Your Step-By-Step Guide for Applying False Eyelashes Like a Pro

Updated 09/12/19
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False eyelashes are one of the few things in life that simultaneously bring us incredible joy, as well as crippling anxiety. (Also on the list? Real Housewives of Orange County marathons and logging onto Twitter.) Up until now, our method of application has fallen into the “stick it near the vicinity of our eye and hope it looks good” category. (This works about 50% 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 a falsie expert on our side: resident Byrdie beauty guru and celebrity makeup artist Lauren Andersen.

Responsible for the long, fanned-out lashes of celebs like Jessica Alba and Chrissy Teigen, Andersen is clearly a master of the craft—which is why we tapped her to show us the ropes. So with no further ado, we are delighted to present the ultimate guide to applying fake eyelashes like a true professional.

Scroll down for the step-by-step guide on how to apply false lashes, from individual to strip ones, plus Andersen’s best falsie tricks.

Applying Individual Lashes

apply false eyelashes
Chris Patey

A surprising discovery we made while observing Andersen apply individual lashes? She applies them after mascara. “After applying mascara, let your lashes dry,” she says. “The great thing about individual lashes is that they let you fill in any holes or gaps in your lash line.”

Diorshow Black Out Mascara
Dior Diorshow Black Out Mascara $30
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Anderson's mascara of choice is Dior's Diorshow Black Out Mascara ($30). A rich black pigment coats the lash to provide an amplified look to even the shortest of lashes. The brand suggests layering the product on for even more length and drama.

Anderson dipping lash in glue
Chris Patey

“[My hand] is my palette and my workspace—it’s where I put everything!” Andersen says. She puts a dot of eyelash glue on the back of her hand, picks up each individual lash with tweezers, and then dips it in the glue for the perfect amount of stickiness.

Anderson sticking lash on lashline
Chris Patey

Next comes the difficult part: actually applying the lashes without poking your eyes out. “I use tweezers, but some people use their fingers,” Andersen says. “I like tweezers so I can place them exactly where I want them—they should follow the direction of your natural lashes.” She starts above the iris of her eye and then fills in the lash line going out. “You want the lash to barely touch your skin, not the base of your real lashes,” she says. “I stabilize my arm against the mirror, so you might want to sit on your sink!”

Duralash Naturals Short Black Eyelashes
Ardell DuraLash Naturals Individual Eyelashes $6
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As for the lashes themselves, she recommends choosing 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 seem to be a staple in many makeup artists kits.

Anderson sticking lash on lashline
Chris Patey

For a more dramatic look, Andersen will add one or two medium-length individual lashes on the outer corners of her eyes to give her lashes more extension. 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.

Anderson after lashes are applied to her eye
Chris Patey

Andersen says you can go back in with your mascara and apply one more coat once the glue dries. This will make sure that the individual lashes blend with your natural lashes by binding them together. It is a little step that makes your final look seemingly perfect.

Applying Strip Lashes

Anderson applying strip lashes
Chris Patey

“I always do band lashes on myself,” Andersen admits. “It’s just easier because it’s a one-step process.” She does share one little-known trick, however: Cut your strip lashes in half to make them easier to apply.

You want to follow the same approach as we did with the individual lashes. Applying the glue on the back of your hand and use it as a way to apply the glue to your lash band.

Anderson holding strip lash to her eye
Chris Patey

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.

Anderson applying mascara
Chris Patey

Unlike individual lashes, 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,” Andersen says. “When you’re getting to the inner corner of your eye and you want them to blend more, you can take scissors and actually 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!

Anderson after mascara and lashes are applied
 Chris Patey

Lashes on, mascara swiped—you’ve officially mastered the art of applying false eyelashes.

Click here for Andersen’s tutorials on how to apply cream blush, highlighter, contour, and bold lipstick.

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