Tuesday Tutorial: How to apply false eyelashes (and not go blind)

False eyelashes took me an eternity to master.  They add a fun and dramatic pop to an evening look and can really make the eye stand out. But getting them on correctly is not always easy.  In fact, I have glued them on crooked, had them fall off in my drink, and once, unbeknownst to me, had one jump off my eyelid and attach itself to my cheek. Um, yeah, embarrassing.

spiderSo how can you put them on for that Sookie Stackhouse/Baby-deer-in-headlights look, and not that SWEET-HEAVEN-THERE-IS-A-TARANTULA-CRAWLING-OUT-OF-YOUR-EYEBALL look?sookie

Allow me to help. Let me share with you all the tips and tricks I’ve learned, over years and years of trial and error.

My opinion of the nitty-gritty  application process differs, in two major ways, from that of the majority of magazine articles and makeup tutorials out there:

FIRST: I think you should apply your eyeliner BEFORE you apply the eyelashes.  Good eyelash glue dries clear, so your eyeliner will show underneath. I have never had a problem with adhesion from this method.  Most brands say to start with a clean dry eyelid.  I disagree.  If you put on your eyeliner after you glue on the lashes you end up with space showing between the liner and your lash line.  This looks weird, and SCREAMS fake.

SECOND: I put mascara on as the last step.  This bonds your real lashes to the false ones, giving you a more realistic look and it makes it easier to get the false lashes closer to the lash line because your mascara stiffens as it dries and makes it harder to get close.

So now that we’ve cleared up those two points let’s talk about what you need.  Here are the basic tools for the eyelash application:

basic tools

LASHES: Buy strip lashes.  I don’t care if Bobbi Brown herself drives to your home and sings you a jingle about the joy of individual lash bundles, those are a joke! They will give you a nervous breakdown. By the time you’ve dropped two of them in the sink, poked yourself in the eye with the third, and glued the fourth to the end of your nose, you will be on Prozac.  Don’t waste your time or your money. They’re expensive and difficult to use and you can get just as good a look from a strip of lashes.

eyelash close up

So let’s chat for a second about picking a good pair of strip lashes.  Buy the ones that you can see space in between the lash bundles. That space you see should be a thin, clear filament, not a black line and there should be enough space that you can count the number of lash bundles on a strip (I will explain why this is important in a few seconds).

A decent pair of false eyelashes will cost you around five dollars. The same goes for a tube of glue.  You can wash and reuse your lashes several times, it depends on how gentle you are when you remove them and how diligent you are about washing them. (Coming home late from a party and sleeping face down on your pillow for 12 hours, is not conducive to reusing falsies.)

LASH GLUE: I feel like I need to say it, because somewhere out there is someone with even tighter purse strings than me, and they will try to cut corners and do something less than intelligent: BUY ACTUAL EYELASH ADHESIVE! Do not cut corners, do not use spirit gum, do not use someone’s homemade recipe, do not use nail glue.  This is your eyeball, people.  I am sure you enjoy seeing out of it, so splurge and buy some decent lash glue, specifically designed for your eye.  The stuff lasts forever, you use a teeny-tiny amount, and it will last for ages as long as you remember to put the cap back on.

TWEEZERS: I have roughly 800 sets of tweezers. OK, maybe not that many, but depending on the tip I use them for lots of different things.  For eyelash application, I like a cheap blunt pair that isn’t going to blind me when I accidentally poke myself.  You are just going to use these to hold the lash strip and assure proper placement on the eyelid.

Q-TIP: You need one or two of these on hand just to clean up if you get too much glue on the strip or if you smear glue on the eyelid.  It will dry clear and you can peel it off but sometimes your eyeliner comes off with it. A Q-tip is a quick easy way to wipe off any excess.

*You’ll also need a small pair of scissors or a pair of nail clippers (not pictured).

For the whole look and not just the lash application, here is what you need:

false eyelash all tools

  • liquid eyeliner
  • neutral shadow
  • eye shadow brush
  • mascara
  • eyelash curler (optional)

Start by applying your eyeliner. I like a thick dark line for this.  You can do a thinner line but, in my opinion, this is a dramatic eye — you need a dramatic line. Then, if you want, curl your natural lashes. I do this because later on it helps blend the natural lash with the falsies.  If you’re like me, and your lashes grow very straight, than you need to take the extra five seconds and do this.

beginning liner

Once your eyeliner is dry it is time to apply the lashes.

TIP ALERT:A friend of mine showed me this trick several years ago and it is golden: cut each eyelash strip in half.  You’re only going to apply the strip lashes from the center of the eye to the outside corner.  This gives a more natural look and it keeps you from having to remove and re-bend the eyelashes repeatedly to get the curve to match the curve of your lid.  The other great part about this is that, in essence, it gives you two sets of lashes for the price of one! YAY! You just cut your cost in half, literally.

lashes split in two

Remember, use the matching halves from each strip.  Most lash sets are mirror images of each other and gradually get longer towards the outside corners. So, if you don’t use half of each lash strip, one eye will have much longer lashes than the other.

Once you have the halves separated, test out your placement by laying the lash strip on your eyelid where you want it to go.  If the curvature isn’t right use your thumbnail to gently flatten or deepen the curve.

Now, it is time to apply the glue.  Be very careful. You need a TINY amount of glue.  Less than a drop per lash strip.  I promise, it is enough. If you get too much on you will make a mess, they will take forever to dry, they will slide around on your eyelid and eventually they will fall off. Use a TEENSY WEENSY amount of glue.

Be patient! Don’t get trigger happy here.  After you’ve applied the glue, wait at least 30 seconds.  It should go from solid white to slightly translucent. Sing yourself the chorus of “Happy Birthday,” whatever you need to do to stall,but DO NOT put them on your eyelid too wet.

Now that the glue is slightly dry, line the lash strip up as close as possible to your natural lash line and using the tweezers lightly press the lashes down to where they need to be.  Count to twenty and let them finish drying.

Lashes applied copy2

Lastly, apply mascara. I know most makeup people say this is a no-no but I am telling you, to get the look you want this is non-negotiable: mascara goes on last.  Putting your mascara on after you’ve applied lashes serves multiple purposes: it helps secure the falsies by binding them to your natural lash (so on the off chance that your glue pulls up your lashes are still on) and it blends your natural lash into the falsie (so you don’t have two alien rows of lashes, instead you have one thick line.)

lashes on finshed 2

There you have it, false eyelashes for everyone!  Enjoy!  Do you have tips or tricks? Share them in the comments.

My name is Autumn and in my current incarnation I am a Features writer for the Charleston Gazette. I love fashion & step to the beat of my own inner design-team. My parents once told me, "You can be anything you want to be when you grow up." I misunderstood I thought they said, "You can be EVERY thing you want to be." and I've spent my life trying it all. I like to design and sew some of my own clothes and I enjoy playing with new makeup and I spend way too much time perusing fashion and DIY blogs. I also homestead so I am always reusing and repurposing things for fashion's sake.

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