If you got your eyelash extensions done recently but want to remove them at home, there are things you need to know before attempting to do so. Can you remove eyelash extensions at home? Is it safe? What are the risks? How to do it?
As a lash artist myself, you can imagine the horror when a customer brings back their lashes in a mess because things went wrong during a DIY removal. For that reason, I always prefer people to come in for professional removal.
However, if you do decide to remove your lash extensions at home, here’s what you need to know to avoid any disastrous lash removal experiences.
Let’s dive into it!
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How to Remove Eyelash Extensions at Home (Step-by-Step)
To successfully remove eyelash extensions at home, you should basically do everything your lash stylist told you not to do!
Do you remember your stylist telling you to never use oil-based makeup remover?
Oils are notorious for breaking down the adhesive used when applying eyelash extensions and therefore causing poor extension retention.
Follow these steps to remove eyelash extensions at home. You can also check out this video tutorial from Dr. Rupa Wong where she used coconut oil to remove her eyelash extensions.
Step 1: Wash Your Face
Wash your face like you would normally do. Make sure not to scrub your eye area as it may pull on your lashes and cause damage.
The purpose of this step is to remove any mascara or eye makeup that may have settled on the eyelash extensions.
Step 2: Use Steam
Fill a large bowl of water with steaming-hot water. Place your face over it and cover your head with a towel to keep the steam in.
Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen up the bond of the eyelash extensions glue. I generally recommend steaming for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Warm the Oil
Get a small bowl and fill it with oil. Coconut oil will give the best results in removing lash extensions but vegetable oil, olive oil, and castor oil can also be used.
The next step is to warm up the oil slightly. Make sure that the oil isn’t too hot because you’re going to deal with a highly sensitive eye area.
Check the warmth by dipping your clean pinky finger. A mild warmth is all you need to accelerate the process.
Step 4: Soak the Pads
The next thing to do is soak one to two cotton pads in warm oil. Once you’re done, place the oiled cotton pad on one of your eyes, over the lashes.
Let it remain there for five to ten minutes, or as long as it takes the cotton pad to lose heat. Gently wipe your upper lash line with the oily pad and let the oil sit on your extensions for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can use a lint-free applicator to dispense the oil on the lashes.
This is a crucial step of the removal process and is usually where damage occurs. Make sure you’re gentle and don’t pull on the extensions or tug at your natural lashes.
Step 5: Remove the Extensions
Using the same cotton pad, gently swipe your lash line again. You should start to see a few lash extensions falling off and remaining in the cotton pad.
I can’t stress enough that this process should be done extremely carefully if you want to avoid damage to your natural lashes. If the extensions do not fall off, do not try to pull on them. You will need to have them removed by a professional.
What to Use to Remove Eyelash Extensions?
The most common products used to remove your lash extensions at home are:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Mineral oil
- Castor oil
- Baby oil
Let’s review each one and see if it REALLY works.
Can You Remove Eyelash Extensions With Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is the safest and most effective choice when it comes to DIY lash extension removal. The oil helps to loosen the adhesive bond between your natural lashes and the extensions, allowing for a gentler removal process. It is also less likely to cause any irritation or damage to your natural lashes.
Coconut oil is great for nourishing the hair even if you don’t wear lash extensions. But it’s particularly effective when you use it for removing lash extensions using cotton pads.
Coconut oil even works faster than olive oil so you might take less than an hour to remove extensions on your own.
Even for removing super glue from fingers after use, coconut oil is mixed with baking soda as a household remedy.
As baking soda isn’t safe around the eyes, you can skip it and work with coconut oil alone on the cyanoacrylate that’s used in both types of glue.
Can You Remove Lash Extensions with Olive Oil?
Olive oil is a popular choice for removing lash extensions and that’s why it’s a good pick for getting these false lashes out safely. For removal purposes, get some extra virgin olive oil and warm it up.
Place one or two cotton pads each on your eyes and continue as mentioned in the stepwise guide. Olive oil will keep your natural lashes healthy while breaking down the adhesive and holding the extensions onto it.
The catch is that olive oil doesn’t work fast as a lash adhesive remover or coconut oil. So, think of multiple sessions of soaking and rolling the q-tip over your eyelashes.
Can You Remove Eyelash Extensions With Mineral Oil?
Mineral oils are often used as a natural means to remove eyelash extensions.
Even the Revlon remover for removing lash adhesives contains mineral oil. Generally, mineral oil moisturizes the skin and prevents the breakage of hair due to its lubricant qualities.
Can You Remove Eyelash Extensions Using Castor Oil?
Yes, caster oil can be used to remove your extensions. However, unlike other types of oils, castor oil doesn’t break the bond made by the lash adhesive quickly. You need to dab it on your extensions and leave it for a while. Alternatively, you can reapply it over a few days to remove extensions naturally.
That being said, castor oil is one of the few oils that are famous for increasing the luster of eyelashes, making them appear thicker and glossier.
Can You Remove Eyelash Extensions Using Vaseline?
No, vaseline is not a recommended method for eyelash extension removal. It can lead to an uncomfortable feeling due to its greasy texture. More importantly, it’s not a solvent for the lash adhesive and won’t break the bond.
It is best to avoid this method and stick to oil-based solutions for safer and more effective removal.
Can You Remove Eyelash Extensions Using Baby Oil?
Baby oils may contain a mix of mineral or vegetable oils. The latter may be a mix of coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, soy oil, palm oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil.
You don’t need to place the cotton pad on the eyes for more than three minutes with baby oil to start removing lash extensions. Watch out to prevent this oil from getting in the eye.
Can I Use a Professional Eyelash Extension Remover?
Absolutely not! Professionals use eyelash extension removers specifically formulated with very strong glue-dissolving materials.
A lash extension remover is dangerous if it gets into contact with your eyes. They should only be used by licensed and certified lash stylists.
There are two types of professional lash extension removers commonly used on the market: gel remover and cream remover.
The gel remover is typically clear with a high viscosity. Lash stylists generally use the gel remover for spot removal (targeted removal of a few extensions). The cream remover on the other hand is typically more viscous compared to the gel type and used for the complete removal of extensions.
These products are highly effective and can be purchased from professional beauty supply stores and online. They ensure the complete removal of the lash glue.
There are various lash adhesives on the market with different characteristics such as how strong the bond is.
What Happens if the DIY Lash Removal Goes Wrong?
We have covered a step-by-step method for removing lash extensions at home. But I think you should be aware of the risks before attempting the operation in the first place.
I normally strongly advise against removing eyelash extensions at home by yourself. Whenever possible, I recommend getting them taken off professionally.
As a matter of fact, the cost to remove lash extensions professionally is quite low when compared to the price of a new lash set or a refill.
1- Damaging Natural Lashes
I have seen several horror stories of clients damaging their natural lashes during the removal process.
Fun Fact: Poor application of extensions can also damage the natural lashes. Check out my detailed article If you want to know more common mistakes with lash extensions that can damage your natural lashes.
A common mistake is to pull or rub on extensions harshly when removing them. As this detaches the lash extensions by force, it might break the natural lashes too. I have also seen girls lose their natural lashes entirely after removing them at home.
Once your natural eyelashes are damaged, it may take several months for them to grow back to their original length and thickness. In such cases, it can be worth investing in a lash serum to grow the natural lashes faster.
2- Natural Oils are Not Strong Enough
Although oils do break down the lash adhesive, most natural oils aren’t strong enough to remove lashes in one session. You should expect a couple of sessions to completely remove your extensions.
Because of the long time, it takes to remove lashes at home by yourself, you might end up pulling on your lashes and damaging them.
It’s common to lose many natural lashes or get weary from the lengthy process of removing eyelash extensions on your own at home.
3- Excess Oil on the Skin
Excessive amounts of oil applied to your lash line can clog your pores. This in turn can lead to blackheads, pimples, and even breakouts around the eyes.
4- Risk of Infection or Irritation
Keeping your eyes closed while removing your eyelash extensions by yourself can be a challenging task. If you don’t have a steady hand, you might drip products into your eye during the removal process.
How to Remove Eyelash Extensions Professionally
A professional lash artist will use a gel or cream-based remover to take off the extensions. These products have been specifically designed for this purpose.
I’ve recently recorded a video where I explain this entire process, step-by-step. If you’re curious about how it’s done professionally in a salon setting, check it out!
Here are the steps to remove lash extensions professionally:
- Use a gel-based remover or cream-based remover. I personally prefer cream-based ones.
- Apply the remover as close to the lash line as possible without touching the skin. Place a paper towel under the lashes to keep the eye pads clean.
- Let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Use a lint-free applicator to gently remove the extensions by pushing the extension against the paper towel.
- Wipe down the natural lashes to remove any product left behind.
Can I Remove My Lash Extensions Myself?
Yes, you can remove your lash extensions by yourself. However, the removal process will be much slower and a lot more delicate than if you went to a professional since they use professional-grade removal to dissolve the lash adhesive.
What Removes Eyelash Extensions Instantly?
A professional eyelash extension remover works the fastest. All other home-based solutions (coconut oil, olive oil, steam, etc.) will take longer to work and may not be as effective.
How Long Does It Take To Remove Eyelash Extensions?
Removing lash extensions by a professional will take approximately 15 minutes. If you DIY your extension removal at home, you should expect 30 to 60 minutes and you may need to repeat the process more than once.
How Do You Dissolve Eyelash Extension Glue?
There are a few ways to dissolve eyelash extension glue. You can use an oil-based or water-based remover. However, the most common and effective way is to use a professional-grade remover that is specifically designed to dissolve the lash adhesive.
What should I do if my eyelash extensions won’t come off with oil?
If your eyelash extensions won’t come off with oil, it is best to visit a professional lash artist as they will have access to more effective removers and techniques.
The Bottom Line
If you can’t wait till the false lashes are shed with natural lashes patiently, removal might be even more difficult to pull off. But when you have no choice but to take off your extensions yourself, it’s important to weigh the risks of plunging into removal yourself.
Natural options include oils like coconut oil, olive oil, and baby oil. Professional eyelash removers should never be used at home by yourself. The risks are just too great.
Fun Fact: Did you know that salt from the ocean can also weaken the lash extensions? Check out our article about swimming with lash extensions here!
Remember to avoid pulling on your lash extensions while removing them besides cleaning them well after.
If you’d like to talk to a lash tech about removing lash extensions on your own, leave us a comment describing your problem and I’ll write back.
All the love <3
– Asako 🙂
- Beth Sissons (2019). What to know about castor oil for eyelashes? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325541 (Accessed on 1-6-2021)
- Wikipedia Writers (2005). Baby Oil. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_oil (Accessed on 1-6-2021)
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Asako Ito is the Co-Founder of Divine Lashes and a certified eyelash stylist. She has garnered acclaim for her cutting-edge techniques in the lash industry.
Holding multiple certifications and licenses, including Luxury Eye, THE LASH SHOP, World Microblading, and The Lash Bible, she has a constant thirst for knowledge. These credentials reflect her commitment to excellence and staying at the forefront of lash and brow artistry.
With over 10 years of experience, Asako continuously increases her knowledge both as a technician and educator by collaborating with top lash artists worldwide. You can read her full bio here.