The Lash Lift is the beauty equivalent of a push-up bra for your lashes—the treatment instantly gives them, lift, separation, and extra definition without the use of extensions or any harmful chemicals.
Touted as the gentle alternative to lash extensions, a lash lift essentially takes the natural hairs you do have lining your lid and gives them a dramatic curl worthy of a mascara ad. "When you first get the treatment done, it looks like you have a really great mascara on, even when you go into the water," explains Nichole Garcia, expert at New York City's Boom Boom Brow Bar. "It takes about 25 minutes from start to finish, lasts anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, and unlike with extensions, you can rub your eyes, wear makeup, and your natural lashes aren't impacted." By comparison, they're pretty low-maintenance—Garcia notes you can put mascara on an hour after the treatment if you really wanted to, provided you steer clear of any oil-based makeup removers.
VIDEO: The 10 Best Eyelash Growth Serums On the Market
Consult your expert first—if your lashes are naturally super-short, you may not be the best candidate for the treatment. Your technician will begin by using medical-grade glue to affix a silicone rod on your eyelid. Then, they will glue the tips of your lashes to the rod to create the shape for the curl, followed by a layer of the lifting serum to impart the shape. "We use a brand called Elleebana, which uses gentle ingredients. The harshest ingredient is alcohol, which is in the lifting solution, but we follow it with the setting solution, and that is rich in hydrating ingredients like aloe and glycerin," Garcia adds. The lifting serum is wiped off after about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on how thick your hair is, and is followed with the setting solution, which sits for 4 to 8 minutes. Garcia typically recommends getting a tint along with the treatment, and if you decide to do that, the additional step will take roughly 10 more minutes. After that, the formula is wiped off, your lashes come un-glued, and you can get on with your life.
Maintenance is also less precious than that of lash extensions. Because they are your own natural eyelashes, you can still use mascara and lash serum, if that's what you would typically do. For the first two days following your lash lift, Garcia recommends keeping your face out of the hot water in the shower, as well as not steaming your face since the heat can deactivate the solution, and swapping out oil-based makeup removers for the next few weeks. If you tend to sleep on your stomach or side, keep a spoolie brush beside your bed so you can brush through your lashes before going to bed, and when you wake up in the morning—though, it's a good practice anyway even if you don't have a lash lift.
After about 6 to 8 weeks, which is the natural growth cycle of your lashes, you'll start to notice the curled pieces disappearing, as the set you previously had starts to replace them.