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I’ve been getting lash extensions off and on (but mostly on) for the last four years. And as anyone who has them can attest, they’re a time-consuming investment, so I take at-home care pretty seriously. Here are the things I’ve always done (plus, some new tricks I’ve learned recently) that stretch my time between refills.

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Getting Eyelash Extensions

woman taking shower
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Avoid the three S's in the first 24 hours after your appointment
That’s showers, steam and swimming—basically anything that involves getting your lashes wet before the glue has the chance to fully dry. Some technicians have even told me to try for 48 hours, but I usually break down and need to shower by that point (but I’ll do so very carefully, with my back facing the water).

After the first couple of days, cleanse your lashes regularly
A few months ago, my technician told me to start using a gentle foam cleanser on my extensions. I was pretty wary since everything I’ve been told to this point was more or less: keep them dry and don’t touch them. But since I started doing this, I’ve noticed better retention (and no more lash-dulling dust or eye-shadow residue). The key is to make sure the cleanser is oil-free and to use a small, fluffy makeup brush to swirl it over the base of your eyelids. Rinse clean, pat dry and comb those guys out so they’re not pointing in different directions.

woman sleeping on her back
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Swap out your eye cream
I use a lightweight eye serum instead and make sure not to get too close to my lashes. While we’re on the topic, I also exercise the same caution with any face oils or creams. To give you a visual, if I were a panda bear, I wouldn’t put any product (other than the aforementioned eye serum) on my patches. Oils can weaken the glue and cause your lashes to fall out prematurely. 

Sleep on your back as much as possible
This is possibly the hardest part for me as I have always been a side sleeper. (Curled into myself like a little shrimp to be precise.) However, for the sake of my lashes and to prevent future wrinkles, I try to sleep on my back as much as possible. And if you just can’t do it, at least get yourself a silk pillowcase so there’s less friction against your face while you’re sleeping.

woman getting lash extensions
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Consider a lighter lash
Lashes range in thickness and the thicker they are, the more they will stand out against your eyes. The only downside? They also have a tendency to peel or fall out faster because of the extra weight they carry. If longevity is important to you, ask your technician for lighter options. (For reference, I rarely go above .15mm anymore.)

Show your real lashes some TLC
After years of getting extensions, I have worried about whether or not they’re weakening my natural hairs. I’ve found that as long as I’m not picking at them when they start to grow out, they’re fine, but I have started using a lash serum over the last year to give them a boost.

RELATED: An Up-Close Look as Eyelash Extensions Are Being Applied

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