Lashes so good you’ll want to kiss yourself.
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Reshaping my lashes changed my makeup game entirely. Whether I’m going full glam or makeup free, having my lashes shaped is essential! It subtly improves my appearance while drastically simplifying my routine! I’m obsessed with lash reshaping, and you should be, too! My goal is to help you take advantage of this lash revolution by giving you the best tips for success, whether you’re having the procedure done in a salon or you’re doing it at your own vanity.
As I discussed in my post about basic beauty steps, lash reshaping is revolutionary for the makeup-obsessed. In that post I touch on the distinctions between lash lifts and perms, and the benefits of each. Definitely review that information if you haven’t already!
My first lash shaping experience.
I spent approximately $200 for a Yumi Lash lift. It was supposed to be higher quality than most other lash procedures. Apparently very few Midwestern cosmetologists are certified in executing this particular procedure. The first red flag should have waved when the technician I saw couldn’t explain the specific benefits of the solutions she was prepping which apparently made this particular treatment unique. Regardless of its exclusivity, the Yumi lash treatment didn’t seem to have any unique perks. I soldiered on, with my little under eye masks on and my hands folded demurely at my navel.
The whole procedure took about an hour, leaving my eyelids raw from glue and eyes stinging slightly from the solutions used. But beauty is pain! For two glorious months, I was ecstatic with the results of the lash lift. The shape of my eyes was more visible with my lashes up and out of the way. My eyes looked larger and more awake. It was easier to pull off eyeliner, since the ends of my lashes were for once visible above the lashline. They weren’t concealed against the backdrop of my eyeliner either!
A few months later, I went in high spirits to another cosmetologist whose prices were lower and range of services was wider. I was eager to enjoy that big, bright-eyed look again! This time though, I went for a lash perm, and loved the results even more! I quickly fell in love with my newest beauty challenge: “How am I supposed to apply eyeliner behind my now super curly eyelashes?” Not only that but I felt the overall effect lasted longer, something I attribute to the perm relative to the lift.
To DIY or trust a professional?
When looking for someone to do your lashes, consider customer reviews and any indicators that can tell you the volume of clients the artist sees. Consider location as well as the full menu of services they offer. Reach out to them and ask some questions about their licenses, certifications, and hygienic protocols. Maybe most importantly, trust your instincts!
Given my reckless penchant for DIY projects and my strong distaste for paying for something which “I’m sure I can do myself,” it wasn’t long before I ventured down the rabbit hole of at home lash perms! I did the usual, watching countless YouTube tutorials and researching the various kits for sale online. I came to the conclusion that most of the beauty hobbyists I’d seen seemed to be trying this process at home themselves with varying degrees of success. Surely I could do a decent enough job of it!
Be cautious, but unafraid!
Don’t let the horror stories from women attempting DIY lash procedures scare you away. Is there a chance this could go wrong? Of course there is! Obviously bringing anything, even fingers, near your eyeballs is potentially a risky move. I hope that no matter your ambitions for in-salon or at home lash services, you’ll be careful!
Ultimately, it’s my desire to provide a thorough guide for those adventurous (or willful) enough to come with me down this rabbit hole! Instead of opting out of a DIY lash procedure for fear of failure or electing to do it to save money, make your decision based upon your makeup application skills. Are you accustomed to wearing false lashes that you put on yourself? Can you apply liquid eyeliner with at least some success? Do you have an unrealized desire to be a cosmetologist so strong that you sometimes unwisely apply chemicals to yourself and manage not to cause damage? If so, you’re a great candidate for this particular DIY beauty project!
Lash Length & Health
I’d be happy to revise this assertion if given sufficient evidence to the contrary, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that there is no such thing as too much length to the natural lash. It’ll add value to either lash shaping procedure you undergo. Too much length with a false lash or a lash extension is an absolutely all too common misfortune, but natural? Well, I never!
To this end, most women would see an improvement in lash length and retention by using a lash growth promoting serum. While there are a few popular options out there, I am completely enthused with my results from using Rapidlash. It prevents lashes from shedding and nourishes them. I apply it daily during my skincare routine. If I accidentally get it in my eye, there’s minor stinging that fades within a few blinks. I apply it along the upper side of my upper lashline with the brush and on the underside as well using the wand as if I were applying mascara. Within a week my lashes no longer shed, and within about a month and a half they’re substantially longer!
I do not recommend Latisse.
Many women tout the impressive results from a similar product called Latisse, which is known and well documented on beauty forums to have side effects I consider extremely concerning and not worth the risk. While we can never be entirely certain of a product’s efficacy or risks, it’s smart to… be smart! Use of Latisse has apparent high chances of adipose tissue degradation, increased eyelid pigmentation, and eye color change. Girl, no thanks! Everybody knows that off-label product use isn’t smart, but sometimes I get a little too obsessed with progress for my own good. When something works, I’m often tempted to push the needle and with a product like Latisse this could be super dangerous. I simply don’t trust myself to refrain from giving into this aspect of my personality.
If you’re in any way similar, I’d avoid Latisse altogether. The Latisse results might come faster and more drastically compared with RapidLash, but what I’m missing out on in speed and impact I’m more than making up for in peace of mind and actual lack of risk. If you find the siren song of this product too strong to resist, I advise an abundance of caution!
Your lashes might be longer than you think!
My lashes are naturally pin straight and angled downward such that when I push them gently up toward my eyelids I notice a substantial difference in my peripheral vision. Furthermore, my lashes are extremely resistant to curling. I’ve tried various lash curlers, heating them, blow drying them, and using the curler after mascara application, all to no avail. (I have also tried all manner of mascaras, none of them alleviating my straight lash woes.) Due to all of these factors, I was unaware how much natural length I sustain when I first pursued lash reshaping. Because my lashes were never visible above the border of my eyelid, I assumed they were not only straight but also short! This was exacerbated by the fact that my lashes are taupe with blonde tips.
When I started this journey, I committed to using RapidLash for three months prior to scheduling my first lash lift. No, I do not have any before and after photos from this time and yes, I wish I would have done the lift sooner! Immediately, even! No matter how short you think your lashes are currently or the mascara/curler experiments left on your to-do list, you should straightaway get your lashes tinted, reshaped, and under the nourishing influence of RapidLash.
Oil is good, but it’s not magical.
Don’t believe the myth that castor oil is a sufficient lash growth promotant. Castor oil is effective for nourishing and sealing moisture into the follicle and skin, but aside from that benefit, it does nothing for lash or hair growth.
I find my daily routine of oil cleansing to be sufficient nourishment for my lashes, so much so that I’ve noticed no ill effects from bimonthly lash perms over the course of the last year. I’m simply sure to apply fresh oil to my eyes first to loosen any eye makeup before using an oil free eye makeup remover, and then continuing with my routine as usual.
Since perm solution and setting lotion function by breaking the bonds of the hair follicle to reset them in a new structure, there is obviously at least a nominal amount of damage done to the lash itself. I commonly hear women skeptical of getting their lashes reshaped out of concern for lash health, a concern which I think is over-prioritized. Ensuring eye makeup is removed daily, use of RapidLash, and application of oils cover all the bases of lash care necessary to outweigh the damage done by a perm.
Begin by purchasing a lash reshaping kit as well as lash tinting solution. Don’t forget that many lash tinting solutions often require use of a separately purchased developer! This is the lash kit I recommend. This is the lash tint and here is the developer I recommend. Please note that beard dye and hair dye should not be used for lash tinting, as the developer is likely too caustic to be eye safe!
As you wait for your supplies to arrive, you’ll want to also stock up on:
- disposable mascara brushes
- 3 angled brushes, or a combination of 3 angled, small lip, and/or small concealer brushes that are all smaller than your pinkie fingertip and not as dense as the average fluffy detail eyeshadow brush
- cotton q-tips
- cotton pads
- cling wrap
- magnifying mirror
- lash glue
- Carrier oil (must be free of fragrance and dye)
Unnecessary items that may positively contribute to the enjoyment and success of your lash lift include:
- Paper towels
- Sealable plastic bag
- Any sheet/rinse off skincare mask products that will not interfere with the procedure
- Hand fan
Once you have these items gathered, go somewhere well lit and comfortable with enough working surface for your tools and products with elbow room to spare! In addition to setting up my tools on a clean paper towel, I keep a large sealable plastic bag close by to dispose of soiled cotton swabs and the like! This helps to keep any of the solutions from damaging surfaces.
Begin by tinting your lashes
Always tint your lashes before you perm them. Since you will be unable to apply water to the lashes for as long as instructed on your particular kit, you will also be unable to use any mascara to capitalize on your newly shaped lashes! Not only that, but the lash tinting process is an excellent litmus test of your aptitude for the more complex shaping procedure! If the tinting process doesn’t go well and you feel uncomfortable, there is less sunk cost than if you get all the way through prepping your lashes for perming and then realize that this is not the DIY beauty treatment for you!
Before beginning, you’ll want to ensure you have no makeup on your eyes. The best method I’ve found is to oil cleanse the eyes, followed by use of an oil free eye makeup remover. I apply the remover to a cotton pad or face halo and press it to the eye for about 20 seconds. I then wash my entire face with a cleanser which will remove any film or residue. From there I’ll apply whatever rinse off or under eye sheet mask I’m using for the good of my skin. It makes the whole experience far more luxe!
After precisely following instructions on the tint/developer packaging, use a mascara wand to apply it on both the top and bottom lashes. For me, there’s no need to take the tint all the way to the root, however if this isn’t the case for you ensure you use an abundance of caution.
Don’t get stuff in your eyes! Or at least, do your very best!
I found the tinting solution to cause about as much stinging as getting shampoo in my eyes. Due to this, I only tint one eye at a time. I also fix my eyes on the same focal point for the duration of the tint application, and the wait time, to minimize any eye movements that might cause the solution to get into my eye.
Check out your inky lashes!
When removing the tint, I fold two cotton pads in half and sandwich my lashes gently between them, with the straight edge of the pads against the eye. Sweep outward away from the eye. Refold the pads and repeat until all the tint is gone. Voila! Darkly pigmented lashes!
If the lash tinting process was a substantial challenge for you, consider not proceeding with the lash reshaping procedure. Lash reshaping requires good eyesight even with use of the magnifying mirror. If you found yourself struggling to see it may be time to ask a friend with better vision to come help. If you found yourself unable to see less due to vision problems and more due to getting too much stuff in your eyes, it also might be time to throw in the towel!
Lash reshaping requires not only patience to do things according to the instructions, but also the steady hand of someone rather accustomed to doing their own eye makeup. If you were at all concerned about the risks that these chemicals pose to your eyes and you find yourself lacking in patience or steady handedness, consider trusting someone else. If this is not enough to deter you, well, my friend, go boldly!
The Lash Reshaping Process
The general process for most lash tints/perms involves the following basic steps:
- selection of shield
- adherence of shield to the lid
- adherence of lashes to the shield
- application followed by removal of perm solution
- application followed by removal of setting lotion
- nourishing step
Choose your lash shield
If you are perming, select a thinner, more convex shield. If you are lifting, I recommend using adhesive-coated cotton rolls, as they drastically simplify steps two and three! Should you be using a shield, apply lash glue to both sides of the shield. Wait for the glue to become tacky. Press the shield down onto the eyelid right up next to the lashline. If you are seeking both lift and curl, place the shield as close as possible to the lash root.
The fastest way to fail with eyelash glue is to apply the glue and expect it to stick immediately. Lash glue is only effective once it has dried down slightly. This usually takes at least thirty seconds if not a minute.
If the shield is not sticking to the eye well enough, consider sweeping BHA or an astringent across the lid after removing the failed glue. This will remove any oil residue from the lid, creating a surface the glue will more readily cling to.
If this is still not enough to adhere the shield, just use some tape! You’ll want to avoid painter’s tape and washi tape, as these are nowhere near sticky enough. Tape along the top edge of the shield where your lashes don’t reach.
Adhere the lashes to the shield
Once you have the shield or roll applied to the lid, apply some glue to the top side of your lashes. Sandwich the glue between the lash and the shield. I’ve never seen this done in a tutorial, and I have no idea why! It’s so much more efficient and effective! Use your hand fan to encourage the glue to dry a bit faster so that it becomes tacky. Then use the handle of a mascara wand to smooth the lashes down against the shield/roll. Use tweezers to rearrange any disorganized lashes. Do this by grabbing them at the tip and peeling toward the root before pressing them down precisely where you want them. Consider how you want the lashes organized as you do this.
Arrange the lashes
When it comes to organizing the lashes, each woman will have her own unique approach. Maybe her outer eyelashes grow in at a different angle, and so she’ll be sure to place those lashes on the pad for a thorough treatment. Another woman with a positive canthal tilt who is aiming for a very sultry, hooded eye look will want to leave her outer lashes off the shield entirely to accentuate a winged appearance. Maybe the doe eyed woman will want to accentuate this feature by ensuring the center lashes radiate straight up while the lashes closer to the inner and outer corners radiate out at more of an angle for a doll lash effect. These are all things to consider while arranging your lashes!
Adhering lashes to the shield is what the professionals I’ve seen most obsess over. This is in part because however the lashes are arranged when you apply the perm solution and setting lotion dictates how the lashes will be shaped/arranged until they grow out, fall out, or are treated with perm solution and setting lotion again. It’s also due to the sheer difficulty of making lash glue work. There truly is an infinite amount of time that can be spent on this phase of the process. However, I prefer not to overwork my lashes obsessively.
Even with these pro-tips, I sometimes struggle if my tools stick to the lash better than the lash sticks to the shield. This can be super frustrating! Furthermore, not all of my lashes are the same length. Some will grow right in front of the others such that there’s nowhere for the forward positioned lashes to stick. Fortunately there’s a handy solution to these glue related issues!
Cling wrap is a lash’s best friend!
I’ve found strategic use of cling wrap far more efficient and effective than going overboard with glue. The way I use it I consider to be my biggest time saver and super power with lash perms! Tutorials demonstrate this method, and professionals do it, but it should be prioritized as a tool to foster lash organization. This calls to my mind another idiosyncrasy: if my lashes are covered in glue, how will the perm solution and setting lotion penetrate enough to give me amazing results? I don’t know the answer to this question, but I have my suspicions!
Apply the Solutions
Once you are satisfied with lash placement, use one of your makeup brushes to apply the perm solution. Most tutorials advise not applying it all the way to the lash tip to ensure the lashes don’t come unstuck from the shield. Since we’re using cling wrap, feel free to slather the solutions on the entire length of each lash! Set your timer according to the instructions on your particular kit, and start it counting.
Take a (roughly) four-by-four inch piece of cling wrap. With approximately an inch of saran wrap hanging directly over your eye, press the middle of it down along the roots of your lashes. Then smooth it down the entire lash until it adheres to the shield. Carefully fold the rest back over what’s covering your lashes and wait out the timer.
This encourages the product to penetrate thoroughly. It also encourages your lashes to stay formed to the shield/roll. Even if the glue becomes ineffective, your lashes will retain the proper shape! Once one eye is under cling wrap, I do the same process on the other, noting how much time I’ll need to put on the clock when the first timer goes off.
Reveal your reshaped lashes!
Remove the perm solution as soon as the time frame for eye #1 comes to a close. I do this with Q-tips or a makeup brush that I wipe off on a paper towel. Once there’s no visible perm solution, start a new timer and repeat the exact same process with setting lotion! Repeat this sequence for the other eye.
Once you’re finished with perm solution and setting lotion, it’s time to nourish the lash and remove the glue! I apply oil to my eyelashes and brush over the lashes with a makeup brush. Do this until they start to loosen from the adhesive. I then use an oil soaked cotton pad all around my eyes to remove any traces of glue. Finally, I use a mascara wand to brush out the lashes. I also tend to the skin with petrolatum and paraffin containing moisturizer in the event my skin feels irritated from the process!
This effect for me lasts upwards of a month, more or less depending on lash growth! This is singlehandedly the most subtle yet impactful beauty routine I’ve ever done to improve my appearance. I’m so excited for you to give it a try yourself!