You've been trying to achieve the long, lustrous lash look, but mascara just doesn't give you celebrity-length eyelashes. That's because many celebs indulge in eyelash extensions, which enhance your natural eyelashes without the need for mascara. Unlike regular false lashes that attach to your eyelid in a solid strip that only lasts a day, single eyelash extensions made from mink, silk or synthetic materials can last much longer. Depending on the brand you buy, you can wear them anywhere from one to two weeks or one to two months.
What's the price of such beauty? You can get them professionally done, which can cost you a few hundred dollars, or you can buy a kit and do them yourself. Much like dyeing your hair at home, there's a caveat emptor: It may take a little while to get the hang of applying them, and really tricky cases do need the hand of a professional. That being said, you can follow these steps to help you through the learning curve.
Read the next page to learn what aluminum foil and toothpicks have to do with applying fake eyelashes.
1: Get Your Tools
As with most activities, the more you prep, the easier the task is to complete. When applying eyelash extensions, it's best to assemble all the tools you'll need before you start the process. Keep in mind that depending on how many lashes you're putting on, it could take a couple of hours.
First, you'll need the actual eyelashes. You can buy these at beauty and drug stores. They come in small packages, and depending on the brand you purchase, you'll find that they aren't exactly single eyelashes; they're a little bundle of a few lashes that are knotted or bonded together. They don't naturally stick on, so you'll also need eyelash glue. You'll have to purchase this separately, or it may come as part of a kit.
Other tools you'll need are aluminum foil and a toothpick for the glue, a small pair of scissors, a pair of tweezers to help you apply the lashes and a cotton swab to make sure they stay on.
2: Prepare to Apply
Before you can apply your new lashes, there are a few more things you need to take care of. First, clean your hands, face, eyes and eyelashes. The eyes and the skin around them are extremely sensitive, so you'll want to make sure there's no soapy residue or anything extra that can get into your eyes. The adhesive may also have a hard time sticking to anything that has residual makeup on it.
Next, you should remove the eyelashes from the box with a pair of tweezers. They may vary in length, so you might need to trim them to have the desired effect. For a full, natural look, trim the extensions so they're closer to the length of your true lashes. For something more dramatic, keep them longer. You may also want to shape the lash over your finger to give it a natural curve and blend in more easily with your regular lashes.
Next up: Learn how to make them stick.
3: Glue Those Lashes
Because the surface of each lash extension is so small, it's easier to dip them in glue than put drops of glue directly onto the lashes themselves. Start by pouring a small amount onto a smooth surface. This could be a piece of aluminum foil, or it could be a small plastic surface that comes with your eyelash kit. Stir it with a toothpick for a few seconds to help the glue become tackier so it sticks better. Then pick up a lash with tweezers and rub the end in the glue. Try to get a thin, even layer on the lash so it doesn't look lumpy.
Now it's time to get in front of a mirror, because you're ready to put them on.
4: Apply Eyelashes to Eyelid
When attaching the extensions to your lashes, start at the center of your eye and move toward the outer edge. Repeat going inward, but be careful with the inner eye area, as it's sensitive, and you don't want the lash to become an irritant.
Proper eyelash placement is also important in order to achieve a natural look. Keep the clusters of extensions small so they blend in better with your actual lashes. Once you've chosen where to place a lash, close your eye and use the tweezers to put the extension on. Set it directly on top of your natural eyelash. Position the extension close to, but not touching, the skin of your eyelid.
Once the lash has been glued on, gently hold it in place with a cotton swab until the glue dries. This could take up to a minute. Blink a few times to make sure the it's firmly in place, then repeat the process with the rest of your lashes.
5: Makeup and Maintenance
Although the false eyelashes eliminate the need for mascara, you may want to apply a little so the two sets blend and look more natural. If you try this step, be sure to stick with a water-based mascara. Other types may adversely affect the adhesive. While the mascara is still wet, bond the two sets of lashes together with your fingertips so they combine. Should you have any gaps between the false lashes and your real ones, use some eyeliner to fill in them in.
To keep your new lashes in good shape, clean them with cool water and avoid oil-based cleaners. Let your lashes air dry and avoid rubbing them with a towel. This will help them have a longer life.
Lots More Information
- Mascara: A Case for Organic Cosmetics
- Kristofer Buckle's Eye Makeup Tips
- Enhance Your Eyelashes Naturally
- ABC News. "Eyelash Extensions: The Next Big Thing in Beauty." Jan. 21, 2006. (May 7, 2012) http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/BeautySecrets/story?id=1529151#.T6cfGu3uUxU
- Anderson. "Kristin Chenoweth's Eyelash Extensions Gone Wrong." March 1, 2012. (May 6, 2012) http://www.andersoncooper.com/2012/03/01/kristin-chenoweth-eyelash-extensions-gone-wrong/
- Ardell. "Application Directions." 2012. (May 6, 2012) http://ardelllashes.com/product/?id=89
- Goins, Liesa. "Building a Better Eyelash." WebMD. 2012. (May 6, 2012) http://www.webmd.com/healthy-beauty/features/eyelash-length-growth-extensions
- Hardy, Leah. "Get lashed up: How to apply fake eyelashes properly." Mail Online. Apr. 5, 2010. (May 6, 2012)
- Sun, the. "Luscious lashes: Latest products to make the most of your eyes." April 10, 2012. (May 7, 2012) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/fashion/beauty/4244754/Latest-lash-lengthening-products.html
- Takeshe Eyelashes. "Applying False Eyelashes." 2005. (May 7, 2012) http://www.takeshe.com/index.php/applying-eyelashes.html