The beauty industry rakes in billions of dollars each year with countless cosmetic enhancement options from the extreme, like plastic surgery, to the more subtle options, like eyelash extensions. Each beauty modification is personal and individual, with the goal being to have the confidence to go through each day feeling like your best self.
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but what should you do with your eyes to make your beautiful new eyelashes last longer when you need to rest each night? If the aim is to keep your eyelash extensions looking fresh and intact for as long as possible, the best way to sleep is on your back.
With the billions that we are collectively spending, you can’t simply treat your added eyelashes like an old pair of gym shoes. Even though they are a small feature, they are basically the fancy curtains for the windows to your soul, and you should treat them as such. Let’s have a closer look at eyelash extension care and why you want to sleep on your back.
Eyelash Extensions Explained
What exactly are eyelash extensions? Unlike the standard “falsies” that come in a strip and can be purchased from most stores that sell makeup, eyelash extensions are individual fake “lashes” made of materials such as real or synthetic hair, mink, or silk. They can be completely customizable by the type of curl, number of lashes, and length in order to give your eyes the pop that you’re looking for.
Each fake eyelash is attached to your eyelashes with a medical-grade glue that is intended to withstand daily wear without having to remove them. Instead of grabbing a boxed set from your local pharmacy, a licensed technician applies the extensions in a sterile setting, and you leave them on until your lashes naturally grow out.
Because the process is quite delicate, you can imagine that daily tasks, such as sleeping, will be a little less straightforward once your extensions have been glued on.
Sleeping On Your Back With Eyelash Extensions
In general, I’m a big fan of sleeping on your back, or at least not sleeping on your stomach. Putting all the health benefits aside, supine sleeping is often the solution to a lot of problems.
When it comes to sleeping with your lash extensions, you want to avoid any unnecessary contact with them that may cause them to snag, get tangled, or pull out. When you sleep on your stomach, the change of your face position from side to side throughout the night will result in your eyelashes brushing against your pillow over and over again.
Imagine throwing a dry-clean-only silk sweater into your washing machine at home. Sure, after the first wash your sweater will hopefully live to be worn another day. However, too many cycles of rough tumbling through the machine and the fabric will become dull and tattered. The same applies to your eyelash extensions. If you are too harsh with them, you may start to leave behind a trail of fake lashes.
The silk sweater image doesn’t just apply to stomach sleepers. When sleeping on your side, you also run the risk of pressing your new lashes against your pillow or arm. This constant pressure can lead to forcing the extensions and your real lashes inward. Once they become bent the wrong way, it can be difficult to bring them back. If the only way that you can sleep is on your side, try to rest your head at the very edge of your pillow. Allowing your lashes to hang over the edge of the pillow will hopefully take some of the pressing and rubbing out of your night.
As we all know, though, sometimes you go to sleep in one position only to wake up upside down in the bottom corner of the mattress, wrapped tightly in sheets and missing a sock. Some of us just have no control over the events that happen during unconsciousness. So how can you protect your lovely lashes after you have gone to sleep?
- A silk pillowcase – Regardless of the material that you have chosen for your eyelash extensions, the best fabric to sleep on is silk. Because of the very smooth fibers, the chances of snagging or tearing are significantly reduced. That way, if you happen to roll back onto your stomach, there is less possibility of damage. Silk pillowcases are also perfect for preventing damage to your hair and face due to being breathable and hypoallergenic – which is a benefit that no one can deny.
- A contour sleep mask – If you happen to be a fan of sleep masks already, a contoured sleep mask is your best bet. If you have never slept with an eye mask before, now is the perfect time to start. The contour in this type of eye mask makes it so that it doesn’t merely lie flat against your closed eyelids, but instead, it is formed to sit comfortably on your face and is designed to hold a cup-like shape over your eyes. You might imagine it like a small bra for your eyes. The mask also makes it so that you can sleep in any position that you find comfortable.
- Create a cushion barrier – Staying on your back isn’t always as hard as it seems. The most basic solution is to add a few pillows at your sides to help train yourself to stay on your back. The barrier will stop you from inadvertently rolling onto your lashes. Read here for more tips on how to stop yourself from turning back to your stomach after you have fallen asleep.
Another downside to the friction caused by stomach and side sleeping is that with the constant roughness each night, you may begin to notice that some of the eyelashes start to come out sooner than you would like. Sleeping on your back can effortlessly alleviate these risks.
Other Night-time Tips For Longer Lasting Lashes
For the care of your eyelash extensions, you may need to slightly alter some of the habits and routines that you have. Fortunately, these are simple adjustments to make if you haven’t already gotten into the practice.
Avoid Eye Rubbing
As we get tired, a natural reaction is to rub our eyes. At an early age, we learn that rubbing helps to relieve the heaviness they feel and lubricate them as they start to feel dry. Rubbing is obviously a bad idea with lash extensions, so you can avoid accidentally rubbing them out by heading to bed when you’re tired and ensuring that you get enough beauty rest.
Be Gentle When Washing Your Face
You should avoid the heat, hot water, and steam on your eyelashes for 24-48 hours after the extensions are applied to allow the adhesive to set. After this time, when you do your nightly face wash routine, be sure to be extra gentle when cleaning your eye area.
Avoid facial cleansers that are oil-based, as they can cause the glue to weaken or dissolve, making it easier for the fake lashes to separate from your real ones. When drying your face, it’s best to pat the area dry, rather than rubbing the water off.
For those of us who may (accidentally, on occasion) skip cleaning our face at night – with eyelash extensions, you want to be sure to remember this step, no matter how long your day has been. While you want to remain gentle, you definitely want to clean any grime or particle build-up off your lashes each evening.
Go Easy On the Night Cream
While a collagen-boosting night cream is great for your skin, the oils in it are terrible for your lashes. To avoid prematurely breaking down the glue, skip your eyes as much as possible when applying your night cream.
Brush Your Lashes
Even the most delicate sleepers will find that their eyelash extensions have the tendency to cross together and become slightly tangled. Whether you decide to make it part of your morning or your evening routine, it’s important to gently brush them each day to prevent long-lasting damage and less than fabulous looking lashes.
What Happens If You Don’t Take Care of Your Eyelash Extensions
Learning to sleep with eyelash extensions can be as simple as a slight change to your daily routine; being sure to take care of your lashes adequately is crucial. Some complications that stem from not taking proper care include:
- Premature shedding of lashes – Not only will you cause the fake lashes to come out early, but you may also cause your real lashes to fall out too soon as well. Losing chunks of lashes at one time can leave you with a week or two of shorter, slightly damaged looking lashes until your real ones have time to grow back.
In addition, using rough materials around your eyes, such as cotton pads for makeup removal or sleeping on a cotton pillowcase, can also damage them or cause them to come off early.
- Eye complications – It’s vital to ensure that you are washing your eyelash extensions daily. Not doing so can lead to bacteria staying trapped in the extensions, causing irritation, inflammation, or infection. When it comes to your eyes, you don’t want them to pay the ultimate price for your beauty.
Keep in mind that the above risks are common when having eyelash extensions put on, but you can help to minimize these risks by maintaining good practices when you are awake as well as when you are asleep.
FAQ’s for Eyelash Extensions
How long do eyelash extensions last?
For most people, with proper care and sleep practices, eyelash extensions last from about 4-6 weeks, with some reporting that theirs can last up to 9 weeks. In general, your extensions will last the length of a growth cycle.
Since all of your real lashes are always at different stages of the cycle, you may start to see them falling out within a few weeks. For this reason, you will need to have regular appointments to replace them as they grow out.
How much does it cost to have them put on?
As we discussed earlier, the cosmetics industry brings in a pretty penny, and it’s easy to see why when you look at something as simple as eyelash extensions. The average full set can cost up to $200, with monthly refills costing at least $50. Of course this is dependent on various factors, such as your location, and the experience level of the technician.
How do I avoid infections and other complications with my eyes?
When it comes to your eyes, quality and experience are key. There are a number of cosmetic options that you can use to feel beautiful at a discount, but if you choose to invest in eyelash extensions, you should avoid going the cheap route.
Be sure to ask questions and read reviews for your chosen technician. Utensils should be sterile, and they should thoroughly clean your eyes prior to application. They should also be using the proper equipment (including the correct adhesive). Most importantly, they should be trained and certified to apply eyelash extensions.
If you have allergies, arrange to do a spot test before the application. Most eyelash glues contain formaldehyde, which some people happen to be allergic to, as well as other allergens.
Can I take them off myself?
If you find that sleeping with eyelash extensions and the regular maintenance has become too much of a chore, it’s natural to want to take them out a little early. If you simply cannot wait for them to fall out on their own, avoid plucking at them yourself as this can pull out your real lashes. Instead, you can try going back to facial products that contain oils or purchase an eyelash extension remover, which will help to break down the glue, allowing you to remove them safely.
If possible, the best option is to visit the technician who applied them to have them removed.
Eyelash extensions are a fabulous way to add a little je ne sais quoi to your everyday look without the need for excess makeup, but the maintenance during your night-time routine and while you sleep should not be forgotten.
Get the most out of your red carpet-worthy eyes by sleeping on your back and ensuring that your grooming stays consistent.