How to Apply Individual Lashes for Natural-Looking Glam

woman with brown hair wearing false eyelashes

Dee Mills / Byrdie

In recent years, the beauty world has gone through a lash revolution. Thanks to growing popularity across social media, video tutorials, makeup experts, and beyond, false lashes are everywhere. From lash extensions to lifts to flexible falsies, it's a lash-loving world, and we're just living in it. 

False lashes can sometimes conjure up images of spiky, spidery looks, and we can see why. For many of us, thick, fluffy lash strips and individual lashes have created some, well, less than successful looks over the years. But that assessment is not entirely fair: While falsies can create over-the-top, fluffy looks, their abilities extend beyond the extravagant. They also work to emphasize natural features for an effortless, straightforward look. The secret of how to do this is in the application. 

We know what you're thinking: No matter how many tutorials you watch, false lash application feels intimidating. Between the glue, the tweezers, and navigating that pesky strip, it seems like something can always go awry. That's where our experts come in. We spoke with two pros about the best way to apply individual false lashes, regardless of what look you want to achieve.      

Ahead, hear from two makeup artists on exactly how to apply individual lashes to make a look all your own.

Meet the Expert

  • Ash K. Holm is a Los Angeles-based celebrity makeup artist who has worked with clients including Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Camila Cabello, Shay Mitchell, and more. 
  • Krissy Vanderwoude is a professional licensed makeup artist based in northwest Indiana who specializes in bridal makeup.
Step-by-step of Byrdie editor Holly Rhue applying individual lashes

Dee Mills/Byrdie

Prepping for Application

Decide on Lash Type

Before diving into application, make sure the lashes you’ve picked work for you and the look you're trying to achieve. The two main categories are strip lashes, which are quicker to apply but more difficult to customize, and individual lashes, which take longer to stick on but are made for adjustments. However, there's also another less common type of false lashes: cluster lashes, which are small groupings of lashes connected by a band—a popular version is Lashify's Gossamer Lashes ($20-25). Think of these like mini strip lashes. 

The right lash type will largely depend on your personal preference, but remember the application may be different depending on which one you choose.

Prep the Lashes

To optimize your look, make sure your lashes are in optimal shape. Celebrity makeup artist Ash K. Holm recommends curling lashes before application for a more lifted look: “This is a must when I apply lashes on my celebrity clientele.”

When applying strip or individual lashes, Holm believes a little mascara goes a long way. “Apply a light layer of mascara before applying the individual lashes,” she says. “One coat is enough! This helps the application to look natural and blend.”  

For Lashify, keep your lashes completely clean. In order for the clusters to bond to your natural lashes, they must be free of makeup and oil, so you may want to prep with a product like Bioderma's Sensibo H2O Micellar Water ($11). Before applying adhesive, Lashify lashes also require a bond—the brand's Whisper Light Bond ($28) is an ideal option. Apply this directly onto lashes the way you would a mascara—it goes on clear, and one coat is enough.

How to Apply Individual Lashes

01 of 04

Let Adhesive Become Tacky on Your Hand

Close-up of applying eyelash adhesive to hand with brush

Dee Mills/Byrdie

For individual and strip lashes, glue or adhesive goes directly on the lashes. “The glue should be exposed to air for around one minute before you begin working with it,” professional makeup artist Krissy Vanderwoude advises. “This gives the glue a chance to become slightly tacky, which will help with adhesion when you are applying the lash. If the glue is too wet, it can move on the eye or slide off as you blink.” To give the glue time to become slightly sticky, just let it rest on the back of your hand for about a minute.

02 of 04

Dip Lash Into Glue

woman holding fake lashes with pink tweezers

Dee Mills / Byrdie

For Lashify, the glue goes directly on the lash, but instead of applying it along the lash line, dab the adhesive close to the root of the lashes on the underside. Remember when dotting on the glue, a little goes a long way. It can be helpful to apply a bit of glue to your hand first before grabbing your lash(es) with a pair of tweezers and dabbing it on.

03 of 04

Apply Lashes From the Inner to Outer Corner

Byrdie editor Holly Rhue applies individual lashes using a pink tweezer

Dee Mills/Byrdie

“When applying the lash on yourself, tilt your head back while looking into the mirror to get a better angle for placement,” Holm says. Vanderwoude suggests using a magnifying mirror.  “This allows you to keep your natural lashes from getting in the way,” Holm adds. “As you work your way towards the inner corner, start applying shorter length individuals.”

For individual lashes, use tweezers and lift up the lash by the non-knotted end. After you've dipped the knotted end into the glue, “place that glued end onto the lashline, starting at the inner corner, as close to your eyelid as possible, and repeat the process until you have achieved the desired look.”  

As you're applying lashes, work from the inside out. “This helps prevent gaps in application,” Holm says. Vanderwoude adds, “For symmetry purposes, alternate between eyes each time you lay down a lash, so they are placed the same on each eye.”

For a more natural look, Holm recommends only filling in sparse patches to blend your natural lashes. For something more dramatic, she suggests applying the individual lashes closer together.

When applying Lashify, many of the same principles apply, but instead of applying lashes to the lash line, they go on the bottom part of the lash. Use a magnifying mirror to get the best view. Lift each lash with the tweezers and place it on top of the dot of glue you made earlier. It should be just above the root of the lash. Hold here for a few seconds, then repeat the process. Beginners may want to purchase the brand's Control Kit ($125), which includes everything you need for seamless application.

Just like the above, it's best to start from the inner corner and work outward. After applying your lashes, use tweezers to fuse them together. Curved tweezers, like Tweezerman's Lash Assist ($19), are best for this.

04 of 04

Adjust as Needed

Byrdie editor Holly Rhue poses after applying individual lashes

Dee Mills/Byrdie

Whether this is your first time applying lashes or your 101st time, false lashes don't always look perfect with one pass. Often, they need a little tweaking. If one is not behaving properly or sticking out funny, don't be afraid to remove it and reapply. 

“Never let a lash hang off of your eye,” Holm advises, “This droops the eyes downward. Always measure and trim the lash if needed.”

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