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 every day, 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?
Ahead, we've rounded up our experts' favorite methods for safely removing eyelash extensions at home, plus best practices for keeping eyelashes healthy.
Take a Hot Shower
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. Just remember to keep your hands off your lashes for optimum results. When done right, removing falsies should be a painless process; meaning: "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," emphasizes Richardson.
A shortcut to the hot shower method, a steam facial can be effective in loosening lash glue—and improving your complexion. To try it, simply boil water and pour it into a bowl or pot. Place your face above the steaming water for five to 10 minutes, keeping your eyes closed.
Use 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—typically two to three weeks after application—oil cleansers are your new best friend. Try incorporating 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.
- Repeat for a few nights to loosen your lash extensions; this isn't a one-night miracle.
- Once extensions are removed, Lotti recommends using Lashify The Control Kit ($145) 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."
Apply an Oil
Never underestimate the versatility of coconut oil. From removing makeup to promoting shiny hair to treating sunburns, this miracle oil does it all—including, lash extension removal. Don't have any coconut oil? Try olive oil or baby oil instead. Here's how:
- Saturate a cotton pad with oil.
- Gently dab and massage onto lashes.
- Remove after 30 seconds.
Try 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. Lotti emphasizes, "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."
- Soak a cotton pad with a remover.
- Gently apply this to the lashes to ensure that the remover starts to loosen the glue of the extensions for safe at-home removal.
- Lotti adds, "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."
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 meant to help the natural growth process of lashes and brows.
See a Professional
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 to using surgical-grade glue, which isn't something a novice should mess around with. You definitely don't want to damage your natural lashes, which can occur when long, heavy extensions are applied and/or removed incorrectly. So if they're not coming off, see a pro. Plus, 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 doing it yourself.