Eyelash extensions are incredible. They give the eyes the most gorgeous lift, blowing your favorite mascara out of the water and saving you the effort of fiddling with false lashes. They almost sound too good to be true.
So what’s the catch? Well, eyelash extensions are delicate, and they require quite a bit of maintenance. Taking care of your eyelash extensions can be a little complicated, so we outline everything you need to know in this article.
We start with some basics and pre-care, and then jump into everything you need to know about keeping your lash extensions looking full and glamorous for as long as possible.
- A Quick Overview of Eyelash Extensions
- Why You Need to Care of Your Eyelash Extensions
- Pre-Extension Care Tips
- Eyelash Extension After-Care Guide
- Immediately After: Don’t Get Your Lashes Wet
- Things to Avoid When You Have Lash Extensions
- How to Clean Your Eyes When You Have Extensions
- How to Brush Your Eyelash Extensions
- How to Sleep With Eyelash Extensions On
- How to Shower When You Have Eyelash Extensions On
- Can You Wear Mascara When You Have Extensions?
- How to Remove Eyelash Extensions
- How Often to Get New Extensions
- That’s a Wrap
A Quick Overview of Eyelash Extensions
Before we dive deep into care tips, it’s useful to understand exactly what eyelash extensions are and how they work. This way, you’ll have a much easier time understanding why these after-care tips are so important!
Eyelash extensions are a professional service where a technician glues eyelash-like fibers, one-by-one, on top of your natural lashes. The process requires a powerful, waterproof adhesive. Because the glue is so intense, it can’t come in contact with the skin, so the eyelash extensions are only attached to the lashes themselves, a few millimeters above the lash line.
The eyelash technician can adjust the quantity, length, and curve of the eyelash extensions to give you whatever results you want, from soft and natural to voluminous and dramatic.
Why You Need to Care of Your Eyelash Extensions
When you take good care of your eyelash extensions, you can keep them looking incredible for a lot longer, and you also guarantee that your natural lashes underneath them will stay healthy.
Getting eyelash extensions done is expensive, costing around $200 per session, and refills can cost up to $100. The longer you keep them looking good, the less often you’ll need to go and pay for additional services.
Pre-Extension Care Tips
If you haven’t gotten your eyelash extensions yet, there are a few important things you should know in advance. These tips will make it easier for your stylist to apply your extensions, which will help them stay put for much longer.
- Don’t wear waterproof eye makeup for a few days before your appointment. Waterproof makeup products leave a very persistent film behind that can compromise the integrity of the lash extension adhesive.
- Avoid using any oily makeup, cleansers, or creams on your eyes for a day or two before your lash extensions, as well. Any oily residue on the skin will prevent the glue from sticking.
- To speed things up, don’t come to your appointment with contact lenses or eye makeup on, since you’ll have to remove them anyway beforehand.
Eyelash Extension After-Care Guide
Once you’re batting your eyes with a gorgeous set of eyelash extensions, your lash tech will probably mention some after-care tips. Always follow what your technician has to say since they know their materials best, but if you forget or find yourself unsure about something, this section will help.
Immediately After: Don’t Get Your Lashes Wet
You need to be very careful for the first few hours after getting your eyelash extensions applied. The most important thing is that you don’t let your lashes make any contact with water, since the glue hasn’t fully set yet.
The adhesive still curing (by absorbing moisture from the air, no less), so any contact with moisture will cause it to set too quickly, before it has a chance to make a sufficient bond with your natural lashes. The result is that the eyelash extensions are much more likely to fall off before their time.
This means no shower, no sweating, no getting caught in the rain, and no washing your face. Even spending time outdoors on a humid day can compromise the glue. The amount of time you’ll need to avoid water depends on the type of glue used for your lash extensions, as well as the level of water exposure. Some salons advise their clients to avoid getting the lashes wet for only 2 hours, others say 8 hours, and others will tell you to wait as long as 48 hours.
Always ask your lash tech, but in general, we’d suggest avoiding all exposure to water or steam for at least the first 8 hours. After that, we think showering is okay, but you’d want to avoid direct water contact with the eyes, so skip washing your hair or face.
Things to Avoid When You Have Lash Extensions
There are a few important things you should avoid the entire time that you have eyelash extensions on.
Anything oily can break down or disintegrate your eyelash extension glue, thereby compromising your extensions’ longevity. Because of that, you’ll need to avoid letting anything oily come in contact with your eyes, including oil-based eye creams, makeup removers, and makeup.
Look for oil-free products or scan ingredient lists carefully to confirm that what you have is oil-free.
Rubbing and Touching
You’ll have to resist the temptation to touch your new lashes. The oils from your hands combined with even a little bit of friction can cause the loss of lashes, so it’s best to keep those hands off.
Waterproof Eye Makeup
Waterproof mascara and eyeliner are a big no-no when you have lash extensions because it’s so difficult to take them off without rubbing the lashes harshly.
Mechanical Eyelash Curlers
Mechanical eyelash curlers that work by squeezing the lashes can pull on the lash extensions, so they’re off-limits. Chances are you won’t need to curl your lashes at all when you have lash extensions, but if you’d like to add a little bit more oomph, you can actually use a heated curler, instead.
Strong Shower Jets
While your lashes will be fully waterproof after 48 hours, you still want to protect them from the intensity of a strong shower jet. The force of the water will be too harsh, so instead, stick to washing your face gently using only water cupped in your hands.
How to Clean Your Eyes When You Have Extensions
Long eyelash extensions can trap dead skin, oils, debris, and bacteria. Cleaning them regularly is important for keeping your eyes safe from infections or irritation, and it’ll also help to keep the glue from breaking down. Here’s how you can clean them while keeping them in place.
Cleaning the Lash Extensions
You’ll want to clean your extensions at least every other day, or more often if you wear makeup. It’s important to use a gentle, eye-safe cleanser that’s totally free from oils.
Technically, any eye-safe foaming cleanser will do, but your best bet is to use a special eyelash extension cleanser that comes with a gentle cleansing brush that’s designed for the job.
- Dispense the cleanser in your hand, and if it’s a gel, add a bit of water to foam it up.
- With your ring finger or cleaning brush, gently rub the cleanser over your lashes.
- Pass the brush or ring finger over your lashes in a downward motion—be careful not to rub upwards or from side to side.
- After you’ve cleaned your entire lash line, cup a bit of cool water in your hand, and splash it over your eyes to remove the cleanser residue.
Makeup Removal With Eyelash Extensions
If you also wear eye makeup, you’ll want to remove it before cleaning your eyelash extensions directly. Make sure to use an oil-free product to remove your makeup, like Neutrogena’s gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.
- When removing your makeup, be very careful not to rub the lash extensions themselves.
- You can use a cotton pad saturated with remover to remove the bulk of your eyeshadow or under-eye concealer.
- To remove eyeliner, use a cotton bud dipped in remover, and very gently wipe it along the lash line, being careful not to touch the lash extensions themselves.
- Finish up with the extension cleaning process we outline above.
How to Brush Your Eyelash Extensions
It’s very important to give your eyelashes a nice brush-through with a spoolie or clean mascara wand, at least once a day. This will prevent them from getting tangled in each other, to give them a fluffier, more lifted look. It’ll also help to remove dead skin and other debris, if you do it on days when you don’t give your lashes a full cleansing.
The eyelash cleanser we linked to above comes with a spoolie, but you can also purchase one separately. To actually brush your eyelash extensions, simply wiggle the spoolie through your lashes, just as you would when applying mascara, and it’ll immediately perk them up.
How to Sleep With Eyelash Extensions On
When we sleep, we don’t have much control over our bodies, but there are still a few things you can do to prevent causing damage to your lashes at night.
- Stick to sleeping on your back, so the pillow or blankets don’t touch your lashes at all.
- Switch to satin pillowcases, which cause less friction than cotton and are less likely to damage your lashes should you turn to your stomach at night.
- If you move a lot in your sleep, wear a cupped sleep mask designed specifically to protect lash extensions.
How to Shower When You Have Eyelash Extensions On
Showering for the first time after getting eyelash extensions can be a little scary, but don’t worry! Once your eyelash glue has set, it’s totally waterproof. Don’t be afraid, but do follow these shower tips for the best results.
- Don’t shower until the lash glue has fully cured, per your lash tech’s instructions.
- To rinse your face, cup a bit of water in your hands and splash it on, but avoid putting your face directly under the stream.
- Once you’re out of the shower, if you towel dry, pat the towel gently around your eyes, but don’t let it touch your lashes—instead, let your lashes air dry.
Can You Wear Mascara When You Have Extensions?
With such lush, long, voluminous lashes, do you really need mascara? Both the mascara itself and the effort of removing it can damage your eyelash extensions, so your best bet is to simply not wear mascara at all.
If you really cannot part with mascara, or you have a special event where you want to look extra dramatic, there are some mascaras formulated specifically as sealants for eyelash extensions, with subtle results but a lash-protecting effect.
Our favorite for the job is the lash sealant from Black Diamond because it does a great job of keeping lashes intact.
How to Remove Eyelash Extensions
If you’ve gotten tired of your eyelash extensions, your best bet is to go back to your salon for a professional removal that’ll be gentle and non-damaging for your natural lashes. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, you can try to remove your lashes by yourself at home.
The gentlest way to do so is to use a little bit of oil and to rub it into the lashes to slowly dissolved the glue. Doing this for a few days in a row will loosen up the lashes and allow them to fall off with minimal damage.
There are also eyelash remover gels that you can buy, but they’re usually meant for professionals so using them safely can be a little tricky. We discuss all of this in a lot more detail in our full guide to eyelash extension removal.
How Often to Get New Extensions
How often you’ll need new extensions really depends on your natural eyelash shedding cycle. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s normal to lose up to 5 lashes a day. Since your lash extensions are attached to your natural lashes, you will lose extensions as your lashes naturally shed.
Usually, after 5-6 weeks, you’ll have naturally shed enough lashes that it’ll be time for a refill on your eyelash extensions. Thankfully, refills aren’t as expensive as a full set of false lashes!
That’s a Wrap
Eyelash extensions need a bit of care, but they’re well worth it for that glamorous flutter. When you get them done for the first time, it’s hard to keep track of all of the after-care instructions.
With everything conveniently written down here, you won’t have any trouble keeping your lashes looking amazing for weeks on end!