Beauty school: How to apply false lashes

Long fluttering eyelashes draw attention and instantly add dimension to your face, which is why these thin strips of fringe are a mainstay during award season—truly a makeup artist’s secret weapon. Celebrities like Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett and Jessica Chastain wouldn’t dare walk a red carpet without the eye-opening power of falsies.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Naomi Watts at the 2014 Academy Awards; Photo courtesy of Macadamia Natural Oil

Photo of Jessica Chastain at the Globes provided by YSL beauty

While we admire and covet these voluminous lashes, no amount of mascara swipes will give us the results of a faux lash. More bad news: Most of us non-celebrity folk don’t have a makeup artist on standby to apply these beauty statements. If you’ve never had success applying a set of faux lashes, we’re here to help. We’ve enlisted Melissa Gibson, senior artist at M.A.C Cosmetics. She’s offered these pro faux-lash application tips.

Cate Blanchett at the 2014 Academy Awards

Cate Blanchett at the 2014 Academy Awards; Photo by Keystone Press

First things first, you need to pick a lash that’s right for you. “Lash 33 [from M.A.C] is my favourite,” says Gibson. “They’re perfect because you can cut them and use them individually if you want, or you cut them in half and use the shorter end on the inner corner of the eyes, and the longer end on the outer corners,” she says. Maneuvering a full strip can be tricky, so cutting them in half makes application much easier.

  1. Curl eyelashes and apply one or two coats of mascara. This step is important if you have light eyelashes. “If you’re fair and have lighter lashes, you’ll see the contrast. Mascara will help the faux lashes blend in,” says Gibson.
  2. Test the lash out to make sure it’s the right size. If it’s too long, cut it down.
  3. “Don’t just take the glue and squeeze it onto the lash,” says Gibson. Instead, squeeze a dab of lash glue (you don’t need much) onto the end of a makeup brush. Drag the seam across the dab of glue. Gibson suggests adding a little dollop on the inner and outer corners for more adhesion—those areas are trouble spots for lifting.
  4. Wait until the glue is tacky, and then apply. “Start at either the inner corner or outer corner and then gently push in, and down, so it gets as close to your lash line as possible,” says Gibson. The glue will do the rest—no need to press.
  5. Conceal the strip by applying liquid eyeliner. Don’t want to wear liner but still want to don a lash strip? No problem, says Gibson. Look for a clear band on the lash and steer clear of a dramatic dense lash. A denser lash will look awkward (and really fake) without a swipe of liner to anchor the look.

Still need some help? Watch our video on how to apply fake lashes.