If eyes are the windows to the soul, then consider faux lashes to be a beyond-elegant set of curtains. Falsies are the perfect way to elevate both minimalist and dramatic eye makeup looks alike, though not all strips are created equal. We put together a comprehensive guide to the three most-popular lash types, narrowed them down by difficulty level, and included instructions on how to apply each one so you can find your perfect set. Read on to get the breakdown on each false lash type, and how to determine which one is right for you.
The unparalleled drama queen of the bunch, full strips of falsies like Make Up For Ever's in C-707 ($18; sephora.com) add volume and length all around, and depending on their shape, can create different effects ranging from a subtle doe eye to the full Marilyn. While not all falsies are as intense as the versions above, the impact made by even the less obvious strips is definitely a notable one. So unless you're Kim Kardashian, who likes to wear hers stacked, we probably wouldn't incorporate them into our everyday routines. Applying them can be tricky and in video game terms, we'd rank them around an intermediate to advanced level, so make sure to have a lash applicator tool or a pair of tweezers on hand to help with placement. Start first by measuring them to fit your eye—place the strip along your upper lash line, and with small scissors, trim the portion that doesn't fit. Make sure to cut starting from the outer edge, as cutting the shorter lashes on the inner corners won't look natural. Apply glue to the strip, allow it to dry for a few minutes until it gets sticky, then place the falsies as close as you can to your natural lash line. Finish with a coat of mascara.
Consider the partial strips like Urban Decay's ($15; nordstrom.com) training wheels if you're a rookie—since they start around mid-lid, you don't have to worry about that inner portion lifting or jabbing you in the eye. Since they're the easiest to work with out of the bunch, we recommend them for beginners or for those who are like Mariah Carey and hate the full strip. If you have close-set eyes, a partial strip can help create some space as most of the volume is concentrated on the outer edges. Application is pretty similar to that of a full strip, minus the aformentioned measuring and trimming steps. Swipe on the glue, wait for it to get slightly tacky, affix the piece to your lashline, and you're pretty much good to go.
Want something on the more natural end of the scale? Individual flares like MAC's 30 Lash ($17; nordstrom.com) can make quite the impact, but are subtle enough to have your friends believing they're the real deal—or at least a pretty solid mascara. Weirdly, individual lashes are very easy to work with, since you simply place them using tweezers in targeted areas that need more volume. Start by curling your natural lashes and applying a coat of mascara as usual, then dip one of the flares into your glue. Once it's tacky, stick it into your section of choice, repeat the motions with a few more individuals as needed, and sweep on a final layer of mascara to blend them in with your natural lashes.