If I Can Master Applying False Lashes, Literally Anyone Can — Here’s How I Did It
If I Can Master Applying As the standing lash enthusiast on staff at celebrity my one irksome shame is the fact that I had never mastered the art of applying false lashes before. I’ve done lash extensions and lash lifts, but as for false lash strips, my skill comes to a full halt. I can carve a cat-eye like Picasso and contour like Bob Ross, but dropping tiny wigs on top of my lash line (which is kind of what they are, no?) is akin to building tiny dollhouse furniture (another thing I have absolutely no talent for). It always sounds and looks easy in theory, but all my attempts thus far had been decidedly rookie.
As a beauty editor, I just can’t settle for janky-looking falsies — I simply will not. I love the look of long, feathery lashes, but extensions are tedious and expensive and lash lifts are also expensive, albeit less tedious. I just want to live a luxury lash lifestyle on a never-not-flying-coach-with-a-carry-on budget. Is that so hard to ask?
According to Joanna Simkin, no. Simkin is a makeup artist who’s primped the faces of Issa Rae, Kerry Washington, and even Zayn Malik, but more importantly, she can make drugstore false lashes look like this. So naturally, when given the opportunity, I asked her how a lash Luddite like me can wig-out my eyeball bangs to long, feathery perfection. Here are her expert not-so-secret secrets:
1. First, trim each of the eyelash strips.
First of all, start with some inexpensive lashes with this one because you may have a heart attack after purchasing some silky mink sets — and then here I am, commanding you to sever them. Kiss makes some really great-looking cheap strip lashes. I’m using Lash Couture Triple Push-Up Lashes in Teddy ($7) — the same ones Cardi B wore to the Met Gala this year — because I’m worth it.
Measure the strip against your actual eyelid and trim off the excess (not while it’s against your eye, good lord). You can use the extra bit to later stack upon the lash strip at your eye’s outer corners for extra va va voom if you want, or you can use it when you just want a bit more emphasis on top of your natural outer lashes, like a dress’s train.
2. Apply your lash glue strategically.
eaning, don’t just glob it on and immediately stick it to your eyelid. You’ve got to wait and let that goo dry a little — but not too much. About 30 seconds should do it, Simkin recommends, enough to leave it feeling tacky but not wet. During that 30 seconds, she showed me a little trick she does, where she bends the strip to make the ends kiss, better distributing the adhesive onto the ends so they don’t lift while you’re wearing them. So simple, so innovative.
3. Look downwards into a mirror, not straight ahead
OK, game time. The hardest part for me is actually plopping the strip onto my lash line close enough so that it’s right on top but not tangled up in my lashes. Simkin told me that if you place a mirror under your face nearly to a perpendicular angle and look down, your eyelid will extend, almost like you’re closing your eyes, but you’ll be better able to see exactly where to place the strip. This little tip changed my world. It really is so much easier than trying to do this staring into a vertical mirror and poking myself into the eyes while my head is tilted back at wildly uncomfortable angles.
Don’t close your eyes when applying, Simkin stresses, because it changes your eye shape. This is kind of difficult to do at first, but you’ll get it. I believe in you. She can place lash strips with her fingers but I find that using tweezers helps me. One day I’ll graduate to tool-free application. Until then, I remain a tweezer devotee.