In my quest for long lashes, I've piled on coats of mascara into a clumpy mess and wrestled with strips of falsies that just won’t stick. Of course, there are lash extensions, which look amazing out of the salon, but tend to leave your real lashes looking thin and brittle (not to mention, it costs upwards $200 for a set).
If you want to look like Bambi instead of bummed, it’s time to consider a lash lift. The semi-permanent treatment is the best alternative for long lashes that last, without the upkeep and damage of extensions.
What is this sorcery? In short, a lash lift is a perm for your eyelashes, that provides lift and curl for weeks. To get more details, ELLE tapped lash artist Paula Ocot from tattoo studio Laurel NYC to explain everything you need to know about getting a lash lift.
The secret to a good lash lift? A safely formulated chemical solution. "A lash lift is essentially a perm for your lashes that offers eye-popping results by creating a natural curl and lift to your lashes," Ocot says. "Everyone has different lash lengths and growth direction. Some lashes grow down while others grow straight out. The lash lift process creates a natural eye-opening lash swoop that lasts for several weeks."
Arrive at your appointment au natural. "Come with a clean face and refrain from wearing any eye makeup," Ocot advises. "Thoroughly wash your eyes with soap and water. If you wear mascara on the regular, specifically waterproof mascara, it's recommended to stop use for at least 3 days prior to your appointment as it can leave a residue that prevents lashes to adhere to the adhesive."
Get ready for lots of compliments. "A lash lift will enhance your eyes by making them look more open and awake," Ocot says. "You can also ask your artist to tint your lashes after they’re lifted, for darker and thicker looking lashes. Be ready to say goodbye to your mascara and lash curler and shave some time off of your beauty routine."
All lash lifts are not created equal. "Your artist can alter the 'tightness' of lash curl and add a tint to make the lashes look darker and thicker," Ocot explains. "During the consultation process, you and your artist can decide what look would best suit your eyes: a soft and natural lash curl or a tighter lash curl for a more dramatic look."
Have an idea of what you want your lashes to look like. "Every lash lift service starts off with a consultation," Ocot says. "During this consultation, your artist will ask for your desired results and assess your natural lashes and eye shape. Based on your answers, the artist will then pick the appropriately sized silicone curling rod to shape, lift and curl the lashes."
Then sit back, close your eyes, and relax for about 45 minutes. "Your artist will begin by thoroughly cleaning the eye area," Ocot explains. "Once the eyes are cleaned off of any residual makeup and oils, a silicone curling rod is placed with a gentle adhesive on the eyelids bordering the lash line. The natural lashes are then curled over top of the rod and set with an adhesive."
Your eyes will be closed throughout the session, so try listening to a podcast or music. "Once the artist ensures that all lashes are combed up and separated in place, a lifting lotion is applied to the lashes," Ocot adds. "The lifting lotion will then mold the lashes to the shape of the curling rod. Following this, a setting lotion is applied which sets the lash shape into place. Finally, a nourishing lotion is added to add moisture back into the lashes.
Pricing depends on which salon you go to, but the treatment is generally more affordable than lash extensions. Always make sure your lash artist is a licensed professional.
A lash lift will typically last about 6-8 weeks. Of course, this all depends on how you take care of your lashes.
The first 24 hours are crucial. "Keep your lash lift dry. No water, sweat (no heavy exercising), steam or sauna for the first 24 hours," Ocot advises.
Keep your hands off! "Try not to rub your eyes too much as you can alter the curl with excessive rubbing of the eye," she says. Ocot recommends using a clean spoolie to brush your lashes daily, to keep them airy, fluffy, separated, and tangle-free.
You can wear eye makeup and mascara but avoid waterproof formulas. "While using mascara isn’t necessary if you want to enhance your lift, sticking to water-based mascaras are the best option," Ocot says. Water-proof eye makeup can weaken the effect of your lift and leave a residue. Only use oil-free makeup removers and cleansers.
Lastly, help your lashes stay healthy. "Nourish your lashes 2 to 3 times a week to keep your lashes hydrated," Ocot says. She recommends castor oil for keeping hairs strong.