The Best Mascara for Eyelash Extensions: Some Obvious (and Some Surprising) Options
It’s kind of surprising that there’s not more written about mascara for eyelash extensions—people love extensions, but there doesn’t seem to be too much information about how to wear them, how to care for them, and how to beautify them.
So below, we’ll take a look at some our favorite mascaras for eyelash extensions: we’ll start with our reviews of the best mascara for eyelash extensions, what you need to know to select one, and how to apply and remove them safely.
Our Picks / Top Five:
Let’s get to it—here are the products we’ll review, followed by in-depth discussions of the pros and cons of each (as well as our overall favorite):
Blinc Original Tubing Mascara
GladGirl Lashe EnMasse Mascara for Eyelash Extensions
GladGirl Lashe EnMasse Mascara for Eyelash Extensions gets our vote as one of the easiest-to-use mascaras for extensions. It’s an “easy-on/easy-off” formula designed to be versatile and safe.
GladGirl is a brand that also makes professional eyelash extension products, including glues and different kinds of lashes, which makes us feel a little bit better about the product. It seems like a lot of companies got into the extension mascara game, and… not all of those products are amazing! So we think that’s a good sign that GladGirl has a range of products related to extensions.
They made this extension-safe mascara not just to visibly enhance your look, but also to give added protection to the lash extensions, and they explicitly recommend it for cluster lashes, which is wonderful, because it can be very difficult to find a mascara that will work with that type of extension. It was designed to be washable, which is another plus for any extension-safe mascara, because it saves you the need to use oil-based removers.
The most unique detail about Lashe EnMasse, though, is the dual brush with which it was designed: one side of it has traditional nylon bristles designed to volumize, while the other side has plastic bristles designed to separate lashes. We love this unique detail, which gives the user the best of both worlds. We also absolutely love that this mascara is vegan and cruelty-free, a topic that we know is very important for many of our readers.
May be a good fit for: those with all different kinds of lash extensions who prefer an easy-to-use mascara made by a lash extension brand.
Blink Eyelash Extension Coating Sealant Diamond Black
This next one is something of a “makeup artist secret,” and we love when we get to recommend something like this: the Blink Eyelash Extension Coating Sealant Diamond Black. We think it’s the best mascara for eyelash extensions for those who don't want to take even the smallest risk of losing lashes, and technically, this is first and foremost a sealant rather than a mascara, but since it colors the lashes black, we think it still counts.
Because Blink Black Diamond Sealant is a sealant, it was manufactured specifically to add extra reinforcement to the lash extension. It was designed to create a seal over the extension that is meant to block out oil, moisture, and anything else that might degrade the glue and cause eyelash loss. According to Blink, it can even make the eyelash extensions last longer.
Blink usually recommends this product to professionals, who can use it on clients as part of the eyelash extension service, but we think anyone can use it both for the added protection as well as to add a bit extra oomph to your look. As with all sealants, the seal it creates may make your lashes look a little more spiky, glossy, or harder to the touch, which can be a nice look in many cases, but that’s definitely something to keep in mind if you decide to use it.
May be a good fit for: those who don’t want to risk losing lashes at all, and just want a bit of color to their lashes.
Infinit Dimension Volumizing Eyelash Extension Mascara
The Infinit Dimension Volumizing Eyelash Extension Mascara is a volumizing mascara designed to provide clump-resistant length and curl, and wash away easily at the end of the day.
Infinit formulated this mascara to be oil-free, which is a huge plus for extensions (we’ll explain why in our “What to Look For” section below), and to be safe for sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers. It’s rare that eyelash extension-safe mascaras are made with skincare ingredients, and Infinit added soothing chamomile and witch hazel to the blend, to potentially calm the sensitive skin around the eyes. That’s a very nice touch.
It's worth noting that these are *not* for volume lash extensions, and are created instead for classic-style/natural-style individual extensions. If you’re not using volume lash extensions, though, we think they’re a great pick.
May be a good fit for: those who want an extension-safe eyelash mascara that is a little more resistant to smudging or wearing away but still gentle, and good for both sensitive eyes and/or contact-lens wearers.
Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara
Though it's not explicitly advertised as such, the Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara is actually one of our favorite picks when it comes to mascara for eyelash extensions (another makeup artist secret!). Because Clinique designed Naturally Glossy as a light, gel-based mascara, it can still be applied to extensions without degrading the glue.
As the word “naturally” implies, the Glossy Mascara was designed to add just a bit of color and gloss to the lashes, while looking natural, rather than dramatic. This is an effect that we really like for eyelash extensions because a little color is often all that’s needed to just sliiiiiiiightly amp them up and add a subtle, made-up look, but without taking away from the fluffy look eyelash extensions often have.
Because Clinique did not make this mascara waterproof, it’s easy to wash it off without tugging on the lashes, and because it was designed with a slim wand, the application itself can be quite gentle on the lashes in order to not pull or tug on the extensions.
Clinique is a brand that makes a lot of effort to create products for makeup lovers with sensitive skin, and that’s wonderful—the Naturally Glossy Mascara is ophthalmologist tested and suitable to those with sensitive eyes.
(Bonus tip, that we’re very excited include: if you’re someone who does brown eyelash extensions, you’ll be happy to know that Clinique also manufactures this mascara in a dark brown: the Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara Jet Brown.)
May be a good fit for: those who want a natural-looking mascara that will suit sensitive eyes.
Blinc Original Tubing Mascara
If you’d rather not fuss too much with makeup removers—while at the same time enjoying a mascara designed for fully smudge-free wear—we think the Blinc Original Tubing Mascara is a fantastic option. It’s the big winner in our list of favorites, and it gets our vote for the best mascara for eyelash extensions overall.
So let’s start with the term “tubing.” Most mascaras coat the lashes, kind of like paint would. “Tubing” mascara refers to a specific type of mascara formula that curls into tubes that wrap around the lashes, instead of just coating them. Imagine your favorite pair of comfy leggings—tubing mascara is like that, but for each of your individual lashes. The name is a little weird, because it sounds like it’s mascara that comes in a tube, but the name actually refers to how the mascara applies to lashes.
It’s gotten a lot of press in recent years, and for good reason: tubing mascara is designed to stay in place all throughout the day—cry, sweat, rub your eyes, whatever, it’s designed to stay and not clump—but when you want to take it off, it can be removed with nothing but water and a bit of pressure. That sounds like a “one-or-the-other” type deal, but that “best-of-both-worlds” feature is one of the reasons tubing mascaras get so much attention, and why so many people love them.
And that’s why Blinc Original Tubing Mascara is the last on our list for extension mascaras—it’s a unique formula designed for daily wear that comes off easily, and that’s everything we’d hope for in a mascara for extensions (and beyond even that, though, Blinc is vegan, gluten-free, and safe for people with sensitive eyes, eyeglasses, and contact lenses, and that’s wonderful).
The only downside to tubing mascara is that it can require a bit of patience—you have to wait two minutes or so after applying this mascara to allow it to set completely—but for us, mascara that won’t smudge (and comes off easily) is worth the wait.
May be a good fit for: those who want a no-smudge yet easy-to-remove mascara. Our top pick overall, and a great fit even for people with sensitive eyes.
What to Look for in the Best Mascara for Eyelash Extensions
There are a lot of sources suggest avoiding mascara altogether when you have extensions, but that’s short-sighted, in our humble option: extension-safe mascaras can be quite useful for “marrying” the lashes and extensions together to make it look as though your lashes are naturally that long, as well as for adding a bit of oomph in the form of darker color or more volume. When used properly, they can make a good thing even better.
Normally when searching for a new mascara you would want to take into account how much it thickens the lashes or how well it stays put, but when choosing mascara for eyelash extensions, the considerations are a little different—and the options are a little more limited, because the biggest concern becomes that your mascara won’t ruin the eyelash extensions you spent time and money on getting done.
So, here’s what you should look for:
Using an inappropriate mascara can cause your false eyelash extensions to fall out, especially once it's actually time to remove the mascara at the end of the day. Most eyelash extension glue is made with cyanoacrylate, a type of glue that can get broken down by the oils and glycols that are in many mascara formulations. Always look for mascaras described as being safe for eyelash extensions or water-based, or read the ingredients to make sure there is no oil in the formula.
Easy to Remove
The wrong eye makeup remover (i.e. an oil-based one) will wreck your eyelash extensions, but even if your eye makeup remover is safe for eyelash extensions, exerting too much pressure when rubbing the eyelashes can also be an issue. This is why high-quality mascaras for eyelash extensions will be very easy to remove. Waterproof and water-resistant mascaras are a no-no, but even traditional mascara can sometimes have too much hold and will require some rubbing in order to remove, so look specifically for mascaras described as being washable. Unfortunately, this means that many of the mascaras that are safe for eyelash extensions may run if you get them even a little bit wet.
Made by a Brand that Knows Eyelash Extensions
When eyelash extensions first became popular, the eyelash technicians and the brands making eyelash extension equipment were very firm in instructing people to totally avoid mascara, since most mainstream mascaras weren’t compatible with the eyelash extensions glue. However, in recent years, eyelash extension brands have started formulating their own mascaras that are meant to go with their eyelash extensions. If possible, find out which eyelash extension kit your technician uses, and pick up mascara from that brand. It’s true that most eyelash extension-safe mascaras are meant to be compatible with all eyelash extension systems, but one way to be certain is to use a mascara that designed specifically for your extensions.
How to Apply Mascara If You Have Eyelash Extensions
Here’s our quick-and-easy guide to applying mascara to eyelash extensions:
Applying mascara to eyelash extensions is almost exactly like applying mascara to natural lashes, with some mall differences;
First, brush your lashes with a clean spoolie to make sure that the lashes are properly separated;
Get into a comfortable position, with your head angled back so you can look down into whatever mirror you use;
Unscrew your mascara, and wipe off any excess product that is on the wand off into a tissue, so as not to overapply or get clumpy lashes;
Bring the wand from below the lashes, and gently brush it over them with a bit of a wiggle (but not as aggressively as if you didn’t have eyelash extensions);
Pull the wand upwards gently and slowly, making sure to concentrate on covering your natural lashes and blending them with the extensions rather than covering the extensions themselves;
You probably won’t have to apply any second coats, but if you do want more volume then do so gently. Remember that the more mascara you apply, the harder it will be to remove and the greater your chances of losing lashes at the end of the day; and finally...
Finally, use a clean spoolie or a pair of tweezers to gently separate any lash clumps that may have formed.
How to Remove Mascara If You Have Eyelash Extensions
Even with an amazing mascara for eyelash extensions, you can still run into problems if you don’t remove it properly:
Use a cleanser that will be appropriate for the lashes—an oil-free makeup remover can work, as would an oil-free foaming facial cleanser or a dedicated eyelash extension cleanser. Some professionals even recommend using no-tear baby shampoo, though that’s something of a controversial suggestion, so we’ll leave that up to you;
If you are using a makeup remover, pour some on a very durable cotton pad (fuzzy cotton pads will catch on your lashes and make a mess) or soft gauze;
Hold the pad over the eyes for a few seconds, and then wipe downwards with very little pressure to remove the mascara. Since you shouldn’t apply too much mascara with eyelash extensions, a single, gentle wipe should be enough;
If you are using a foaming-type cleanser, lather it in your hands first with some water.
Gently pat the cleanser over the eyes—if you like, you can rub it gently over the lids to break down your eyeshadow and eyeliner;
Next, massage it gently over your lashes with your fingers, sticking to downward motions;
Once the mascara has broken down, rinse your face with water to remove it along with the cleanser remnants; and finally...
Once you’re done, no matter how you removed your makeup, brush your lashes with a clean spoolie in order to organize the lashes and get rid of tangles.
General Eyelash Extension Maintenance Tips
What we’ve already written should provide a lot of guidance, but we have a few more suggestions that will help you keep your lash extensions healthy:
Since mascaras require such a careful and delicate removal process, try to save mascara only for special occasions, in order to avoid any unnecessary loss of eyelash extension hairs;
If you have volume-style lashes, be more careful about the extension-safe mascara you choose, since they may not all be appropriate;
Even when you don't wear mascara, it's important to take special care of your eyelash extensions every day;
Your eyelash extensions are more likely to shed if they get tangled up in each other, so use a small spoolie to brush and detangle your lashes every morning and evening as well as after every shower;
Clean your lashes at least every other day, as well, in order to get rid of any bacteria they might be harboring as well as to prevent the buildup of natural facial oils that can degrade the eyelash glue. Dampen your face and then very gently massage your lashes with an extension safe cleanser, and finally rinse clean;
If the reason why you want eyelash extension-safe mascara is that your natural eyelashes are very light, you might be going about things the wrong way. You're better off tinting your lashes before getting the extensions done to avoid the need for mascara in the first place;
Mascara isn’t the only makeup product you need to worry about—eyeliners and eyeshadows should also be carefully selected for being safe for eyelash extensions. Powder products are always a safe choice, but you will have to be more careful with liquid or cream products;
Try to sleep on your back to avoid having your eyelash extensions come into contact with the pillow since any friction can cause them to come off;
This might be a given, but try to avoid touch or picking at your lashes since that’s a sure way of losing a few;
In order to maintain your lashes, get them filled every 2-4 weeks depending on the level of loss you experience. If you lose too many lashes (which often happens when people take too long between appointments) your technician might have to do a full new set; and finally...
Your technician will likely tell you, but you cannot let new eyelash extensions get wet for the first 24 hours after getting them applied since the glue has to cure.
What Will Work for You?
That’s something you’ll need to find out—and hopefully our suggestions will give you some good leads. Mascara for eyelash extensions is a unique product, and it seems like people who find something that works for them remain really loyal to that product. So… here’s hoping you find what works for you! Good luck, and happy makeup!