If you spend any time on your Instagram Explore page, it’s likely you’ve seen the viral video fodder that is a lash lift procedure — where someone’s eyelashes are glued to a silicone pad and fanned out — resulting in long, extension-like lashes. The allure is evident: Suddenly lashes look like the best versions of themselves, sans mascara or added length. They seem like a low-maintenance dream (spoiler alert: they are), but like any procedure promising dramatic results, it’s important to do your research before jumping right in. That’s why we tapped Andrea Starr, lash extension expert and founder of Starr Beauty, to break down everything you need to know about lash lifts, ahead:
What is a lash lift?
Lash lifts (also called lash perms) replace the need for an eyelash curler altogether by shaping and curling your lashes to offer semi-permanent hold. According to Starr, this procedure works best for “someone who uses a lash curler daily and/or has straight natural lashes.” Although repeated use of a curler can add wear and tear to natural lashes, lash lifts, says Starr, will not. It’s ideal for someone whose lashes already have a little bit of length, so if your lashes are naturally short, she recommends growing them out with the help of a lash conditioner or serum before attempting the service.
What’s the difference between a lash lift and lash extensions?
Lash lifts tend to be more cost effective than eyelash extensions. Lifts will set you back about $75 to $100, and extensions go for about $150 for a new set. Lash lifts also require less maintenance. “Extensions replace eye makeup, but a lift replaces the need of a lash curler and heavy mascara,” says Starr, who recommends the service to someone looking for a lower maintenance service.
It’s a (relatively) easy procedure.
Lash lifts generally take 45 minutes from start to finish, are painless and last up to eight weeks, making them an ideal option for anyone looking for low-maintenance, semi-permanent curl. One look doesn’t fit all, though, so prior to application your technician should customize your lash look based on your natural lash length, how you like to style them and your curl preference. Then, your tech will choose a specific silicone pad (which come in multiple sizes) to achieve the look. Here’s what you can expect, according to Starr: “The technician will clean your lashes, glue down a silicone shield onto your upper lid, apply adhesive to that shield, lift your lashes up onto the silicone shield, and then apply the odorless, non-damaging lash lift product to your lashes.”
There is minimal after-care.
You should avoid wearing eye makeup, getting your lashes wet or using oil-based products for 24 hours after the procedure, says Starr, but beyond that there’s not much you need to do to take care of your newly lifted lashes. Plan on coming back for another treatment about six to eight weeks later, when your lashes will start to revert to their natural curl (or lack thereof).
Research your lash technician.
When looking for a lash technician, make sure you choose someone who specializes in lash services. Starr recommends researching your tech before your visit and looking at customer photos and reviews. Feel free to get a consultation prior to booking an appointment as well. You want to be thoroughly informed before undergoing any beauty appointment but especially with those involving your lash or eye area.
Lash lifts pair well with lash tints.
Lash tinting consists of using a special dye to darken your lashes, offering weeks of ultra-black lashes without the help of mascara. This goes particularly well with a lash lift and gives lashes a natural, full look. Many places can perform the treatments in tandem.
Put down the waterproof mascara.
While skin care and eye products are fine to use with a lash lift, Starr says “waterproof or smudge-proof mascara strips the treatment and will affect its longevity.” That means you’ll have to nix your favorite waterproof formulas, but we think the semi-permanent curl is worth switching to a gentler formula.
Lash lifts aren’t for everyone.
Those who have naturally curly lashes or lashes with a natural “criss cross” pattern won’t benefit from a lash lift,” says Starr. This also applies to anyone with “really coarse lashes [because] the solution might not take.”
And whatever you do, DON’T DIY.
Although the lash lift procedure looks fairly simple on Instagram (which to some screams weekend beauty experiment), Starr insists that they should only be done by a professional due to the amount of chemicals being applied so close to the eye area.