Eyelashes create beautiful frames around your eyes. I’ve always been envious of women (and some men) who have gorgeous, long, fluttering eyelashes. If you’re not so lucky when it comes to eyelashes (like me), you may need a little help. False eyelashes to the rescue!
The first time I saw myself in a pair of false eyelashes, I was mesmerized. I couldn’t get over what a difference they made. Mind you, they were a bit over-the-top and better suited for a costume party than everyday life—but WOW! I fell in love. I remember running to the store to buy myself some false eyelashes, and I vowed to never leave home without them again. After finding the perfect pair of falsies, I went home to put them on, anticipating that in just a few short minutes my life would be transformed forever. And this is when things went totally awry.
The first false eyelashes I ever wore were applied by someone who knew what they were doing. It took just a few minutes and the results were spectacular. I thought that I would have the same success and that applying them would be a piece of cake. All I needed was a little glue and a steady hand, right? Wrong. It was a total disaster. I had glue everywhere including in my eye, the lashes were on crooked, the ends were peeling upwards—I put them on, pulled them off, put them on, pulled them off. By the time I abandoned my mission, the lashes were completely ruined and I vowed to never try this again.
I’ll admit that I needed a little help in the eyelash department. I was determined to master the art through practice and patience. Now I know how to apply false eyelashes, and I’ll pass on my tips so you can enhance your eyelashes in just a few minutes.
False eyelashes come in all lengths and colors. They’re available in full strips, three quarter pieces or individual clusters. A full set of false eyelashes can provide both thickness and length, giving your eyes a dramatic look. They also take much less time to apply, whereas individual eyelashes are great for filling in sparse areas. Or, you can use individual lashes to create a gorgeous winged look by applying at the outer corners. Individual eyelashes are definitely harder to apply but really do look natural. Unfortunately, I’m still mastering my technique with individuals, so today I’m going to focus on full strip eyelashes.
Black and dark brown false eyelashes are always great for everyday use. Take your time and decide if you’re looking for longer lashes or fuller lashes, or perhaps both. You have many options and trying out different styles may be the surest way to determine the look that’s best for you. If you’re purchasing for an occasion, there are many different fun colors, some with feathers, some with rhinestones. Your creativity and budget are the only limits.
Lash adhesive also comes in different varieties. Typically, there are black and white lash adhesives. For first timers I recommend white lash adhesive, as it dries clear. Darker glues hold their color, which can give a dramatic look but it’s also unforgiving if you make an error. I’ve had success with lashes that come with a self-adhesive already applied, but some brands definitely hold better than others so it’s a good idea to have some glue on hand.
One size does not fit all when it comes to falsies. Your new lashes may need a little bit of trimming before you apply them. Hold your false eyelashes against your eyelid to see if they’re too wide for your eye. If they are, go ahead and trim them with a pair of scissors. The eyelash strip should follow your natural eyelashes and not overhang. If they’re too long, they create a droopy look that’s not attractive. You can even trim the individual lashes if you think they’re too long and unnatural looking. Remember, the lashes should be longer towards the outer corner of the eye and shorter towards the inner corner of the eye.
Shaping your false lash strips prior to applying glue is important. Bend your falsies into the shape of C and hold for a few seconds. The lash strip must follow the natural contour of your upper eye lid to adhere properly and look natural. The last thing you want is for the edges to start lifting up.
You can use an eyelash applicator, a pair of tweezers or your fingers to apply false eyelashes. Choose the application technique that works best for you. You’ll instinctively find that one works better for you and makes applying false eyelashes much easier. Just remember to be firm but gentle with the lashes—you don’t want to crush them. On the other hand, you also don’t want them to move when you’re applying glue.
Applying the glue to false eyelash strips can turn messy real quick. I’ve tried to apply a thin layer of glue directly on the lash strips, but it never works out well for me and I end up with too much glue. I’ve found it best to get everything ready to go before I start this step. I usually have my glue ready, toothpicks on hand (yes, toothpicks), and a flat surface.
I dispense a little glue onto the back of my hand or other flat surface and apply the glue with a toothpick. I always start by holding the lash strip with tweezers, and if I get too much glue on the strip I simply wipe it off and start over. I’ve had too many mishaps with getting glue on my fingers, and this always turns into a comedy of errors for me. Apply the glue on the lash band and make sure you get good coverage on the ends of the lash strip, as this is where they tend to pull up first. Wait for about 10 seconds before applying. This allows the glue to get tacky so your lashes will stick better. If you’re in a hurry, gently blow on the lash or wave back and forth to encourage the glue to dry down. Because you are applying around your eyes, be extra cautious and only use adhesive according to the manufacturer’s label instructions.
Now here comes the tricky part: applying the lashes. Remember, this isn’t a race so take it slow. Use a magnifying mirror to see exactly where the lash strip needs to go. Bring the lash strip down from above and place on top of your natural lashes. This will get you as close as possible to your natural lash line. Tested beauty tip: Apply the strip to your upper lash line base (on top of your natural lashes), not on your eyelids. This was the biggest mistake I made the first time: I was trying to protect my real lashes and assumed I had to glue the falsies to my eye lids. Trust me, not a good look. Things may look a bit messy at first, but white glue dries clear and dark glue will blend with your makeup—so don’t panic until you see the final results.
After the false lash strip is placed on top of your real lashes, use your fingertips to gently grasp your false and real lashes. Gently press together to fully adhere. If the glue is still wet, you’ll have the flexibility to move the lash strip into the correct position. If things don’t work out the first time, you can always start over.
If you see any spaces between your real and fake lashes, fill in the gaps with liquid eyeliner. This will help them look more natural. You can also use an eyelash curler. Just be sure to wait for about 2 minutes and be gentle. In the past, I’ve applied the perfect lash and totally messed things up by being overzealous with my curler.
I’m not going to pretend that eyelash application is easy. I have on many occasions found this process to be incredibly frustrating. But take heart, some people do have a natural knack for it and get it right the first time. I’m still not perfect but I’m determined to keep trying, because great eyelashes look effortlessly stunning—even if we all know the truth.