Can You Put Mascara On Eyelash Extensions?

close-up of woman's eye makeup: mascara and eyelash extensions

Can you put mascara on eyelash extensions? For such a simple question, the answer is actually a bit complicated. Technically, yes, you can put mascara on eyelash extensions.

Doing so will further enhance your eyes. On that note, the type of mascara used is as crucial as the style of eyelash extension. Depending on the extension style worn, the mascara may weigh them down. 

When you’re planning on wearing mascara over eyelash extensions there are some things you should know. To find everything there is to know about putting mascara on eyelash extensions continue reading below!

Can You Wear Mascara With Lash Extensions?

Yes, you can wear mascara with lash extensions. If you want to draw further attention to your eyes, we totally recommend it. It is worth mentioning that only a classic set of eyelash extensions should be worn with mascara. 

Unlike lash extensions intended to add dramatic volume, a classic set adds thickness. The thickness added with classic extensions offers the support necessary for mascara wear.

Meanwhile, a volume set or a hybrid set can become damaged from mascara use. Volume extensions can become tangled or clumped together when mascara is applied, thus leading to lash loss. Now, the type of mascara you use also matters.

Waterproof mascara can prove to be especially detrimental to lash extensions, regardless of the style. It is harder to remove and is extremely drying. The difficulty with removal can lead to increased pulling and tugging, which can lead to damaged extensions. 

On another hand, mascara that is not waterproof is the preferred option when considering eyelash extension care. By being easier to remove, you can assure the longevity of your lash extensions.

Even better? Standard mascara is not nearly as drying as waterproof mascara. With that in mind, you should be keeping up with lash care even after extensions. A little bit of moisturizer won’t hurt the adhesive, we promise.

Should You Put Mascara On Fake Lashes?

While it is entirely up to personal preferences, you can put mascara on fake lashes. Putting a light coat of mascara on falsies can help seamlessly blend the two. You never want to apply heavy mascara or too many coats.

As a stiffening agent, too much mascara can damage fake eyelashes. If your fake lashes become too damaged, they could no longer be reusable. Always clean your false eyelashes after wear.

Neglecting to clean your fake lashes can lead to an eye infection, the development of a stye, or pink eye. When cleaning the lashes, you want to remove any excess mascara and built-up adhesive. Both can trap bacteria and make future wear difficult. 

To keep your favorite falsies clean and reusable, follow the step-by-step process below:

  1. Set the lashes on a clean surface. This can be a countertop, a cotton pad, or a clean towel. 
  2. Use an oil-free makeup remover on a cotton swab to gently wipe away mascara build-up. Be careful not to rub aggressively and brush in the direction of the lashes, away from the band.
  3. Once the swab wipes the lashes clean, move to the band—you may need to use multiple swabs. Again, use a gentle makeup remover to carefully remove excess adhesive. Do not pull at the adhesive as this may damage the band and lashes. 
  4. Let the falsies dry. We recommend returning them to their packaging to help them retain their shape. 

Do note that you are not restricted to using oil-free makeup remover. If that is unavailable then other options are available. Micellar water is recorded to have been effective, as has been rubbing alcohol and even baby shampoo.

If you have little ones, this may be a total score. Whichever your preferred product, make sure you thoroughly clean the set of fake lashes. This is vital to both your future beauty looks and your eye health.

Is It Better To Wear Mascara Or Eyelash Extensions?

Whether or not it is better to wear mascara or eyelash extensions relies entirely on personal preferences. Both have their pros and their cons. Off the bat, mascara is cheap and accessible. Not everyone knows where to get lash extensions performed, nor can everyone afford them.

Mascara is sold both online and in-store at a variety of locations. Moreover, mascara is versatile. The product can come in several different colors and shades. Do you want hot pink lashes? Electric blue? How about emerald green?

Mascara has got you covered. Also, some specialized formulas can lengthen, add volume, and add thickness. Notwithstanding their clear differences, eyelash extensions are still a crowd-pleaser.

They are certainly the more expensive option, with a single appointment costing an average of between $120 and $300. Not to mention the whole process takes 2 ½  to 3 hours. Afterward, you’ll be able to enjoy fluttery lashes for two weeks before returning for a fill. 

This is in stark contrast to mascara, which can be applied at home from a tube and removed as needed. Generally, eyelash extensions come as classic, hybrid, or volume. Each can give you the appearance of wearing mascara and then some.

Furthermore, while you cannot take extensions off at the end of the day and they require some aftercare, they can be customized. Custom extensions will be more expensive than standard sets.

Oh, and remember how mascara comes in a variety of colors? So do extensions. Whatever color you desire, there are likely lashes available. Just be ready to have colorful lashes until your next appointment. 

The most diverging trait between the two is damage. Mascara is by far more damaging than lash extensions, largely because of drying formulas and improper removal.

Since mascara needs to be removed and reapplied regularly, it poses a much larger risk than extensions. If eyelash extensions are applied, refilled, and removed by an experienced professional the risk to your natural eyelashes is minimal. 

Can I Put Mascara On My Bottom Lashes With Eyelash Extensions?

Yes, you can absolutely put mascara on your bottom lashes with eyelash extensions. You will have to follow the same rule as though you were wearing mascara over your top lashes, however. This means no waterproof mascara and certainly no oil-based mascara products. 

The mascara from the bottom lashes can still transfer by contact to the top ones. Through enough exposure the wrong mascara can cause the extension adhesive to dissolve.

If enough adhesive does end up dissolving, you can experience early lash fallout. In the instance that you lose enough extensions before your next refill, you may have to visit your lash technician ahead of schedule.

If you do choose to make your eyes pop with mascara on your lower lashes, opt for a standard mascara. There are tons of different ways you can apply mascara to your bottom lashes: experiment to find what style you prefer.

Additionally, even though water-based formulas are prone to smudging, it is better than losing out on your lash extensions. A little upkeep certainly beats returning to the lash tech in utter defeat after you use the wrong mascara.

What Mascaras Should I Not Use With Eyelash Extensions?

You should not use waterproof or oil-based mascara with eyelash extensions. These may be fine for natural lashes—we even recommend waterproof for holding curls—but they are damaging to extensions. 

For starters, oil-based mascara can dissolve the adhesive bonds between the extension and your natural lashes. By weakening these vital bonds, your eyelash extensions can come loose, falling out over time.

This is because many oils (not all) weaken the cyanoacrylate in the adhesive. As the lovely folk over at Plume Science specify, not all oils will pose a risk to your lash extensions.

The oils in Plume’s Lash and Brow Growth Serum, like coleus forskohlii root, castor seed, and sweet almond, are safe for use with eyelash extensions. Meanwhile, fan favorites of coconut, vegetable, mineral, and canola oil are no-gos. 

As for waterproof mascara, most formulas are extremely drying and tricky to remove. Not to add, many waterproof mascaras contain glycols. Glycols, although approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, are known to cause contact dermatitis.

Furthermore, glycols interact negatively with adhesive and cause it to weaken. Not all waterproof mascaras contain glycols, though it is an immensely common ingredient in multiple cosmetic goods.

What Mascaras Are Safe For Lash Extensions?

The safest mascaras for lash extensions are water-based formulas or those without glycol. You will want to avoid products that have active ingredients that will negatively interact with the adhesive’s cyanoacrylate.

Also, remember only to wear mascara with classic extensions. Although restrictive, volume and hybrid extensions do not have the wherewithal to support mascara, regardless of the formula’s base ingredients. 

The largest factor to consider when planning to put mascara on eyelash extensions is removal. Water-based mascaras are easier to remove than others (i.e. waterproof or oil-based).

So much so that you will need to have touch-ups throughout the day to keep your lashes fierce and your undereye smudge-free. Additionally, if the mascara is properly applied to the classic extensions then your lashes can last an entire 6 weeks.

The best mascaras for lash extensions include:

These water-based mascaras are tried-and-true products, guaranteed to keep your lashes both safe and stylish.

How Do You Apply Mascara To Lash Extensions?

Applying mascara to lash extensions is not as tricky as it seems. An intimidating prospect no doubt, but easier than some others will lead you to believe. What is even more is that the process is practically the same as how one would normally apply mascara. 

To apply mascara to lash extensions you will want an eyelash comb (or a spoolie) and your favorite water-based mascara. That’s really it!

  1. To begin, make sure you start with clean and dry eyelashes. You can clean your eyelashes with lash shampoo. If your lash technician recommended one, use that. Otherwise there are plenty on the market that can get the job done.
  2. Comb through your lashes to get them in order. Straightening the lashes out beforehand will make the mascara easier to apply. Combining lashes can fix developing entanglements, which themselves can lead to clumped together eyelashes. Also, regularly combing your eyelash extensions can help them maintain their shape.
  3. Once satisfied with the shape of your lashes, apply the water-based mascara. We recommend applying from the center of your lashes to the tip, rather than starting at the roots. This will make removal easier. Even better? With light application this method can help maintain lash flexibility, easing the threat of breakage and fallout. 
  4. Let your lashes dry fully. Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes. Since it is a water-based formula you may want to keep your tube handy for touch-ups throughout the day. 

When getting ready to apply your mascara make sure the one you’ve selected is water-based and glycol free. By using this particular formula, you will be able to maintain your eyelash extensions longer. If you desire a more intense curl prior to mascara application, forego mechanical curlers.

Say what? Okay, forego mechanical curlers if you can. These curlers are notorious for snagging lashes so it is best to avoid them when wearing extensions. The better option would be a heated eyelash curler. These are more expensive than standard curlers and work as … a little hair curler would.

The heat gently shapes your lashes into a long-lasting curl that is tough to achieve with mechanical lash curlers. Most out there are rechargeable, with the price ranging from $8 to upwards of $40.

In the world of beauty, using heat tends to come with a price. When using a heated eyelash curler look out for signs of damage. Never apply the heated comb directly to the lash extension or else it could loosen the adhesive bond.

How Do You Get Mascara Off Eyelash Extensions?

You can remove mascara from eyelash extensions with a gentle, oil-free makeup remover. Certain oils that are common in popular cosmetic products can weaken the adhesive bonds of eyelash extensions.

Also, the skin around your eyes is sensitive, so your best option is a gentle formula for the eye area. Here is where eyelash shampoo comes in. Hold it! We need to clarify: do not just go on applying regular ol’ shampoo to your lashes.

There is a specialized shampoo available that is tailored to eyelash extensions. Much of the time, your lash technician will recommend (or provide) specific shampoo to use. What is even better is that these shampoos can also remove eye makeup.

These lash shampoos are perfect for removing makeup, dirt, and debris from your extensions. So, technically, you can absolutely use eyelash shampoo in place of a gentle makeup remover. It probably will make your life a bit easier.

Most shampooing kits come with their own foaming cleanser, an application brush, and a comb. You’ll find most of these kits available online and in-store for anywhere between $10 and $25 total.

If you insist on using a favorite makeup remover, following up with a lash shampoo is definitely safe. Just make sure your lashes dry completely and do not pluck or pull them.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Wearing Mascara With Eyelash Extensions?

Of course, wearing mascara with eyelash extensions isn’t for everyone. As with most things in the beauty world, there are pros and cons aplenty. 

The Pros Of Wearing Mascara With Eyelash Extensions

Let’s start with good news, shall we? To kick off the pros of wearing mascara with eyelash extensions, we’ll talk about seamlessness. Wearing mascara with your extensions will give the appearance of having naturally full, curled lashes.

Having naturally lustrous black lashes isn’t too common, save for the lucky few. It is more frequent to find lashes that are blonde, dull brown, or red.

By adding mascara to your extensions you successfully blend them with your natural lashes. Another pro of wearing mascara with your eyelash extensions is the enhancement it gives.

As it is, mascara gives the eyes an extra oomph. Now, mascara with eyelash extensions? Talk about wow! Bold lashes are undeniably eye-catching; if that’s what you are going for, mascara with lash extensions is a definitive pro.

The Cons Of Wearing Mascara With Eyelash Extensions

Now we get to the negatives of wearing mascara with eyelash extensions. We had to get here eventually. So, there is no denying that mascara can be drying and damaging to natural lashes.

On top of this, the wrong type of mascara can totally ruin your lash extensions. Oil? Glycol? Forget about it! Furthermore, mascara can be difficult to remove.

If care is not taken with removing mascara from eyelash extensions you can trigger early fallout. The primary concern that comes with wearing mascara with eyelash extensions is the damage that the product could possibly cause.

Most often, however, if mascara is applied and removed properly there is little concern. Keep mascara restricted to use on classic sets, and only ever use water-based formulas. 

What Are The Do’s And Don’ts Of Wearing Mascara With Eyelash Extensions?

There are some do’s and don’ts of wearing mascara with eyelash extensions that everyone should know beforehand. Some of the following may be obvious, or reiterations of what we previously mentioned, but there is no harm in clarifying.

Without further ado, the do’s and don’ts of wearing mascara with eyelash extensions are as follows:

  • Do wear water-based mascaras or mascaras specially formulated for extensions. 
  • Don’t wear mascara with oil or glycol, as either is known to weaken the adhesive. 
  • Do wash your eyelashes after mascara wear. Even without wearing eye makeup, you should still be washing your extensions daily—twice a day if you are prone to oiliness. 
  • Don’t go long periods without shampooing your eyelashes or removing makeup. Never sleep in your mascara. 
  • Do apply mascara to classic extensions. They are sturdy enough to withhold the weight of the product. 
  • Don’t wear mascara on volume or hybrid Lashes. These stylized sets are meant for adding length and fullness and are too light to support mascara.
  • Do apply mascara lightly to the lashes, from the center up. 
  • Don’t apply the mascara in multiple layers or from root to tip. Doing so can make the eyelashes heavy, the mascara troublesome to remove, and dry out your eyes.
  • Do use a heated eyelash curler if you need to curl your eyelashes (never the extensions).
  • Don’t get a lash lift or a lash perm with extensions. This can both damage the extension and cause fallout.

Final Thoughts: Can You Put Mascara On Eyelash Extensions?

Taking everything into perspective, you can put water-based mascara on classic eyelash extensions. You never will want to apply mascara of any kind to volume or hybrid styles since these lash extensions cannot support the weight of the mascara.

Furthermore, the mascara will ruin the shape of these lashes, making them lose their to-die-for fluffiness. When taking a look at the type of mascara to be wearing, always go for a water-based formula. Any mascara with oils or glycols can pose a risk to your fresh extensions.

Although there are some safe oils out there, they are unlikely to be found in cosmetic products. That being said, always read the content labels if you are curious. It should also be noted that sleeping in mascara is never okay—especially with extensions.

You should be washing your eyelash extensions daily, regardless of makeup use. Luckily, many lash shampoos out there also are fantastic at removing eye makeup. Particularly, lash shampoos can work wonders at thoroughly removing mascara, debris, and dirt. 

Tying everything together, yes, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too: mascara works with eyelash extensions. However, you should take our advice from this article into consideration to properly maintain your extensions through mascara wear.

That is, if you choose to put mascara over your extensions. The decision rests with you and, in beauty, you should always do what makes you feel the most beautiful.

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By Cierra Tolentino

Cierra Tolentino is a beauty writer at Kintegra Research. She loves keeping people up-to-date with the latest beauty trends in skincare, hair care, and makeup. Finding answers to tough questions is her thing. When she has free time you can find her chasing down a clumsy toddler and obsessively drinking tea.