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You know those days when your favorite mascara and eyelash curler just don't feel like...enough? When you really need an extra boost to open up your eye area and get those lashes to curl? Yeah, it might be time to consider trying a lash lift—a semi-permanent treatment that leaves you with perfectly curled lashes for up to eight weeks (for real).
The whole thing is pretty ideal for anyone trying to make their routine a bit more low-maintenance (or anyone looking to break up with their curler for a hot sec), which is why I caught up with Mikelle Brown, lead esthetician and lash expert at Face Foundrié, and Veronica Tran, esthetician and founder of Pretty In the City, to learn everything there is to know about lash lifts. Keep scrolling to answer all of your burning questions, including how much lash lifts cost, how long they last, and so much more.
What is a lash lift?
Think of a lash lift as a perm for your eyelashes—after your treatment, you'll be left with fuller, longer-looking lashes that mimic the effect of an eyelash curler, says Brown. The semi-permanent process lasts for weeks—not hours—and it's a great solution for folks with naturally straight eyelashes or anyone who wants an extra lift.
According to Tran, lash lifts use a perming solution (the most popular being thioglycolic acid) that works to break the bonds of your lashes to reform their shape, leaving your hairs with a more lifted appearance. And bc I know you're thinking it: Yes, putting a chemical solution near your eyeballs sounds a little scary, but lash lifts are safe as long as you're going to a licensed pro (more on that in a bit).
What happens during a lash lift appointment?
DW, the whole process is pretty straightforward (and since your eyes are shut for the entire appointment, some people even find it relaxing). Since lash lifts are fairly customizable—you and your tech can work together to find the right level of curl—you'll kick things off with a consultation to go over your lash goals. Once you're on the same page, Tran says your technician will start by placing a silicone pad on your eyelids (it helps you get a better and more consistent curl) with a gentle adhesive solution. The lashes are then combed over on top of the pad and held in place with the same adhesive solution.
After, your technician will carefully apply your perming solution at the root of your lashes to start the reshaping process. They'll then put on a neutralizing solution to help strengthen the new curl, and as a final step, they'll top off your lashes with a conditioning agent to soften and strengthen your hairs. You can expect your appointment to last anywhere from 45 mins to an hour—so definitely wear something comfy.
Will a lash lift damage your eyelashes?
The short answer: no. You just need to go to a certified technician who knows exactly what they're doing, which is why Brown encourages people to do their research before booking an appointment. Make sure your tech has the proper certification (that info should be readily available on their website or Instagram), read through reviews on Google and Yelp, and make sure you're going to a clean and safe studio.
Tran explains that a lash lift will only damage your lashes if your technician over-processes them. Lash lifts can also damage your lashes if you decide to get them too soon after a previous treatment, which means you'll want to wait a full four weeks or you run the risk of damage. Keeping your lashes strong and healthy in between treatments is also important—Brown recommends using a lash serum once or twice a day to help hydrate and strengthen your natural hairs. She's a fan of Face Foundrié Lash Growth Serum, but you've got tons of options (like the four Cosmo-approved picks below):
How long do lash lifts last?
Lash lifts typically last anywhere from four to eight weeks, but Brown says the exact duration of your treatment really depends on your lifestyle. If you’re someone who's super active, sweats a lot, or lives in warm weather, you might find that your lift fades a bit faster. That's why it's not a bad idea to book a consultation with a technician before you try a lash lift—they'll be able to chat through your options and give you an idea of realistic expectations.
How do you maintain a lash lift?
Both Brown and Tran say lash lift maintenance is pretty easy—you just have to remember a few things. Brown says some general rules to follow include keeping your lashes totally dry, skipping eye makeup, and not sleeping on your face for the first 24 hours after your treatment, since it takes a full day for the perm to set. When you do return to your normal activities after the first 24 hours, keep in mind that water and humidity may cause your perm lift a bit faster than normal, so you'll also want to be mindful when working out, swimming, etc.
Can you still wear mascara with a lash lift?
Unlike how you need to stay away from mascara with lash extensions, you don't need to put away any of your makeup products with lash lifts (though you probably won't be needing your curler for the duration of your treatment). So if you want to thicken, lengthen, or define your lashes, you can definitely feel comfortable layering your favorite mascara over your lift.
Tran just stresses the importance of waiting at least 24 to 48 hours after your treatment before you pick back up on your mascara and to only opt for formulas that aren't waterproof. Brown suggests mascaras that are rich in protein and made with conditioning ingredients like botanicals.
Are lash lifts safe?
Lash lifts are generally safe for most people to use, although Brown emphasizes the importance of getting your treatment done by a certified pro to avoid any complications. “Do your research before committing to one artist,” she says. Remember: Lash lifts involve chemicals so it's always best to err on the side of caution and make sure you're in good hands before you book an-y-thing (same goes for Groupon deals, btw—your health and safety are more important than saving a few bucks).
And before you start googling "DIY lash lifts," pls hold. Tran says that this is definitely not a treatment you should try at home. One more time for the people in the back: Perming solutions are made up of legit chemicals that need to be handled by professionals, k?
How much do last lifts cost?
Lash lifts aren't exactly cheap—they'll cost you anywhere from $60 to $150 depending on where you're located. You'll also need to head back for touch-ups every four to six weeks if you decide to keep up with your treatments, so it's not a bad idea to consider the cost before committing.
Who can get a lash lift?
Most people are good candidates for lash lifts, but Brown says she wouldn’t recommend anyone who is pregnant and in their first trimester. If you are pregnant, consult with your OBGYN before booking an appointment, says Brown. Tran adds that those who have skin conditions like blepharitis, eczema, psoriasis, and conjunctivitis should typically stay away from lash lifts, as the perming solution has the potential for irritation.
One more thing: If you have existing medical eye conditions—like cataracts, glaucoma, or dry eye syndrome —or recently had eye surgery, consult with a medical professional first to make sure you’re in the clear.
The final word
If the idea of having perfectly curled lashes for four to six weeks sounds like something you'd be into, start doing your research to find a certified tech who can chat with you about a lash lift. The semi-permanent treatment is a great option for anyone looking to spend a little less time on their makeup routine (no more tedious curling? Yes, please) and is pretty low-risk as long as you go to the right person. BRB while I go book my appointment.
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