You’ve shelled out for doe-eyed lashes; here’s how to make the most of your flutter, without the fallout

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If you’ve invested in what seems like a million feathery faux lashes attached to your godgiven eyelash fringe, you’ll know that a) the process took an age, and b) it cost you an absolute packet. Assuming that your eyelash extensions were applied by a highly trained practitioner (you really don’t want to take a gamble on unsterile equipment, non medical-grade glue or dodgy cluster extensions), they’ll be looking pretty Elizabeth Taylor without makeup, but if you want to up the ante, there are conditions. These Bambi lashes may allow you a lie-in, but they are somewhat high-maintenance in the TLC department.

First things first, legendary lash authority Daxita Vaghela  has the ground rules for keeping on the straight and narrow, or rather, long and curly…

  • Avoid oil like the plague; always ensure that your cleanser and eye make-up remover are oil-free.
  • Try not to use mascara if you can help it and don’t go too heavy with the eyeliner. If you do use either, as above make sure that you choose oil-free.
  • Regular maintenance (every two to three weeks) will fill in any glaring gaps and keep lashes looking perfect. I promise that if well cared for, a regular ‘set’ can last up to eight weeks.
  • Brush lashes every day to keep them in shape. All good lash therapists will provide you with a comb or spoolie to prevent tangles and lift lashes upwards.
  • Never fiddle or play with your lashes and keep them as clean as possible at all times.

If you’ve adhered to the lash commandments, your extensions should be in pretty good shape, but lash sabotage can sneak in unawares via lifestyle or the makeup and skincare you use. From swimming regularly to sleeping on your stomach and getting into sweaty situations, hard-earned eyelash extensions can get squashed or the glue broken down before its time if you’re not at least a little cautious. It’s for this reason, and the rather large matter of expense, that full-on lash extensions are often best left for special occasions, not least because if you’re on a constant extension roll, your natural eyelashes will seem increasingly weedy and feeble on the daily without them. That being said, getting hooked on high quality eyelash extensions is understandable, as Daxita admits that most of her clients don’t feel the need to apply any eye makeup at all whilst wearing them.

While going shadow and liner free is certainly liberating, adding a little makeup into the mix can make eyes look electric, if you go about it in a ‘gently, gently’ fashion. Dragging thick, waxy formulas along the lashline in particular may risk damage to extension bond, and likewise using stick-fast waterproof or tubing mascaras will cause extensions to become brittle, not to mention result in a WWE style wrestling match trying to get it off without the use of oil-based makeup remover. If your lash extensions are fresh and even, mascara needn’t be on the menu, but if your former thicket of lashes is looking a bit thin or patchy, a water based mascara is your best bet. Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara , £17.50, keeps both natural lashes and extensions soft, while adding inky, clump free volume and length. Another option is go full Twiggy and use mascara on your bottom lashes only, creating definition without tugging extensions. Whatever you do, be delicate, and don’t go nuts with the wand at the roots of your lashes, as you’ll risk tangling lashes or dislodging both an extension and natural lash along with it, which, let’s face it, is a lose-lose.

Equally ‘safe’ is Nouveau Lashes purpose-designed Coating Sealant , £18.99, available in both black and transparent formulas. If combed through lightly, it should protect extension bonds rather than damage them, adding a bit of sheen and depth, although apply sparingly for the best results in both the short and long term.

From a colour and liner perspective, most shadows pose no risk to your Bambi blinkers, although go easy on glitter and loose powders, and of course steer clear of oil. Liner can be a little more problematic, as you’re applying it very close to the lash extension, so again go water-based and use a light hand. A lick of  Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner , £7.99, adds a come-hither sootiness without tattooing itself to the lid, and for a smudge of colour Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Pencil , £19, doubles up as a subtle liner and all over shadow, enhancing eyes and somehow staying put yet removing easily, which is rare feat in beauty land.

To really seal the deal in terms of making lash extensions last, the makeup removal process is the main event. Daxita has a few pointers and favourite products for the job:

“In my book, gentle ingredients are a must when using products around your eyes- extensions or no extensions! One of my favourites has to be  Simple Oil Free Makeup Remover Pads , £4.19, which don’t tug at the sensitive skin around the eye area, or at lashes for that matter. Move the pad upwards over lashes when removing.”

“To really get rid of all makeup residue, Nars Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover , £18.50, is also hard to beat. Dip a cotton bud into the formula and trace around the eye and upwards over the lashes, as cotton pads and balls especially have a tendency to fleece and catch onto extensions, and once they’ve snuggled into the lashline they’re difficult to remove without tugging.”

“For all-over cleansing, I also love Shiseido Pureness Refreshing Cleansing Water , £24. It’s cooling, effective and reduces faff in that you can use it everywhere.”

Other specialist removers that go over and above the call of duty include blink Micellar Eye Cleanser , £14, and  Sarah Chapman Skinesis Lash Boosting Eye Cleanse , £32. The former is soothing but leaves zero crud in its wake, while the latter, while expensive, essentially doubles up a treatment by reinforcing naturals lashes care of a unique peptide and amino acid rich complex.

To keep lashes truly pristine, the gym, hot showers and any tinkering whatsoever would be totally off limits, but in the spirit of staying fit, clean and sane, don’t get too obsessed with lashes heading south. Eyelash extensions will fall out according to your natural lash growth cycle anyway (as a natural lash falls, the extension will go with it), and longevity can depend on how fine and lightweight your extensions were to begin with. A bit of a going over with a dry spoolie and a less is more approach to makeup and splashing about will certainly help, but extensions ain’t forever, and you don’t want to lose sight of your natural eyelashes full stop. Moderation may be boring, but here it is again, being sensible. You know it’s for the best.

Considering extensions but want to find out more about what's involved?  Right this way...

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