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Can I wear contact lenses with false eyelashes?
Medically reviewed by Tina Patel on 20 January 2023.
False eyelashes provide extra volume for your lash line and the luxury of being ‘ready anytime’. Finish with a winged liner and a perfect lip colour, and voila! You’re all set to rock the party.
However, it is very important to stay mindful while you handle your lashes as you put them on and take them off. Anything related to eyes or likely to touch your eyes should be treated with the utmost care.
If you’re sceptical about whether you should be wearing your contact lenses with the falsies on, the simple answer to that is yes, you should. It is absolutely recommended and safe to wear contacts with false lashes. The more important question is how to handle your contacts before, after and while you put your lashes on.
You can find a range of false eyelash types on the market, which vary in qualities depending on your requirements. For instance, if you want to fill a gap on your lash line, single lashes might be the best option. Or if you hate to handle the adhesive that comes with the lashes, you can go for magnetic lashes. Similarly, if you want long-lasting lashes, go for semi-permanent eyelash extensions. Importantly, each type of lash should be handled differently around contact lenses. But first, let’s walk you through different types of false lashes available.
Strip lashes are a very common false eyelash option, usually with a simple design and easy application. If you hear someone talking about false lashes, most likely they’re referring to strips. They are a horizontal band of faux (false) lashes, to be placed on your upper eyelash line and set in place using a safe, non-toxic eyelash adhesive. Offering versatility, the strip can be trimmed to fit the length of your eye and you can even trim the lashes to whatever length you wish.
Top tip - If you’re a beginner, when you trim your lashes start by chopping off a little bit of your false lashes at a time. Don’t trim too much at first.
Single lashes are for those who like to customise their lashes or want to fill in any visible gaps in the lash line. These lashes can be clustered (multiple lashes in one piece) or come as single lashes, connected by a tiny knot at the base of the lash.
Although the application process for these lashes is often meticulous and tedious, they give you more control and the ability to customise based on your preferences. All you need to do is apply each lash to your lash line with the applicator and glue, and that’s it, you can be your own lash artist!
If you struggle with applying your lashes, magnetic lashes are for you! The perfect solution to your eye lash problem! As the name suggests, these lashes work on the principle of magnetism by sandwiching two bands of eyelashes on your lash line around your existing lashes. Place the upper band above your eyelashes on the upper eyelid and the bottom strip underneath your lashes. Let the micromagnet snap them together. Voila! It’s done.
For those who love the look of long, thick lashes and don’t have time to put them on every day, these lashes will do the trick. While many home kits are available, a lot of people would still prefer to go and get their false lashes applied by a professional.
Professional eyelash extension application involves a process of gluing extensions of different lengths and thicknesses on the top row of your upper eyelid or the bottom row of your lower lid. The appointment usually takes an hour or so from start to finish and the lash extensions themselves can last up to two months. However regular touch-ups are required to maintain them.
How should I handle my contacts with false lashes?
Particularly for lash extensions, it is highly recommended to take your contact lenses out before your appointment begins and not to wet your eyes for next 24 hours following. Regardless of the type of lens you wear, daily, monthly or extended wear, it’s best to take your lenses out before the procedure. Remember to carry your contact lens case to store your reusable lenses if you plan to wear them to your appointment.
During the application process, you will be asked to close your eyes throughout, usually lasting around an hour. Firstly, as a rule of thumb, contact lens wearers should not sleep or nap with their contact lenses in as this can make your eyes dry, irritated, gritty or even lead to an eye infection.
Secondly, the eyelash adhesive used to attach the lashes to your lid releases fumes that can irritate the eye, even if it is slightly open. That’s a clear NO to wearing contacts whilst you have eyelash extensions applied.
Since it is advised to avoid water for next 24 hours, this includes re-inserting your contact lenses. If you’re storing your reusable contact lenses in a case you will need solution and, when you put the lens back into your eye, they could wet your new lashes and make the adhesive weak, so they won’t last as long. To avoid fallout from your new lash extensions, you can opt for glasses, just to be safe!
For other types of false lashes, make sure you wear your contacts before putting on your lashes. This way, you are done with the lens part of getting ready and you are free to give 100% of your attention towards placing your lashes correctly, carefully, and safely. Putting your lashes on before inserting your contact lenses might work sometimes, but there will always be a risk of dust/debris falling into your eye or a lash falling into your eyes and getting trapped under the contact lens.
For people who love long lashes, be mindful that over-wearing long lashes might also lead to an eye condition called Ptosis, also known as lazy or droopy eyelids, which can happen due to the excessive weight of false lashes. It does not affect your vision, but it can obstruct your view if the upper eyelid droops down too much and blocks your pupil.
Top tips for lash extension wearers
- Before you head to your appointment, ask your technician what glue/adhesive they will be using and what ingredients it contains. Anything and everything that touches your eyes should be noted.
- If they are reluctant to give you information about the ingredients of the adhesive, or if there is any mention of formaldehyde, that’s your cue to cancel the appointment. Formaldehyde can irritate your eyes, causing redness, irritation, itchiness and can even sometimes cause swollen eyelids.
- Do not wear makeup at your appointment. This means: no eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara. Anything on your lashes or near your eyes can affect how your extensions turn out.
- Carry glasses, as putting in your contacts after your extensions might be tricky, and might wet your lashes.
- If you really want to wear contacts after the procedure, be careful. The best way is to open your eyes wide and very gently place the contact directly onto your eyeball without pulling or interfering with your extensions. If this isn’t working, you can try pulling down the untreated eyelid to give yourself a bit more space to place your contact lens onto. This should only be attempted if you have only had treatment on either the upper or the lower lash line. Do not pull your eyelid that has been fitted with eyelash extensions.