If I had to pick a favorite animal, it would be a doe. Not for their grace or gorgeous coat, but—you guessed it—the eyelashes. Over the past few years, my obsession with lashes has grown in tandem with the increased prevalence of eyelash extensions. Everyone from influencers like Emily Weiss and Chiara Ferragni to celebrities like Selena Gomez and Naomi Campell have had them, and there’s no denying how transformative and dramatic they can be for your overall beauty look. I started to feel like me and my best eyelash curler—Utowa Eyelash Curler II ($22) in case you were wondering—just couldn’t compete, so I jumped on the bandwagon and got my first (and last) set of lash extensions.
While I was obsessed with how they looked, the upkeep outweighed my newfound ability to create a breeze at the bat of a lash. I couldn’t shower how I wanted to (hot water to the face, please), sleep how I wanted to (pillow burrower), and they started to look less-than-lovely after only a week. My lash glory came and went, and I got by for the next couple of years with my curler and mascara of choice, Too Faced’s Better Than Sex ($25).
I had accepted my lashes for what they were and had mostly moved on, that is until one late night cruising Instagram when I came across some wildly shocking before and after eyelash pictures. I immediately did research on Elysee Zhadikpur's Instagram and learned people flew in from around the country just to get her treatment: a Yumi keratin lash lift. It seemed too good to be true: The look of falsies but with your natural lashes? My old lash envy was instantly reignited and I had to try this treatment. Within a week, I was in Elysee’s salon ready for the first day of the rest of my lash-rich life.
Before the Keratin Lash Lift
After the Keratin Lash Lift
What to Know Before You Get a Lash Lift
The treatment costs $150 and lasts around two months, which is the normal lifecycle of eyelashes. You should arrive with no eye makeup, and be ready to spend between and hour and an hour and a half getting the procedure done. You also can’t get your lashes wet or put on any eye makeup for 48 hours after, so it’s best to come with clean hair, so you can avoid showering for the next two days, and plan around any events where you’d want to wear eye makeup.
The Experience of Getting a Lash Lift
For the duration of the process, I was laying down while Elysee worked on my lashes. She put pads on my eyelids and under my eyes and applied the YumiLashes formula. Though what’s exactly in the treatment is confidential, she assured me the lash lift doesn’t have any parabens or formaldehyde, and that the nontoxic formula is created in Europe where they have stricter standards for what ingredients are permitted in beauty treatments.
The entire process felt basically like a lot of lash combing. Since your eyelids are pulled back a bit, it was slightly uncomfortable at certain points and took a little getting used to. Overall though, it was relatively relaxing and pain-free. As a final step, Elysee applies a lash tint to darken your lashes and make them more dramatic. Like any lash dyeing, I felt a slight burning sensation, but nothing unusual.
After removing the residue from the lash dyeing, Elysee handed me a mirror, and the results were immediate. Every single lash was perfectly separated with a beautiful curve and lift, and this was without mascara! Elysee sent me home with a clear Keratin mascara to apply daily to further condition and moisturize them.
Side note: If you're looking to try the treatment yourself, Elysee actually teaches classes in the art of the keratin lash lift, so there may be a specialist in your area who can give you the treatment. You can check the Yumi Lashes site for more information, or use it as an excuse to book a trip to L.A. and see Elysee yourself.
Life After a Lash Lift
I now wake up with fully curled lashes, and can do any lash activities I want—rub them, spray them with water, bat them with abandon!—without affecting the lift.
The after photos were taken without any mascara, and the effect with a coat or two of mascara is even more dramatic. I’ve completely abandoned my eyelash curler, and feel like the lift is a much more beautiful and natural curve than I ever got with a curler, which often left me lashes kinked upward.
Elysee could tell from just looking at my lashes that I regularly used an eyelash curler because of the specific type of damage. She noted that next time I get the lash lift, the results will be even better because my eyelashes will have gone through an entire cycle without incurring any damage from a lash curler.
I also adore how the effect is significantly better than what I’m able to achieve with mascara and a curler, but not so intense that it looks like I have easy-to-spot extensions. I also love that there’s none of the damage or commitment that often comes with lash extensions—a lot of the women I know with extensions feel like they can’t quit them because their natural lashes are now diminished. Overall, it’s a marked improvement, but it still feels natural. All my co-workers and friends were quite impressed with the result, too (and believe me I had been hyping up the treatment a lot in the week prior).
I can’t wait to see how they look over the next several weeks, but I already know I’ll book another appointment. Doe lashes, achieved.