how to eyelash extensions off?
“For the safety of your eyes and the health of your natural lashes, you should always wait for an expert to remove your eyelash extensions,” says Andra Ciulei Marin, an eyelash extension stylist and the artistic director at Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in NYC. Los Angeles–based makeup artist Ashley Gomila agrees.
Although you might be desperate to remove all of the remaining lashes at once, the last thing you should do is take out the tweezers. “Picking at your lashes would be the worst possible thing you can do,” says Clementina Richardson, celebrity lash expert and founder of Envious Lashes in NYC. “This will result in bald spots throughout the lash line. The extensions are attached to the natural lashes, therefore picking on the extensions will take the natural lashes along with them.”
The good news? Although you can’t perform a professional-style removal in the comfort of your own home, there are steps you can take and products you can use that can help speed up the removal process—just don’t be surprised if it takes a few days or even a little longer for them to eventually all come off. Patience is key here.
When it comes to removing eyelash extensions, most of the “don’ts” your lash technician shared with you after your application are now encouraged. That includes using an oil-based eye makeup remover, taking a steamy shower, and using a slippery oil like castor oil.
“Two known enemies of lash adhesives are heat and moisture,” Marin says. “Alone, and especially together, these elements can dissolve cyanoacrylate when applied in large enough and intense enough quantities.”
When you're on the hunt for an eye makeup remover, Marin suggests looking specifically for formulas that feature glycols. She explains: "Glycols are used in cosmetics as solvents and have been shown to dissolve adhesive bonds.” By loading up a cotton pad with an oil-based cleanser and applying it to your lashes daily, you will ultimately weaken the bonds of the eyelash glue so that they'll detach on their own.
While hitting the showers (or even a steam room) might not be as effective as it would be when the lash adhesive is still setting, a long, steamy shower can help loosen the eyelash extension glue.
Just like using an oil-based cleanser, you shouldn’t expect to see all of your lashes fall off after one hot shower. “If a good quality adhesive is used, it will take a lot of steam and hot water to affect the lifespan of the eyelash extensions,” says Marin. It’s important to be patient here for the health of your lashes.
If you’re desperate to get your lashes off, you can use castor oil or baby oil as a nightly treatment to dissolve the bonds while you sleep. “Oils that have been shown to weaken extension adhesives are mineral oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, canola oil, and castor oil,” Marin tells us.
After you remove all your eye makeup, coat a spoolie or a cotton swab in castor oil (Gomila prefers coconut oil) and brush it on your lashes during your evening skincare routine. “Rub the swab or spoolie along the top of your lash line where the extensions are bonded, taking great care to not allow any of the oil into your eye,” Marin explains. If oil does enter the eye, be sure to flush it out immediately with water. An added bonus: castor oil may even help to promote longer natural eyelashes.
Even if you’ve tried the above tips and are still stuck with one random lash, resist the urge to reach for the tweezers, because you could wind up leaving your natural lashes severely damaged, especially if the natural lashes you pull are in the early stages of growth.
“Do not pull lashes out, cut them off, or use a hot compress,” Gomila says. “Keep the lashes clean and limit rubbing or anything else that could irritate them.” Not only can pulling and picking leave you with sparse lashes, but repeatedly doing so could be extremely detrimental. “Constantly pulling off your eyelashes could result in extreme follicle damage, which could result in irreversible damage,” Marin adds.
Eyelash extensions typically need to be removed after two or three weeks after their application. This time period is generally how long a growth cycle for natural eyelashes is. By this time, it’s natural to see your extensions grown out and you might have even noticed a few have fallen out.
Instead of picking or pulling, you might try to conceal the remaining lash extensions with lengthening mascara and eyeliner.
“Using a good black liner on your upper lid will mask those stragglers right up,” Marin says. Not only can mascara help blend stubborn extensions that seem to be holding on for dear life, but using mascara on a daily basis can also help weaken the adhesive keeping the extensions attached to your actual lashes. It’s basically a two-for-one.
“My tip would be to put mascara on every day,” Marin continues. “Most mascaras are loaded with waxes and oils so should come right off after about a week of using it.” To really speed up the process, you might try using a mascara like drugstore favorite NEUTROGENA Healthy Volume Mascara during the day. This formula is loaded with both olive oil and sweet almond oil. Then remove the mascara at night by loading up a cotton ball with an oil-based makeup remover. This is one time when two major lash extension wrongs make a right.
“I would recommend going to the lash tech that applied the lashes for the easiest and safest way of removal. Not all lash bonding agents are the same and could cause permanent damage,” Gomila explains. “In addition to possible damage, it would take trial and error to remove them at home.”
Trying to take your eyelashes out too prematurely can cause damage and breakage your natural lashes. It’s important to note the at-home methods above only aid in removal once your extensions are already falling out.
Start by soaking the eyelash extension in warm water (to soften the glue holding the extension) Gently use a pair of tweezers to remove. Use a cotton swab to gently clean off any glue residue. If you feel that your eyelash extensions are not being removed properly, it is best to get professional help.
As a lash artist myself, you can imagine the horror when a customer brings back their lashes in a mess because things went wrong during a DIY removal. For that reason, I always prefer people to come in for professional removal.
However, if you do decide to remove your lash extensions at home, here’s what you need to know to avoid any disastrous lash removal experiences.
Let’s dive into it!
To successfully remove eyelash extensions at home, you should basically do everything your lash stylist told you not to do!
Do you remember your stylist telling you to never use oil-based makeup remover?
Oils are notorious for breaking down the adhesive used when applying eyelash extensions and therefore causing poor extension retention.
Follow these steps to remove eyelash extensions at home. You can also check out this video tutorial from Dr. Rupa Wong where she used coconut oil to remove her eyelash extensions.
Wash your face like you would normally do. Make sure not to scrub your eye area as it may pull on your lashes and cause damage.
The purpose of this step is to remove any mascara or eye makeup that may have settled on the eyelash extensions.
Fill a large bowl of water with steaming-hot water. Place your face over it and cover your head with a towel to keep the steam in.
Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen up the bond of the eyelash extensions glue. I generally recommend steaming for 15 minutes.
Get a small bowl and fill it with oil. Coconut oil will give the best results in removing lash extensions but vegetable oil, olive oil, and castor oil can also be used.
The next step is to warm up the oil slightly. Make sure that the oil isn’t too hot because you’re going to deal with a highly sensitive eye area.
Check the warmth by dipping your clean pinky finger. A mild warmth is all you need to accelerate the process.
The next thing to do is soak one to two cotton pads in warm oil. Once you’re done, place the oiled cotton pad on one of your eyes, over the lashes.
Let it remain there for five to ten minutes, or as long as it takes the cotton pad to lose heat. Gently wipe your upper lash line with the oily pad and let the oil sit on your extensions for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can use a lint-free applicator to dispense the oil on the lashes.
Using the same cotton pad, gently swipe your lash line again. You should start to see a few lash extensions falling off and remaining in the cotton pad.
I can’t stress enough that this process should be done extremely carefully if you want to avoid damage to your natural lashes. If the extensions do not fall off, do not try to pull on them. You will need to have them removed by a professional.
The most common products used to remove your lash extensions at home are:
Let’s review each one and see if it REALLY works.
Coconut oil is the safest and most effective choice when it comes to DIY lash extension removal. The oil helps to loosen the adhesive bond between your natural lashes and the extensions, allowing for a gentler removal process. It is also less likely to cause any irritation or damage to your natural lashes.
Coconut oil is great for nourishing the hair even if you don’t wear lash extensions. But it’s particularly effective when you use it for removing lash extensions using cotton pads.
Coconut oil even works faster than olive oil so you might take less than an hour to remove extensions on your own.
Even for removing super glue from fingers after use, coconut oil is mixed with baking soda as a household remedy.
As baking soda isn’t safe around the eyes, you can skip it and work with coconut oil alone on the cyanoacrylate that’s used in both types of glue.
Olive oil is a popular choice for removing lash extensions and that’s why it’s a good pick for getting these false lashes out safely. For removal purposes, get some extra virgin olive oil and warm it up.
Place one or two cotton pads each on your eyes and continue as mentioned in the stepwise guide. Olive oil will keep your natural lashes healthy while breaking down the adhesive and holding the extensions onto it.
The catch is that olive oil doesn’t work fast as a lash adhesive remover or coconut oil. So, think of multiple sessions of soaking and rolling the q-tip over your eyelashes.
Mineral oils are often used as a natural means to remove eyelash extensions.
Even the Revlon remover for removing lash adhesives contains mineral oil. Generally, mineral oil moisturizes the skin and prevents the breakage of hair due to its lubricant qualities.
Yes, caster oil can be used to remove your extensions. However, unlike other types of oils, castor oil doesn’t break the bond made by the lash adhesive quickly. You need to dab it on your extensions and leave it for a while. Alternatively, you can reapply it over a few days to remove extensions naturally.
That being said, castor oil is one of the few oils that are famous for increasing the luster of eyelashes, making them appear thicker and glossier.
No, vaseline is not a recommended method for eyelash extension removal. It can lead to an uncomfortable feeling due to its greasy texture. More importantly, it’s not a solvent for the lash adhesive and won’t break the bond.
It is best to avoid this method and stick to oil-based solutions for safer and more effective removal.
Baby oils may contain a mix of mineral or vegetable oils. The latter may be a mix of coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, soy oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil.
You don’t need to place the cotton pad on the eyes for more than three minutes with baby oil to start removing lash extensions. Watch out to prevent this oil from getting in the eye.
Absolutely not! Professionals use eyelash extension removers specifically formulated with very strong glue-dissolving materials.
There are two types of professional lash extension removers commonly used on the market: gel remover and cream remover.
The gel remover is typically clear with a high viscosity. Lash stylists generally use the gel remover for spot removal (targeted removal of a few extensions). The cream remover on the other hand is typically more viscous compared to the gel type and used for the complete removal of extensions.
These products are highly effective and can be purchased from professional beauty supply stores and online. They ensure the complete removal of the lash glue.
There are various lash adhesives on the market with different characteristics such as how strong the bond is.
We have covered a step-by-step method for removing lash extensions at home. But I think you should be aware of the risks before attempting the operation in the first place.
I normally strongly advise against removing eyelash extensions at home by yourself. Whenever possible, I recommend getting them taken off professionally.
As a matter of fact, the cost to remove lash extensions professionally is quite low when compared to the price of a new lash set or a refill.
I have seen several horror stories of clients damaging their natural lashes during the removal process.
A common mistake is to pull or rub on extensions harshly when removing them. As this detaches the lash extensions by force, it might break the natural lashes too. I have also seen girls lose their natural lashes entirely after removing them at home.
Once your natural eyelashes are damaged, it may take several months for them to grow back to their original length and thickness. In such cases, it can be worth investing in a lash serum to grow the natural lashes faster.
Although oils do break down the lash adhesive, most natural oils aren’t strong enough to remove lashes in one session. You should expect a couple of sessions to completely remove your extensions.
It’s common to lose many natural lashes or get weary from the lengthy process of removing eyelash extensions on your own at home.
Excessive amounts of oil applied to your lash line can clog your pores. This in turn can lead to blackheads, pimples, and even breakouts around the eyes.
Keeping your eyes closed while removing your eyelash extensions by yourself can be a challenging task. If you don’t have a steady hand, you might drip products into your eye during the removal process.
A professional lash artist will use a gel or cream-based remover to take off the extensions. These products have been specifically designed for this purpose.
I’ve recently recorded a video where I explain this entire process, step-by-step. If you’re curious about how it’s done professionally in a salon setting, check it out!
Here are the steps to remove lash extensions professionally:
- Use a gel-based remover or cream-based remover.
- Apply the remover as close to the lash line as possible without touching the skin.
- Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Use a lint-free applicator to gently remove the extensions by pushing the extension against the paper towel.