Fake Eyelash Maintenance 101

Removal, cleaning, and storage techniques to preserve your falsies indefinitely.
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Alle
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Removal, cleaning, and storage techniques to preserve your falsies indefinitely.

When it comes to amazing beauty products, fake eyelashes definitely rank among my favorites.

I'm yet to shell out for lashes made of fur à la J.Lo, but I consider fake eyelashes to be a pretty decent investment. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had multiple pairs of falsies since I was in college--which, to my surprise, is almost 10 years ago. And despite getting some pretty heavy wear, they look as great today as they did when I was sneaking into bars underage.

Left: Stacked holographic eyelashes today. Right: The same lashes on 19-year-old Alle (also a lot of eye makeup).

Left: Stacked holographic eyelashes today. Right: The same lashes on 19-year-old Alle (also a lot of eye makeup).

I KNOW some of you are wondering how this is possible, because you've asked me about it. Fake lashes, even the cheap ones, aren’t just good for a couple of wears. If you take care of them, they’ll last for ages!

So today I’m going to show you how I clean, store, and take care of my fake eyelashes.

Part One: Remove Eyelashes With Care

Let’s take a fun quiz: Which of the following should you NEVER use to remove your fake eyelashes?

A) Tweezers & other tools
B) Your nails
C) Eyelash curlers
D) All of the above

The answer is, of course, D. The only things that you should use to remove your eyelashes are the pads of your fingers: there’s less chance that you’ll poke yourself in the eye, and they won’t crimp or damage the hairs. Grasp the other edge of the fake lashes gently (but firmly) between your thumb and forefinger, and peel the band inwards. Voila!

Maybe the most awkward photo in history?

Maybe the most awkward photo in history?

If you’re using individual lash clusters, a similar theory applies. Gently (but firmly) grab the ends of each cluster and pull them out, one cluster at a time. Don't grab all of them and yank--you'll loosen or damage the hairs. Nobody wants balding eyelashes!

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And, yes, I personally know of three people who remove their lashes by catching the ends in an eyelash curler and pulling up. Is there a “recoils in horror” emoji? Because please don’t do that!

Part Two: Get Rid Of Glue 

When you take off your lashes, the first thing you’ll notice is the gunky mixture of glue and eye makeup that’s stuck along the band.

Gunktastic!

Gunktastic!

It’s imperative that you remove your eyelash glue. If left, it can harden and ruin the band, thus rendering your eyelashes unusable. There are various tools and potions that promise to remove or dissolve glue, but your best bet is to use your fingers.

In one hand, hold the lashes gently but firmly between forefinger and thumb. With the other hand, pull at the glue until it begins to come away. Some glues peel off in a long string and others come off in clumps--either way, keep at it until it’s all gone and you can see the band of the lashes again.

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For lash clusters, you need to be especially careful: it's easy to wreck the hairs. Hold the lashes gently in one hand and pull at the glue on the base with the other. Repeat until all the clusters you’ve used are clean.

Top: messy lashes. Bottom: clean. Far right: glue balls.

Top: messy lashes. Bottom: clean. Far right: glue balls.

Now you are glue-free! Hooray!

Part Three: Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness 

Mascara atop fake lashes is a great way to blend them into your natural eyelashes and liquid eyeliner is aces for helping to hide the band. But neither of those things are very good for the longevity of your eyelashes. So just like you wash your face before you go to sleep (I hope!), you also need to clean your lashes before you put them away. All that you need for this is some oil-free eye makeup remover, a few cotton swabs (my favorite things) and a couple of tissues.

Can you see the swabs and tissues? Curse you, white balance!

Can you see the swabs and tissues? Curse you, white balance!

Place the lashes on the tissues and lightly hold the band with your finger, just enough to stop it from moving around (shown below in figure 1). Dip your cotton swab into the eye makeup remover and squeeze out the excess (2) so that it isn’t dripping. Then, moving from band to tip, wipe the cotton swab along the lashes to remove the makeup (3). When no more product is coming off, your eyelashes are totally clean (4). DO NOT soak them--this will ruin the curl of the lashes!

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Let your eyelashes air dry, and then you’re ready to store them.

Part Four: Storage.

Keep your eyelashes out of direct sunlight, as it can change the color of the hair, warp the band, and loosen the adhesive. You’ll also want to keep not just the little half-moon tray that the lashes come on, but the snap-shut plastic container, too. This keeps out dust, ever the enemy of nice lashes. After all, you just spent all that time cleaning them--the goal is to have them stay clean for as long as possible.

Once dry, pop the lashes back on the half moon trays and press the band gently onto the curve. This will keep the band in shape and flexible. Then place them in the snap shut plastic containers.

Like so!

Like so!

If you’ve lost either of these components (or your lashes didn’t come with them), don’t worry! You can buy plastic eyelash cases online, and they’re often really, really cute. They hold multiple pairs and snap shut to keep dust and grit out, plus the cases are hard which makes them great for travel.

Individual lash clusters should be placed back in the little “nooks” of their plastic case. Don’t use tweezers to do this, no matter how tempting--just drop them in, making sure that the sweep of the hairs are going up. Storing them upside down will affect how they curl, which we don’t want!

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And that’s it! Follow these steps and even your cheapest eyelashes will last for years. I'm living proof!

Now tell me: How long have you guys had your favorite pair of lashes? Do you clean them, or wear and throw away? What's your favorite brand and style of fake eyelashes? What's your favorite sneaking-into-bars memory? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours!