If there’s one beauty look that has the ability to make you seem bright eyed and bushy tailed, it’s long and lifted lashes. A lot of women I know go for lash extensions, but there’s a fine line between naturally long-looking eyelashes and those that look fake and fluttery. What’s worse, in some cases, regular applications can cause serious side effects, like irritation and lash loss. So, I’ve chosen to stick with my trusty mascara over the years. That is until I heard about the keratin lash lift…the before and after images I saw on social media were shocking.
Often described as “a perm for your lashes,” the semi-permanent treatment curls the eyelashes upward for added length and volume. Similar to how keratin is used to change the configuration of your hair, the keratin-based solution works to reform the structure of lashes into an entirely new shape. While this may sound more damaging than falsies, it’s actually not. Because keratin is a fibrous protein found naturally in hair, the solution fills in porous spots, strengthening lashes and leaving a protective shield.
"Your hair, including your lashes, can change seasonally and most people find that both hair and lashes tend to shed more in cold weather. Drier winter skin can also affect lashes, causing them to fall out more quickly,” says Chanel Temple, Hourglass Cosmetics Resident Artist. “A Lash Lift is the easiest, low maintenance solution to keeping the appearance of long lashes. When lashes are lifted, you’ll see a dramatic change with just the smallest amount of mascara, or even no mascara at all. It’s the best way to give eyes a bit of a break from makeup, and the results are almost unbelievable.”
Intrigued, I booked a Lash Lift at the Hourglass Crosby Street in New York City. Being a newbie to lash treatments, I must admit that I was a little shaky signing the waiver. However, I was met by Yoli, the makeup, brow, and lash artist, who assured me that there was nothing to be afraid of. She compared the process to reupholstering your favorite chair, or simply enhancing what you already have.
Yoli started the multi-step treatment by applying a nourishing eye mask under each eye and over the lower lashes, as to keep the bottom baby hairs out of the way. With my eyes closed, she then applied rounded pads to each eyelid and combed and separated each lash into place. The keratin solution was brushed on so that my lashes were curled around the pad and set for eight minutes before it was wiped away. Finally, a finishing serum was applied.
The entire process took about 45 minutes. To be honest, I thought the experience was a bit uncomfortable, though never painful. I’m antsy by nature (I’m even known to get anxious during a massage) and didn’t enjoy having my eyes closed and my lashes tugged for so long. It’s also important to note that you can’t get them wet or use any makeup products on them for 48 hours following the treatment. But I managed to survive and am so glad that I did.
The results were instant. It looked like my lashes had literally doubled in length. I was awe-struck at how the added curl completely transformed the look of my entire eye area. Of course, I immediately took to Instagram and others were impressed, too. See for yourself! Check out the before and after photos below.
To be fair, my lashes are naturally long and black, but they lack the lift that really opens up the eye area. That’s why over the years I’ve come to rely on a lash curler. A quick squeeze on each side followed by a few swipes of mascara, and I was good to go. Thanks to the keratin lash lift, though, I’ve since ditched my lash curler. In fact, my lashes are so curled and lifted, they often graze the orbital bone below my brow (which makes mascara application a little messier, but who’s complaining?).
Here’s the best part: The results are said to last from eight to 12 weeks. At five weeks in, my lashes are still just as long and lifted as they were in the moments following the treatment. I’ve since sobbed at my best friend’s wedding, taken part in some serious sweat sessions, gotten a facial, gone swimming, and through it all, they’ve stayed curled.
I would highly recommend the keratin lash lift to anyone who is looking for an alternative to lash extensions. The treatment, which will cost you around $150, adds natural-looking oomph without the maintenance or damaging side effects of regular falsies. It’s ideal for anyone with stick-straight or downward-facing natural eyelashes—or, if like me, you already have lush lashes but want to make them pop even more.
As for safety? While the solution is free of harsh chemicals, like formaldehyde, you should consider consulting your doctor first if you have super-sensitive eyes. Also, be sure the treatment is performed by a trained professional with documented experience (yes, Instagram counts) to ensure no harm to the eye.