If you're going to put the time and money into the getting eyelash extensions, you definitely don't want to ruin them — and using the wrong mascara can do just that. That's why, if you plan on wearing mascara over your new, long lashes, it's important to make sure you're using one of the best mascaras for eyelash extensions.
Can you wear mascara with eyelash extensions?
Before you get to shopping, Andra Marin, artistic director and expert lash stylist at NYC-based Courtney Akai Lash Boutique, says it's important to choose the right extensions if you plan to continue wearing mascara. "If you are wearing classic lash extensions, you can wear [certain] mascaras," Andra says. "However, if you are wearing the new volume lashes — the 2D, 3D, custom made fans — we do not recommend any kind of mascara since it closes the fans and makes them look clumpy."
What is the best mascara for eyelash extensions?
With your classic extensions in place, determining if a mascara is safe is actually pretty straightforward. "Any kind of oil is to be avoided," Andra says of the number one rule. "When oil comes in contact with the adhesive that holds your extensions in place, it starts to loosen that bond and slowly breaks it up," she says, explaining that this causes your extensions to fall out faster. Instead, look for water-based mascaras or options that are specifically designed for using on lash extensions.
How do you take care of eyelash extensions?
The oil-free rule applies to the rest of the makeup and skin care products you put on or around your eyes, too (though Andra says you can continue to use any of your usual products with oil in them, as long as they aren't going anywhere near the lashes or lash line). In addition to avoiding any waterproof or long-lasting eye makeup products that can be hard to remove, Andra stresses that you'll also need an oil-free makeup remover. "Always try washing lashes using your hands or a mascara brush instead of cotton disks or cloth. The secret is to use a good oil-free makeup remover and lint-free products on or around the lashes. Xtreme Lashes Eye Makeup Remover & Facial Cleanser is the magic stuff," she recommends. "It's a spray, so it goes on super easy, and it rinses with water."
Products aside, to help your eyelash extensions last, Andra says to be as gentle as possible with them. "Never pull, play, or rub your lashes. After showering or swimming, always dab them dry with a lint-free towel, tissue, or paper towels, and gently brush them into place and let them air dry."
Ahead, you'll find four of the best mascaras for lash extensions, including two of Andra's recommendations.
1. The Pro’s Pick
From Andra's go-to brand for anyone with lash extensions, Xtreme Lashes, their Length & Volume Mascara is her top recommendation because, "It's a water-based and specially formulated for eyelash extension wear." Designed to add both length and volume to extensions without any clumping, flaking, or smudging, Xtreme Lashes' conditioning formula is also safe for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers, since it's free of most common irritants.
For the best way to apply the mascara without causing any damage to the extensions, the brand recommends gently brushing your lashes with a spoolie first to separate and groom them (they make their own Deluxe Retractable Lash Styling Wand). After removing the excess mascara from the tip of the wand, be sure to only apply the mascara from the middle of the lashes to the tips to avoid any disruption to the extension adhesive bond.
2. Another Solid Choice
Like the mascaras above and below, BeautyGarde's Oil-Free Mascara was designed to pump up extensions and false lashes without breaking down the adhesive. The long-lasting formula promises to add both volume and length without smudging or running. BeautyGarde's mascara is also paraben-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic, so sensitive eyes won't experience irritation.
Because the formula is oil-free, if you plan to apply multiple coats, you'll need to do so right away, as water-based formulas set faster than mascaras with oils. And if you want even more drama, BeautyGarde recommends using their Oil-Free Priming Sealant first to help separate and define your lashes.
3. Best Under $20 Pick
For a lash extension-suitable mascara under $20, Blink's Lash Noir Mascara is a specially formulated option that's water-based. The deep black formula contains nourishing ingredients like keratin and vitamin E, so your lashes feel softer and look shinier, in addition to longer and fuller. And though Blink Lash removes easily with warm water, it also promises not to smear through sweat or tears, making it an ideal option for long-lasting wear.
4. Best Drugstore Mascara For Lash Extensions
Specialty lash extension mascaras aren't your only option. If you look closely at the ingredients list, you'll find that there are also oil-free drugstore mascaras you can try out (though, when in doubt, check in with your lash specialist). L'Oréal Paris's Original Voluminous Mascara is one of those oil-free drugstore formulas, and it's also Andra's recommendation for a more affordable choice. The cult-favorite mascara won't clump, smudge, or flake, but it will evenly coat your lashes for a much fuller finish.
If your eyes are on the sensitive side, rest assured that this L'Oréal Paris mascara is fragrance-free and allergy-tested for sensitive eyes and contact lens-wearers. Just be sure you aren't purchasing a waterproof formula to ensure your extensions are totally safe.
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