Anyone who’s tried eyelash extensions knows just how eye-opening and glamorous they can be. And if you haven't tried them yet, take it from us: They are simply life-changing. Not only do they make your eyes all the more fluttery, but they also mitigate the need for mascara, which could essentially cut the time it takes you to apply your makeup in half—every single day. The only problem is that a beautiful faux fringe comes with an expiration date.
How to Make Eyelash Extensions Last
There are generally three types of eyelash extensions: mink, silk, and synthetic. Each of these options has a typical life span of approximately six to eight weeks, but the life you get out of your extensions is mostly dependent on your own lash cycle (which can be as short as two weeks and as long as eight weeks). Since your lashes are at different stages in their growth cycle at any given time, your extensions won't all fall out at once, and you might find that gaps start to appear a few weeks after having the extensions put in. The life span of your lashes will also depend on how well you care for them after application—and, luckily, there are plenty of things you can do at home to help preserve your look. Although there isn't much you can do to stop your natural lash shedding cycle, we spoke to several experts in the industry who agree that there are a number of steps you can take to get the most out of your eyelash extensions.
Keep reading for their advice and tips on extending the lifespan of your lashes.
Choose Extensions That Mimic Your Natural Lash Shape
Always tell your aesthetician to choose extensions that are similar to the shape of your natural lashes. You can also ask your lash specialist for lighter individual lashes around the .07 mm and .05 mm range, which will stay on longer than heavier lashes.
Ramy Gafni, celebrity makeup and eyebrow guru advises to "Opt for extensions that align with the shape of your existing eyelashes, as opposed to extra long, dramatic lashes. A lighter lash has a longer shelf life."
Avoid Water for the First 48 Hours
Once your fresh set of extensions is installed, any moisture around the eyes is a no-go. You want the glue to set in so that your lashes last as long as possible. Blink Brow Bar brow and lash extension expert Sabah Feroz tells clients to wash around the eye when cleansing their face and to use an oil-free makeup remover if they have to clean makeup off. To avoid washing the lashes directly within the first 48 hours, keep the eye makeup to a minimum to maximize the extensions.
This includes getting your face wet in the shower with hot water, swimming, and steering clear of steam as well.
Avoid Waterproof Eye Products
Though you don’t have to wear mascara once you have extensions, sometimes you might want to add some extra drama to your look. In that case, avoid waterproof formulas at all cost—experts say they’re much harder to remove and all that tugging is bad news for the life span of your lash extensions. "Avoid waterproof mascara and eyeliner," Gafni says. "All the rubbing to remove them can also cause you to lose a lash extension."
Waterproof anything won't come off with just any old face wash—as the name would imply. It usually takes some oil-based cleanser to remove, and we've learned that's a big no-no when it comes to extensions. Both Feroz and celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes say that you don’t even need mascara or liner when your lash extensions are in; the extensions offer a similar effect to typical eye-enhancing makeup. “The eyes are so opened with lash extensions, the clients find themselves wearing less makeup,” says Feroz. If you still want to wear a typical eye look, it’s better to go the non-waterproof route so that your eye makeup is easier to remove.
Switch to a Silk or Satin Pillowcase
Bad news, stomach sleepers: Sleeping with your face pushed into your pillow can cause your extensions to fall out more quickly. Instead, try to sleep on your back for ultimate eyelash extension maintenance. What's more, be sure to do so using a silk pillowcase so if you do roll over, your lashes will be pampered and less likely to get snagged out. We've all heard how a silk pillowcase can help reduce frizzy hair and face wrinkles, and guess what? Now we can add lash extension preservation to the list of benefits. "Cotton [pillowcases] can cause drying and snagging," says celebrity lash expert, salon owner, and Envious Lashes brand founder Clementina Richardson, which will lead to premature loss of precious lashes.
Brush Your Lashes
To maintain your fluttery new lashes, make sure to brush them out occasionally to avoid any kinks, clumps, or debris from sleeping. “The rule of thumb is only to brush them out when needed,” says Feroz. Packs of clean spoolies can be found at most drugstores and beauty supply shops.
Applying an eyelash sealer every morning will keep your lashes in place longer. The Blink Black Diamond Sealant ($15) contains both an acrylic and hyaluronic serum meant to help the extensions adhere and remain healthy and conditioned.
Use a Gentle Face Wash and Oil-Free Makeup Remover
If you must remove your eye makeup, use a mild, low-alkaline soap and to always use an oil-free makeup remover like the above pick from Cetaphil. After your shower, you can blow-dry your lashes on the lightest, coolest setting, then just brush them down and out—very lightly and without too much pressure.
According to Hughes, oil breaks downs the glue that holds up the lashes, so she encourages clients to avoid oil cleansers and makeup removers. Instead, try a gel-based remover, like the NARS Aqua Infused Makeup Removing Water ($29), to avoid dissolving the glue. Micellar water is also a great option to preserve the adhesion of your extensions and remove debris from them in general.
Gafni says to stay away from thick creams near your eyes. "Even if you’re careful not to apply it near your eyes, creams can ride up (or down) into your eye area and loosen up your lash extension," Gafni says. The reason we love ultra-rich eye creams is the same reason using them with lash extensions isn't the best idea. All those emollients will have a similar effect on the lash glue as the oil cleansers we mentioned earlier, shortening the lifespan of your faux flutter. Investigate some gel alternatives to eye cream while you have extensions.
Steer Clear of Mechanical Lash Curlers
We know, we know—our eyelash curler is a holy grail tool in our makeup bags but, with lash extensions, it's best to lay off the mechanical curler. “You might get a bend that won’t go away,” says Hughes.
If you do end up curling your lashes with an eyelash curler, Richardson recommends the kind that heats your lashes like a miniature curling iron, like the Envious Lashes Heated Lash Curler. "Julia Roberts and Mary J. Blige love it," she says. It's hard to argue with that endorsement.
Don’t Touch Your Eye Area
As tempting as it may seem, Feroz encourages clients to resist that urge to play with their lashes throughout the day or while cleansing. Not only can fiddling with the extensions pull out the false lashes, but it can also end up damaging your natural lashes. "Touch-ups are required every two to three weeks," says Richardson. If you don't have enough extensions left to fill because you were touch-happy, your technician might charge you extra, up to the cost of a brand new set.
This is so much easier said than done, but if you're a chronic eye-rubber, you've got to curb your habit if you want to keep on lash extensions. The friction will have them falling like rain, and you'll likely be out another full set fee way before you planned.
How much do eyelash extensions cost?
The cost of eyelash extensions can vary widely depending on your location, your lash technician, the type of lashes that are used, and the style that you want. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $150-$300 dollars, plus $50-$80 for refills.
How long does it take to get eyelash extensions?
Your first lash appointment is going to be pretty lengthy—anywhere from two to three hours. After that, you can expect refills to last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.