Debating Removing Your Lash Extensions at Home? Here’s Why Experts Say You Shouldn’t

Photo: Stocksy / Edward Córdoba / Andréas Sichel

If eyelash extensions are your lash vice of choice, congratulations, you've picked a quite fancy and reliable but high-maintenance lash enhancement (but we aren't judging; we love a good set of extensions). The trick thing with lash extensions is that getting them is a breeze. Once you have a lash tech you trust, you literally close your eyes, nap for an hour, and wake up with insane length and volume that lasts for six weeks. It's the best-forced nap a girl could ask for. The hard part? Knowing how to remove eyelash extensions. 

Unlike lash strips or other glue-on wispies, lash extensions are attached to your individual lash hairs (yes, every single one) via an adhesive glue that can't be rubbed off at the end of the night with makeup wipes or remover. And there's one thing you should never, ever do once you get them: Remove them yourself. As tempting as it may be to pick at your lashes (especially once they start noticeably falling out), you can cause more harm than good. 

Experts In This Article

To help, we tapped experts Amanda Robinson of Iris+West Lash Co.Courtney BuhlerSugarlash Pro founder and CEO, Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes, and board-certified dermatologist Lian Mack for tips on how to remove eyelash extensions while preserving your natural lash's health. Read ahead for their tips. 

How do I remove eyelash extensions at home?

Can you remove eyelash extensions at home? Sure. But should you? Absolutely not. Our experts agree that removing lashes without damage requires seeing a pro.

"A professional will use a lash remover to soften the hard bonds from the adhesive so that the extensions slide off," Buhler explains. According to Richardson, the entire process is quick (clocking in at roughly 15-20 minutes, yet another opportunity for a quick snooze) and should be practically painless.

Of course, that's only if it's a by-the-book application. "I've seen removals take an hour for people who've had them applied with excessive amounts of adhesive," she says. Hence, ensuring your lash salon and technician are reputable is super important. Bulher says before laying down for your in-salon removal, confirm if your technician plans to use a removal cream, which she says is less stressful to the lash. Oh, and make sure one ingredient is absent from the process: "Stay away from places that use acetone—that's a major red flag," says Richardson.

If you want to maintain natural lash health, go to a pro to take care of the removal process—you shouldn't have anything to worry about. "As your natural lashes and the extensions come off, your new lashes will grow in as normal," says Robinson.

What dissolves eyelash glue?

"Professional grade lash extension removers use proprietary blends of glue dissolvents that safely break down the bond of the glue from the natural lash," Dr. Mack explains. Robinson adds, "If you're using oil-based skincare around your eyes, it can slowly start to loosen the bond of the extension and your natural lashes." However, oil-based cleansers and makeup removers shouldn't be used to remove professional lash extensions.

How do you get eyelash extension glue off without remover?

Robinson tells us that the absolute best thing you can do is wait to get eyelash extension glue off without remover. "Let your natural lashes shed (the extensions will come off with your natural lash)," she says. If you're looking for a temporary lash that can be easily applied and removed, lash extensions may not be the best option.

Does Vaseline remove eyelash extensions?

Technically, if you rub enough Vaseline (or a similar product like Aquaphor) on your eyelash extensions, they may come off eventually. However, it still isn't recommended. "If you are consistently putting Vaseline or Aquaphor on your lashes, eventually it can help the extensions come off, but don't expect to put it on your extensions and watch them slip off immediately," Robinson says.

DIY-ing your lash extension removal poses the huge unwanted risk of messing with your natural lashes, and all the lash pros advise strongly against it. Your best bet is to let your lashes grow, and the extensions fall out naturally. "If you do it at home, you'll likely pluck your own lashes, which is not only painful but can also cause lash loss and damage," Buhler says.

Besides wrecking your lashes, attempting to remove extensions with Vaseline or olive oil, coconut oil, or any other YouTube DIY will likely not end well. "There is no over-the-counter or oil-based product that can safely remove professional lash extensions," says Richardson, pointing out that removing them yourself can pull out your actual lashes since the extensions are attached strand by strand. "It can lead to bald spots that may never grow back."

What are the risks of removing lash extensions at home?

While a trained, trusted expert is the best person to remove your lashes, we know resisting temptation is hard. In that case, it's important to understand the risks, the most obvious being eyelash shedding and breakage. "The biggest risk is breaking or pulling your natural lashes out," says Robinson. "Someone will try to take matters into their own hands and either start picking at their lashes or using products that aren't meant for your eye area, and in turn cause irritation."

Dr. Mack agrees, sharing, "The biggest risk with removing your lashes at home is potentially ripping out your natural lashes. It is also possible that if they are ripped out abruptly, they will never grow back in." Repeatedly rubbing your lashes with oils at home can also cause redness and swelling along the lash line, which, ouch. 

Final Takeaway

We understand how tempting it is to remove lash extensions at home, but it isn't recommended. To preserve the health of your natural lashes, it's best to see a reputable expert who can remove your extensions and skip the DIYs. And if you want a full lash that you can peel off at the end of the night, opt for a glue-on strip or individual lash that requires less commitment.

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