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Caring for Your Eyelashes During Chemo

Let’s play a word association game, shall we? I say: CHEMO. You say…HAIR LOSS.

It’s one of the first side effects people think of when they hear the word chemotherapy. But hair loss from chemo isn’t just relegated to the hair on your head. Chemo can also cause your eyebrow hairs and eyelashes to fall out. Here’s some guidance on caring for your lashes during chemo and beyond.

Why Eyelashes Fall Out During Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy drugs attack rapidly growing cancer cells. But unfortunately, chemo can’t tell the difference between malignant cells and healthy cells, so all rapidly growing cells in your body, including the cells in your hair roots, are targeted by chemo and certain types of radiation therapy.

During and after chemotherapy your eyelashes may get thinner, sparser, or fall out altogether. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a new set of lashes to grown in, but because chemotherapy can cause long-term changes to hair follicles, your lashes may grow in weaker, or grow in and fall out again over the course of a year or more. These changes shouldn’t be permanent, so please be patient as your body transitions through treatment and back into robust health.

Caring for Your Lashes During Chemo

Your lashes need some extra TLC and babying during chemo and the recovery period, which varies from patient to patient. It’s important not to put any extra stress on lashes. If possible, try to avoid rubbing eyes or applying eye makeup such as mascara to lashes. If need be, accentuate eyes with liner or shadow, as opposed to making up your eyelashes.

It’s probably best to refrain from using eyelash extensions during chemotherapy, and several weeks after your last treatment, as your lashes are still susceptible to the effects of the drugs. Ideally, you’ll want to wait until your natural lashes are less fragile. Ask your doctor about using natural oils on your lashes to help nourish the follicles back to health.

Try Strip Lashes Occasionally

While you don’t want to put any undue stress on your lashes, it’s possible to use a lightweight strip lash on special occasions. I recommend the following lightweight strip lashes from our Glad Girl Strip Lash Kits, which come with adhesive and a plastic applicator and are available in many different styles.

Lightweight Options

GladGirl strip lash Babydoll

Baby Doll: for a soft, natural look

GladGirl strip lash Accent

Accent: for a fun, flirty look

GladGirl strip lash Au Naturel

Au Naturel: for a natural look with some va va voom

GladGirl strip lash Strip Bare

Strip Bare: for a delicate, light lift

How to Apply Strip Lashes

Your eyes and eyelashes are particularly sensitive, so opt for a type of strip lash that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, such as strip lashes made from natural materials like human hair, rather than synthetics. Before applying, test for any allergic reactions to the adhesive glue as well.

  1. Measure the lashes against your eyelid, and then trim the lashes so that they fall just short of the inner area of your eye.
  2. Line your eyelid to mark where you want to apply the lashes. It makes the application process easier, and gives you a visibly smooth line.
  3. Holding the lashes with the Strip Lash Applicator (you can also use tweezers, although they’re not as gentle on lashes), apply a thin layer of Strip Lash Glue to the base of the lashes with a toothpick or orange wood stick.
  4. Wait till the glue becomes tacky, and then carefully center the strip as close to your lashes as possible.
  5. Press gently down along your natural lash line, and hold for a few seconds while the glue bonds with your skin.

Be patient, beautiful! Your eyelashes will grow back and get stronger over time, and you’ll be flaunting long, luscious lashes once again.


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Esther Bolkin

Esther Bolkin, Glad Lash founder, is a veteran of the beauty industry with over 30 years of professional experience in skincare, makeup, and the application of eyelash extensions. She holds both her aesthetician and cosmetology licenses and sits on the Editorial Advisory Board at Eye-Lash Magazine. Esther now focusses on new product development and is heavily involved in the training of a new generation of lash professionals through Glad Lash Academy. Enjoy what she has to say here on the blog.

Disclaimer! Opinions expressed on the Glad Lash Blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Glad Lash Inc. Content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before making decisions that could affect your business or clients.

4 thoughts on “Caring for Your Eyelashes During Chemo”

  1. Annie says:

    I thought the mink lashes would be ideal as you recover enough to feel like glamming up, no more nausea etc.
    It seems the lightness and soft texture would be greatly appreciated. Am I wrong? Annie

    1. Esther Bolkin says:

      Hi Anne, Thank you for your great question. You are not wrong 🙂

      Along with waiting until chemo is complete, if the client is feeling up to the application and the natural lashes appear strong enough for single strands, I think an experienced lash artist could determine on a case-by-case basis if the application could be done.

      As Ellie mentioned, this can be a great time for clients to fall in love with single strand eyelash extensions. If you determine based on these conditions to move forward with the application I recommend using synthetic mink extensions, like our Salon Professional or Glad Lash Signature in a very light weight of either .10 or .15 thickness. Also, if you are familiar with the Volume technique then .05 or .07 with their ultra light weight will cause even less stress on the natural lashes. Additionally, the lighter the lash the softer it will feel. This will definitely give your clients that glammed up feel. Happy lashing!

  2. Ellie Kern says:

    I am a survivor and yes I had next to nothing lashes! This is actually where my love for lashes began! I am now 2 years out of treatment and have just opened up my own salon this month called Simply Enchanted Salon in Clearwater, Florida where I am a lash practitioner! ?

    1. Glad Lash says:

      Hello Ellie,

      Congratulations on your new business! We hope it’s all going well for you. And thanks for sharing your story 🙂

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