What is Lash Shedding?
Twice a year during the Spring and Autumn our bodies react to the drop in temperature and we shed hair faster than normal, which is known as shedding season. All the hair on our bodies sheds and re-grows with each body part going through its own shedding cycle. And lashes being one of them!
On each eye we have between 90-150 eyelashes and on average, we lose between four/five natural lashes every day during our lash shedding season - in a week that adds up to around 40 lashes so that’s around 30% of an eyelash extension set which in shedding season your client can potentially loose. Our lashes shed on a continuous renewal cycle, so usually we don’t notice them falling out, although if you are a lash extension lover during lash shedding season its usually more noticeable, which explains why you have spotted a few more on your pillow, on your spooly or dropped on your face. Do not panic, this is completely normal, healthy and required during the lash shedding seasons.
What to expect from lash shedding?
During the Lash Shed, we lose more lashes than normal (lash loss happens faster). As we move into the winter months our hair grows thicker in order to keep us warmer. The colder weather conditions, heavier rain and wind or moving from a cold to warm environment can make your lashes more brittle. And when going indoors the central heating can dry hair out in turn meaning your lashes are more likely to fall out prematurely. Do not fear lash lovers, this doesn’t last forever! The shed usually lasts around 1-2 lash cycles (around 6 weeks) before things go back to normal.
The true reason for shedding has not been confirmed, but amongst theories are that we hold onto more hair in summer months to protect the skin, and that we shed more hair as we move into winter to make way for thicker hair growth that keeps us warmer.
It’s the talk of the town when your client’s lashes are going through a shed, have you received messages from clients claiming ‘all their lashes have fallen out’ or they are booked in for an infill and arrive needing a full set? lash growth and the shedding cycle are things you should consider starting to investigate as to the reason why your clients lashes are falling out faster than normal.
The lashes that your clients shed are not lost forever. Instead, they are going through a cycle of growth and transition, then rest and repeat. At any given time, we have hairs that are in one of the four growth stages:
Initial Growth Phase
Starts in the skin, they are in the “infant” stage. The lashes are thin, weak, and lack strength. Attaching lash extensions to the lashes at this stage must be avoided as adding weight or stress on these tiny baby lashes can cause damage to the growth cycle of the lash.
Anagen Phase/Growth Phase
In the growth phase, the lashes become much thicker and longer after coming through the surface of the skin. Lashes at this stage show more strength and resilience. You can add lash extensions at this stage, but remember the lashes are actively growing, which can lead to a grown-out lash set within two weeks.
Catagen Phase/Fully Grown Phase
This phase is where the growth of the natural eyelashes stops. It is the ‘perfect’ phase for attaching eyelash extensions.
Telogen Phase/Resting Phase
In the resting phase, the eyelash is coming to the end of its life cycle and the skin is preparing for a new lash to grow. Avoid attaching lash extensions to this phase as there will not be much durability left on the lash meaning the extension will fall out quickly.
Too many lash extensions/natural lashes falling out
Although It’s common for to experience additional shedding during the winter and autumn months, some lash shedding might not strictly be the outcome of natural causes. If your client is experiencing and alarming about of lash fallout, try to find out what’s happening and what may be causing the lashes to fall out so quickly. Some factors for this may include;
- Medications/medical conditions can affect the shedding cycle dramatically, causing your client to lose their lash extensions much faster than usual. A common medication causing premature lash fallouts can be thyroid medications. If the thyroid gland produces too much or too little hormone it can cause a variety of symptoms, including hair loss. The lashes typically start to grow back after the thyroid imbalance has been treated. If your client is experiencing an alarming amount of natural lash shedding (where lash extensions are attached) in a short duration of time, check with them if they are taking any medications.
- Shedding natural eyelashes in one spot or on all of the lash line. In rare cases, you might come across some clients missing natural eyelashes in one specific spot. Which could stem from alopecia or another autoimmune condition. Doctors believe that alopecia causes the body to attack its own hair follicles, causing hair loss. Although no cure for alopecia currently exists, a doctor can prescribe treatments that may help their lashes regrow more quickly.
What can you do as a lash artist?
Ensure you inform your clients of the lash shedding process and the reason behind why they may need to book their infills in closer together.
Retention is influenced by the clients aftercare schedule, something that you can’t control outside of the salon so make sure they are well-informed of the after routine they should be following to increase the longevity of their extensions.
Make sure your clients are scheduled in for infills which may need to be brought closer together during the lash shedding season.
Adjust your client’s expectation - their lashes may not last as long as normal, informing them of the shedding season is vital and remember you are not to blame for the natural shedding of our hairs!