June 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM ET
Fake lashes, extensions, growth serums...some short-lashed women have been willing to go to great lengths for bat-worthy eyelashes. But lash perming? Terrified by the idea—but also intrigued—Angela Law agreed to head to a salon to test out the treatment for herself.
What eyelash perming is: Adapted from the technique used to curl hair, perming chemicals are now being applied to eyelashes to create an upturned effect that fakes the appearance of extra length.
How it works: A salon technician first fits your eyelids for mini rollers that look a little like pieces of dried macaroni. Once selected, she affixes the self-adhesive rollers to your lids along the lash line, and then uses a little stick to adhere the lashes to the roller. Next, she applies a strong-smelling, diluted perm solution to the lashes, places a warm towel over your eyes and leaves the solution to set for fifteen minutes. The technician then applies a chemical neutralizer, which is allowed set for another quarter hour. Finally, she gently removes the rollers, and if all goes well, your eyelashes will look very curled for 5 to 6 weeks and better-than-pre-perm for 4 more.
What it costs: Prices for lash perms range from $20 to $75 per session
Where to get it: Lash perming is on the treatment menu at many full-service salons, especially those that do eyelash extensions. You can buy DIY kits...but please don’t.
Our tester's verdict: Eyelash perming hasn’t been approved by the FDA—and I have a feeling it’s not because the agency isn’t into being pretty. It probably (just a guess) has to do with the fact that you are putting potentially blinding chemicals really close to your eye.
I was freaked out when I left the salon and vowed that I would never do it again. But then I got home, stared at myself in the mirror for a good few minutes and was completely in awe of my transformed face. My eyes were wider and more awake. I felt younger.
I also half convinced myself that I could actually see more. My eyelashes naturally point down, almost shade-like, so I guess it is possible that I had a wider scope of vision with the eyelashes now out of my eyes. The whole thing was really kind of cool.
My boyfriend, however, was not as amused and couldn’t look me in the newly widened eyes for two days. He finally had to because, well, we live together and it was awkward.
I’m fairly certain that curly lashes aren't worth possibly going blind for—but as summer inches in and I start thinking about the three weddings I have to go to the next two months, I've somehow started contemplating getting another perm. I mean, if you ignore the dangers, it’s great: your eyelashes look awesome even without mascara, no more pinching yourself with the eyelash curler. Just once more, I tell myself. For the weddings! And then I’ll have to come up with another excuse for putting myself at such silly risk.
Angela's Before & After Lash Perm Pictures
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.