My lashes and I have a love-hate relationship. They’re long, which I know because every single makeup artist I've ever met has told me so, but they’re also stubborn and refuse to curl. No matter what mascara I use or which curling tool I purchase, they do not curl. Which is why I decided to give them the LVL treatment that promises to lift, volumize and curl stubborn lashes. I’m no lash-treatment novice—I’ve had them curled before and even became addicted to lash extensions for months on end (my bank balance didn’t look too healthy)—but I’d never tried an LVL treatment. One week after having it done, though, I’m pretty much hooked.
This is me with mascara on, no joke. You can see that my lashes are long, but you can also see how straight they are. I wasn't lying about the fact they don't curl at all. Below, is the after.
I’ve never seen my lashes look this lifted. I'm not even wearing mascara here and they look more lifted than when I would wear mascara. I mean, it's safe to say I'm a total convert. Thinking about joining me in my LVL bliss? I gathered all the information you need to know before having them done.
What are LVL lashes?
You’re probably wondering what LVL lashes are, exactly. So before we delve into my experience, I enlisted the help of Charmaine Kyriacou, head trainer at London/NYC salon Browhaus, where I had my treatment. She told me that the LVL stands for “lash, volume, lift” but the treatment also involves a lash tint.
How are LVL lashes done?
The process actually starts 24 hours before you have your lashes permed with a patch test. I know, I know—it’s frustrating to have a patch test every single time you hit the salon chair, but it’s crucial to ensure your skin will take to the treatment.
So a solid 24 hours later, I finally made my way back to Browhaus. The salon has a reputation for being the boss of eyebrows, but it also offers a selection of lash treatments.
Upon arrival, I was taken downstairs to a private area and asked to lie down on the pre-made bed. The treatment started with the technician cleansing the eye area to ensure all traces of makeup were gone and then asking me what type of curl I would like. As I’d had my lashes curled previously (minus the tint) and been slightly disappointed, I decided to go full volume with a tight curl.
You can choose between a loose or tight effect, but l went for the tighter look. The technician then measured a small rod against my eyes. The rod sits as close to your lash line as possible on your eyelids—it’s what holds the curl as the bonding gels are applied. Next, she applied a lash glue to pin back my lashes to the rod.
Soon after, a perming lotion is applied to your lashes, which has to sit for around 20 minutes. I felt very relaxed; in fact, I definitely fell asleep. After the perming lotion had done its magic, the technician came back and applied a neutralizer, which was left on for another 15 minutes.
Finally came the tint. I went for black, as I wanted to be able to be mascara-free on a daily basis. You can cater the color to your own personal preferences, though. Part of the beauty of LVL lashes is that the tinting only takes around three minutes, as it takes to permed lashes much faster.
How Much do LVL Lashes Cost?
At Browhaus in particular, they've renamed LVL lashes to Lash Curl Up (which goes for $84) and Lashgraphy (which costs $36) to give the technique a branded spin. These are around the median prices for the treatment, and you can even book just the perm or tint.
The Browhaus Studio in London
Are LVL lashes safe?
I wear contact lenses, and I do wish I’d taken them out for the treatment. I was assured it was absolutely fine, but I was very aware of my lenses throughout. The whole treatment is very safe, and I felt completely comfortable for the hour duration. I was slightly worried before about the LVL lash treatment damaging my lashes, but Kyriacou assured me that it wouldn’t. According to her, it depends on how often you have the treatment, so if you go back every three weeks or more regularly (which there's no need to), you could cause potential damage to your lash area.
A good time span between your treatments is about 2 months. This gives your lashes a chance to go through their normal growth cycle and prevent damage.
Can you get LVL lashes wet?
Kyriacou also recommended that I wait for around 48 hours before contact with water around my eye area. This is because the water can loosen the curl, as it needs time to set. You can wear eye makeup and mascara with the LVL lash treatment, but again, I had to wait for 48 hours (this was difficult—I won’t lie). But now I’m left with beautiful, fluttery lashes that need no eyelash curling and hardly any mascara. The dream.
If you do choose to apply mascara, try this Benefit classic. It gives all the drama.
You can’t go wrong with a slick of Stila’s cult eyeliner at the very base of the lashes. It’s (part of) my signature eye look.
How Long do LVL Lashes Last?
According to Nouveau Lashes & Beauty, creator of the LVL system, your lashes should last between 6 and 8 weeks. Certain things will cut this time down. The use of oils in your makeup and skincare products can seriously diminish the life of your new lashes, and should be avoided at all costs, even after 48 hours. You won't want to mess with eyelash curlers or perming equipment either, for the same reason. In fact, you shouldn't be manipulating your lashes much—if at all—and should be brushing through them with a spoolie every time you get them wet.
In short, I’ve become totally smitten with my new wide-eyed, fluttery lashes. I swear, it’s the best beauty treatment I’ve ever had.
Opening Image: Mango