How to Remove Lash Extensions Without Damaging Your Natural LashesHow to Remove Lash Extensions Without Damaging Your Natural Lashes

How to Remove Lash Extensions Without Damaging Your Natural Lashes

If you're a fan of eyelash extensions, you might have wondered whether you can remove them at home safely. While the answer is yes, doing so takes the right approach and plenty of patience.

Keep reading to get the scoop on how you can gently remove false eyelashes at home, along with tips for aftercare and what products you really should be using to support thicker, fuller lashes.

Can I Remove Lash Extensions at Home Safely? 

Eyelash extensions are a great way to give your eyes an extra bit of glam while also ditching the daily need for mascara or other eye makeup. The average extension application typically lasts six to eight weeks, which definitely ups its appeal. But how do you think these lashes stay affixed to your lids? Heavy-duty eyelash extension glue!

That’s why the easiest, fastest and safest way to remove lash extensions will be with a professional lash-extension remover. These lash experts have specialized training and tools and will make use of professional-grade chemicals to dissolve the lash glue used to adhere the lashes. (Note that these chemicals can be dangerous to your eyes and are definitely not recommended for eyelash extension removal at home.)

With that said, removing lash extensions at home can be done using simple and widely available tools like oil and a cotton pad or a cotton ball. Just be aware that it will take a super gentle touch and will likely require repeated sessions to effectively loosen the lash extension glue. 

With time, patience and managed expectations, there are simple and safe steps that can be taken to break down lash adhesive and gently remove the extensions while preserving your natural lashes. Here’s how.

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How to Remove Lash Extensions at Home

Removing eyelash extensions at home does not require a lot in the way of specialized equipment. Moisture and heat are your lash extension's worst enemies, and that is what you’ll rely upon to remove them.

1. Steam Your Face or Take a Hot Shower

Starting with a cleansed face, either steam your face by draping a towel over your head while you lean over a bowl of steaming hot water for 10 or 15 minutes or take a nice hot steamy shower for the same amount of time. Do not pick or pull at your lashes! Just heat them up.

“The steam will help loosen the adhesive bonds — and, added bonus, promote circulation in your skin and improve oil flow,” said Dr. Geeta Yadav, board-certified dermatologist with Skin Science Dermatology.

2. Apply Warm Oil

After steaming or showering, the next step is applying oil to the lash line. “Oils break down the adhesive glue that binds the lash extensions to the natural lash,” explained Dr. Audrey Kunin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of DERMAdoctor

You can use a warm oil-soaked cotton swab to gently swipe along the lash line, being careful not to get oil in your eye.

Coconut oil, olive oil, marula oil, baby oil, jojoba oil, castor and mineral oil are some of the preferred options for lash removal.

“You can also try an oil-based eye makeup remover, following the same process,” added Mehmet Göker, a dermatology specialist at Vera Clinic.

Allow the oil-soaked cotton pads or balls or makeup remover to sit for five to 10 minutes. 

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3. Gentle, Gentle, Gentle!

Closing your eye, use a cotton swab or compress to gently stroke downward from the lash line. Some of the extensions should come free. Remember — no picking or tweezing!  This is where you can damage your natural lashes, introduce unwanted bacteria into the eye or irritate your skin. 

Use gentle downward pressure on the lashes: “Always slide, don’t pull lashes,” added Dr. Kunin. Whatever comes free, comes free. Whatever doesn’t can be attempted in the next session.

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4. Remove Excess Oil

Gently wipe away the oil — or cleanse if needed — being careful not to get any of the oil in your eyes.

5. Repeat As Needed

Repeat steps one to three until you’ve freed all the extensions. “Don't be surprised if they don't all come off,” said Dr. Yadav. “Repeat this process as necessary until you've removed as many lash extensions as possible.”

6. Be Patient

Remember this might take several days, and that’s OK! It's better to protect your eyes and natural lashes. Mascara and eyeliner are great ways to camouflage stragglers. 

Some sources recommend applying a light coat of oil before bed to help break down the adhesive while you sleep. Just be aware that repeated exposure to oil to the skin around the eyes can clog pores and cause irritation or breakouts, so apply in moderation.

Learn: How to Grow (or Regrow) Your Eyelashes

When to See a Lash Expert

There’s no prize for aggressively prying extensions off your lashes, and some people find them difficult to remove on their own. If the gentle technique outlined here doesn’t work after repeated attempts, see a professional lash technician to have your eyelash extensions removed. Or if all this sounds like a major pain and you’re worried that you might damage your lashes, having them professionally removed might just be your best bet.

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Aftercare and Natural Support for Luxurious Lashes 

Using lash extensions, even over the long term, should not result in damage to your natural lashes. A proficient lash stylist will select the right weight and volume for your unique lash line, applying them with care to your existing lashes. Lash extensions that are too heavy for your natural lashes to support can result in breakage and damage. So can improper application or removal. That’s why it’s important to see a trained professional.

You might also do everything right with your extensions and still see stubby lashes or reduced volume. In that case, you’ll want to give your lashes a break. The good news is that, like the hair on your head and everywhere else on your body, lashes go through a cycle, and you should see new lashes begin to grow again.

Support your lashes during this extension intermission by avoiding fake lashes and eye makeup and gently removing makeup when you do use it. Also, consider adding our GRO Lash Serumto your beauty routine. Our all-vegan formulation is hormone and toxin-free and contains clinically proven plant actives mung bean and red clover. After four months of daily use, some subjects experienced a 94% increase in density and volume and 34% longer lashes.

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The Takeaway

Eyelash extensions can be a fun and convenient way to give your eyes a fresh, no-fuss look that lasts for weeks. Quick and easy removal is best done by a professional lash artist. However, if you can’t make it to a salon or have a few trapped lashes that haven’t fallen off naturally, you can safely remove them at home. Use a combination of steam, oil or an oil-based cleanser and very gentle downward pressure to loosen eyelash glue and remove your extensions at home. Just avoid pulling or picking, and remember the removal process outlined above: Always be extra-gentle and patient so as not to damage your natural lashes. You can also support the health of your natural eyelashes with an all-natural and hormone-free lash serum.


Photo credit: Hayley Kim Design/Unsplash

    Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.