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: Can you remove your eyelash extensions at home?
While experts highly recommend having extensions professionally removed or waiting until they fall out on their own, there are a few methods for safely removing eyelash extensions at home to try. Keep reading to learn more, plus best practices for keeping eyelashes healthy.
Meet the Expert
- Sahara Lotti is a lash expert, as well as the CEO and founder of Lashify, a luxury at-home lash extensions system.
- Clementina Richardson is a celebrity lash and brow expert and the founder of Envious Lashes in New York City.
- Rachel Nazarian, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist of Schweiger Dermatology Group.
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. "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 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
While our lash experts do not recommend the use of the below oils to remove lash extensions as many companies create specific removers to safely dissolve the adhesive, Nazarian says that some oils can help loosen them.
"The application of lash-removers and the process of gently removing the faux lashes can be tricky as one must not traumatize the natural lashes and allow preservation of the hairs underneath," says Nazarian. "This is not only done by using appropriate gels and creams to dissolve the lash glue, but also by the correct maneuvers and techniques to physically pull the lashes off."
Coconut 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.
Mineral oil and Olive oil: In addition to coconut oil, mineral oil and olive oil carry low risk of irritation and allergy. "They are often well-tolerated by most skin types and would be a suitable option for removing lash extensions," says Nazarian.
Castor oil: According to Nazarian, castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, and has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidative properties, making it a safe, and somewhat useful, oil to use around the eyes. If you are pregnant and wearing lash extensions, do not use castor oil to remove them.
Baby oil: This oil option is not recommended for lash removal
- Saturate a cotton pad with oil.
- Gently dab and massage onto lashes where the adhesive is applied.
- Remove after 30 seconds, but remain patient as the oil travels to the lashes, and slowly releases them from the adhesive. Gentle pressure will reveal if the lashes are loosened, or if they require additional oil and time.
According to Nazarian, if you've never used any of the oils before, apply a small amount behind your ears and monitor for itching or irritation, which is a quick way to assess potential allergy.
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.
"The glue used to apply typical lash extensions cures or hardens once it hits the air. This means it has hardened onto the natural lash. Once the extension grows out it may break off and may take your natural lash with it," says Jill Medicis, Lashify Pro and Pro Educator Team Senior Manager. "By attempting to remove your lash extensions at home you may cause excessive damage to the natural lashes or may even lose the natural lash."
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 to dissolve them."
- 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.
Why won't my eyelash extensions come off?
Since eyelash extensions are applied with glue that is virtually waterproof, you'll have to dissolve the glue to remove them. You can do this through steam, an oil-based cleanser, or a product specifically designed to dissolve lash glue. Whatever you use, be sure not to pull or tug at your lash extensions—you could risk damaging your natural lashes.
Why are my eyelashes short after I removed my extensions?
Lash extensions weigh down your natural lashes, and as your natural lashes grow, they might not be able to support the weight. This can cause them to break. Rubbing your lashes can also cause damage and breakage.
Do eyelashes grow back after extensions?
Much like the hair on your head, the hair of your eyelashes should grow back after breakage. In the case of eyelashes, that typically takes about one to three months.
Aumond S, Bitton E. The eyelash follicle features and anomalies: a review. J Optom. 2018;11(4):211-222. doi:10.1016/j.optom.2018.05.003