If you wake up with Bambi-like lashes, then more power to you. But if you're like the rest of the general population and need a little help in the lash department, these tips from Courtney Akai, owner of Courtney Akai Lash Boutique in NYC, and Jolie Martin, director and head aesthetician at Skinney MedSpa, will help you achieve fuller, more luscious eyelashes in no time. Here's what women who have great lashes do:
1. They condition their lashes nightly with oils. You can apply cold-pressed, unrefined oil such as marula or castor oil from the roots to tips of your lashes to strengthen them. (Try Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil.) Both oils will hydrate lashes, but castor may even help make them longer: "Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid and essential fatty acids, which absorb into your lash line, accelerate blood circulation, and help promote hair growth," Martin says. Use a clean finger coated in the oil to apply it to your lashes, or dip a throw-away spoolie brush into the oil and swipe it on that way.
2. They use a lash growth serum. Lash growth cycles are anywhere from 30 to 60 days, Akai says, and if your lashes are fragile and dry, they could fall out prematurely. Applying a growth serum, like RevitaLash or GrandeLash-MD, helps to prevent brittleness and breakage.
3. They take biotin, a type of B vitamin. Biotin can help promote strong hair, skin, and nails. Talk to your doctor about it if you're curious; they can recommend the proper dosage for you.
4. They curl their lashes before applying mascara. If you apply mascara and then curl your lashes, you run the risk of your lashes sticking to the lash curler and getting pulled out when you release the curler. Also, if you don't properly remove your mascara at night and then try to re-curl them in the morning, the leftover mascara can make your lashes dry and brittle, causing them to break when you go to curl them. It's also best to curl your lashes when they're clean and makeup-free.
5. They heat their eyelash curler with a blow-dryer. This helps lashes curl more easily and hold the shape longer.Blow warm air onto the lash curler with your blow-dryer until the lash curler heats up. Wait until it cools slightly (test the warmth on the back of your hand first to make sure it won't burn you), and then curl your lashes as normal. This trick creates curled lashes the same way curling your hair with a curling iron does.
6. They rotate the angle of the eyelash curler for an even more intense curl. To create a big lash curl, clamp the lashes at the very base, press the curler together lightly, and hold the lashes in place for a few seconds. Completely release the clamp and move it about halfway up the lash hairs while turning the curler at an angle parallel to the ground. Clamp and hold again. Finally, move the curler to the tip of the lashes, and give one final press, turning the lash curler almost upright.
7. They only pump their eyelash curler twice. Pumping your lash curler more than two times can make your lashes look indented and crimped rather than curled.
8. They use a moisturizing mascara, with ingredients like panthenol and beeswax, to keep their lashes hydrated. Try Rodial GlamoLash Mascara XXL, which contains both aforementioned lash-hydrating ingredients.
9. They dust baby powder over their eyelashes between the first and second coats of mascara. Translucent powder or baby powder has grip, so it will stick to your lashes in between each coat of mascara, making your lashes appear more voluminous.
10. They remove their mascara gently using light, downward motions. Rubbing your eyes side-to-side can rip your lashes out and even can contribute to crow's feet over time. Gently swiping your eye makeup off in a downward motion helps keep your lashes intact and won't cause wrinkles. Just be sure to hold the cleansing pad on your eyes for a few seconds so the solution can do its magic before you start wiping the mascara off.
11. They change their mascara every three months. It's important to always use a bacteria-free formula to accentuate your lashes. Every time you pull your mascara wand out and push it back in to get more formula on the brush, it pushes air into the tube. This is what dries out the formula and can transfer bacteria onto it. After three months (if you're using it on a regular basis, your mascara should be low anyhow), get a fresh formula to avoid a clumpy, dried out application — or worse, an eye infection.
12. They wrap false lashes around the handle of a makeup brush. This gives the strips some curve and will form to the shape of your eye more easily. If you can't get the ends of your lash strips to stay glued down, try giving them a little curl first to prevent them from sticking up while you apply them. For the full how-to on applying false lashes, click here.
13. They choose the right adhesive when using falsies. The adhesive is really important, Akai stresses. And if you use one that's too strong, it can rip out your lashes when you take off the falsies. She recommends Duo Glue in "Black" (clear can look crusty on your eyes when it dries, whereas black will just look like liner).
14. They curl their natural lashes and apply mascara before putting on false lashes. This allows your real lashes to blend in seamlessly with the falsies. Then, when you press the false lashes on, blend your real and fake ones together with your fingertips before applying more mascara. This leaves you with natural-looking lashes.
15. If they get professional lash extensions, they opt for the "Volume Technique." This is when the lash expert adheres two to six lightweight individual lashes to one natural eyelash, creating a super-full finish without weighing lashes down, which causes them to fall out prematurely.
16. They don't play with their lashes or sleep on their face. This goes for real or fake lashes, since messing with or lying on them will always make them come out faster than they should. But, if you're wearing false lashes, this especially applies. Akai says to always sleep on your back or side — that way, the friction on the pillowcase won't rip one (or more!) of your lashes out when you're asleep.
17. They brush their lash extensions with a spoolie brush. Sure, lash extensions look amazing, but they're high-maintenance. And if you want yours to look amazing 24/7, Akai suggests gently brushing them at least twice a day with a spoolie brush to keep them groomed. Otherwise, as they grow out, they can become wonky and turn all different directions.
18. They clean their lash extensions regularly with baby shampoo. Mix a pea-size amount of baby shampoo with some water and then use a tightly packed contouring eye shadow brush to massage the cleaning combo onto the base of your lash line. This will help clean the lash extensions, preventing bacteria buildup and, in the worst case, infection. For super-sensitive eyes, Akai suggests using OccuSoft Eye Wash Solution. You can also use an oil-based cleanser, depending on the adhesive your lash expert uses.
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