Everyone loves mascara. Except when it flakes. Or clumps. Or refuses to come off easily at the end of the day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have long, luscious lashes that take zero effort and never smudge? That look like you’ve clamped them between a curler, right from the moment you wake up?

That’s what makes the idea of a lash lift so appealing, and why it has grown as a beauty trend in recent years. But what does this treatment actually involve, and is it safe?

What is a lash lift?

It’s essentially a perm for your eyelashes. A lash lift won’t make your eyelashes longer, thicker, or fuller, but it will curl them upwards rather than outwards so that their full, natural length is more visible.

There are two slightly different treatments that get called a lash lift – the classic version, which uses the same types of chemicals involved in a hair perm, and one that uses a solution that includes keratin, a protein found naturally in hair.

Carried out in professional salons – you can’t DIY this one! – the lift is often carried out in combination with a lash tint, but can be done as a standalone treatment.

What happens during a lash lift?

Whether you’re getting a lash perm or a keratin lift, the overall process is very similar. You’ll lay back and have protective pads (safely!) glued over your eyelids, which also hold your lower lashes out the way – you don’t want those ones curling upwards!

Your upper lashes will be arranged onto a curling rod or silicone ‘bump’, which will be used to mold them into that gorgeous, curved shape. First, a solution is applied – to the base of the lashes – which breaks down the natural structure of the hair strands, so that they can be reshaped. Once it has done its job, it will be removed and followed with a ‘setting’ solution that fixes your lashes into their new shape. Some beauticians may use a third, conditioning treatment too.

In total, you can expect to be lying there with your eyes closed for around one hour. Some say it’s relaxing! Afterwards, you’ll need to keep your lashes away from water for 24-48 hours, meaning no mascara and no showering.

Womens receiving a lash lift treatment

How long does a lash lift last?

It varies from four to twelve weeks. It depends in part on how long your lashes naturally take to fall out and be replaced, and also on your skin type and skincare routine. If you have oily skin or use a lot of oils around your eye area, the oil can reduce how long your eyelashes maintain their new shape for.

How much does a lash lift cost?

Prices typically range from $60-250, with keratin treatments usually costing more than a classic lash perm. Of course, as with anything that involves putting chemicals near to your eyes, you want to be sure you’re going to an experienced professional, so this is a case where hunting for the cheapest provider you can find may not be wise. 

Does a lash lift damage eyelashes?

If done correctly, it shouldn’t cause any problems. However, leaving the chemicals on for even a few minutes too long can, at best, lead to brittle eyelashes, and at worst do more serious damage. There have been some horror stories of women being left with permanent bald patches on their eyelids! So, again, this is not a treatment you want to cheap out on.

Of course, there is also always the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions, which is why it’s a good idea to request a patch test beforehand. And lash lifts probably aren’t for you if you have a history of eye infections, styes, or chronic dry eyes.

 Before and after image of woman lash lift treatment

Lash lifts vs. other eyelash enhancements

A lash lift will give you the appearance of longer lashes, but it won’t actually change their length. It also won’t add any volume. So especially if your eyelashes are naturally short or sparse, don’t expect the same dramatic look you’d get with false lashes or extensions. It’s a much more natural, low-key kind of look. And if your lashes are already fairly upwards-curled, getting them permed may not make a whole lot of difference.

The good thing about a lash lift is that – after an initial day or two – you can get them wet, which isn’t recommended for strip lashes or glued-on extensions. If you just want to look good days in the office or nights out in town however, it’s up to you to decide if the cost and the risk of using chemicals are worth it to shave a few minutes off your beauty routine.

If you’d rather play it safe, have fun changing up your look each day with our reusable strip lashes!

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