This story originally appeared on InStyle.com by Pia Velasco.
TikTok can be a great place to discover new beauty products and tricks, but the speed at which some videos go viral can lead to misleading and even dangerous trends. Who here thought that chlorophyll water would clear their acne, or was intrigued by the lemon-juice-and-toothpaste facial? Well, now eyelash blow-drying has become a thing — although doctors are warning against it.
The lash-curling technique first took off when user @mirandaalynnn uploaded a video of her using a blowdryer to curl her lashes in 2020, and while it was a quick come-and-go viral video, the trend has since had a resurgence. Now, TikTok users are taking to the platform to test-drive this trend and record their experiences. (Related: TikTok Loves This Hack for Curling Even the Straightest Lashes)
The hack involves blasting damp lashes with cool air from below to curl and lock them into shape. And some do a sandwiching effect by first blow-drying, then applying lash primer, blow-drying again, applying mascara, then sealing in the curl with one last blast of air, all of which is concerning to experts.
“You should absolutely not try this hack, even if you’re using the ‘cool shot’ setting,” says board-certified ophthalmologist, Diane Hilal-Campo, M.D. “Your eyes were not designed to have such forceful air directed at them, and even just a few seconds of using this technique can lead to significant dryness.”
Despite one TikToker mentioning that their eyes water rather than feel dry when performing the technique, Dagny Zhu, M.D., a California-based cornea, cataract, and refractive surgeon says that tearing could be a reflexive response to dryness. “When our eyes become dry, a signal is sent to the lacrimal gland of each eye to secrete more tears in an attempt to increase lubrication. The tearing then stops once the balance is restored,” she explains.
Dr. Hilal-Campo adds that while your eyes may get red, irritated, and feel gritty in the short term, the long-term consequences of using this hack could cause corneal abrasions and infections, which could harm your vision to the point of blindness.
This trend is even more dangerous for people who use contact lenses. “[They] already have a significantly higher level of dryness — compared to non-contact lens wearers — due to chronic oxygen deprivation and mechanical rubbing of the contact lens on the surface of their eyes,” says Dr. Zhu.
“Contacts also dry out easily, and blow-drying your lashes while wearing them could cause them to become damaged or warped, leading to eye irritation and discomfort,” she adds. “It may also be harder to remove dried-out contact lenses as they become adherent to the eye, which can lead to accidental tearing of the contact lens and even abrasions on the surface of the eye from ripping off the surface cells.”
So instead of blow-drying your lashes to get a long-lasting curl, both experts recommend using a heated eyelash curler instead. “It will help create a lasting curl without the risk of causing damage to your skin or lashes,” explains Dr. Hilal-Campo.