No one really knows why, exactly, long, full, dark eyelashes on women are traditionally considered attractive and pleasing to the eye. Maybe it’s because they frame the “windows to our soul.” Or perhaps, in a less romantic, more primal way, we need them to be long and thick so they can repel all dirt and dust from entering the eye. Either way, everyone has been eyeing eyelash enhancements this year, and wondering, what is a lash lift and how do I get one?
There are many things you can do to enhance your lashes, including getting eyelash extensions, wearing false lashes, applying magnetic lashes, using plain ‘ole mascara, or getting a lash lift. Since I’ve never had a lash lift done myself, I called in an expert for her take on the treatment. Below, Jaimineey Patel, head of training at Blink Brow Bar London, gives me the 411 on all things lash lifts.
You can basically think of a lash lift as a perm for your lashes. “It’s essentially what your natural lashes would look like after using a long-lasting mechanical curler,” explains Patel. Ultimately, the treatment shapes your natural lashes in a way that gives them a desired upward shape and ensures that the lashes flow in the same direction.
Lash lifts, lash extensions, and false lashes all work to achieve the same look: fuller, longer lashes. “The main difference between [lash lifts and lash extensions] is that lash lifts use a product to make your lashes look fuller, while extensions are adding a lash-like extension to your eyelash to achieve the fuller look,” says Patel. While lash lifts and lash extensions can last up to six weeks, false lashes are meant to stay on the lashes for only a day and should be removed before bed.
Before a lash lift, your lash therapist will walk you through the procedure and talk to you about what kind of lash style you want. Some women want their lashes to be shaped higher, closer to their eyebrows, while other women want a softer, more fanned out look. Based on your answers, the therapist will choose a suitable curling rod size to shape the lashes.
“Your therapist will then begin by cleansing the eye area and applying a silicone rod onto the eyelids,” says Patel. “Then, the natural lashes will be curled over and attached to the rod with an adhesive to set the lashes into place.” Once the lashes are in place, the therapist will apply a lifting lotion to allow the lashes to mold into the shape of the curling rod. After the lifting lotion, a setting lotion is applied to secure the lash shape and permanently set the curl or lift.
A lash lift usually only takes an hour from start to finish (and costs between $50 and $150, depending on your location), while eyelash extensions can take a few hours (and can cost between $100 and $300, based, again, on location). “Eyelash extensions are for customers looking for a slightly more dramatic look or are for those with naturally short lashes,” explains Patel. The extension treatment involves applying individual lashes to your original lashes and comes with a lot of maintenance, including no touching, no mascara, and not too much water. A lash lift, on the other hand, “is simply altering the structure of your natural lashes, and the treatment doesn’t require much aftercare,” Patel says.
Regardless of what lash treatment you might lust after, I think it's safe to say 2019 will be the year of the lashes.