Ask a Beauty Editor: How to Get Your Lashes to Hold a Curl

Keep your lash curl game strong with these makeup artist-approved tips.

Close-Up Portrait Of Woman long eye lashes
Photo: Viktorija Zlatar/Getty Images

Ever wanted to pick the brain of a beauty editor? Or get beauty product recommendations from someone who has tried them all? You've come to the right place. In our weekly series, beauty editor Hana Hong answers your biggest skincare, hair care, and makeup questions, all submitted by Real Simple readers. Tune in every Tuesday and submit your own burning beauty questions here for a chance to be featured.

Reader question: I've always been proud of my full lashes, but within the last couple of years, I have noticed they no longer hold a curl for longer than an hour. Any suggestions? —Roberta Montes

It's fairly easy to curl your lashes at home in just a few seconds, but the challenge comes in keeping that curl for longer than a few minutes. Unfortunately, it's possible to be making many mistakes for something that seems relatively foolproof.

If your lashes begin to droop before the day is done, check that you're using the right curler. All eye shapes are different, so a lash curler that works for one person might not work for another. You want to be investing in a good quality curler that fits your eye shape. As a rule of thumb, it should seamlessly snuggle up at the root of the lash without pinching or snagging.

Another important factor: your eyelash curler pad. According to Omayma Ramzy, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Omayma Skin, the pad should be replaced every 4-6 months, depending on how often you use it. Otherwise, the pad can lose its density that will make the curler less effective.

But of course, having the right tool is only half the battle. As for the other half, i.e. mastering the correct curling technique, we asked Ramzy to provide the best technique to curl your lashes with maximum staying power. (And stay tuned until the end for a few extra hacks you can use.)

How to Keep Lashes Curled All Day

  1. Take the lash curler and rest it as close to the base of your lash line as you can get without pinching skin. From there, clamp down and keep it clamped for at least 20 seconds. Curling your lashes prior to applying mascara is key, as curling after can result in a demarcation line, or worse, lash damage.
  2. Move halfway up the lash and curl one more time, keeping it clamped for another 20 seconds. Once you release, press down another 2-3 times for good measure.
  3. Once your curl is created, take a heated eyelash curler and press it against your lashes to set it. Like a curling iron, a bit of heat can help better shape your lash hair for a longer-lasting hold. "For 'falling' lashes, a heated curler will really give the lashes that extra last throughout the day," says Ramzy. "Make sure this step happens after curling with a mechanical curler but before mascara application."
  4. Taking a waterproof mascara (waterproof formulas tend to be drier and thus hold a curl better, according to Ramzy), wiggle the applicator at the roots of your lashes and quickly pull up. Applying from the base of the lash will create more of a lifting effect and allows for most of the product to be at the bottom of your lashes so your lashes aren't weighed down with product.
  5. Apply no more or less than 2 coats of mascara. You want the mascara coating to be thick enough to hold the curl, but not too thick that it weighs down your lashes and makes the curl fall.

Eyelash Curling Hacks

If you want to go the extra mile—or desire a more long-term guarantee of curled lashes—Ramzy says there are a couple additional moves that can help.

01 of 02

Apply a lash serum and curl your lashes before bed.

This one is a long game, but one that many lash experts say can make a significant difference over time. "Most people curl their lashes in the morning before the day, but the most lash repair and growth happens while we sleep," says Ramzy. "Think of this like training your lashes to grow curled. I use an eyelash serum as part of my nighttime routine, and then curl my lashes before going to bed. I had a serious lash glow-up after I started doing this regularly."

02 of 02

Get them done professionally.

Lash lifts are like a professional perm for your lashes, and the price (anywhere from $75 to $150) can be worthwhile if you want an immediate difference. The process begins with a consultation with your technician, and after walking through your goals (like if you want lashes pushed upward or fanned out), they'll apply a keratin chemical treatment that takes about 30 minutes to one hour to complete. While it's not totally permanent, results can last anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, so make sure you research your lash tech and look at examples of their work to ensure the final result is one that you want, says Ramzy.

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