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 own 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.) 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.
Step One: Apply Mascara and Let Your Lashes Dry
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.”
She says she likes Avon’s Mega Effects Mascara($10) and Dior’s Dior Show Black Out ($25).
Step Two: Add Glue
“[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.
Step Three: Apply Lashes
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!”
As for the lashes themselves, she recommends choosing knot-free versions (she’s using Ardell’s DuraLash Naturals Individual Eye Lashes ($15) for our tutorial)—they don’t have a band and create a more seamless, natural look when applied to your lash line.
Step Four: Fill in Gaps
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.
Andersen says you can add one more swipe of mascara to blend everything together, and then voilà—your newly lush lashes are ready.
Keep scrolling for Andersen’s tips on applying strip lashes.
Step One: Apply Strip Lash
“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.
Step Two: Straighten
After applying your strip lashes, you can straighten any lopsidedness by gently positioning the lashes with your fingers before the glue dries.
Step Three: Apply Mascara
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.”
Lashes on, mascara swiped—you’ve officially mastered the art of applying false eyelashes.