How do I clean eyelash extensions?

All of us eyelash-obsessives want our eyelash extensions to last as long as possible, right? There’s nothing more depressing than when you do something awful to them (i.e. steam facial with lots of oil, where the therapist will not stay away from your eye area!) and you notice the little buggers starting to come off, so you might be asking yourself – How do I clean eyelash extensions?

Water, fortunately, is not one of the things that you need to avoid.  Eyelash extensions, once properly cured, become relatively waterproof. Many people seem to think, that because we tell you in the aftercare instructions, not to wet your eyelashes for 24 hours, this means do not wet them. Ever.

This is actually incorrect, and you do need to get them wet regularly in order to clean them. Improper cleansing of your eyelashes/extensions and eyelids can actually cause a few problems that will mean your extensions end up not lasting as long as they should.

Blepharitis is a common problem amongst those who do not have good eyelid hygiene. It’s defined as ‘inflammation of the eyelid’ and (please don’t quote me on this as I am not qualified to give medical advice or opinion) but it seems, from my research, to be a condition that is annoying and irritating rather than dangerous.

Basically, dead skin cells when not washed away properly can build up on the eyelids, and cause itchiness and inflammation. It can cause the eyes/eyelids to feel itchy, block the hair follicles, and they can even end up looking a bit red and sore. Then you end up itching your eyes and playing with you extensions (even in your sleep when you don’t even realize you’re doing it!) and they start to come off. Some people that have blepharitis think they are having a minor allergic reaction to eyelash extensions. Then when they start proper cleansing of their lids and extensions, they discover that they are not at all, because the itchiness disappears very quickly! I have seen this occur myself with clients who are not washing their eyelids properly in order to get their extensions to last, but the reverse happens. When they start up a proper cleansing regimen, their eyes feel much better and their extensions last longer!

It is worse when one wears very thick/dense eyelash extensions, and thencoats them in mascara (which we NEVER recommend) because as you can imagine, they are almost impossible to clean well.

It sounds absolutely horrid, but luckily it is easily treated/managed, and even more easily prevented, and the majority of people that suffer it can continue to wear eyelash extensions with no issues at all.

A second reason is that if you have an oily complexion, and/or also if you’ve been wearing makeup or moisturizer that does contain some amount of oil in it, some of this oil will end up on your eyelash extensions. If you never wash them, the oil remains there, building up, and slowly eating away at the eyelash adhesive. All eyelash adhesives are attacked by oil. The less oily you let your eyelash extensions get (by using oil free products – see here for more details, using a blotting powder or papers, and by cleaning your eyelash extensions properly) generally the better your extensions will last.

So, here’s what to do to clean your eyelash extensions. properly: Remember, being gentle is the key – wetting them won’t make them come off, but rubbing them with vigour will!


1 Remove all eye-makeup using an oil and glycol-free makeup remover If taking off eyeliner, use a Q tip dipped in remover and wipe it across your lid, or away from the lid. Never towards the extensions. Don’t use cotton balls as you’ll get into a furry mess, as they will catch on the bases of the extensions.

2 If you are wearing heavy foundation, remove this too before washing eyes, using your cleanser of choice but AVOIDING the eye area. Some cleansers contain oil, particularly cream cleansers and ‘cleansing oils’ (dah!)

3 Wet your eyes with cool water. Take a very, very small amount of a lash shampoo (baby shampoo works great!!) and lather it up on your palm. Apply this to both eyes, one at a time, splashing it over them. Don’t rub them like you’re washing hair though; just gently splash it over your closed eyes. If your eyes still feel grubby, repeat.

4 Rinse it off and dab them gently dry. It doesn’t matter if they are a little damp, stuck together with water etc., when you brush them they will re-separate.

5 Use your lash wand to very gently twirl through them and fan them back out.

6 Do this 2-3 times per week.

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