At Byrdie HQ, most of us have gone through the rounds with lash extensions, lash lifts, and everything in-between. There's no comparison to the look of full, lifted lashes, but you don't have to make a trip to a salon (or empty your wallet) to get it.
Curling your lashes is one of those oft-overlooked steps that can make all the difference. It seems superfluous, sure, but once you start doing it correctly, it's hard to believe you ever neglected it. That being said, it can be intimidating. A lash curler looks kind of like a torture device, and it's not exactly self-explanatory in execution.
With that in mind, we reached out to two makeup artists on how to best curl your eyelashes, and trust—you'll never forgo it again. They also shared some pro tips for keeping your lash curl strong and lifted all day long.
Meet the Expert
Keep reading to learn how to get the perfect long-lasting curl for your lashes.
How to Curl Your Lashes
Clean Your Lashes First
A clean face is the most important part of any skincare and makeup routine, and this goes for your lashes, too. Wash your face with a gentle face wash and carefully pull through your lashes. This will ensure that any leftover makeup or makeup remover product is completely gone from your lashes before you set your makeup for the day.
Choose the Right Curler
As the first step to an all-day hold, curl your lashes with a traditional lash curler. Be sure to take into account the comfort of the grip, the quality of the lash pads, and the fit of the curve to your eye shape, if possible. If all of your lashes don't fit into your eyelash curler at once, opt for a smaller, half-lash curler. Once you've selected your lash curler of choice (Henney recommends this Surratt option), be sure to clean it off with a makeup wipe, which will remove any old makeup residue.
If using a half lash curler, use the same movements to curl your lashes section by section, starting at the inner corner until all of your lashes have been curled.
Get Into Position
"Once you've got a clean lash curler, the best way to start is to tilt your head slightly in the mirror, open up the lash curler, and then just gently lift the curler over your upper lash line," says Henney, adding that you want to get as close to the lash line as possible without pinching it. "And then just slowly pinch it while looking in the mirror." Henney recommends pulsing the lash curler onto your lashes a few times before releasing, rather than just holding it shut on the lashes.
Apply a Lash Primer
After curling, Henney recommends applying a quality lash primer to help boost dimension. Remember, don't go overboard with the primer; a thin layer is all you need to optimize your lashes for mascara application. We love this Dior pick because it's infused with an oil serum concentrate to improve the thickness and curl of your lashes—immediately and over time.
According to Scott, curling your lashes before applying mascara is key, as curling after can result in a clumped appearance, crimped line of demarcation, or damage and fallout to your lashes.
Apply Your Favorite Mascara
Once you've curled your lashes with a conventional curler, follow up with some of your favorite mascara. Push the mascara into the base of your lashes, then work from the bottom up to help keep your eyelashes curled. A couple of coats is okay, but a heavy application could work against you and your curl. In order to keep your eyelashes curled, look for a volumizing, curl-locking formula for the best results, And for extra-staying power, choose a waterproof formula.
Henney recommends finishing the look with Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara ($15), which she describes as "ultra volumizing." Remember that volumizing mascaras are formulated for those with more sparse, thin lashes while lengthening mascaras are better suited for those who have a thick volume of lashes but are lacking in the length department. Volumizing mascaras usually feature a fluffy, feathery brush (many iterations include an hourglass applicator shape) while lengthening mascaras typically feature a rubberized applicator with more "spiky" bristles to grip lashes. If volume and length are a concern for you, don't be afraid to layer different mascaras.
Comb Through Your Lashes
Scott recommends using a metal lash comb to carefully comb through your lashes (and mascara). This will help to remove some of that excess "goop" from your lashes for a more natural, feathery finish. "Go from the bottom and push through any clumps," they say. "This helps to distribute the mascara from the root to the tip and allows you to get more definition."
Finish Off With a Heated Lash Curler
"So this is one of my favorite discoveries," says Scott. "It's a heated lash curler. It's a wand with a rod inside that heats up very gently. I just take this, and I push it very close to the base, and just push it through the rest of the lash."
Care For Your Curler (And Know When to Replace It)
As previously mentioned, cleaning your curler with a makeup wipe after each use is the best way to keep it clean. This will remove any dust, caked on mascara, or debris from prior use to pave the way for more precise, hygienic lash curling. The general rule of thumb is to replace your lash curler pad within six months if used daily.