What Is a Lash Lift and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
Lash lifts and tints are one of the biggest beauty trends right now–here's how they're different from eyelash extensions and fake eyelashes.
If getting bigger, fuller, curlier eyelashes is on your beauty resolution list, then you've probably noticed the buzz surrounding eyelash lifts.
According to Google's 2018 trend report, people were very interested in eyelashes last year. Four of the five most popular beauty searches on Google were related to making your eyes pop, with "what is a lash lift" falling second behind "how to apply magnetic lashes." The third, fourth, and fifth most popular beauty searches in 2018 were, respectively: "how to remove individual eyelashes," "what hair color looks best on me," and "how to do cat eye."
As the newest “it” trend on the beauty block, lash lifts are making major waves–and for good reason. Not only does the procedure require little effort, it also lasts longer than eyelash extensions with fewer potential side effects. You can also customize your results from the shape of the curl to adding a a tint if you don't plan on wearing mascara every day.
Celebrity makeup artists—like Hrush Achemyan, who works with the full-lashed Kardashian-Jenner fam and boasts 2.3 million followers on Instagram—have also been showing off the results of their very own lash lift and tint over the past few years, helping the trend gain traction in mainstream beauty.
Here’s everything you need to know about lash lifts if you're considering trying one for yourself.
What is a lash lift?
A lash lift is a semi-permanent treatment best described as a perm for your eyelashes. "A lift is essentially what your lash would be doing with a really good mechanical curler, so [giving] a nice shape upward and a realistic curl," Courtney Buhler, founder of Sugarlash PRO–which also sells a lash lift kit and offers classes so you can DIY fuller lashes at home–told Elle. If you're going on vacation or prefer a low-maintenance makeup routine, you can opt for a lash lift and tint to deepen the color of your eyelashes in addition to the more dramatic curve.
How does the lash lift procedure work?
Sable Yong, a writer for Allure, went through the lash lift procedure herself. As she explained, the eyelash lift begins with a consultation with your technician. After walking through your goals (like if you want lashes pushed upward or fanned out), the work begins. The technician separates your lower and upper lashes and applies a silicone pad to your upper lid. He or she then glues your lashes to the pad to start shaping your eyelashes into a deeper curl. Three lotions containing the right chemicals are then applied, and each one sets for 10 minutes–meaning the entire treatment takes about 30 minutes to one hour.
How long does a lash lift last?
According to Elysee Zhadikpur, U.S.-based master educator for the brand Yumi Lashes, a lash lift can last anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. This will depend on how quickly your own lashes grow and regenerate and how much care of your eyelashes you take. You can try to extend the results by using eyelash growth serums, but the treatment is not meant to be permanent.
Are there side effects to a lash lift?
Like all good things in life, lash lifts can come with a potentially dark side. “If you’re using a chemical to paint the lashes, there are definitely risks of allergic reactions,” Jacqueline R. Carrasco, M.D., an oculoplastic surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital, told Women’s Health. And, as Michael J. Earley, Ph.D., doctor of optometry and associate dean of academic affairs at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, noted, many technicians use proprietary formulas, making them difficult to test.
"Although we have not observed specific incidents in which patients have had bad experiences with keratin lash lifts, we advise our patients to use caution when applying unknown formulations in or around the eyes,” he said.
Are there alternatives to an eyelash lift?
If the idea of putting keratin chemicals on your eyelashes is too much, there are other options. A number of growth serums are on the market, including Peter Thomas Roth’s Lashes to Die For Turbo Conditioning Lash Enhancer. The formula promises to make your natural eyelashes grow longer, fuller, and more densely than before by targeting all three stages of the hair-growth cycle. Not everyone has positive reactions to eyelash growth serums, though, so make sure you do your due diligence on potential side effects before starting to use one.
If you’re hoping for something more, you could also look into good ol' fashioned eyelash extensions. However, these too can cause side effects and last only two to three weeks, meaning you’ll need to shell out a lot more money for upkeep.
Of course, you could always stick to mascara (and 380,000 people love this one). But, then again, you could always double town with a lift and a bit of makeup for the ultimate Disney princess look.