- A lash lift is like a perm for your eyelashes — the hairs are curled upwards semi-permanently.
- It takes about an hour to complete and costs around $100.
- There are minimal risks, but be sure to avoid getting your lashes wet for 24 hours.
A lash lift is a simple procedure that can replace your need for an eyelash curler.
It “creates a permanent lift/curl to your lashes,” which can make your eyes appear bigger, says Veronica Tran, an esthetician and founder of Pretty In The City lash and brow bar.
Lash lifts are generally safe, but having strong chemicals close to your eyes can pose a risk — so it’s important to go to an experienced esthetician.
Here’s what you need to know about how a lash lift works and how to keep your eyes safe.
How does a lash lift work?
The lash lift uses a special perming solution that breaks down the bonds in your eyelashes’ keratin shafts. Keratin is a strong protein that makes up the structure of your eyelashes and keeps their usual shape.
You can do a lash lift at home, it’s safer to go to a professional who has the proper training and experience.
Once the protein bonds are broken, your lashes become more flexible and are able to mold to the shape of a curling pad.
You can choose how extreme the curl is by adjusting the size and shape of the curling pad — a wider pad creates a more subtle curl, while a narrower one bends your eyelashes further upward.
Lastly, a conditioning solution helps fix the lashes into their new, permanent shape, which lasts between 4-6 weeks.
Lash lift procedure
It’s important to follow several guidelines before, during, and after you go in for a lash lift.
Before the procedure
- If you have eyelash extensions, remove them at least three days before your appointment.
- Avoid curling your lashes or using waterproof mascara for two to four days beforehand.
- Don’t wear any eye makeup on the day of your procedure.
- Don’t wear contact lenses to the appointment.
- If you have extra sensitive skin or allergies, you may want to visit your esthetician the day before for a spot test of the perming solution. You can apply a small amount on your arm to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.
During the procedure
1. “The first step is a consultation with your lash artist to determine how much curl will work with your lashes, taking into consideration the look you want to achieve,” Tran says.
2. The esthetician will then place a protective pad to cover your eyes and lower eyelids.
3. The esthetician will clean your eyelashes and affix a silicone curling pad to the top of your eyelids.
4. They will then brush your lashes upward and fasten them to the silicone pad with a sticky solution. “The lashes will take the shape of the edge of the silicone pad,” Tran says.
5. Your esthetician will apply a perming solution to the base of the lashes. “This is left in anywhere from 4-10 minutes depending on the thickness of the lashes,” Tran says.
6. The esthetician will then remove the perming solution and apply a neutralizing solution for another few minutes.
7. Lastly, the esthetician will remove the neutralizing solution and apply a conditioning solution that fixes the lashes into their new shape for a couple of minutes, Tran says.
After the procedure
- Make sure to follow any instructions your esthetician gives you. For example, “you will be given a conditioning solution to take home and apply to your lashes for the next few days,” Tran says.
- And Tran offers one of the most important tips: “keep them dry for 24 hours! Otherwise the curl will weaken,” Tran says.
“Overall the entire process takes about an hour,” Tran says. And you can expect to pay around $100 — though the price can vary from $50 to $200, depending on where you get the lift done.
“The curl is permanent; however, your lashes continue to grow and shed,” Tran says. This means that the look lasts for about four to six weeks before most of the curled lashes are replaced with new, straighter lashes.
Risks of lash lift
As with most cosmetic procedures, there are possible risks and complications with a lash lift.
A good esthetician will be careful not to get any solutions onto your eye surface, “but it seems very possible that chemicals can get into the eye and could cause corneal injury,” says Dr. Jacqueline Carrasco, an oculoplastic surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital.
Your eyelids are also possibly at risk. “The eyelid skin is the thinnest in the body and extremely sensitive,” Carrasco says.
“If you have allergic skin, the adhesive or eyelash chemicals may cause a reaction causing the eyelids blistering or the skin breaking down,” Carrasco says. This is why an allergy spot test is so important.
However, Carrasco says she hasn’t seen any injuries related to lash lifts in her own eye surgery practice.
A lash lift can help curl your lashes and brighten up the look of your eyes, without needing to use a daily lash curler. The process is relatively quick and easy, but there are possible risks from having chemicals so close to your eyes.
Before getting a lash lift, “I would call ahead and talk to the salon about their process, chemicals used, and how they protect your eyes during the process,” Carrasco says.