Eyelash extensions can be both a blessing and a curse, much like waterproof mascara. They're great at providing you with luscious, sky-high lashes but not so great when you'd like to remove them on the fly. Ugh.
Although we (and most makeup artists for that matter) wouldn't normally recommend removing lash extensions yourself, it can still be done without damage if you have the right tools. To get some insider info on how you can do this, we tapped makeup artist Melissa Hurkman for a walkthrough. Because let's be honest, nobody should try this at home without expert advice. For a step-by-step guide on how to remove lash extensions yourself, keep reading below.
How to Remove Lash Extensions at Home
For starters, you're going to need a few paper towels, disposable mascara brushes, eyelash extension remover, and ice water. You'll want to work on one eye at a time. Seems obvious, but it must be noted. "That way you don't have any of the remover solution seep into your eye," Hurkman says.
To start the home removal process, fold your paper towel one to two times in half and place it between your lower and upper lashes. Squeeze your eye as tightly as you can around the paper towel comfortably and without irritating the area around it. "This will prevent the product from getting in your eye," adds Hurkman.
Squeeze a small amount of remover gel onto a disposable mascara brush or Q-tip and apply it to your lashes in a downward motion. Using a downward sweeping motion will help further prevent any remover gel from making contact with your eye. "Try to target where the extension glue is," Hurkman says. "You want to really coat the remover gel over the glue so you only have to do this one time without any fuss." Then, you have to play the waiting game for a bit. Let the gel remover sit for about three minutes (or longer depending on how long it takes to loosen your false lashes).
Once the three or so minutes have passed, use another disposable mascara wand to comb through your lashes (or a fresh Q-tip). "Gently comb through and lightly wiggle the extension free from your lashline," Hurkman explains. "The extensions should come right off." At this point, you'll want to rinse the solution off of your eye area with cold water before opening your eyelid to avoid any burning or stinging.
The process sounds simple enough, but Hurkman's number one tip? Patience. "Do not force any of the lashes to detach," she says. "Being overly aggressive and not being patient with your lash extension removal can ruin your natural lashes and even your lash line for the future. It's really important to be very gentle and take your time." Even if that means you need to let the removal gel sit for a bit longer, you'll thank yourself in the long run.
Selecting At-Home Lash Removal Products
According to Hurkman, you'll always want to select a removal gel that's professional-grade. You'll find that those are the products that work best. "It may be a little more expensive or take a little time to find, but in the end, it will be worth it," she shares. "You want a product to be very effective so you can easily glide your extensions off your own lashes without any tension at all." She has personally heard great things about BL Lashes' Blink Gel Remover.
Shop the Best Lash Extension Removal Products
Products to Try Instead of Lash Extensions
Lash extensions definitely have their perks, but if you'd like to work with your own natural lashes and save them from potential long term damage, try a few other lash-enhancing products. There are so many out there on the market that add length and volume for days, but won't be a pain to remove later.
Although most lash serums (besides Latisse) can't really make your lashes grow, you can invest in a formula that strengthens and conditions them. Milk Makeup's serum contains Cannibus seed extract and other plant peptides to help both your lashes and brows out in the growth department.
Or, why not try a combination of the two? This mascara and peptide lash serum conditions the lashes and helps them appear fuller after just four weeks of consistent use.