False Lashes: How to Apply Them

Step-by-Step Instructions for Applying Individual or Strips

Woman's eye applying false ladhes close-up
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False lashes have come a long way since the seventies when women wore huge, gaudy varieties that looked fake. These days, many women -- from celebrities to beauty nuts to your average, everyday woman who wants to look good without much fuss -- wears natural-looking false lashes. 

Elle's Editor-in-Chief Robbie Myers swears by fake lashes in her interview with the fabulous beauty blog, Into the Gloss.

She writes, "if I was lost on a beautiful desert island, and I could bring one thing with me, besides sunscreen, it would be fake eyelashes. I don’t care whether they're individual or strip—I can do both. I have them on now—these are from an event two nights ago. If they stay on, I let them stay on. Ardell 301s are genius; it’s so easy to do."

Here's how to apply false eyelashes so they look as natural as possible.

Step 1: Get the Right Lashes

You have several options when it comes to false lashes: A full set of false lashes or small clusters of individual lashes. If you buy a full set you can cut them into individual lashes. While Myers swears by Ardell 301s, there are loads of options you can get at the drugstore, online or even at department stores.

If the lashes you bought are too long, you can trim them by cutting them at an angle. Make sure to cut each individual lash at a different length so they look more natural.

Always reserve the longest clusters for the outside corners of your eyes.

Step 2: Prep for Application

Make sure your eyelid and lashes are clean of any makeup, then curl your lashes with an eyelash curler. You can warm the curler under a blow dryer for about 3 seconds. Just make sure the metal isn't too hot for your eye.

Apply a liquid or pencil eyeliner to eyes to conceal the lash roots.

Step 3: Get the Glue Ready

Toss the white glue that comes with your eyelashes. Instead, opt for dark eyelash adhesive, which is usually sold separately at drugstores, usually for about $5 or $6. We recommend Duo Lash Adhesive.

Always read the directions on the package for tips on how to use eyelash glue or adhesive as some products may require a different application.

If you are applying individual lashes, put a few drops of lash glue or adhesive on a hard surface. Let it dry for a minute until it becomes tacky. Use a set of tweezers to pick up eyelashes and dip the root in the adhesive.

If applying a full set of lashes, apply tiny drops of glue or adhesive along the strip.

Step 4: Adhere the Lashes

If applying individual lashes, start at the outer corner of the eyes. Take the tweezers and wedge the glued lash into your natural lashes. Stay as close to the root of your real lashes as possible.

Hold it in place for a few seconds so it dries in place.

You'll want a couple clusters at the outer corner of the eye and one in the center of the eye or wherever your real lashes are sparse. Make sure to leave a natural space between lashes.

If applying a strip, use your fingers to hold the lashes and apply on the lid as close to the roots as possible from the outer corner of the eye in. If you notice the lashes are too long, take them off and trim them with scissors.

Use a Q-tip to press lashes in place.

Step 5: Apply Eye Makeup

Once the false eyelashes are applied, let them dry for a couple minutes before applying eyeshadow and mascara.

You may want to apply mascara to lashes to help blend them in with your real ones.

Step 6: How to Remove Your False Eyelashes

To remove false eyelashes, use an eye makeup remover like Lancome's famous Bi-Facil. Apply the remover with your fingers, massaging it into the lash root. Your false eyelashes should slip right off. You can also try water to loosen the glue.