Our Guide To The Keratin Lash Lift Procedure

In recent years, minimal makeup has been taking the world by storm, and the undisputed star of the show has been the eyelashes. From individually-placed eyelash extensions to length-enhancing mascaras, it seems that just about everyone is looking for that coveted voluminous, fluttery look. Instead of relying on products to allow your eyelashes to stand out, however, many people have been going the lower-maintenance route with a semi-permanent lash lift.


Lash lifts, often paired with lash tints, are essentially a perm for your eyelashes. The purpose of our eyelashes is to keep dirt and debris from out of our eyes, so they often stick out straight, making them appear a bit shorter when you're looking head-on. Lash lifts, however, permanently curl your eyelashes upwards so they look longer and fuller without the application of makeup, allowing you to wake up and feel your best without having to apply additional product. Typical lash lifts use a perm solution similar to what you would use for the rest of your hair, but now, there's a new option: keratin.

What makes a keratin lash lift different?

Keratin has already been used as a straightening and smoothing treatment on hair for years, and it makes sense why. Keratin is a naturally-occurring protein in our hair, skin, and nails, but damage from heat, sun, and coloring treatments can deplete this protein, resulting in high-porosity spots that are more prone to frizz and tangling. Because keratin treatments strengthen hair, a similar solution is gaining popularity as a less-damaging alternative to more traditional perm solutions for lash lifting.


With a keratin lash lift, you'll still see similar results to a traditional or at-home lash lift. This is a great option to ensure your lashes stay healthy and full throughout their natural life cycle while still getting the lengthening results you want. Though both treatments are considered less damaging than lash extensions, applying a chemical solution to the lashes is inevitably going to cause a slight reduction in their health.

Who is the best candidate for a keratin lash lift?

If you're joined at the hip with your lash curler and wish those results would last all day, or if you have lashes that are naturally long but more straight, a lash lift is a fantastic option to help cut down the amount of time you spend on your makeup. Getting a regular lash lift with a perming solution is perfectly fine occasionally, but if you plan to get regular treatments and want to ensure your lashes stay healthy, keratin is the best bet.


If your eyelashes are blonde or have lighter-colored tips, you might want to also include a tint so you'll actually be able to see your results. A lash lift will make your eyelashes appear longer and curl them upwards from the base, but if the ends blend in with your skin tone, you're not actually going to see the full length without applying mascara or having them tinted.

How much does it cost?

The price of your lash lift is going to depend on the cost of living in your area and the salon you visit, but, for the most part, it will run you around $100, not including your tip. If you've been getting lash extensions and are planning to switch over, a lash lift will likely save you a bit of money, but the cost is about on par with other simple beauty services like an acrylic manicure or a facial.


If you plan to add on a tint or any other additional service, it could cost you a bit more when it comes time for you to pay. Though it may be tempting to go for the salon with the lowest price possible, it's important to find somewhere you trust instead of simply opting for a good deal. When it comes to treatments around sensitive areas like your eyes, you want to ensure you're working with someone that knows the proper technique and is using safe and sanitary application methods. Saving $40 might sound great in the moment, but you might regret it if you're stuck with an additional doctor's bill for an eye infection.

How to prepare for your appointment

Before your appointment, there isn't much you have to do or avoid to prepare. You can keep up your normal skincare routine and wear most makeup in the days prior to your lash tint, but there are still a few things to keep in mind the day of to guarantee you get the best results possible.


Once you find a reputable salon and schedule your keratin lash lift, you should avoid wearing waterproof mascara for about two days prior as these formulas tend to stick around even after cleansing, and then avoid curling your lashes for about 24 hours before your appointment so your esthetician can see exactly what they're working with. The day of your appointment, you should avoid wearing makeup, especially around the eyes, and ensure your lashes are completely free of residue from products. If you wear contacts, it's also a good idea to remove them or switch to glasses for the day to make yourself more comfortable during your appointment.

What to expect before application

After you head in, you can expect your esthetician to sit you down, ask about your desired final results, and take a look at your natural lashes. They will be looking at the overall length, color, and health of your eyelashes to ensure that you're a candidate for this treatment. You don't have to have naturally long eyelashes to see results from a lash lift, but they do have to be 4 millimeters or longer so your esthetician can properly apply the formula without getting it in your eyes.


If you've been getting lash extensions that have caused empty spots along your lashline — or if you had an unfortunate incident with your curler — your esthetician might ask you to reschedule once your eyelashes grow back healthier in a few weeks to guarantee you get the best results. You might also be advised to take a break if you've already been getting back-to-back lash lifts as the health of your eyelash hair could be compromised. However, this isn't a very common issue as appointments are usually scheduled far enough apart to give your eyes a break and allow your lashes to naturally fall out and be replaced.

The application process

Before applying any product, your esthetician has to decide on a rod size — the plastic form that sits on top of your eyes throughout the process. This sizing depends on the length of your eyelashes and your desired final look. If you want something more natural-looking, the rod will be larger and flatter, but if you want more dramatic, curled results, it will be smaller.


After deciding, they will prep the rest of your eye area, pulling down your bottom lashes with a gel to separate them and keep everything flowing in the correct direction. They'll apply the solution to your upper eyelashes and brush it through, making sure there's no dripping or excess product, then you'll sit for about 10 minutes while it processes. After it's done, they'll cleanse the area and remove the rod and pad around your eye, allowing you to open your eyes and see the finished results for yourself.

What does it feel like?

The process of getting a keratin lash lift should be painless, and some even describe the experience as relaxing, especially when you're reclined with your eyes closed for 10 minutes while your esthetician rakes the product through your lashes. Some people with more sensitive eyes could experience a bit of irritation or a very slight burning during the process, but it shouldn't be anything that's not tolerable. A bit of redness — about on par with a bad night of sleep or seasonal allergies — is also possible, but this should go away a few hours after your lash lift and isn't a major cause for concern.


During your lash lift, you shouldn't feel any serious discomfort or burning, so tell your esthetician if you're feeling especially uncomfortable. This could mean you're allergic to the products being used, which could cause much more serious issues down the line, especially when working with such a delicate area.

How long it lasts

The life of your treatment will depend primarily on how long it takes your eyelashes to naturally fall out and grow back in, but most people will see results from their keratin lash lift for about six weeks, after which, your lashes will gradually regrow back into their natural state. This can also depend on how harsh you are with your makeup removal, how much you rub your eyes, and how often you curl your lashes because each of these things can cause you to lose eyelashes more quickly. Because this treatment relies on keratin instead of other perming chemicals, however, you can get regular maintenance to keep up your look without worrying that your lashes will face any serious damage.


Another major factor in the success of your results is aftercare. Your esthetician will handle the immediate cleanup, but it's up to you to maintain the health of your lashes and treat them properly so they stay curled and full in the following weeks.

How to maintain your lift for longer

The first, and most important, rule after your keratin lash lift appointment is to avoid getting your eyelashes wet for at least 24 hours. Think back to the scene from "Legally Blonde" if you need a reminder — a perm will lose its shape if exposed to water too soon, completely canceling out your results. This also includes oil-based makeup removers and mascara. You can do your normal makeup and skincare routine in the next few days, just keep products away from the eye area to maintain the curl.


After the initial 24 hours have passed, you can get back to your typical cleansing schedule, but it's best to avoid excessive touching or oily products. Water is fine, but oils from your hands and your cleansers can break down the keratin treatment and cause your lashes to fall more quickly. From here on out, your focus should be on maintaining your lashes' health. Apply a growth serum between appointments, avoid harsh scrubbing and rubbing, and skip the lash curler — you likely won't need it anyway.