Eyelash extensions are quintessential movie star -- director D.W. Griffiths pioneered them in 1916 to make his leading ladies even lovelier -- but they are also kind of a nuisance to remove. Depending on the type of falsies you're sporting, you may not even be able to fully take them off yourself. What you can do at home, however, is add just a few more steps to your cleansing routine to help rid yourself of temporary strips and stray semi-permanent lashes.
For the most natural effect, many women opt for individual lashes, or hairs meticulously glued one at a time to each of their own eyelashes. These lash extensions are waterproof and last a fairly long time if upkeep is consistent. Refills once every two to three weeks keep lash shedding from looking sparse, but if you don't get the refills done, the extensions will all eventually fall off on their own. In the end, you may be left with just a few stragglers.
Removing Semi-Permanent Lashes
If you have only a few hairs to take off, you don't need to hit the salon. Wash your face and use your makeup remover as you normally would to clean away dirt and makeup, then fill a bowl with steaming water to help soften the adhesive. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the bowl for 15 minutes to get the full effect. Afterward, dip a cotton pad in coconut, olive or baby oil and swipe it gently across your lash line until the extensions loosen and fall away.
Cluster lashes and strip lashes are applied with a temporary glue, often latex-based, so they are not as waterproof as lash extensions. To remove them, soak a cotton pad in an oil-based makeup remover or coconut, baby or olive oil. Hold the cotton pad over your closed eye for 20 seconds to loosen the glue. Repeat as necessary until the lash strip or clusters loosen enough to lift away without pulling your the skin. For extra residue, swipe a cotton swab dipped in oil over your lash line.
Eyelash Dos and Don'ts
Lash extensions can be irritating if you're not used to them, but avoid the urge to rub, pick, pull or twist -- this can damage your real lashes. If you still have a full set of semi-permanent lashes and want them removed, give your esthetician a call. Professionals use a special solvent and work to carefully remove each individual hair, which is difficult to do on your own eyes. If you have removed your own lashes, treat your skin well afterward with a gentle cleanser and moisturizer.
- Elle Magazine: Anna Phillips on Lash Extensions
- Glamour: The Do's and Don'ts of Eyelash Extensions
- Amazing Lash Studio: Removing Eyelash Extensions
- Cosmopolitan Magazine: 26 Mind-Blowing Hacks to Get Flawless Eyelashes Every Time
- Seventeen Magazine: Three (Free!) Makeup Removers You Totally Already Have at Home
A writer with a Bachelor of Science in English and secondary education, but also an interest in all things beautiful, Melissa J. Bell has handed out beauty and fashion advice since she could talk -- and for the last six years, write for online publications like Daily Glow and SheBudgets.