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 on, and chin zits in full force, 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 pay those hairs some love. Whether you opt for lash extensions, magnetic lashes, or strip lashes, it's important to learn how to clean false lashes properly to make them last longer. Luckily, keeping them clean is easier (and much more low-maintenance) than you think.
How to Clean Fake Lashes
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 that is used for this type of lashes is super flexible, making it easy to peel off the skin," explains Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes. "In the event that your strip lashes are applied using a medical-grade adhesive, that makes the process much more difficult. If this is the 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 to make this possible, you have to clean the lashes prior to second use. "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.
How to Clean 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, you never want to soak your mink lashes in water as getting the lashes wet will damage its shape and curl.
To clean mink lashes for reuse, place the eyelash onto your index finger (after you've removed it from your natural lash line) so that the lash tips wrap around your finger to help maintain the curl. Next, you want to drench a Q-tip with a micellar water-based makeup remover, like Mary Kay Micellar Water ($17; marykay.com), and lightly dab the water 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 the lashes aren't tangled together.
How to Clean Lash Extensions
Cleaning your lash extensions requires a lot of maintenance—you want them to last as long as possible, but also want 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, you first need to 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 process in the shower, as the force of the showerheads is too aggressive on the extensions.
Afterward, you want to gently pat your face dry with a towel. "Wait for your lashes to completely dry before brushing them out if necessary," says Richardson. "Always keep in mind that you need to be gentle with your extensions."
To keep your lashes in optional 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.
How to Clean Magnetic Lashes
The process of cleaning magnetic lashes is similar to cleaning mink lashes. First, you want to 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 thumb nail to scratch off as much as possible (taking care not to detach magnets from the lash band). Next, use a Q-tip dipped in an oil-free makeup remover or micellar water—or try a makeup remover stick with remover already in the Q-tip, like Almay Oil-Free Gentle Makeup Eraser Sticks ($6; amazon.com)— and run the Q-tip along the lash band, including the magnetic portion. Lastly, set the lashes out to dry before reapplication.