7 Best Mascaras That Are Safe To Use On Eyelash Extensions

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The 1942 movie "Bambi" introduced an iconic character who remains embedded in the internet's archival gifs. It's a rabbit — a rabbit who so expertly flutters her lashes that she left behind an unrealistic standard for every unanimated one of us. Unsurprisingly, it was around that time that Hollywood adopted the practice of using fake lashes (via Business Insider). In the decades since, several sophisticated methods of adding individual lashes to the lash line have been invented.

Lash extensions give you the Bambi rabbit look all on their own; however, if you want to further enhance them with mascara, it's essential that you choose the right product. According to Divine Lashes, mascaras need to be oil-free and water-based since oil can loosen the adhesive used on extensions. You should avoid waterproof mascara and tubing mascara as both can be quite harsh to remove and therefore lead to breakage of the extensions. You should also pay attention to the kind of lash extensions you have; if they're volume lashes, you should probably avoid mascara so that there's no clumping. 

As you can see, there are definitely a lot of things to keep in mind as you search for your new favorite mascara that's extension-safe, so we've done all the research for you. 

How we selected products

There are many specificities when it comes to choosing a mascara to wear with your extensions. Because they're attached to your lashes with a non-irritating adhesive, lash extensions need to be treated gently as they can loosen from the wrong mascara. Lash expert Clementina Richardson told Oprah Daily that those with extensions must stay steer clear of oils and heavy creams around the eyes as they can cause breakage. To avoid that, mascaras for extensions need to be oil-free and water-based (via Divine Lashes).

As a result, we paid close attention to the ingredients in the mascaras we've selected below. They're all water-based, easy to wash off, and highly rated by customers across the internet. One of the easier ways to know if your mascara isn't water-based is if you see either paraffin or hyaluronic acid on the ingredient list (via Tuko). Many of the mascaras we've selected are also specially formulated for lash extensions by professional lash studios, and therefore tend not to wear out your extensions or natural lashes.

Either way, most professionals will advise you not to use mascara too often with extensions and to only apply it to the tips of your lashes when you do. You should definitely consult your lash technician before you wear mascara, but in the meantime, you can browse through our curated list of water-based mascaras.

Best overall mascara

If you had to trust a mascara for your lash extensions, it would be one crafted by a renowned lash expert. "I think when it comes to lashes, no woman can have lashes that are too long, too thick, too dark, or too full," Jo Mousselli of Xtreme Lashes told StyleCaster. "What we do is custom design lashes to fit every woman's individual physical attributes and her lifestyle." Mousselli, a former registered nurse, said that her all-encompassing lash extension brand creates products with a "systematic holistic approach."

One such product is the Length & Volume Mascara, which claims to be an "eyelash extension compatible mascara" that "will not damage the adhesive bond." The water-based mascara is infused with vitamin B5, which moisturizes your lashes (via WebMD). 

One reviewer on Amazon said, "Great product to use with lash extensions! Lasts about 3 months. I only use when I'm getting close to a lash fill or if I want a little more eye drama," while another said, "Love this mascara! Didn't clump, made my extensions look marvelous without having to apply layers. It even made my real bottom lashes look great and stand out a lot more than usual with applying numerous layers."

Get the Xtreme Lashes Length & Volume Mascara from Amazon for $28.

Best budget mascara

L'Oreal Paris is known for concocting formulas and products that are mainstays in beauty routines while being wallet-friendly. For lash extensions, the brand's Noir Balm Washable Mascara is a great affordable option. The mascara is made with vegan ingredients and is free from parabens and mineral oil. The formula comes in black and brown and is incredibly pigmented — so, a little goes a long way with this product. The water-based mascara also comes with a flexible brush that separates and lengthens lashes, which is perfect for the tips of your lash extensions.

Labeled "Amazon's Choice," this mascara is very popular among customers. One reviewer called it a "game changer" while another said, "Most volumizing mascaras end up clumping your lashes together, but this one doesn't! The brush is excellent and somehow defines and volumizes at the same time. The formula contains lash conditioners to help keep your lashes from breaking and thinning. Washes off with cleanser, micellar water or makeup remover."

Get the L'Oreal Paris Noir Balm Washable Mascara for $8.52 from Amazon.

Best splurge-worthy mascara

We're all in the lash supremacy society here; all lashes deserve to be pampered as do lash extensions. If splurging on your lashes comes naturally to you, you should invest in the High Impact Mascara from Clinique. The lightweight formula is easy to apply and take off, according to many reviewers on Sephora. One customer said, "Lengthens superrr [sic] well (way better than other brands) and still gives lots of volume. Best of all, it doesn't smudge or flake. Oh, and it comes off easily with just face wash. 10/10 recommend." Another reviewer with lash extensions said, "I have had lash extensions for almost 4 years and this is the only mascara I use for them. It never ends up under my eyes and stays all day. You won't be disappointed!" 

Many also noted that the pigment in this mascara is very natural-looking, so adding this to the tip of your lashes may just be the right amount of tint you need. 

Get the Clinique High Impact Mascara from Sephora for $21. 

Best long-lasting mascara

When in doubt, look to the experts! Lash Affair's detailed lash courses, studio services, and range of aftercare products make it a trustworthy source for making a decision about lash extensions. Of the brand's many offerings, the Good Ex Eyelash Extension Safe Mascara is one of the most popular. The creamy formula is highly pigmented and specially formulated for extensions, and it stays on only as long as you want it to. The short brush is also designed to deposit product on your lower lashes and just the tips of your lashes.

Many customers on the brand's website and Amazon echoed the same sentiment — that this product is "The Good Ex you never want to fully say goodbye to." A reviewer on Amazon appreciated the formula, saying, "I spend a lot on lash extensions and I love that this is especially made to be gentle on them. This mascara is super smooth and free of clumps." Another customer said, "I really enjoyed using this mascara. It went on really easy, and it lifted my lashes and didn't clump too much. My lashes look great after a few hours. Very happy with it."

Get the Lash Affair Good Ex Eyelash Extension Safe Mascara from $17.99 from Amazon.

Best lengthening mascara

Lash brand Alluring's mascaras come recommended by professionals at Divine Lashes, and its Max 2 Water Based Special Mascara is one of its best sellers. This water-based mascara is perfect as an everyday addition to your routine, whether you have lash extensions or not. The wand is slightly longer and is perfect for lengthening your lash tips. The brand claims that the mascara is completely water-soluble, which means that you won't need a lot more than water to get it off. This removal process ensures a longer life for your extensions, too.

One customer said, "Perfect mascara for long lashes. Most mascaras smudge and come off when they touch my upper lids, but this stays on all day." Another reviewer commented, "I like how it looks on my eyelashes, giving them a nice 'pop.' But what I LOVE is how it stays on. I am an actress, and wore it once for a scene in which I did a lot of crying. I sobbed real tears for every take, but the mascera [sic] did not run."

Get the Alluring Max 2 Water Based Special Mascara for $16.95 from Amazon.

Best conditioning mascara

Professional lash store Blink Lash offers a comprehensive list of products for lash extensions, and its Noir Mascara is specially made to be worn in conjunction with extensions. This mascara is also water-based and won't dissolve the adhesive in your extensions. Additionally, it's enriched with vitamin E and keratin nutrients, both of which work to condition and strengthen your eyelashes.

One reviewer said that it's "a life saver!!" Another customer said, "It makes your lashes look so full and adds volume and curl. I especially love it when I'm tired, as it makes my eyes look more open and 'awake.' This mascara easily beats some of the luxury brands you find in department stores that are more expensive." The mascara isn't waterproof, of course, but many reviewers agree that it's smudge-proof and long-lasting regardless of the weather.

Get the Blink Lash Noir Mascara for $11.70 from Amazon.

Best rated mascara on Amazon

Over 82,000 ratings have given an average of 4.4 out of 5 to the Maybelline Sky High Washable Black mascara, a product that's gained popularity amongst those with and without eyelash extensions. Infused with bamboo extract, which is known to moisturize and stimulate lash growth, the mascara prioritizes your lash health. It's important to note that the washable version of the mascara isn't entirely oil-free, but reviewers and the manufacturer agree that it can be used on extensions safely. We'd advise you to use this on the lower lashes and the tips but to also check with your lash technician first.

One reviewer said that the mascara was "Amazing! Helped my lashes look longer after extensions" and continued, "It makes my lashes look longer and holds up the curl a lot better!" Another said, "Best product to use for volume, length and smudge proof both with or without lash extensions."

Get the Maybelline Sky High Washable Black Mascara for $8.53 from Amazon.