How To Clean Eyelash Extensions

Beautiful woman eyelashes

Eyelash extensions are considered a beauty staple nowadays.

And it’s no surprise — they add a layer of fabulousness to every eye.

But they can also carry some very real risks, especially if they are not kept clean.

Eye specialist Dr. Chen of Rideau Optometric says:

“Bacteria is a concern with lash extensions because the waste produced by this bacteria is toxic to the eye and causes inflammation of the lid margins. Not keeping lash extensions clean increases the risk of lid infections like styes, and eye infections like bacterial conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye.”

Along with protecting the health of your eye, keeping eyelash extensions clean also helps them last longer. 

Extensions are costly, so you want to get your money’s worth, right?

Then following a strict cleansing routine is the best way forward (for both your eyes and your pocket). 

Are You Supposed To Clean Eyelash Extensions?

Absolutely! 

We cannot hit home the point hard enough: eyelash extensions must be kept clean.

You should make it a habit, as part of your homecare routine.

This is because dirt, oil, makeup, dead skin cells, and general atmospheric fibres settle on your lash line at a rapid pace. Which is no surprise, considering that’s precisely what nature intended for our lashes to do — prevent debris from making its way into our eyes.

And although you may not be able to see the extent of the muck, once under the technician’s light and magnifying glass, the build up is fully noticeable.

why you need to use cleansers for eyelash extensions
Source: fvcmo.com

Avoiding cleansing completely or not cleaning effectively enough can cause problems. Not just aesthetically, but with your eye health too.

Elizabeth Hawkes, Consultant Ophthalmic and Oculoplastic Surgeon says:

“Eyelashes play a crucial role in protecting our eyes and chronic build-up of biofilm and
debris on the eyelashes and eyelids can cause irreversible eyelash loss, amongst other issues.”

Source: Miss. Elizabeth Hawkes

Along with permanent lash loss, improper care can also lead to:

  • Lash mites (aka Demodex)
  • Eyelid irritation and swelling
  • Infection of the cornea
use of eyelash extensions cleanser is necessary to prevent infection

Before you think this can’t possibly happen to you, studies have shown that popular eyelash extension treatments have led to a surge in emergency eyelid procedures.

And the biggest causes of this rise in infection? Poor lash hygiene.

The best way to ward off any unwanted lash crawlies or nasty infections is by maintaining clean eyelash extensions. 

Benefits of Regular Lash Cleansing

Keeping lash extensions sanitary is not only good for the appearance of the extensions, but for the health of both your natural lashes and your eyes.

Cleansing lash extensions helps to:

  • Enhance the lash extension lifespan to ensure they last as long as possible
  • Protect the natural lash
  • Maintain the health of the eye
  • Avoid infection and irritation

Doing it correctly is a sure-fire way to get the most out of your extensions.

You see, dirt helps to weaken the lash glue, which may lead to premature loss of lashes.

If you keep on top of the lash cleansing routine though, you can expect to go around 3 weeks between refill appointments (as a guide, refills should be added when 50% of the original lash extensions are still in place).

If you’re not getting the results you want right now, keep reading for ways to make lashes last longer for you.

How Often Should You Clean Your Lash Extensions?

Your face builds up natural oils throughout the day and overnight, which regular washing can help keep at bay.

But more stubborn grit doesn’t go with such ease.

You should make a habit of deep cleaning your lash extensions at least every other day.

Cleansing is particularly important after: 

  • Swimming
  • Exercise
  • Applying sunscreen
  • Wearing eye makeup


Though wearing eye makeup is not recommended, if you do, be careful upon removal. The most imperative rule is to use an oil free makeup remover

In addition to proper cleansing, you should also be sure to dry the lash area each time after you wash your face. 

[SIDE NOTE: Wearing eye makeup is not advisable at all when you have lash extensions. For more info on this, check out How Long Should Lash Extensions Last?]

How Do You Clean Eyelash Extensions At Home?

Before you begin cleaning your extensions, you must make sure you are using lash-safe products.

Do not use:

  • Makeup remover wipes
  • Oil-based removers
  • Baby shampoo

Instead, look for lash extension friendly products such as:

  • Cleanser for eyelash extensions (foam works best)
  • Oil-free makeup remover
  • Micellar water (a good foam alternative)

Once you have the right products lined up, it is important you clean with care.

When removing makeup, avoid rubbing the area aggressively and be as gentle as possible. Using cotton balls or pads is the safest method.

Using a Foam Cleanser:

You’ll need:

  • Small makeup brush — Aim for something soft but dense so as to build up foam when you apply to the lashes. An eyeshadow brush or facial cleansing brush would be best. As each eyelash extension is attached to a natural lash, a softer brush is most appropriate.
  • Foaming lash cleanser — Use oil-free only, ideally one that has been made specifically eyelash extensions so that it does not sting your eyes.
  • Mascara wand — Your lash technician should provide you with this when you have your fitting, or they are widely available at most drug stores.
  • Handheld fan (optional) — You need this to dry after cleansing the lash extensions. You can also use a hairdryer on a low setting, or cotton wool pads to dab.
tools you need for cleansing eyelash extensions

Following this step by step method is the best way to clean your lashes thoroughly:

  1. Wet the makeup brush and apply to your lashes, as it helps to have them slightly wet before applying the cleanser.
  2. Apply the foam cleanser across the lash line.
    foam cleanser eyelash extensions
  3. Take the damp brush and begin to sweep gently downward on each eyelash extension to create a lather. As you sweep, be sure to get in between all of the lashes (the reason why a dense brush is more effective).
    sweep gently downward on each eyelash extension
  4. Continue to lather the cleanser into the lashes. Don’t be alarmed if you lose the odd eyelash extension, as it is completely normal for a few to shed. Cleanse the eyelid and the under-eye area to ensure the entire area is free of oil.
    Woman cleaning her eyelashes
  5. Take a towel and place it under your eye. Dip the cleanser brush into water and begin to spread the water onto your lashes. Continue to do this until you have cleared away all of the cleanser.
    Towel cleanser brush
  6. Use the towel and gently dab onto the lashes to soak up excess water. It is normal for your eyelashes to look a little clumped at first.
  7. Take the mascara wand and gently brush through the lashes, targeting each eyelash extension in turn.
    brush through the lashes
  8. Now use your mascara wand to support your eyelashes. Place your fan or hair dryer underneath your eyelashes. Dry as you brush your lashes upward. Continue this until your lashes are fully dried.
    Brush and dry upward

Micellar Water Option

Though using a lash specific foam cleanser is the best option when cleaning lashes, micellar water is a good alternative. 

For this cleansing option you’ll need:

Small and dense makeup brush
Mascara wand
Micellar water
Paper towel(s)
Hairdryer

Complete the following steps one eye at a time:

  1. Take your mascara wand and brush through the lashes.
  2. Now soak your makeup brush with micellar water.
    makeup brush with micellar water
  3. Apply the soaked brush to your lashes by sweeping in a downward motion, ensuring full coverage.
    soaked brush weeping in a downward motion
  4. Run your brush under running water until it is fully soaked.
  5. Apply the wet brush to your eyelashes, sweeping down to rinse the lashes of the micellar water.
    Apply the wet brush to your eyelashes
  6. Repeat step 5 until you are sure all of the cleanser has been rinsed.
  7. Then, take a paper towel and blot the lashes to soak up the excess water.
    paper towel and blot the lashes
  8. When you feel most of the water has dried, take a hairdryer on a low setting and use it to dry any leftover moisture.
  9. Brush through the lashes with the mascara wand during the drying process and once complete. You should now have full and fluffy lashes.
    Brush through the lashes with the mascara

There is no denying that lash extension treatment is an increasingly popular beauty procedure worldwide — and it’s a trend that looks set to stay.

But, in order to enjoy the full magic that extensions offer whilst avoiding the possible dangers, cleaning should be a top priority. 

Be sure to save this post in your favourites for after your next lash fitting, and share with all of your lash-fanatic friends too.

Featured image: Pixabay by PublicDomainPictures

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