How to Clean False Lashes
I don't know about you, but every time I get lash extensions done, or apply a set of falsies before a big night out, I feel like a completely new woman. Even after waking up with messy bedhead, no makeup, and chin zits, I still feel stunning when I look into the mirror and see long, gorgeous lashes in the morning. However, we're all guilty of slacking when it comes to cleaning our beauty tools, and false lashes probably top that list.
If you have a pair of crusty lash strips rolling around in your makeup bag, it's time to learn how to clean them properly. Whether you opt for lash extensions, magnetic lashes, or strip lashes, keeping them clean is easier (and much more low-maintenance) than you think.
Different types of lashes require different forms of maintenance. First, you need to know how to remove strip lashes. "Glued-on lashes can be removed easily because the glue used for this type of lashes is super flexible, making it easy to peel off the skin," explains Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes. "But if your strip lashes are applied using a medical-grade adhesive, that makes the process much more difficult. In that case, you would definitely need to see a professional that has the proper products for removal without damage."
Strip lashes can usually be used more than once (three to five times, approximately, before they lose their shape), but you have to clean the lashes between uses. "For makeup buildup, it's best to use baby shampoo," says Richardson. "Have it soak in the lashes for a few minutes, rubbing it really gently with your fingers or a tiny brush. The glue portion that's attached to the actual lash should come off super easy." Once the old glue is softened, you can use tweezers to gently remove it from the lash band. Lastly, lay them out to dry completely before storing them—this is important to prevent mold or bacteria from growing on your lashes. Richardson also advises brushing them out since they may be stuck together from the moisture.
Mink and Silk Lashes
Mink and silk lashes are known for their durability; in fact, they're reusable up to 20 times with proper care. Most importantly, never soak your mink lashes in water, as getting the lashes wet will damage the shape and curl.
After you've removed the mink lash from your natural lash line, hold the eyelash on your index finger) so that its tips wrap around your finger, maintaining the curl. Next, drench a Q-tip with a micellar water-based makeup remover, like Mary Kay Micellar Water ($17; marykay.com), and lightly dab the liquid onto the ends of the lashes, where the residual glue is. Use tweezers to remove glue residue from both the back and front of the lash band. Set the lashes out to dry, making sure they are in their original form and not tangled together.
Cleaning your lash extensions requires a lot of maintenance. Not only do you want them to last as long as possible, but also to keep them clean to avoid infection. "Lately, I have seen many videos on Instagram of people cleaning their eyelash extensions with foam cleansers," says Richardson. "I am not a fan of this practice and only find it necessary if you have dead skin buildup—constantly fussing with your lash extensions causes them to shed prematurely." Instead, the best way to cleanse your lashes, according to Richarson, is to use an oil-free cleanser.
To clean lash extensions at home, wet your face in a sink, not in the shower. "Apply the cleanser to a washcloth or to your fingers and apply the product to the entire face, including your eyelids," says Richardson. "Rub the product in one direction repeatedly on your eyelids, then lean over in the sink and rinse with water using your palms." Do not do this in the shower, as the water pressure is too aggressive on the extensions.
Afterward, gently pat your face dry with a towel. "Wait for your lashes to completely dry before brushing them out," says Richardson. "Always keep in mind that you need to be gentle with your extensions."
To keep your lashes in optimal shape, Richardson advises using a conditioning serum on your lashes while you wear the extensions. Envious Lashes Lash Conditioning Serum ($45; enviouslashes.com) is formulated with a unique blend of natural botanicals and ingredients that help promote stronger, longer, and fuller-looking lashes.
The process of cleaning magnetic lashes is similar to cleaning mink lashes. First, hold the lash by the band, making sure it's not attached to another magnetic lash. If there is any dried magnetic liner stuck onto the magnets, use your thumbnail to scratch off as much as possible (taking care not to detach magnets from the lash band). Next, run a Q-tip dipped in an oil-free makeup remover or micellar water— along the lash band, including the magnetic portion. (Alternatively, use a makeup remover stick with remover already in the Q-tip, like Almay Oil-Free Gentle Makeup Eraser Sticks ($6; amazon.com.) Lastly, set the lashes out to dry before reapplication.