Eyelash Curling Do’s and Don’ts — How to Curl Eyelashes Without Pain or Fallout
Eyelash curlers may look like medieval torture devices, but once you learn how to curl eyelashes correctly, they start to feel more like a secret weapon. They’re the finishing touch to any dramatic makeup look, even if you’re rocking a “no-makeup” makeup look or rolling out au naturale, a pop of the eyelash curler will instantly open your eyes up. Eyelash curling makes your eyes look larger and your face look fresher and more energized. If you haven’t already, adding an eyelash curler to your makeup routine will make you fall in love with your favorite mascara all over again.
How to Curl Eyelashes 101: Don’t Fear the Curler
With that said, we’ve all heard the horror stories of eyelash curling gone wrong. If you don’t know how to curl eyelashes the right way, you can end up with the infamous L-shaped crimp (not a good look), or worse — massive eyelash fallout, and even eyelashes cut in half – an even worse look. Although these are the worst-case scenarios, these mishaps are incredibly easy to avoid.
After all, it takes time to master lining your waterline without stabbing yourself in the eye, blending dark eyeshadow without shimmering green fallout all over your face and finding a foundation that doesn’t make your face break out. There’s a learning curve with any cosmetic product, which is why it’s important to learn safety, hygiene and basic techniques.
Learning how to curl eyelashes can be overwhelming if you don’t have a ton of experience with it. With so many types of curlers on the market, countless brands (both drugstore and high-end) and differences in quality, just purchasing an eyelash curler can feel like a daunting task. Then there are the how-to questions: do you curl before or after mascara? How do you avoid the dreaded ninety-degree L crimp? When should you replace the rubber padding? How do you clean the darn thing?
There’s a lot that goes into learning how to curl lashes correctly, but once you get the basics down, the learning curve doesn’t feel so steep. Let’s walk through everything it takes to get that perfect flutter, from purchasing your Holy Grail curler to keeping your curly lashes healthy.
Choose Your Weapon: Heated or Unheated Eyelash Curler?
Let’s begin with the old debate: should you go with a heated or traditional eyelash curler? Anyone who has forgotten to plug their hair curler in before attempting to turn their straight locks into Botticelli spirals knows what a difference heat makes on hair. If heat is the go-to for curling your flowing tresses, shouldn’t it follow that curling your eyelashes — which are, after all, made of the same stuff your hair is — should also involve heat?
That’s the idea behind heated eyelash curlers, and there are plenty of people who swear by them. While frequently more expensive than traditional eyelash curlers, heated eyelash curlers promise to deliver a more intense, longer lasting curl than their unheated counterparts.
However, if you’re just learning how to curl eyelashes, you should avoid applying heat to your lashes. As with the hair on your head, heat can rob your eyelashes of vital moisture and cause damage or breakage. All it takes is holding the curler for too long to shorten your beautiful lashes, and that’s the last thing you want. Additionally, remember where the curler is going: on your eye. Even worse than experiencing lash fallout or breakage is burning your eyeball or damaging the sensitive tissue on your eyelid.
Our verdict? Unless you’re already an eyelash curling pro, stick to the traditional, unheated eyelash curler. Not only is there less room for error when you don’t have heat. In a lot of cases, you can get a better curl with a high-quality traditional curler than with a lower quality heated curler.
The Eyelash Curler Buyer’s Guide
So you’re ready to take your eyelashes up a notch, but there are seemingly zillions of eyelash curlers on the market, even after you’ve narrowed them down to traditional curlers. We’ve named our top five favorite eyelash curlers, but in case you can’t get your hands on a Shu Uemura, Shisheido, Japanesque or Tweezerman curler, or want to know your other options, you should take the following factors into consideration:
- Price. As with any purchase, budget is a big deal. We’re in love with the Shu Uemura Classic Eyelash Curler, for example, but its $20 price point may feel a bit steep for some (remember, though, that an eyelash curler will last you way longer than your favorite foundation or mascara, so it’s a longer-term investment!) With that said, there are plenty of less expensive eyelash curlers with fantastic reviews, which is great if you want to give curlers a shot without completely committing to mastering the art of how to curl eyelashes.
- Warranty. Whether or not the eyelash curler you’re purchasing has a warrantee or lifetime guarantee should also factor in to your budget consideration. Some curlers come with lifetime replacements for the rubber inserts, which can save you money in the long run as you care for your curler.
- User reviews. Of course, we’re partial to Infinite Lash product reviews, but with cosmetics, you can never do too much research. One person’s Holy Grail product might be another person’s waste of makeup budget, so read plenty of reviews, looking for users who might have similar eyelash needs. Are your lashes especially short or long? Do you have a natural curl, or are your eyelashes bone straight? Chances are, there’s a reviewer out there who can point you in the right direction.
- Eye shape. Yes, different eye shapes work better with different types of curlers! If you have particularly wide or narrow eyes, or if you have hooded lids, certain curlers might be more comfortable to use, or more effective on your eyelashes. This is another fantastic thing to look for in user reviews.
- Brand. If you already have a favorite cosmetics brand, you might be tempted to pick up their curler. Of course, even within a brand, there may be variances in quality from product to product, so just because you love their lipstick doesn’t mean you’ll love their eyelash curler. However, if you support a brand for ethical reasons — say, they don’t use animal testing, or use all-natural or vegan ingredients — this could be an important factor in your purchase.
Prepping Your Eyelashes
The most important piece of lash curling advice is, of course, to take good care of your lashes. The softer and more bendable your lashes, the smaller the chance you’ll damage them with your eyelash curler. That means removing your makeup completely every night — no exceptions! Excess makeup buildup on your lashes can lead to damage and fallout, and can also cause eye irritation or infection. Remove your makeup gently, and avoid scrubbing at your lashes or lash line. It can help to let your makeup remover sit on the lashes for a few seconds to loosen your mascara before removing it.
Another important way to keep your eyelashes supple and pliable is by using an eyelash serum. Just like the hair on your head, your eyelashes need moisture and nutrients to reach their full potential. In addition to good makeup hygiene, try adding a lash serum to your daily routine. Infinite Lash is a unique eyelash serum infused with vitamins, minerals, botanicals and polypeptides to condition your lashes and keep them healthy. To see why makeup gurus, beauty experts and Kim Kardashian choose Infinite Lash, check out our customer testimonials, including dramatic before and after photos. If you’re ready to get the most from your lashes, order Infinite Lash today.
Should You Curl Before or After Mascara?
One of the biggest mysteries when it comes to learning how to curl eyelashes is when you should bring the curler into the picture. Some women insist on mascara first, but Carol Cheshire, licensed esthetician and owner of Always Pretty Salon and Spa in Coopersburg, PA, explains why you should curl your lashes before mascara: “When curling eyelashes, do it before applying mascara because the curler can stick to the mascara and end up pulling lashes out. Plus, it makes the curler messy if you apply mascara first.”
With that said, feel free to put on your eyeshadow and eyeliner prior to curling your lashes. If you curl before eyeshadow, your eyelashes will lose their curl before you apply your mascara. It’s also important to curl one eye at a time (curl, apply mascara, switch eyes, repeat) so that your left lashes don’t lose their curl while you’re applying mascara to your right eye.
How to Curl Eyelashes
Supplies at the ready? If you’re new to lash curling, start slow. The last thing you want is to pinch your eyelid or lash line in any way. This is a good time to make sure that the rubber attachment on your eyelash curler is securely in place — that padding can mean the difference between flirty, curled eyelashes and chopped-in-half eyelashes.
Once you’ve determined your curler is good to go, it’s time to get curling! The following process applies to most traditional unheated curlers, but please remember to read the instructions on your specific product.
- Open the curler and bring it toward your eyelid. Pause to make sure that each of your lashes is in between the two halves of the curler. This can take some blinking and wiggling, but is an essential step to make sure you don’t have a mess of half-curly, half-straight lashes.
- Make sure your curler is close enough to the base of your lashes that you get a full curl (as opposed to an L-shaped crimp), but not so close that you pinch your eyelid. Ouch.
- Slowly and gently press the handles of the curler together. Don’t wiggle the curler around once you have your lashes closed in it, because you don’t want to accidentally pull any out or put any unnecessary strain on the roots of the lashes. Hold the handles in the curled position for 10-15 seconds, then remove the curler from your eye and inspect your handiwork.Remember to keep your eye and your curler very still once it’s closed. Any movement can lead to eyelash fallout or breakage.As you practice curling, try varying the pressure you put on the handles. A harder grip leads to a more dramatic curl, but if you’re nervous about all that pressure, you can absolutely work your way up.
- Repeat the process if you’re not satisfied with your curl. If you’re loving how your lashes look, move on to the next step!
- Apply your favorite mascara to hold the curl.
And that’s it! Follow these five steps for luscious curls without poking yourself in the eye or ripping out your lashes. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you can move on to some more advanced tips and tricks.
3 Ways to Become a Curling Champion
Feeling comfortable with your curler? Here are a few ways you can step up your eyelash curling game.
- Curl hard with a vengeance. For an even more dramatic, defined curl, Cheshire recommends breaking your curling technique up into two separate steps: “Tilt your head back so your eyes are ‘half-mast,’ then apply the curler to the base of lashes and squeeze. Unclamp and move the curler to the end of the lashes and squeeze again to get a nice lift and curl.” You can also try curling several times along the length of your eyelashes for a few seconds each time, in addition to curling just at your lash line.
- Harness the power of heat. Once you’ve mastered the unheated curler, you may feel the urge to upgrade to a heated curler. If you’re too in love with your product to change, though, you can safely heat your traditional curler.
One popular method of heating your eyelash curler is to hold it under your blow dryer, but beware — the metal on your eyelash curler can get dangerously hot quickly. If you’re really committed to this method, test your curler on the back of your wrist before even thinking of putting it anywhere near your eye.
A much safer (and easier) method of heating your curler is simply to hold it against your skin and warm it with your body heat. This takes a bit longer, but by placing your curler between your knees as you start your makeup routine, you’ll add no-effort warmth to your lashes without risking burnt eyelids or singed hair.
- Add falsies for extra oomph. Some eye looks just aren’t complete without the added length and drama of false eyelashes. Try cutting your falsies in halves or thirds and applying them just to the outer edges of your lash line to put a spotlight on your perfectly curled eyelashes.
Cleaning and Maintaining Your Eyelash Curler
While learning how to curl eyelashes can instantly level up your makeup game, eye infections are never a good look. Make sure you take care of your new curler, and that means cleaning it before and after every use. Over time, your curler will carry bacteria and pathogens that you don’t want to transmit to your eyes.
“Wipe off the eyelash curler after you use it. Eyeliner and eyeshadow can rub off on it, and then it will deposit it on your eyelid the next time you use the curler,” advises Kathleen Jennings, CEO and Founder of BeautyNow, a mobile app that makes it easy to book beauty appointments. She recommends using soap or your favorite makeup remover to clean excess product from your curler, being careful not to damage the rubber insert.
Want More Eyelash Tips?
Whether you want to know how to curl eyelashes safely or how to grow healthier, more beautiful lashes naturally, you can find the #EyelashTips you need when you follow Infinite Lash on Instagram. There, you’ll find incredible before and after photos, makeup inspiration and expert advice on upping your eyelash game. Ready to join the ranks of women growing healthier, shinier, more beautiful lashes? Order Infinite Lash today.