Let’s be honest: Mascara doesn’t always cut it on the quest for long, voluminous lashes. That’s why, when it comes to achieving the ultimate done-up look, false eyelashes are a popular choice. So popular, in fact, that dozens (if not hundreds) of different iterations exist. But as much as we talk about the best false eyelashes for this occasion or that, something that often gets overlooked is the question that so many people wonder: Can you wear eye makeup with false eyelashes? More specifically, can you wear mascara with a faux flutter? We chatted with four lash experts to find out. Read on for their take on the common debate.
Meet the Expert
Can You Wear Mascara With False Eyelashes?
TL;DR: It depends on the false lashes. If you’re using at-home falsies—whether of the magnetic or adhesive variety—celebrity master esthetician Sarah Akram says that applying mascara prior to falsie application is imperative. “In order to create a seamless blend between your natural lashes and the falsies, mascara is the perfect blending agent,” she says.
False eyelashes in the form of professional lash extensions, however, do not fare well with mascara. “Mascara should not be applied to lash extensions as it creates additional weight on the natural lash which will weigh them down,” warns celebrity lash expert Clementina Richardson. “Also, when applying mascara, there’s also the issue of removing the mascara, which can cause the extensions to only last a few days, as opposed to two to three weeks, or it can result in breakage to the natural lash.”
How to Pick Mascara for Your False Eyelashes
According to Akram, the specific mascara you use with false eyelashes doesn’t matter too much. Her only recommendation is to steer clear of waterproof mascara, for if it transfers onto the lashes, it can be more difficult to remove, which could then damage the lashes prematurely.
What About Other Forms of Makeup?
Now that you know you can wear mascara with false eyelashes (sometimes), it’s time to discuss other forms of eye makeup. In short, Akram says that there’s no harm in pairing falsies with eye primer, eyeshadow, or eyeliner. “Of course, this will cause build-up, but as long as you clean your lashes promptly after removing, the buildup is removable,” she adds. Uncover more specific false eyelash makeup pairing tips, below.
The good news? Wing tips are totally fine. The (potentially) bad news? Tightlining is not. “Eyeliner is fine to wear with lash extensions if you do not plan on tightlining the top lash line," Richardson says. "When you tight line the top eyelid, the eyeliner rubs against the base of the extensions causing them to lift your extensions. This could result in premature shedding."
Whether you’re wearing extensions or store-bought falsies, Richardson says that eyeshadow is nothing to worry about. “Just make sure to be gentle with your lashes and try to ensure the product you are applying doesn’t come [too] close to the extension or cause any damage to the lashes.”
All this to say, wearing your regular eye makeup—primer, shadow, and liner—with false eyelashes is totally fine, so long as you do so with care. One thing to note, though, is that if you’re pairing your makeup with eyelash extensions, rather than self-applied falsies, master esthetician Darya Rzaca, the co-founder of Atelier Beaute, says to only use oil-free eye makeup remover. “That way it won’t affect the extensions,” she explains, noting that oil-infused formulas can weaken the bonds of professional extensions. Additionally, if you just got a fresh fill or full set, she says to wait 48 hours before applying any eye makeup so that the lash glue can completely set.
What About Eyelash Extensions?
Richardson, Akram, and master esthetician Aneta Zuraw, the other Atelier Beaute co-founder, all agree: layering false lashes over professional lash extensions is never a good idea.
“It is best to avoid layering false lashes on top of your lash extensions,” Akram explains. “You have a high chance of damaging your natural lashes, which over time can create gaps in your natural lash line, as well as losing longevity on your lash extensions.”
That said, Zuraw says that you can add single false eyelashes if necessary in between your lash extension appointments to fill in places where eyelash extensions have begun to naturally shed. Just make sure to mindfully apply them, because if the glue adheres to an extension, when you go to remove the single lashes, they can rip out your extensions and your natural lash in the process.
The Final Takeaway
Yes, you can wear eye makeup with false eyelashes. No, you shouldn’t wear waterproof mascara, nor would you tightline your upper lash lines or try to layer strip lashes over your extensions.
No matter the type of falsies you’re using—extensions or strips—Richardson says that lash health should be your top priority. “The foundation of your [natural] lashes improves the hold of your [false] lashes,” she explains. For the strongest natural lashes, she recommends adding a lash serum to your routine, like her brand's Luxuriating Lash Conditioner ($45).