Ask a Beauty Editor: How to Apply Fake Lashes Like a Pro

Apply those eyeball bangs with ease.


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Reader question: Can you explain how to apply fake lashes and make them look natural? —Reagan Fowler

As someone who has clearly loved all things beauty for a long time, I will say that the thing that took me the longest to learn was falsies. Those hairy strips are the most frustrating buggers when they don’t go down—or stay down—the way you want them to (those ends are cursed), not to mention the fact that sticking glue so close to your eyeball feels downright terrifying. 

But don’t fret, because I now LOVE fake lashes—catch me in my fave wispies 24/7 (I sometimes forget to take them off because they’re so comfortable)—and if I can do it with my tiny, shaky hands, so can you. To help, I also brought in two falsie experts, celebrity makeup artists Renny Vasquez and Joanna Simkin, so you can slap on those eyeball bangs in a blink.

Step One: Choose your lashes

There are three main types of lashes: individual, clusters, and strip lashes. 

Individual lashes are ideal if you’re just looking to fill in sparse areas of the lashes. They’re applied one hair at a time and when applied properly, can blend in seamlessly so they look like you’re not wearing anything at all. The customization options are endless with this one—you’ll be surprised how much an inch to the left or right can make a difference.

A cluster is exactly what it sounds like—a cluster of lash hairs that aren’t as long as a full strip, but more lengthy than an individual lash. Although it’s a popular option for adding some subtle dimension (i.e. added at the outer ends for a cat-eye look), they can look kind of wonky when not snuggled properly into the natural lash line, so make sure to apply eyeliner and/or a coat of mascara to blend everything together.

A strip lash is a full strip meant to be measured and matched to your upper lash line. The pro is that you don’t have to worry about blending (since they’ll likely cover your natural lashes, you usually don’t even need any mascara), but a con is that they can often appear too dramatic and, well, fake. Not necessarily a bad thing if you’re going glam, but maybe not ideal if you’re shooting for a subtle look. That being said, there are lots of different strip options that are designed wispier to look more natural, so scroll to the end if you’re in need of recommendations.

Step Two: Remove the lashes

You wouldn’t want to mess up your expensive eye wig before you’ve even had a chance to wear them, would you? That’s why you want to proceed with caution here, almost like you’re handling a fragile flower.

To remove a strip, always peel gently from the outer edge of the lash. You never want to come in from the inner corner in case you bend or break off a section of lash—the outer corner doesn’t matter since you’ll likely be trimming it off anyway. 

Step Three: Fit your lashes

False eyelashes aren't one-size-fits-all (we all have different eyes after all), so you can't just smear on some glue and stick them on straight from the box. 

“Hold the center of the lashes and place the start of the lash band to the inner corner of the eye,” advises Vasquez. “Then, hold the band against your lash line. If the end of the lash band goes past the end of your lash line, you'll need to cut off the excess.” Simkin adds that leaving too much at the end can weigh the outside edges of your eyes down, so make sure to be exact.

Step Four: Apply your lashes

Once you’ve got your fitted lashes, lash glue, tweezers, and mirror, it’s go time.

  1. With the tweezers, pull off any excess clear glue that may be on the lash band. “This will allow the lashes to lay as close as possible to your lash line,” says Vasquez.
  2. Apply a thin layer of lash glue to the lash band and wait for the glue to get just a little bit tacky, but not completely dry. “Allowing the glue to become tacky will allow the strip to stick just enough that you won’t slide it off, but still be wet enough to move,” says Simkin. Be patient—this process will take around 30 seconds.
  3. If you have trouble getting your ends to stay down, bend the strip into a squished V to make the ends kiss during the 30 seconds. This will better distribute the adhesive on the ends so they don't end up lifting.
  4. Holding a mirror below your chin (looking down will allow you unblocked access to the top of your lash line, says Simkin), gently place the lash strip on your lashes. If you have shaky hands, a lash applicator or pair of tweezers can help with this part.
  5. Using the tweezer or your fingers, adjust the lash into place so that the outer edges are lined up first, then work the inner corners into place. 
  6. Gently push the strip onto the upper lash line and hold it in place for 15 seconds to secure its position and seal it with your natural lashes.

Most Natural False Lashes

01 of 05

Doe Fairy Starter Pack


If you’re completely new to the falsies game, Doe’s starter pack is equipped with everything you'll need, including a lash applicator, lash glue, and 4 ultra-fine silk lashes that are so light and airy you won’t feel them on at all.

To buy: $52,

02 of 05

Eylure London 117 Wispy Light

how-to-apply-fake-lashes-Eylure London 117 Wispy Light

For a natural look, try a wispy style. Simkin recommends this one from Eylure, adding that larger eyes can go for the slightly longer/thicker version: Eylure London Wild and Wispy Unruly ($10;

To buy: $12,

03 of 05

Kiss Lashes in Looks So Natural

how-to-apply-fake-lashes-Kiss Lashes in Looks So Natural

If you want value with quality, KISS is the way to go. This multipack comes with 5 sets that you can reuse, and its tapered end technology means you won’t be able to tell which lashes are fake and which are real.

To buy: $9,

04 of 05

MAC 36 Dreamgirl Lash

how-to-apply-fake-lashes-MAC 36 Dreamgirl Lash

Because they’re less stark, brown-colored eyelashes can be a great choice for a softer effect—this set from MAC has a flirty flare at the ends for a feminine touch.

To buy: $15,

05 of 05

Ardell Lash Natural #120 Multipack

how-to-apply-fake-lashes-Ardell Lash Natural #120 Multipack

The tapered length of these lashes gives the eyes a very subtle lengthening cat-eye effect—plus they’re waterproof!

To buy: $13,

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