In the last year or so, eyelash extensions certainly seem to have become the beauty service du jour. Gone are the days of needing to apply a new set of false eyelashes everyday, as lash extensions can give anyone the instant gratification of longer, fuller eyelashes (even if you weren't born with them). Long eyelashes are enough to have anyone convinced to shell out their hard-earned money on such a service. Yet, with busy schedules and an ever-growing list of responsibilities, we can't always take the time to get our lashes touched-up (or removed). Hence the question at hand: Can you remove your eyelash extensions at home?
Is It Safe to Remove Eyelash Extensions at Home?
The safest way (both for your natural lashes and your eyes themselves) to remove your eyelash extensions is to have them removed by a professional. In most cases, extensions are adhered using a surgical-grade glue, which isn't something a novice should mess around with. It's also very easy to spread bacteria into the eye area, which a lash artist can fairly easily avoid (they have hundreds of hours of training, not to mention the proper equipment). So if you can wait to see a professional, you should.
But with that being said, there are inevitably circumstances where you can't get into the salon to have your lashes removed, and may want to take matters into your own hands. Whether you're in-between appointments or giving up on extensions for a while to give your natural lashes a breather, luckily there are a few damage-free, expert-approved ways to remove eyelash extensions at home. Just heed our warnings about the sanitary and safety risks of taking matters into your own hands.
Ahead, we've rounded up our experts' favorite methods for safely removing eyelash extensions at home, plus best practices for keeping eyelashes healthy.
First Thing's First—Don't Pick or Pull at Your Lash Extensions
In a hasty rush of wanting to get lash extensions off, there are a few key things to keep in mind before trying to remedy this situation yourself, which could ultimately backfire. The goal is to keep your lashes as healthy as possible, so it's imperative to know what not to do first before you try anything.
Celebrity lash and brow expert Clementina Richardson who founded Envious Lashes, reiterates the importance of keeping your hands off your lashes for optimum results. "Never cut your lashes or pick off your lash extensions. Picking at them will only cause damage to your natural lashes, and your extensions will eventually grow out and shed with your natural lash cycle." Fight the urge as much as you can to pick any extensions off as this can have long-term effects on how your lashes recover, and can sometimes stunt the growth of new lashes coming in.
Try Taking a Hot Shower to Loosen Your Lash Extensions
Remember not to pick, pluck, rub, or pull at your lash extensions, even if you're in the shower. Otherwise, you risk damage to your natural lashes, as well as to your eyes. Plucking can cause breakage to your existing lashes, not to mention that touching your lashes can quickly spread bacteria to your lash line and surrounding eye area. Instead, if you're trying to expedite the fall-out process, try taking a hot shower. Just like your lash artist should advise you not to get your lashes wet and to avoid steam in order to lengthen the life of your lashes, doing the opposite can help loosen any stragglers that are still hanging on to your lash line for dear life.
Or, Start Using an Oil-Based Cleanser
Any experienced lash artist should tell you not to use oil-based cleansers after getting a fresh set, as this can compromise the integrity of the lash glue and cause your extensions to fall out sooner. However, if you're trying to remove any leftover lash extensions, oil cleansers are your new best friend. Try incorporating an oil as the first step in your double-cleanse to help loosen any leftover lashes. While cleansing your face, move the oil in gentle, circular motions to gently start to dissolve the lash glue. Just remember that this isn't a one night miracle; you'll need to use an oil cleanser for at least a few nights to loosen your lash extensions.
Try Using a Professional-Grade Lash Glue Dissolver
Since your eyelashes are delicate and the skin around your eyes is also sensitive, it's imperative to know everything on how to remove eyelash extensions at home before attempting to do this on a whim with little to no guidance. Sahara Lotti, CEO and Founder of Lashify emphasized, "You can definitely loosen extensions by taking hot showers and drenching them in oils, but to remove safely, with as little damage as possible, you'll need to purchase a remover. Remember, lash extension bond is quite similar to superglue, you have to use something that dissolves it to avoid extra damage to the natural lash."
You can soak a cotton pad with remover and apply this to the lashes to ensure that the remover starts to loosen the glue of the extensions for safe at-home removal. Lotti then went on to add, "When applying a professional glue, dissolving remover to the extensions, be sure to keep it out of your eyes." Keeping your eyes free of any irritants is the most important thing to do when attempting to remove your extensions at home.
Post-Removal, Be Extra Careful With Your Natural Lashes
Once extensions are removed, it can be a little confusing on the best way to care for your lashes or maintain the look of long ones if you can't make it to the salon for a new set. Whether you want to wear false lashes or grow out your natural ones, the good news is there are a few different ways you can maintain the look of extensions if you so choose. For the quickest fix, Lotti recommends using Lashify to hold you over until your next appointment.
"As a lash extension lover, I created the Lashify system to mimic the exact look of extensions. You can use our Gossamer lashes to fill in gaps without needing a professional service to fill them in. Gossamers easily adhere to lash extension fibers, and you can even remove the gossamers with Melt Away, our dual-phase remover, without removing the extension."
When asked if eyelash curlers should be used on natural lashes, Richardson added, "In general, I always advise to avoid mechanical eyelash curlers. They can damage your natural lashes in many ways, including pulling the lashes out at the root or breaking them in half. Instead, you can use a Heated Eyelash Curler to lift the lashes without causing damage to them or your natural lashes."
By being mindful of the best ways to remove extensions and the products you can use to keep your eyelashes healthy, a once daunting task can become easier with time as you put these helpful tips into practice.
If you want to take a break from lashes altogether, try using a lash serum to jumpstart your natural lashes into growing longer, thicker, and fuller. Eyelash and eyebrow serums both contain ingredients such as peptides to help the natural growth process of lashes and brows. It's important to remember you won't see results immediately with serums but will notice a difference in 4-5 weeks if you are consistent with your application of the serum during your daily skincare routine.