To help them and anyone else who is struggling with this issue, I asked a few lash-extension experts to provide the ultimate guide on how to remove your extensions at home.
I feel pretty confident about handling most of my beauty-salon needs at home. Cutting my own hair, giving myself mini facials, hiding my overgrown manicure – I feel like my career thus far as a beauty editor has prepared me for self-quarantine. But my friends, not so much. My phone blows up on the regular with burning beauty questions from family members and friends, asking if I have tried this product or that technique. And since we’ve been self-isolating, one question I get asked more than ever is, “How do I take off my eyelash extensions?”
With salons closed across the country, people are concerned about keeping their lashes in optimal shape. But just because you can’t get your extensions touched up right now doesn’t mean you should start plucking at the faux lashes that are still attached. “Removing them yourself, by picking and pulling, can actually pull out your actual lashes since the extensions are attached strand by strand,” says Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes in New York City. “This can lead to bald spots that may never grow back.”
The good news? According to Veronica Tran, founder of Candian spa Pretty in the City, there are a few ways to safely remove your eyelash extensions at home. The longer your lashes have been on, the easier they should be to take out. Here are a few of the methods the experts recommend.
1. Remove your makeup every night
As we all know, you should always remove your makeup before going to bed. “Leaving makeup on overnight can clog the glands on the eyelids, just like other areas of the face,” says Shari Marchbein, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, “which could lead to painful styes and inflammation, also stopping natural eyelash growth.”
2. Use an oil-based eye-makeup remover
Tran recommends Lancôme Bi-Facil (£23.50 from Boots) and Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover, £16.57 from Amazon to help remove all trace of eye makeup.
3. Take hot, steamy showers
The steam will dry out the adhesive, making it brittle, and loosen the bond that connects the extension to your natural lash.
4. Apply castor oil to your lashes – before and after removal – with your fingers before bed
Castor oil will slowly break down the bond of the adhesive while you sleep, loosening the extensions so it’s easier for them to fall out on their own. “You shouldn’t expect the extensions to come off all at once when doing an at-home removal,” says Tran. “Only a special adhesive remover that is available in the salons is able to achieve this without damaging your natural lashes.”
After your lash extensions have been successfully removed, Richardson suggests continuing to use castor oil on your natural lashes before bedtime to help strengthen your natural lashes again.
“Castor oil has traditionally been used as a natural remedy for thinning hair and eyelashes,” says Joshua Zeichner, a New York City-based board-certified dermatologist, who agrees with Richardson’s tip. “Similar to hair conditioners, it forms a protective coating over the hair shaft itself to literally thicken it and enhance healthy growth.”
5. Take a break from your eyelash curler
Richardson also recommends staying away from mechanical eyelash curlers, as they can damage your natural lashes in many ways, including pulling lashes out at the root or breaking them in half.