The scoop on removing false eyelash glue safely
False eyelashes are a gorgeous addition to a glamorous makeup routine. However, at the end of the night, removing your falsies can seem like a chore so overwhelming that the addition wasn't worth it. (But we all know those thick, gorgeous lashes are completely worthwhile!)
Even once you've removed your false lashes, you might have a thick residue of eyelash glue left behind. It's critical to remove eyelash glue completely.
Why is it important to remove eyelash glue?
The adhesive in eyelash glue is often a complex mix of chemical ingredients. While these products are safe to use on your skin, the close proximity of fake eyelashes to your eyes creates a bigger risk for infections, pink eye, and other eye-oriented health issues.
There was also a recent scare in the beauty world that some low-cost eyelash glues contained formaldehyde as an ingredient, which is highly caustic if it comes in contact with the eyes. (No scare tactics here—those products are no longer on the market, and the best eyelash glue is safe to use, but it's still critical to make sure you remove every bit of it before you go to sleep.)
What is eyelash glue made of?
Most eyelash glue contains a key ingredient called ethyl cyanoacrylate. This ingredient is made from cyanide and acrylate bonded together. (Don't panic! Although cyanide is poisonous on its own, it's a useful—and completely safe—thickening agent when bonded to other ingredients, and is a common part of many makeup products.)
Acrylate is an organic acid with the unique property of self-polymerization. In simple terms, this means that it hardens or thickens whenever it's exposed to air. So, when you swipe on a layer of eyelash glue and attach your false eyelashes, it's that self-polymerization process that help your lashes stick to your eyelid. It's also what holds your lashes on for your whole night out—and what makes eyelash glue so tricky to remove.
How do you take eyelash glue off?
Eyelash glue is designed to be durable enough to hold your falsies in place through a night of dancing, a day at work, or any range of high-octane activities. Because of this, it can be tough to remove completely. Luckily, once you know the tricks, removing eyelash glue becomes an easy and familiar part of your pre-bedtime skincare routine.
- Remove makeup. First, remove your eye makeup with your favorite makeup remover, gentle cleanser, or makeup wipes. Some eyelash glues are gentle enough to come off with this first step, but most are much more clingy.
- Remove lashes. Once your makeup is gone, gently swab the base of your lashes with an oil-free makeup remover. (Oil-free is important here if you want to reuse the lashes—lashes with oil on them will not stick to your lids the next time you try to apply them.) Once the makeup remover has sunk in a bit, gently separate the lashes from your eyelid. The last thing you want to do is pull hard, as that could rip the falsies, pull out your natural lashes, or irritate or tear the skin of your eyelid.
- Get the glue off your eyelids. Once the lashes are removed, focus on getting the last traces of eyelash glue off your lids. You can do this through a product solution, like makeup remover. These are usually solvent-based, cream-based, gel-based, or oil-based. At this point in the process, it's safe to use an oil-based remover if that's what works best for your skin. Natural remedies, like olive oil or coconut oil, can also do the trick!
- Get the glue off your lashes. If you're planning on preserving your false lashes, make sure to get any specks of glue off the lashes before you put them away. Use a tweezer (or your fingernails) to carefully pluck any bits of dried glue off the base, and be careful not to pull so hard you tear the lashes.
- Rinse! Clean lashes last the longest! To extend the lifetime of your false lashes, rinse them gently with a small amount of oil-free makeup remover, then swipe the lashes from band to tip until the cotton swab comes away clean.
- Dry. When you're done cleaning the lashes, leave them on a clean paper towel to air dry. Don't pat, wring, or squeeze the lashes in an effort to clean or dry them—this will only damage the lashes and reduce their lifetime. Cleaning and air drying also prevents bacteria from building up on the lashes over time.
Voila! Your lash glue is removed, and your lashes are ready for your next night out.