We remember the first time we wore fake lashes. After getting over the unusual weight of the lash and joking that we were ready to fly away, we remember being absolutely hooked. Now we know that the secret to elevating any makeup look beyond a touch of mascara is pairing it with the right false lash.
But applying false lashes is an uphill battle — especially if you want them to look as natural as possible. While you can pay for extensions or beg your friend to help you, knowing how to apply them yourself is a vital skill to have in your beauty arsenal. To help you out a bit, we’ve enlisted several makeup gurus on how to apply fake lashes yourself and which tools to use.
How to apply fake lashes
Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg shares her golden rules with us. She suggests you curl your natural lashes and apply some mascara to create a great foundation for the lashes to rest on. “When removing lashes from packaging, take your time or you will ruin the shape. Get as close to the bond and lightly pull out using your fingers or a tweezer,” she says.
“Before you do anything, I would measure [the lash] to make sure it fits your eye. You never want the outside of the lash to be too long or it will drag your eye down.” She recommends taking small scissors and cutting a bit off to match your lash line. “It’s super easy and that way the lashes are customizable to any eye shape.” She says that “lashes should never stop too close to your inner eye, think 2 millimeters” from your tear duct, or else they will annoy you all day.
When you’re ready to apply the strip, makeup artist Carly Jo says to apply a thin layer of lash glue to the band. “We want the glue to get tacky within 15 to 30 seconds to ensure the longevity of the wear, so applying too much will just make it goopy and slide all over the eye,” she cautions. After 30 seconds, apply the lash onto your lash line. “The easiest way to see where you’re applying the lash is to look down into a mirror versus straight forward. It’s up to you whether you want to use tweezers, a lash applicator or simply your fingers to apply.”
She likes to place the middle of the lash down, then secure the outer and inner corners. Once in place, she says that you can press the fake lashes to your real ones with your fingers to blend them together and close any gaps.
How to apply individual lashes
To apply individual or cluster lashes, Jo again recommends using mascara on your natural lashes. Starting with the outer corner cluster, apply the glue and let it get tacky as you would when applying strips — this usually takes about 30 seconds. Place the outer corner lash on the outer corner of your eye.
“After you apply the first lash, mirror that same lash on the other eye — and continue with every lash. I recommend bouncing between both eyes versus working on one eye, then the other, so you can make the lashes look as cohesive as possible,” she explains. Once you get the outer and middle lashes placed, you’ll want to add in shorter and lighter clusters toward the inner corner of your eye.
“During and after the application, it helps to have a clean spoolie on hand to brush through the lashes. This helps separate the lashes if they get clumped in one spot, as well as fanning out the lash to look more realistic,” says Jo. She advises you to make sure the glue is almost completely dry before you brush, though, and add a thin layer of mascara at the end to blend your real and individual lashes.
How to clean fake lashes
How should you make your lashes last beyond one wear? Jo says to remove any leftover glue from the band so you don’t have any remaining residue. “To clean them, I like to soak them in micellar water for five minutes and then run a clean spoolie through them to remove any product,” she says, adding that you can use your fingers to gently remove any additional glue still on the band. “Once all of the product is removed, pat off any excess micellar water and use the spoolie to brush the lashes back to their original shape. Let them air-dry and they’ll be good as new!”
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-1 Makeup Remover & Cleanser ($6.79; target.com)
This micellar water is a favorite of dermatologists, makeup artists and beauty gurus alike to not only remove makeup but clean your lashes too. In fact, it’s one of the expert-recommended skin care products you can pick up at Target.
e.l.f Eyelash & Brow Wand ($2; target.com)
This spoolie brush will work to shape your brows, define your lashes or even remove mascara clumps. It’s a makeup bag must-have.
Ardell Double Up Wispies ($5.99; ulta.com)
What does Los Angeles-based makeup artist Latrice Johnson look for in a good lash? “If the band will be comfortable, I love a fluffy natural lash,” she says. The Ardell Double Up Wispies are one of her top picks.
Ardell Lash Wispies Clusters ($4.99; ulta.com)
“To make lashes look like extensions I use either individual lashes or three cluster individuals to create that look,” remarks Johnson. She’d recommend purchasing these Ardell clusters if you want that extension effect.
Ardell Lash Wispies ($4.99; ulta.com)
Furthermore, Johnson says that “if you need the eye to [appear more] open, I [would] gravitate toward a lash that is longer in middle and shortens on the ends,” like this traditional Ardell Wispy lash. Coming as a recommendation of Jo’s as well, this would make for an excellent beginner lash.
Younique Moodstruck Magnetic Lash ($35; youniqueproducts.com)
When applying strip lashes, Greenberg looks to magnetic lashes by Younique first because they’re super simple to use. She says that you apply the brand’s Moodstruck Magnetic Liner like a traditional eyeliner directly to your lash line. Wait two to three minutes for it to dry, then snap the lash on from the inside to the outside. The lashes are available in two styles: “Encouraging” for a more subtle look or “Inspiring” for a dramatic, tapered lash.
Cammy Nguyen Dime Piece Lash ($7, originally $15; cammynguyen.com)
“If you’re not into magnetic and you love super-dramatic lashes, I love Cammy Nguyen lashes,” says Greenberg. “They’re made really well and look fantastic. She has so many quality styles to choose from.” We think this Dime Piece style would be an excellent choice.
Flutterhabit The Original Luxe Faux Mink Eyelashes ($29.99; flutterhabit.com)
Greenberg recommends you try Flutterhabit’s cluster lashes if you have trouble applying strips. “I love these because every eye shape is different so they work so well,” she says. “You lay [lash] glue on a surface. Then, dip the clusters [working] from the outside in” and apply them in sections. She notes that you don’t have to use all four clusters one each eye — use however many look best for your eye shape.
Ardell Accent Lashes 315 ($12.49; amazon.com)
Greenberg is a fan of Ardell’s Accent Lash in the style 315. “Dip the lash into [lash] glue evenly. Place [the lash] on the [outside] corner of your [natural lash line]. Wait for it to dry, then fuse the fake lash with your real lashes with another coat of mascara.”
Kiss Ever EZ Trio Lash Medium ($5.99; kissusa.com)
“If you’re just starting out with individuals, I highly recommend clusters,” says Jo. “They’re typically three individuals on one mini strip, so they help reduce the application time.” She likes the Kiss EZ Trio Lash Medium. With the right application, these can look just like professional extensions.
Kara Beauty A1 Fabulashes 3D Faux Mink Lashes ($5.99; karabeauty.com)
Faux mink lashes are popular amongst the beauty community for being lightweight, fluffy and comfortable to wear. Jo’s choice would be a lash from Kara Beauty’s 3D Faux Mink Lashes line. Try the style A1 for a touch of glam without being too dramatic.
Kiss So Wispy Full Volume Fake Lashes in Pompadour ($11.99; ulta.com)
The Kiss So Wispy lashes in the style Pompadour are another one of her favorites. These feature a clear band for a natural look, despite the full wispiness of the lash. Stocking up on them with this multipack will cost you less than your lunch break salad.
Ardell Naked 421 False Eyelashes ($10.99; target.com)
The entire Ardell Naked lash collection comes at the recommendation of Jo, but is a favorite of ours too. They are designed as barely there strip lashes that can add subtle volume and flutter to your makeup. The 421 lash is our drugstore go-to.
Kiss Lash Couture Faux Lash Extensions in Venus ($6.99; kissusa.com)
The Kiss Lash Couture Faux Lash Extensions in the style Venus are a top pick of celebrity makeup artist Delina Medhin. These are a great, affordable option to do your own temporary lash extensions right at home.
MJ Beauty Atelier Rafaela Individual Lash Clusters ($13.99; mjbeautyatelier.com)
When it comes to dramatic individual clusters, Medhin reaches for the Rafaela style by MJ Beauty.
Kiss My Lash But Better in So Real ($4.99; ulta.com)
Medhin would also recommend the style So Real from Kiss’ new My Lash But Better collection, which feature a super-fine band that you hardly notice while wearing. We’ve tried them ourselves and are obsessed.
Kiss Lash Couture Luxtension Royal Silk ($7.99; ulta.com)
The Kiss Lash Couture Luxtension Royal Silk lash has quickly became a go-to of ours after discovering it on TikTok. It’s designed with a mixture of lash extension curls as well as a thin band for versatile, comfortable wear.
Lola’s Lashes Amber Magnetic Eyelashes ($28; lolascosmetics.com)
In terms of magnetic options, Lola’s Lashes in the Amber style reigns supreme. These are a glam magnetic lash that will apply super quickly but won’t budge all day.
Velour Lashes Effortless — No Trim — Natural Lash ($26; sephora.com)
The Velour Effortless lashes are great for beginners because they shouldn’t need to be trimmed before applying. Just plop them on and go!
Duo Brush-On Striplash Adhesive ($4.99; target.com)
Both Johnson and Medhin recommend the Duo Brush-On Striplash Adhesive. “I use latex-free adhesive to be safe for any latex sensitivity that myself or client might not be aware of,” says Johnson. “I love [this] because it’s durable, strong and works well with any eye sensitivity.”
Darkness Eyelash Glue ($6; shopreedclarke.com)
For a quick-dry lash glue, Greenberg recommends this one by Darkness that’s formulated to keep your lashes in place all day.
Kiss Ever EZ Lash Adhesive ($4.99; ulta.com)
“The Kiss Ever EZ Lash Adhesive is a staple in my pro kit,” says Jo. “It’s affordable, long-lasting and suitable for sensitive eyes!” Just apply this waterproof formula to the lash band, wait 30 seconds for it to become tacky, then place the strip on your lash line.
Lola’s Lashes Black Magnetic Eyeliner ($28; lolascosmetics.com)
The secret to holding your Lola’s Lashes magnetic strips in place is this cosmetic eyeliner. Apply it directly to the lash line, wait for it to dry, then place the magnetic lash right on top. It’s also easily removed with warm or micellar water.
Lilly Lashes Lash Scissors ($13; sephora.com)
Johnson is a fan of the Lilly Lashes Lash Scissors because she “can use them for both cutting [her] lash band and [doing her] brows.”
Tweezerman Tweezermate 10x Lighted Mirror ($15; amazon.com)
“My go-to handheld mirror for lash application is the Tweezerman Tweezermate 10x Lighted Mirror,” says Johnson.
J. Cat Beauty No Hassle Eyelash Application Helper ($3.99; ulta.com)
“Lash applicators like this are great for beginners because of the curved shape,” says Jo. The applicator here is designed with a curved angle to help you position the lashes on your lash line with precision.
Revlon Curved Blade Cuticle Scissors ($11.99; ulta.com)
According to Jo, “cuticle scissors are the best tool to use to trim your lashes” — making these great to have handy for both lash and nail care.
Goody Large 2-Sided Styling & Magnifying Mirror ($4.94; walmart.com)
Jo also recommends using a handheld mirror when wearing lashes. This one she recommends features a magnifying mirror, which “helps to really see where you’re applying the lash.”
Tweezerman Lash Assist False Lash Applicator ($16.33, originally $18; amazon.com)
“I love the Tweezerman Lash Assist to grip the lashes for easy application,” says Johnson.