How to Apply False Eyelashes: A Step-by-Step Guide

two women with long eyelashes looking at camera


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False eyelashes are among the few things in life that simultaneously bring us incredible joy and crippling anxiety. (Also on the list? Real Housewives of Orange County marathons and logging onto Twitter). Until now, our application method has fallen into the “stick it near the vicinity of our eye and hope it looks good” category. (This works about 50 percent of the time and is not a technique we would recommend).

We have also tried the latest innovations like lash extensions, magnetic strip lashes, and all of the lash-enhancing serums you can think of, but nothing beats a pair of good old falsies. Luckily, we now have two falsie experts on our side: resident Byrdie beauty gurus Lauren Andersen and Matin.

Meet the Expert

  • Matin is a celebrity makeup artist and non-toxic beauty advocate, with clients among Angelina Jolie, Rebel Wilson, Awkwafina, and more.
  • Lauren Andersen is a professional makeup artist responsible for the long, fanned-out lashes of celebs like Jessica Alba and Chrissy Teigen.

Read on for an easy, step-by-step guide on how to apply false lashes.

Choose a Lash Type

There are three main types of lashes: individual, cluster or flare, and strip lashes. Individual lashes are exactly what they sound like: False lashes that are applied one hair at a time. "This is what pros used to use for TV commercials and skincare ads when makeup was properly applied, and retouching was not an option," says Matin.

Cluster lashes, on the other hand, are small gatherings of a few lash hairs. "They're a quick and easy way to add a bit of volume or length to the lashes," Matin says. While this is a popular option, he advises having patience and taking your time when applying them. "They can look out of place and wonky if they're not hidden properly into the existing lash line. Also, it’s important to use mascara and liner to coat both the synthetic lash and your own lashes, so they look similar."

Strip lashes are a full strip of lash hairs meant to go along your upper lash line. That said, these can often appear very dramatic and be easily overdone. "This is something to do for special occasions and 'dress up' fun. It's not the most discreet-looking lash option," explains Matin.

Trim the Lashes

Some types of lashes require trimming in lash length and band length to best fit the eye. In the video, Matin uses Lashify lashes, which go under the lashes, and is virtually undetectable. "They come in these tiny little clusters, and you just put them right where the lashes grow, not on the waterline. It just enhances the lashes you have. They come in different lengths and widths, so you can get as much drama as you want. I usually go just enough to open up the eyes and fill in the lashes," he says.

lashify lashes
Lashify Bold Gossamer Lashes $20.00

Choose an Adhesive

lash glue

To apply the Lashify lashes, Matin says, "The glue goes under the lashes, there's a black and white version. Just wiggle the brush right at the root of the lashes and sit the lash right on top of it. At the end, you have to fuse them together. It's very light, very clean, and it just looks absolutely gorgeous."

Some brands utilize a magnetic application for lashes. MoxieLash Magnetic Lashes Natural Kit ($109) features a magnetic eyeliner formula, which allows lashes to adhere to the lid.

Apply the Lashes

Ardell Individuals Medium Black Lashes
Ardell Individuals Medium Black Lashes $7.00
  • For individual lashes, Andersen recommends knot-free versions like these from Ardell. They don’t have a band and create a more seamless, natural look when applied to your lash line. Not to mention they are a budget-friendly option that seems to be a staple in many makeup artists' kits.
  • If you notice a lash or two go awry, don’t be afraid to fix them as the glue is drying. “If individual lashes tilt to the left or right, you can just use your finger to straighten them,” Andersen says.
velour lashes
Velour Lashes Effortless Natural Lash Collection $26.00
  • For strip lashes, which Andersen says she always does on herself, because "it's just easier because it’s a one-step process.”
  • Apply the glue on the back of your hand, using it as a way to apply the glue to your lash band.
  • After applying your strip lashes, you can straighten any lopsidedness by gently positioning the lashes with your fingers before the glue dries. This is where cutting the lashes in half is helpful, as it allows for better control of the positioning of the lashes. You won't have to worry about the inner or outer corners popping up as you work to adjust the lashes to your eye shape.

Fuse Lashes Together

lash application

After applying the lashes to the glue, fuse the lashes together with a curved lash applicator or tweezer. Just a gentle clamping across wherever you applied the lash is all you need to help them stay in place.

Assess Your Lashwork

false lashes

Once you have applied all of the lashes, take a step back and make sure they look as even and natural as possible. If you are wearing individual lashes and want a more dramatic look, Andersen recommends adding one or two medium-length individual lashes on the outer corners of the eyes to give lashes more extension. If you chose strip lashes, Andersen recommends a slight trim for better blending.

"When you’re getting to the inner corner of your eye and you want them to blend more, you can take scissors and trim off the longer edges of the lashes so that they blend with your natural lashes as well.” Just be careful not to cut your natural lashes!

Add Mascara

Macstack Mascara
MAC MACStack Mascara $28.00

Andersen says applying mascara, after you finish gluing your lashes is vital to making the final effect look natural. “This helps blend them into your natural lashes,” she says. We love MAC's MACStack Mascara for its dual brush size, offering custom, buildable results.

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