Move over, eyelash extensions! There's another beauty treatment in town that's promising larger-than-life lashes and gaining major traction. Lash lifts are becoming a go-to treatment for beauty addicts because they claim to give your lashes enviable volume — no eyelash curler required.
But are they safe? And do they really work? TODAY Style consulted the pros to find out.
What does a lash lift do?
There are plenty of drugstore products designed to make your peepers pop, but recently, people are turning to longer-lasting treatments like extensions and lifts.
Extensions can make lashes appear fuller without the need for mascara, and come in a range of materials, but lash lifts are essentially a perm for your lashes. The treatment typically last six to eight weeks.
"A lash lift is designed to enhance your natural lashes at a minimal level. It will not create texture, add color, contour and shape or add dimension to your eyes like lash extensions do," Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes, said. "Its main purpose is to curl your natural lashes and you must have at least a 4 millimeter lash to get the service."
It's ideal if you don't want the maintenance or added volume of extensions, as you don’t need to come in as frequently for touch-ups.
What to expect at a lash lift treatment
A lash lift can transform your lashes in 45 minutes to an hour. In order to give lashes a curled effect, the technician works from the lash base to the tip to see its full length. Depending on the desired curl, the technician uses a different type of rod: The larger the rod, the softer the curl.
"You glue a curved plastic rod onto the eyelid, and then glue the lashes around the rod. The first solution sits for 10 minutes and the second solution sits for 10 minutes. Your technician will then wipe it off and remove lashes from the rod," said Kara Gutierrez, a licensed and insured tattoo artist who specializes in permanent cosmetics and tattoo removal and owns Spot On Beauty.
"It’s crucial to keep your eyes closed during the process and not let the formula get in contact with the eye itself as that could cause a reaction if you open your eyes," she added.
What to do before a lash lift
To get the best results, use conditioning serums on your lashes a few weeks before your treatment to get them as healthy as possible, Richardson recommended. Before the service, make sure to clean off any eye makeup.
What to do after a lash lift
Once you're on your way home, make sure to keep your lashes looking perky by following a few rules:
Are lash lifts safe?
"There are many potential hazards with lash lifts including ocular exposure to the glue used to secure the silicone pads for curling, the ammonia or other chemicals used to perm the lashes and the preservatives that can come along with it," Dr. Melissa Toyos, a board-certified ophthalmologist, said.
The ingredients used in this popular cosmetic treatment can also make sensitive eyes cranky.
“Chemicals are used which can cause serious reactions for some people, especially those with sensitive skin. The chemicals used can get into your eye causing serious irritation, burning, even blisters,” Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified dermatologist, said.
As a result, it's important to find a trained professional.
"Safety should be your number one concern. Finding someone who is certified is a must. Depending on the state, the stylist also needs to be licensed, not just certified. Do your homework, it’s super important!" Richardson said. "Lash lifts and lash services in general are a lot easier to mess up than they are to get right."
If you do experience any worrisome symptoms, particularly those that affect your vision or fail to improve after a day or two, see your doctor.
Do lash lifts ruin your eyelashes?
Getting a lash lift is best compared to coloring your hair: It's not the best thing for your hair, but it won't hurt it as long as you do it in moderation. If you go to a licensed and certified professional and wait at least six weeks between services, the procedure doesn't do any harm.
You can, however, hurt your lashes if the technician isn't skilled.
"A common mistake made with lash lifts is using the incorrect rod and leaving the product on for too long of a time period. Over-processing is a common problem that happens when the stylist misjudges the texture of the natural lashes and leaves the product on for an extended amount of time," Richardson said.
What about lash tints?
Lash lifts are sometimes mistaken for lash tints, but they actually do two totally separate things.
"Think of lash tinting as a semi-permanent dye job for your lashes. Tinting won’t add curl, length or volume to your lashes, but it will darken and intensify their color with permanent, cream-based dyes (and in some cases, a semi-permanent vegetable-based dye)," Richardson explained.
Lash tints and lash lifts are separate services, but some experts suggest getting them done at the same time.
"I always recommend doing a lash tint and a lash lift at the same time. It will lift and darken your natural lashes and create a balanced, effortless look," Richardson advised.