Experts break down the process, cost, and care of lash lifts so you can decide if this beauty treatment is right for you.

By Melanie Rud
January 02, 2020
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Lash extensions are certainly all the rage, but there's another lash service that's quickly gaining popularity: Meet the lash lift.

Essentially a perm for your lashes, the service (temporarily) lifts and curls your lashes for a seriously eye-opening effect. Unlike with lash extensions, a lash lift is all you; only your natural lashes are involved.

Ahead, experts weigh in on exactly how lash lifts work, how much it costs, what the experience is like, how long a lash lift lasts, and everything else you need to know if you want to try this technique in your quest for fabulous fringe.

What is a lash lift and how does it work?

"A lash lift curls your lashes from base to tip so you can see their full length," explains Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes in New York City. It enhances your natural lashes—though, admittedly, not quite as dramatically as the extra length you'd get from lash extensions or falsh eyelashes, she adds. (That said, the last lift before-and-after photos can be pretty impressive; check out some pics below.)

At the start of the lash lift service, silicone pads are placed on top of your eyes to keep your lids shut. A special serum is then used to break down the keratin protein in your lashes, allowing your technician to shape, sculpt, and lift them around a special silicone mold, explains lash expert Jas Imani, a licensed esthetician based in New York City. The keratin is then added back into the lashes with another serum—and voilà!—lifted, curled lashes.

FYI, some lash lift services include a lash tint—a semi-permanent dye that darkens and intensifies the natural color of the hairs. If you're looking at a lash lift service that doesn't come with a tint, consider adding one to maximize the impact you get from the lift, suggests Richardson.

Courtesy of Jas Imani

How long will it take and how long does a lash lift last?

The service takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour. While you might feel a bit strange about someone fussing with your lashes, you'll likely be able to relax and chill out during that time. After all, when else are you forced to lay down with your eyes closed for an hour?

Generally, lash lifts last anywhere from four to eight weeks, with the results gradually fading over time. (ICYMI, crystal spa treatments are the next beauty trend you might want to try.)

How much does a lash lift cost?

As with pretty much all beauty services, the price varies based on where you live and the salon you visit. Generally speaking, plan to shell out $125 to $175 for a lash lift. (If that number stresses you out, consider checking out this surprisingly amazing $5 drugstore mascara.)

Who is the best candidate for a lash lift?

"Just about anyone is a candidate for a lift as long as they have lashes, though you'll always get the best results when starting with healthy lashes," says Imani. That's why, if you're planning on continuing to get lash lifts, your technician will likely suggest you use a conditioning lash serum in between visits, she adds. (Try one of these conditioning eyelash growth serums with stellar customer reviews.)

Consider your lifestyle, too. While extensions may yield a more dramatic end result, lash lifts are great if you want a more natural, 'look how great my lashes look without anything on them,' effect, says Richardson. The other upshot? There's no need to come back in for touch-ups, like there is with extensions. (Related: What You Need to Know Before Getting Eyelash Extensions.)

Courtesy of Jas Imani

What do you need to do immediately after a lash lift?

The first 48 hours post-lash lift are super important. During this time, it's essential to keep lashes completely bare. That means no mascara, serum, or eye creams, says Imani.

Getting them wet can also undo the results: "Avoid steam, any exercise that will make you super sweaty, washing your hair in the shower, and use oil-free makeup wipes to cleanse your face," she adds.

After those 48 hours are up, you'll want to be gentle with your lashes moving forward. Avoid rubbing your eyes and don't use a curler, cautions Richardson (trust, you won't need to). While you can use mascara, Richardson suggests avoiding it if possible.

Can you DIY a lash lift?

Sure, you could—there are at-home lash lift kits out there, as well as plenty of viral videos of successful attempts. But just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

"Lash lifts, and any kind of lash service in general, are a lot easier to mess up than they are to get right," warns Richardson. That's why seeing a vetted, experienced pro is so important. (More on that below.) Using any type of chemicals around the eye can be super dangerous (you risk everything from infections to even blindness—more on the potential complications here), not to mention, it's very easy to damage delicate lash hairs. The bottom line: This isn't the best time for a DIY beauty moment.

How do you find a reputable technician?

"Safety should be your number one concern, so do your homework and make sure to find someone who is certified," cautions Richardson, who notes that some states also require that the technician be licensed. Imani points out that asking for recommendations is also helpful, and suggests asking to see examples of any tech's before-and-after photos as well. (Related: What I Learned from Trying Latisse to Boost Eyelash Growth)

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