Make Your Lash Extensions Last (and keep your own ones healthy into the bargain!)

My name is Aisling and I am a complete and total eyelash obsessive. I have been getting lash extensions for four years now, and it's been 20 years since my last confession.
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I love Twiggy's separated, 60s-style lashes, Angelina Jolie's cat-eye ones and I even embraced Kim K's double layered strip trend for a millisecond (until I realised keeping up with the Kardashian made me unable to open my eyes).
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 Fake, real, extended, I don't discriminate. I love them all. But goodness knows, they can take a toll on your real lashes underneath, glam as they are. So, to keep my own lashes healthy and to keep my extensions on safely and clump-free for as long as I can, I do a few things:

USE LASH SERUM - but be consistent

To keep as many lashes as I possibly can for as long as I can, I use lash serums religiously. And I mean that - the only way those things work is by consistent and prolonged use. I've tried several, and iGlow is in the post as we speak, but the ones I personally found best were Image Skincare's Lash and Brow Serum (€64) and Vichy's LiftActiv Serum 10 (25.99) - below.
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I haven't grown tiny eye forests with these by any stretch, but they have kept me from going entirely lash-bald after years (YEARS) of continued lash extensions.

DON'T PICK AT THEM!

The number one reason people lose real lashes when the extended part falls off is because they pick them out before they're naturally ready to fall out. The temptation to pick is strong, especially if they've gone clumpy or if they're sparse and looking a bit funny. I'm no saint - I've picked out the odd wild one. But nine lashes out of ten, I let them fall out naturally. To keep them clump-free, I comb them daily with a dry spoolie mascara wand. I also make sure to keep them out of water as much as I can. Obviously I wash my face, but I don't let water stream down on them in the shower.
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GO TO SOMEONE YOU TRUST

There are lots of people doing sets of lashes with sub-standard glue, hair and tools. Your eyes are just not worth the risk, so make sure you go to someone really well established and trustworthy that you know will take care with hygiene and will have the skills and advice to give you the perfect set. I would share the name of who does mine, but I'm scared I won't ever get another appointment, so you'll have to accost me in real life to find out.

TAKE CARE, AS DRAKE WOULD WANT

When your lash tech or therapist gives you aftercare instructions, listen. Don't just nod and enjoy the stiff breeze you're now wafting into the beauty salon with your fresh set. Your lashes (both natural and extended) will thank you. Olivia Fitzsimons (@oliviafitzsimonsbeauty) is a former Image Beauty Award nominee in the lash category, and she's just opened a studio for lashes on College Green. Her tips for caring for lash extensions are:
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- Keep your lashes dry for 24 hours after application.  The glue will be dry straight away but it needs 24 hours to be cured properly.
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- Brush them through daily. Your technician should show you how to do this properly, brushing them keeps the lashes fanned out and separated.  This keeps them looking the best they can and prevents them from gathering together.
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- No mascara! Mascara just clumps the lash extensions together. Most mascaras contain traces of oil, so once used it shortens the length of time the lashes will last and can be a nightmare to get off.
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- Use oil free eye make-up remover. Oil breaks down the glue used to apply most lash extensions. This means if oil gets near the lashes they just slide off. Dermalogica Soothing Eye Makeup Remover is my personal favourite as it’s gel-based, so removes eye makeup quickly without any harm to the lash extensions.
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- Use eyelash extension cleanser. These are essential to the longevity of your lash extensions. Used daily, the lash cleanser removes any natural oils or makeup residue keeping your lash extensions clean and lasting longer.
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As an added bonus, if you've got lash extensions, you're less likely to be vigorously rubbing or cleansing around your eye area, which in turn makes the hydration levels in that delicate spot on your face skyrocket. Seeya later fine lines, in other words. Who knew?!
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