TikTokers Are Curling Their Eyelashes In Their Sleep, but Experts Have Concerns

Natural lash lifts overnight might just be the stuff of dreams after all.

Woman sleeping with eye mask

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TikTok is home to all kinds of fun, easy beauty hacks, but not all of them are necessarily the safest options. (Remember sunscreen contouring? Exactly.) So, if you've seen videos on your For You Page detailing how to curl your eyelashes overnight simply by using a sleep mask in a strategic way, you're probably wondering whether or not this is the DIY lash lift of your dreams.

Some users have been "training" their lashes to remain lifted by putting an eye mask on with their eyes open before closing them to sleep. They wake up with "naturally" curled lashes, no lash lift or curler necessary. User @allyrbackus seemingly first popularized the trend, showing off a "natural lash lift" achieved by strategically placing a sleep mask over upturned lashes in a TikTok video. She even claims the trick has replaced chemical lash lifts for her in the caption of the post.

After the video racked up more than 7.6 million views, nearly 947,000 likes, and thousands of comments, other users began cosigning the hack, sharing that it works for them too — though some concluded it's tough to beat a trusty lash curler. But does it actually work, and most importantly, is it safe? Shape tapped the expertise of an ophthalmologist and a makeup artist, who both explain why this trick might not be worth trying. (Don't try using vaseline to curl your eyelashes either, BTW.)

What is the sleep mask eyelash curler hack?

Essentially, this TikTok beauty hack involves keeping your eyes open as you place a sleep mask on your head. People then close their eyes once the mask is in place, with the goal of allowing lashes to sit upright under the pressure of a sleep mask while they rest.

TikTokers recommend sleeping as you normally would and doing this hack nightly to essentially train your lashes to stay in that upright, lifted position long after you've woken up. For some, the results seem to be a natural, affordable alternative to a chemical lash lift as well as more permanent than using a traditional eyelash curler every day.

Does wearing a sleep mask to bed to curl eyelashes work?

"While you can't train your lashes to be curlier, you can train hair to alter the direction of its growth over time through gentle tension," says Diane Hilal-Campo, M.D., board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of twenty/twenty beauty.

Celebrity makeup artist Nydia Figueroa likens the TikTok trend to the heat-free leggings curls hack, adding that it "can definitely work." However, neither pro calls it a safe, foolproof option.

Lash safety aside, it would be tough to achieve evenly curled lashes with this method unless you remain sleeping on your back the entire night, adds Figueroa. And that's no easy feat, even for the soundest of sleepers.

Is wearing a sleep mask to bed to curl eyelashes safe?

Unfortunately, experts have a few safety concerns for those attempting to curl their eyelashes by trying this TikTok hack. "This is very dangerous for eyes," says Dr. Hilal-Campo. "Your eyelids are meant to close completely when sleeping. Any exposure from a lack of complete eyelid closure can cause drying and scarring of your corneas (aka the transparent layer at the front of your eyeball), which can cause infections and potential blindness," she continues. "Additionally, if the fabric from the mask hits the corneas of the partially open eyes, it can cause painful abrasions and scarring."

If scratches to your eyeballs aren't terrifying enough, this method is not great for the integrity of your lashes either, says Dr. Hilal-Campo. "Your eyelashes grow the way they do because they protect your eyes against wind, dirt, and debris," she explains. "An artificial lift will inhibit their ability to shield your eyes against damage. The tension from the mask can also break brittle lashes."

Then there's the issue of how a sleep mask can push upturned lashes into your eyes. This "could result in a corneal abrasion, along with needlessly tugging at the delicate skin around the eyes," says. Dr. Hilal-Campo.

Finally, hygiene should be considered. "People don't frequently wash their sleep masks, if at all," notes Dr. Hilal-Campo. Bacteria can build up in the fabric of the mask, putting you at risk for acne, infections, as well as styes and blepharitis (inflammation of the eye). "You want to treat an eye mask the same way you would change a pillowcase, as it harbors a lot of bacteria and oils from your face," says Figueroa.

Curling eyelashes overnight with a sleep mask is a good alternative to traditional methods: True or false?

TikTok True or False: Face Mask Lashes

Just because you can achieve a more lifted lash look by trying this TikTok hack doesn't mean you should, per the pros. "Please avoid this dangerous trend; you are submitting your eye structures to unnecessary trauma and harm," says Dr. Hilal-Campo. Instead, she recommends an old classic: using a clean lash curler before applying any makeup. "Do not use too much pressure or apply mascara first," she advises. "Gently squeeze the curler, being sure to leave enough space between your lashline and the tool, and release. Do not manipulate the curler as you use it because this could cause damage to the skin and lashes — you don't want to pull out your lashes."

Dr. Hilal-Campo suggests skipping professional lash lifts and heated curlers as well, as heat and chemicals can be equally damaging to the delicate lashes and skin around the eyes. To lengthen while keeping lashes and peepers protected, she suggests "using a hydrating lash treatment after taking off your eye makeup at night before bed, working it into your lashes to hydrate them. Applying lash extensions at home is another alternative, according to Figueroa.

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