Korean Women Are Using a Very Odd Trick to Curl Their Lashes

Profile view of a woman with dewy skin smiling gently with her eyes closed
Jacoblund / Getty Images

As the old adage goes, beauty is pain—at least that’s what we tell ourselves when we zap our faces with lasers and wince in agony during every last wax and pluck. (“Out with you!” we shriek madly from our bathrooms.) But as time goes by, we start relying less on our previously frequent facials and haircuts and more on our ever-growing arsenal of hacks to solve our beauty woes (baby powder and Vaseline FTW!). By now, we consider ourselves experts on brightening our skin and adding shine to our strands with ingredients from our kitchen pantry—but there’s always more to be learned, isn’t there? Like why maybe you should curl your eyelashes… with fire. Hear us out. 

DIY Lash Curling Technique

In Korea—land of the milky-skinned and pore-less—women have foregone their eyelash curlers in favor of a more natural (albeit slightly frightening) alternative. Angela Kim, founder of Insider Beauty, revealed to us recently that it’s commonplace for Korean women to cut off the two ends of a cotton swab, warm up the leftover stick with fire, and use the warmed-up stick to “lift” their lashes. The result? A last-all-day curl with no sign of drooping. If you’ve ever used an electric eyelash curler, consider this a DIY alternative.

Closeup of woman with blue eye and long, full eyelashes
CoffeeAndMilk / Getty Images 

Our Results

Always eager to play the guinea pig, I decided to try this tactic out. My lashes are thin, medium length, and stick straight—aka perfect for this little (albeit somewhat frightening) experiment—so I grabbed my Q-tip, cut off the cotton swab ends, and cautiously ran the leftover stick over the flame from my lighter. Cautiously, I held it beneath my lashes to lift them, holding them up in sections for a few seconds each. The stick did not turn black or burst into flames, as I had feared. In actuality, it seemed to, as promised, add a slight curl to my lashes… But like a teenager who’d just discovered the magical abilities of a push-up bra, I wanted more. So, I Wonderbra’d the lashes in my other eye by first curling them with my trusty Shu Uemura Lash Curler ($23), then implemented the lash hack.

I definitely enjoyed the idea of giving myself a DIY lash perm (how thrifty of me!), but since my lashes were already curled, I couldn’t quite tell if the stick was doing anything. However, when I applied my mascara afterward, my lashes did not wilt as usual. Instead, they remained upright, curled, and perky—like an invisible force was keeping them shapely. Ladies—this push-up bra lash hack works. The question is whether you’re ready to incorporate a lighter into your daily routine. Hey, we’ve done stranger things in the name of beauty.


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