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A Newbie’s Guide to False Eyelashes

A Newbie’s Guide to False Eyelashes

False eyelashes draw attention to your eyes and take your look from basic to beautiful. The trouble is, they can be intimidating if you have never tried them before. But if you follow this advice on choosing and applying them, you’ll be batting those amped-up lashes in no time!

First up, choose the option that is right for you:


These are often called individual lashes, but technically they are usually five strands or so per lash. Clusters are great for beginners because they are forgiving and relatively easy to apply. They give a more subtle, natural look than other options, and they are ideal if you want to fill in gaps of your lashes.

Half Lashes

These are sometimes called “accent lashes,” and they are applied to the outer corners of the eyelid, giving a lengthening effect. Some half lashes have more than one layer of hairs to provide amplified volume and fullness. You can cut full strips in half if you wish, rather than buying separate half lashes.

Full Strips

Full strips are the most dramatic of all the lash options, and they can be tricky to get the hang of. It’s a good idea to do a few practice runs. The band may be transparent or black. Black bands add additional definition (imagine an extra strip of black liner).

Apply Your Lashes

Applying eyelashes can be tricky. It’s also time-consuming because it is such a precise process and you need to allow the glue time to dry. Even with practice, you’ll need to allow extra time for the application so you won’t be rushed. Always apply your eye makeup first, including mascara if you are wearing it. Then, sit at a table so you can rest your elbow on it while applying your lashes (it helps to keep your hand steady).

Beginning at the inner corner, lay the strip of false lashes across your natural lash line. Trim excess lashes from the outer edges to create a custom fit. The lashes should go from the outer edge of your lid to just above your tear duct (or, about three-fourths the width of your eye).

Place a droplet of eyelash glue on the back of your hand or a tissue (it’s tough to apply the right amount directly from the tube). Drag the edge of the base of the eyelashes across the glue. It’s easier to do this step with tweezers than your fingers; you can also get tools specially designed for this purpose (just google lash applicator tool). Fan the lashes for about 30 seconds, allowing the glue to become tacky; if you try to apply them too soon, they’ll be too slippery to adhere.

Keep your eyes open. Beginning at the inner corner, lowering the lashes as you go, attach the band flush against your natural lash line. A magnifying mirror will help you get them lined up just right. Using a small makeup brush, carefully push the ends into place, adhering them as close to your natural lash line as possible.

If you are using cluster or half lashes, only place them on the outer three-fourths of your lid, starting just past your iris (going toward the inner corner) and apply the rest toward the outer edge. It’s important to nestle half-strips in as close to your natural lash line as possible so that they’ll blend with your natural lashes.

Gently tap the lash base in place with your fingertips and allow it time to dry. Then, close your eyes and gently push the lashes toward your brow bone using your fingertips to get the “fanned” look. Repeat all steps on your other eye.

Remove Your Lashes

You’ll need an oil-based eye makeup remover and cotton pads. Thoroughly saturate the pad and press it against the lashes to break down the band. Holding your eyelid taut at the outer corner, gently pull the lashes off.

Long-Term Lashes

If you find you love the look of extra lashes, but don’t want to apply them each time, consider eyelash extensions. They last up to six weeks, but sometimes require maintenance to fill in gaps. You’ll need to go to a specialized provider who has certification, as they are applied with medical-grade glue. They start at around $100.