Ok, first things first: Can you wear mascara with eyelash extensions? Yes, absolutely. While it’s not strictly necessary, applying mascara can accomplish a few things:

Why Wear Mascara With Lash Extensions?

  1. Mascara will darken and add impact to the lower lashes, and make both upper and lower lashes appear balanced and uniform.
  2. If your natural lashes are brown and you choose extensions to match them, you may want mascara to deepen the color of your lashes and extensions together.
  3. Volume, baby! While synthetic extensions are thicker than your natural flutter, silk and especially mink extensions, taper at the ends much like human eyelashes. Mascara will add that vavoom and drama.
  4. As your eyelash extensions reach the end of their life and begin to shed along with the natural eyelashes they’re attached to, you can fill in the gaps with mascara.

Why Oil-Free Mascara Is Best For Lash Extensions

Want to flaunt your eyelash extensions for as long as possible? Steer clear of all oil-based makeup and mascaras. Seriously. Oil-free mascara and makeup is the only safe choice when you wear lash extensions. Oil-based eyeliners and mascaras weaken the bonding agents holding your extensions in place, causing one of two potential outcomes: 

First, the glue on some of your flares loosens and re-dries, which makes a few of your lashes stick together.

Second, the oils dissolve the glue altogether and your eyelash extensions fall out. Sound like a pretty scenario either way? I didn’t think so.

You also want to avoid mascara with glycol and carbonate, as these ingredients mess with the glue on your extensions, too. (For more information about water-based cosmetics, see our article, Why Oil-Free Eye Makeup?Protecting the adhesive bond between your falsies and lash line is the most important key to extending their life, and water-based mascara is the gentlest product for delicate lash extensions.

Mascara You Can Use With Extensions

Whether you’re wearing synthetic, silk or mink faux lashes, your mascara should glide smoothly across their surface – sleek and flawless as you please. Extension-friendly mascara should have some water-resistance, but come off easily at the end of the day, trouble-free. 

Beyond that, you want a formulation that’s neither too thick nor too dry. Mascara that’s too thick will create tension on the lashes as you’re running the brush through them. You don’t want anything to tug or pull on your eyelash extensions. Thick mascara can also cause tangling or clumping. Lumpy lashes are never a good look. 

Which Type Of Mascara Should I Avoid?

Waterproof Mascara

Don’t even think about waterproof mascara. It’s kryptonite for your falsies. The ingredients in waterproof mascara are designed for maximum staying power, and while this can sometimes be great for your own lashes, it can make your eyelash extensions brittle. Removing waterproof mascara requires some pressure – and oil-based makeup remover – two things that couldn’t be worse for your extensions. Rubbing around your eyes can pull off flares, and potentially your lashes with them! What’s more, the eye-makeup remover will also take off the glue holding your extensions in place. Bye bye, beautiful investment.

Tube mascara

Another complete no-no is tube mascara. True, it requires just water to remove, and with natural lashes, can be peeled right off in tubes. On your expensive eyelash extensions, though, it sticks like cement. 

Fiber Mascaras

Lastly, fiber mascaras aren’t great for your extensions, either. Like waterproof and tube mascaras, it’s difficult to remove, which is never ideal for lash extensions. With fiber mascaras, the goal is to create the look of extensions by adding small fibers to dramatically lengthen your natural lashes. Who needs that when you already have falsies?

What To Look For In A Mascara Brush

Don’t forget the mascara brush. The brush is every bit as important as the mascara itself. It’s crucial that your mascara brush does not grip your lashes too tightly, causing it to tug at the bond on the lash extensions. 

Beyond Mascara: Protecting Your Lash Extensions for As Long As Possible

Not only do you want to use a safe mascara for lash extensions, you want to use a safe eye makeup remover when you take off your mascara at night. Many removers contain oil, which you must avoid not only in your mascara, but in all the products you apply to your eye area – including your makeup remover and cleanser.

BeautyGARDE oil-free lash and brow shampoo uses a charcoal brush to comb through your lashes and gently remove your mascara. No rubbing involved! That means no tangling, no tugging, no tension. (Want to learn more about keeping your extensions and brows clean? Check out our article, Are You Properly Cleaning Your Lash Extensions and Eyebrows?.)

This amazing tool gets to all the hiding spots where mascara likes to linger. The charcoal brush actually attracts all the accumulated grime that your lashes pick up throughout the day, and pulls that grime away from your eyes. Your lashes get a thorough cleansing, and the lash and brow shampoo will leave no residue behind. When they’re kept clean, your lash extensions will last longer. You’ll make sure to avoid bacteria (and mites!) in your eyelashes, too!