False lashes can be a great enhancement for a portrait session, and even for everyday wear for those with naturally short, straight eyelashes. Sometimes mascara just doesn’t cut it! Here are my experiences with falsies.
After much experimentation, I found that my favorite pair is KISS “Flirty.” These have some impact but are still great for daily wear. They are comfortable and light with a braided band, and resist lifting if applied correctly. The ends of the lashes are tapered to look more natural and there is some variation in length and angle of each lash fiber. I’ve been able to make a single pair last over a month by cleaning them with a bristle brush each night and taking care to not bend or tug the band. A slightly more subtle yet similar pair is KISS “Shy.” They’re just a little lighter and shorter than “Flirty.” (Note: As of March 2017, I noticed that KISS had changed their “Flirty” lashes. They are branded as the same thing but some packages are definitely a different product. They are more uniform in appearance. I much prefer the older version.) Ardell also makes some nice pairs.
I also highly suggest buying Duo brand adhesive, in the brush-on style. It’s easier to control than the kind that comes out of a tube. Buy it in BOTH black and clear/white; you’ll see why in my tips below.
You will need a steady hand, magnifying mirror, lash adhesive, and tweezers.
1. When first opening up a pair of the lashes, you must carefully remove them from the glue holding them to the packaging. If you pull too hard, you can permanently bend the band which makes a kink, or you can pull out some of the lash hairs. Carefully pick off the glue with your fingernails or tweezers.
2. Nearly everyone needs to trim their false lashes! Our eyes come in different sizes, and the lashes are designed to be trimmed. Lay the lash band at your natural lash line without glue, starting from the inner corner (the shorter lashes will be on this end). Don’t go right to the corner of your eye. Start in about 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Eyeball the spot on the other end where you should trim. You do NOT want the lash band to go all the way to the outer corner of your eye. Look at photos online of how ridiculous this looks when the person clearly hasn’t trimmed their false lashes. You should trim where the lash band is about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the outer corner of your eye, so that the end lashes naturally wisp out to the corner like real lashes do. Use a sharp scissors to carefully snip the lash band. I personally like to taper down the longest end hairs by trimming so they don’t flare out too much. Line up the other side of the pair and cut it in the same place as the first.
3. Apply the black adhesive to your upper eyelid just like you would liquid eyeliner. Start near the inner corner and line just above your real lashes. This will create a seamless look and hide any gaps after applying the false lashes. Lining down to the corner of your eye creates a nice smooth transition. The package and warnings do say not to apply the adhesive directly to your eyelids, though if you are smart enough to not poke the brush right into your eye you’ll be fine. Try not to get much of the adhesive stuck to your real eyelashes, as this can cause some of your own lashes to get pulled out when removing the false lashes. (Note: If you have sensitive skin or allergies, you probably will want to do a 24-hour test of the adhesive just to make sure it doesn’t cause any reactions.)
4. After applying the black adhesive to your eyelid, lightly apply the clear adhesive (which goes on white) to the false lash band. You don’t need much! A thin line is perfect. Count to 60 seconds to let it dry partially so it’s tacky. After a minute is up, apply the lash band carefully starting in the inner end of your eyelid but not right in the corner. Lay it on softly, and use your tweezers to push it down all the way around your eyelid just above your natural lashes. Do the same for the other eye. If you do happen to mis-align the lashes, you can quickly pull them off, add a smidgen of clear adhesive, and reapply right away.
*Typically this method will allow the lashes to stay adhered for an entire day. Keep a tube of adhesive with you in case a touch-up is needed.
5. In my experience, when wearing false lashes, it looks best to do a full eye makeup job or they look out of place. To finish off the look, add kohl eyeliner just above the false lash band, blending it over the black lash adhesive. Add a little eyeshadow on both the upper and lower lids. I recommend first applying eyeshadow primer which prevents creasing and caking for almost an entire day. (My favorite brand of primer is Palladio.) If your eyebrows are sparse, fill them in subtly with an eyebrow pencil. Important: If you want to reuse your lashes, don’t put mascara on them (and try not to let them get wet or full of makeup). There is no need for mascara if you have the right pair of falsies!
6. At the end of the day, carefully remove the lashes by tugging gently on them from the outer corner and lifting up. Some of the glue comes off with the lashes. I pick it off with my fingernails and store my lashes in a small plastic container (a pill box will do). For the excess glue and makeup on your eyelids, coconut oil is the BEST makeup remover. The eyelash adhesive can be stubborn on skin (it’s very rubbery in texture) so you’ll need to rub it with a cotton swab and the coconut oil. Usually I just leave it until I shower the next morning and the warm water takes some of it off and I use coconut oil on whatever is left behind.
It’s possible to make most pairs of false lashes last a few weeks or longer with good care. I found that the KISS lashes could last a good month. Some of the other styles I tried did not last more than a week or two before falling apart. You’ll probably end up pulling some of your real eyelashes off occasionally with this whole process, so don’t be too alarmed. They grow back. You’ll also want to replace your adhesive every month or two when it starts to get sticky or clumpy.
And practice, practice, practice! If you plan to wear any for a portrait session or wedding, you’ll want to make sure you are experienced enough beforehand. Initially the application process may take longer, but you can get it down to 5 minutes with practice.
Note: I am not being paid to endorse any brands/products mentioned here. These are my personal favorites.