Fact or Fiction: Eyelashes fall out if mascara is not removed.

Written by Rachelle Dupree, marketing, communications, and design for Vivoderm Natural Skincare

Fact! According to multiple aestheticians and eyelash experts, improper cleansing, waterproof mascara, curling, and excessive rubbing are just a few of the culprits to cause damage or loss to delicate eyelashes.

Leaving mascara and eyeshadow on too long or not removing makeup at night can actually clog the hair follicle and prevent hair from breathing, resulting in eyelash loss. Snoozing in full eye makeup puts the eye at risk for inflammation, infections, eyelid redness, and corneal abrasions from makeup particles rubbing against the surface of the eye. Over time, this can even stop hair growth altogether.

Waterproof mascara is even more damaging, as the fixatives create a bond that can pull eyelash hair out with excessive rubbing or not using a proper eye makeup remover. Wearing waterproof mascara is only advisable on occasion. Alternatively, clients should opt for a tubing mascara containing flexible polymers which wash off easily with warm water.

It is extremely important to care for eyelashes by removing any and all eye makeup at the end of the night. Advise clients to use an oil-based cleanser or cream eye makeup remover formulated specifically for waterproof eye makeup. For those lazy nights or overnight stays, keeping makeup wipes or makeup remover in a nightstand or purse when regular cleansing just is not an option can be a great idea.

In addition, be aware of the expiration date on all eye makeup. The average shelf life of mascara is three to five months. Teach clients to toss old products to avoid risking bacterial infections and eyelash loss.


False eyelashes can be a great enhancement to thin or missing eyelashes, but typically yanking or pulling falsies off can take natural eyelashes, as well. Soften the glue and eyelashes first with a cotton swab or makeup square soaked in waterproof eyelash remover or solution specifically designed to remove fake eyelashes. Then, gently pull from the middle of the falsie outward to protect natural eyelashes from damage.

Tinting has also been a culprit of natural eyelash loss, due to powerful chemicals found in the dyes: para-phenylenediamine (PPD), formaldehyde, and fragrance. Frequent exposure to these toxins can cause permanent eyelash loss. In some states like California, the professional practice has even been outlawed due to eye damage and allergy concerns. Save tinting treatments for special occasions only or skip them altogether.


Eyelash curlers can help eyes appear larger without mascara, but they can also contribute to eyelash loss – especially when used too long or too often. Limit eyelash curling to no more than 10 to 20 seconds. And, always maintain the rubber lining to protect eyelashes. When left bare, eyelash curlers can do some major damage.

Heated eyelash curlers can pose an additional threat. They can not only break down eyelash hairs and weaken their foundation, resulting in eyelash loss, but also cause potential eye damage if used improperly.


Vigorous rubbing or scrubbing of the eye area can also cause eyelashes to fall out. Fine eyelash hair can be easily ripped from its follicle. Be gentle and delicate when removing or applying makeup and mascara.

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