure.

Like many 17-year-olds, Sarah loves to get eyelash extensions.

The Queensland teen's usual technician wasn't available, so she let her fingers do the scrolling online.

Not long after, she came across an Instagram account, @___lashedbychloe, that was filled with countless photos of clients with perfectly applied lashes.

Sarah told Kidspot exclusively that she thought that she, "looked really good and professional," so she and her sister booked in.

When the mobile technician, who is just two years older than Sarah, came to their house, she set up in one of their rooms and got to work.

After the 30-minute application, Sarah recalls the moment she knew something had gone wrong.

"She tried to open my eyes but they wouldn't open. She tried to force them open for a while, it was very painful."

Eventually, she ended up prying her eyes open with her fingers.

Looking back, Sarah can now recognise that there were a few red flags during the procedure.

Firstly, the technician never asked what type of lashes she wanted before she began.

As soon as the teen realised the technician was starting, she spoke up and told her what style she wanted.

She asked for 5D lashes, a type of extension where five fake lashes are applied per one natural lash.

Sarah also noted the lack of communication throughout the appointment, which she found unsettling.

But the most telling sign that something wasn't right was the fact that her eyes started burning during the process.

Then after her eyelids became fused together, she had a sinking feeling in her stomach because her suspicions were confirmed.

All that the technician could say was, "Sorry."

Sarah's mom Jo, was mortified by the situation. "It's sh—ty, especially when you think you’ve found a professional," she said.

Immediately afterwards, Sarah remembers her eyes becoming, "sore, swollen and bloodshot red. My vision was blurry and I had yellow gunk coming out of one of my eyes."

The irritation and inflammation left her at the hospital three times, where the doctors removed multiple eyelashes from her eye socket.

The doctors also suggested that Sarah should have all her eyelashes cut off, including her natural ones.

It was then that Jo reached out to a Facebook community for help. Thankfully, a beauty expert reached out to her and offered to remove Sarah's faulty lashes.

After two hours, the woman had managed to get most of the eyelash extensions off, but the glue was unable to be removed with the dissolver that is typically used to dissolve eyelash glue. This has led Sarah and Jo to believe that the technician may have used inferior products during the procedure.

The remaining glue was still causing her eyes a lot of pain, so Sarah and Jo went to optometrists and eye specialists for further help.

"I’m doing eye treatment at the moment, three times a day," Sarah explains. "I am on two different drops for my eyes.

"I’ve been diagnosed with corneal abrasions and have lost some of my natural lashes. I still have very sore, sensitive eyes and double vision that's blurred."

She's missed work and school and isn't allowed to go out in the sun for the foreseeable future.

Her senior prom is also coming up and she's understandably worried about whether or not her injury will impact her going.

Immediately after the incident, Sarah reached out to the technician and asked if she had business insurance to cover the medical expenses she's incurred. She didn't reply and took her Instagram page down (it has since been put back up.)

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Sarah reached out to her again and asked her for a refund.

She paid $130 for the service, but the technician said she could only afford to refund her $40.

After Sarah pushed back on this, the technician eventually offered $90 as "she couldn't afford much more because of bills and other repayments."

The technician also admitted to Sarah that she probably "shouldn't be in this industry."

Sarah is devastated by what happened and says she won't be getting extensions again any time soon.

"My advice to people is to check lots of reviews and don't just rely on photos on their Instagram accounts."

Sarah's experience is not uncommon, with people increasingly reporting incidents connected to the unregulated lash industry operating on Instagram these days.

According to The Gold Coast Bulletin, this industry is booming, with many social-media-based businesses helmed by self-employed beauty ‘"technicians."

But the fact of the matter is — there are currently no training requirements in Australia to operate as a lash technician.

The unregulated sector also has no formal code of conduct.

Ultimately, safety has to come first with services like these. So do your research, get advice and recommendations from friends and ask lots of questions when you get there.

*Names have been changed to protect identities.

Kidspot has reached out to @___lashedbychloe for comment.

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