April 29, 2013 at 4:37 PM ET
The hair treatment that gave us mops of Little Orphan Annie curls can now be applied to your eyes. Rather than leaving you looking like an unkempt poodle, however, they promise weeks of curled lashes from the moment you wake up until your head hits the pillow again hours after last-call.
Why Would Anyone Get an Eyelash Perm?
Call it an optical illusion: Upturned eyelashes look longer than very straight ones. Putting a kink at the lashline of your fringe not only grants you fuller, longer-looking lashes; it helps you fake a wide-eyed doe look, too.
Whether you achieve the effect through the wave of your eyelash curling wand or an eyelash perm, however, comes down to your personal preference for convenience and safety.
How Do Eyelash Perms Work?
First, lashes are coated with a special adhesive and wrapped around mini foam rollers or equally diminutive heated clips. This holds them in the curled position that you’re hoping to achieve. As you squeeze your eyes tightly shut, a perming solution or cream is applied to your eyelashes with a tiny brush. The esthetician then covers your roller-wrapped fringe in plastic wrap and lets the chemical concoction cook for about five minutes. After the perming chemicals have taken full effect, on goes a neutralizing solution. More plastic wrap is applied. You sit for another few minutes. Voila: curled lashes in a visit that takes about 45 minutes and costs anywhere from $25 to $70, depending on where you live.
What Are the Results of an Eyelash Perm?
The curl in your lashes will last anywhere from four weeks to three months. As your lashes grow and fall out (the life cycle of lashes is about 60 to 120 days), the effects become less noticeable.
Though to some the procedure may seem like a steep price to pay for beauty, when all goes well the results are supposedly sublime.
What Are the Risks of Eyelash Perms?
Of course, the procedure isn’t without its risks. Eyelash perming, like many other lash-enhancing beauty treatments, is not FDA-approved. If you were around in the ‘80s and were unfortunate enough to experience the hair perm first-hand, you already know that perming solution can burn. Eyes and the skin around them are extremely delicate, and can incur damage, including irritation, burning or even blindness. If the solution is left on too long, it can fry your lashes, making them break or fall out.
An extra word of caution: Be sure to seek out a qualified professional who performs multiple eyelash perms on a daily basis. This is an instance where you should seek out the best, not the cheapest.
Tell us: Would you consider perming your lashes, or is it a ridiculous risk to take for something so trivial?
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.