Why Eyelash Extensions Need Special TLC If You’re Hooked on Working Out

Closeup photo of a woman's eye

Sticky sweat presents a unique set of challenges to your beauty routine. And while we already know that sweating in makeup can leave your skin worse for wear, those of us who adore eyelash extensions have even more difficulties. As convenient as it is to wake up with luscious, semi-permanent lashes, they can be a pain in the neck to maintain — especially if you’re someone who loves working out. 

Although you don’t have to avoid sweating altogether with your gorgeous falsies, you will have to take some extra precautions. Not only could your favorite fitness classes reduce the shelf life of precious extensions, they could even cause bacteria to get trapped in them — and no one has time for a nasty eye infection. We spoke to a couple of lash experts for all the details on maintaining your lash extensions throughout your sweat sessions. These tips for grooming, cleansing, and even sleeping will ensure your extensions stay intact as long as possible —  so you don’t have to stress about losing lashes during your Barry’s Bootcamp® class. 

Is it safe to sweat with eyelash extensions? 

The short, easy answer is, yes, of course you can sweat with your eyelash extensions. However, celebrity lash expert Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes®, advises waiting a day or two after you get your lashes applied before heading to the gym. “You need to try to keep water or sweat away from your lashes for at least 24 to 48 hours after application or touch-ups,” Clementina explains. “Water and sweat can weaken the adhesive before it sets and cause lashes to fall off.”

You should also take preventative measures before stepping into the gym in order to protect your lashes. “I find that when clients sweat a lot, lashes tend to shed faster and not hold as well,” says Clementina. “When working out, it’s best to wear a headband to avoid sweat getting on your lashes.” Adding a headband to your gym bag essentials (along with wipes and dry shampoo!) will go a long way in protecting your lashes. The Lululemon® Fringe FighterTM Headband ($18) is lightweight and keeps sweat and your bangs from getting anywhere near your eyes.

One of the other problems that may arise when you’re sweating is the urgency to rub your eyes during your workout. We’ve all been there before: You’re out for a run and the sun is beating down on you; you slathered on sunscreen to protect your skin, but now all you can think about is wiping the SPF out of your eyes so you can see where you’re going. Resist the urge! 

“You need to avoid rubbing your eyes,” Clementina warns. Rubbing will cause your extensions to get tangled, weaken the glue, and make them fall out. “Plus, avoid playing, picking at, and excessively touching your lashes.” Your extensions are quite delicate, so treat them that way, especially while you’re exercising.

How should you take care of extensions after you sweat? 

Regardless of how much you workout or sweat, lash extensions require some maintenance when it comes to cleansing. “Cleansing is very important if you wear lash extensions — especially if you’re working out,” Natalie Richardson, certified lash technician and owner of LASHLUX℠ in Baltimore, Maryland, explains. “The number one recommendation is cleaning your lashes twice a day to avoid any build up and bacteria.” A buildup of sweat could cause infections or inflammation, especially in the delicate area around your eyes, so cleaning your lashes regularly is your protection against that. Aim to clean them when you wake up and before you go to bed. 

There’s a third time you should clean your lashes, though — as soon as you’re done with your workout. That means you shouldn’t go straight to brunch after your SoulCycle® class, at least not without washing your face and removing the sweat from your lashes. The more you let the perspiration clog and build up, the more likely you could develop inflammation and the sooner the adhesion will wear off. Plus, your extensions will start to clump together, which is probably not the way you want them to look in the long run.

When it comes to finding the ideal cleanser for your lashes, you need to look closely at the ingredients. “You should be using only water-based products on your lashes,” Natalie advises. Be sure the cleansers you use are specifically formulated for eyelash extensions, because other products might contain ingredients (such as oils) that could wreck your lashes and their adhesion. One to try is Lashfresh® Eye and Lash Foaming Clean Wash ($14) — it’s organic, oil-free, water-based, and contains soothing aloe vera, which can help reduce inflammation. When cleansing, Natalie suggests using clean cotton swabs and a spoolie brush to wipe away debris, using gentle, downward strokes. 

Clementina also recommends using a conditioning serum like Envious Lashes Luxuriating Lash Conditioning Serum ($75), which she says will help your lashes reach their full potential, regarding both density and length. You should also pay close attention to your nighttime routine. “It’s best to sleep on your side and to use a silk or satin pillowcase, as cotton can cause drying and/or snagging,” Clementina says. We like Slip® Silk Pillowcases ($85) — they come in a wide range of colors and are made of high-grade mulberry silk.

Is there a certain type of lash extension to get if you sweat a lot?

“There is no specific type of lash extension to get if you're more active,” Natalie answers. “You should just be aware of the type, style, curl, and size that's suitable for your daily activities.” There are all kinds of different types of lashes — synthetic, faux silk, faux cashmere, and faux mink. 

“Faux mink are the most popular lashes that are used because they’re the thinnest,” she continues. “Faux cashmere and faux silk are thicker than mink and give you a longer wear. Synthetic is the thickest of them and can be more damaging to your natural lashes, so be careful.” 

Clementina agrees that there isn’t one particular type of extension you should get. “A licensed and certified lash expert should be able to customize each set for each individual client and their individual needs,” she says. “If you are super active, longer, more dramatic lashes may not be the right choice for you.” 

Whatever you choose to do with your eyelash extensions, the final suggestion is to be gentle with your eyes. Don’t rub your lashes or tug at them. Don’t let sweat linger and wreck the adhesion. They might feel high-maintenance, but if you take good care of your extensions, they’ll work well for you and your sweaty lifestyle.

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