At this point in my makeup journey, I feel confident saying I've really got the hang of applying false lash strips. I know exactly how much glue to coat the band with, how long I should wait before attempting to apply, and at the end of the night, I gently remove them — but when I applied individual falsies for the first time, I immediately froze: How the heck do I get these things off?If you've ever experienced the same moment of horror, you're in luck, because here's how to remove individual false lashes the easiest and safest way, according to a makeup artist.
Emmy-winning professional makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor knows just about everything when it comes to a good glam, so I knew he'd be a great person to ask about the tricky, tedious process of removing individual lashes. But first, I wanted him to dish on his favorite sets. Personally, I foresee a lot of trial and error in my future, and I want to start with a super inexpensive set until I really get the hang of it. For this, the KISS Lash Couture Faux Lash Extensions in Venus ($7, ulta.com) are an incredible option, featuring flat bands instead of knots.
"My favorite individual lashes are the Sweet Individuals by kre-at beauty ($18, shopkreatbeauty.com)," says Sotomayor. "The patented “V” shape is free from the thick knots of other individuals, and because you’re only appling two at a time, they blend in naturally with your own lashes while making them longer and thicker." Sotomayor notes that he also likes this set because one kit comes with lashes in three different sizes. "You can simply choose long, medium, or short lashes to create the level of drama you want or you can mix them up to create your own custom look. Usually, I apply the mediums across the whole eye, then a few short lashes towards the inner part of the eye, and a few longer lashes towards the outer half." For a bonus pro tip, he says they look even better when you overlap them. Note to self, try this ASAP.
Now, let’s get down to lash removal business. Do not think you can just go ham with a pair of tweezers and rip these babys off — thats a hard 'No.' First off, Sotomayor insists that the whole process is easier when the right products are used for a safe removal, natch. To remove individual lashes, you want to have them come off as easily as possibly without having to scrub," says Sotomayor. "Cleansing waters, makeup wipes, or soap don’t contain the right ingredients to actually soften and dissolve lash glue, and you never want to pull or scrub hard along your lashes. Doing so could cause irritation, make them more prone to falling out, or even increase the risk of scratching your eyes."
So, what products does he prefer instead? "I recommend the L’Occitane Immortelle Oil Make-Up Remover ($34, usa.loccitane.com). All you do is gently massage the oil over the eye area and your whole face to melt makeup and lash glue. Lashes should fall right off. Then, unlike almost any other oil, you just rinse everything away with warm water. No oily residue." And if you're worried about splurging on a product that's just for your lashes, think again, as Sotomayor insists this oil does it all: "I give it to actors and celebrities for taking makeup off easily after long shoots or late night events. It’s so good it even takes off drag makeup." We love a multi-tasker!
While the L'Occitane oil should do the trick, I've definitely made the mistake of using a little too much glue and simply not being able to un-clump my mess. "For stubborn makeup or glue that turns gummy or won’t dissolve easily, I recommend using the Chanel Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover ($34, chanel.com)," says Sotomayor. "Saturate a cotton pad and hold it against your eye for at least five seconds to soften lash glue and mascara. Then, gently wipe up and outwards to remove. Rinse with warm water or wash your face with your usual cleanser and be sure to splash lots of water on the eye area."
During the removal process, it's important to keep in mind at all times just how sensitive your eyelids and eyelashes really are. No tugging, pulling, or ripping, please! When the glue is broken down by the aforementioned products, the individuals should lift up with ease. Sotomayor notes that showing your eyes some aftercare love post-removal is a great idea, especially if you know yours are sensitive. "Hygiene is always important when it comes to the health of your eyes," he insists, and I couldn't agree more. "For extra cleansing, like if you were in a dusty area, or you’re prone to getting styes, always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your eyes to apply or remove makeup, and follow with the OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Foaming Eyelid Cleanser ($15, walmart.com). It’s a leave-on eyelid cleanser that you can get at the drugstore or from your eye doctor that’s great for removing contaminants."
With Sotomayor's tips and product recs in mind, I feel significantly more confident about tackling individual lash removal. Now I just need to figure out how to put them on without devoting hours of my life to the process. Practice makes perfect, people!