How To Curl Lashes (the Right Way)

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As a boy, I always took my mom’s lash curler from her vanity and curled my own lashes. One of the reasons I fell in love with makeup was because of that curler. I always got caught using it, but I didn’t care. I loved the way it made my young gay eyes look.

Now that I am a professional makeup artist, I still appreciate it. Curling the eyelashes is one of those parts of a makeup application that never gets much credit but can produce remarkable results when done correctly. With a proper curl, lashes look longer, thicker, fuller, and the eyes themselves appear larger and more awake.  

Every artist has their own method, but here is my technique how to curl lashes for easy lash curling on a client or yourself—time-tested from years of experience.

Hold the curler the way you normally hold a pair of scissors. If you’re using the curler on a client, be sure to sanitize the entire tool, strip included.

Open the curler completely and bring it to the upper lashes, making sure to get the strip right up to the root of the eyelashes. Check to see that you have all of the lashes inside the curler. Place the tool upright, so the curve faces out.

Close the curler carefully on the lashes and squeeze lightly, with a soft, pulsing grip.

Now turn the curler upwards so that the curve of the curler lines up with the curve of your eyelid’s crease. This is the pro secret. It will give you curl, rather than a crimp effect.

Squeeze the curler handles in small pulses with light pressure, holding the tool in place for several seconds without blinking.

Walk the curler up from the root of the lash all the way to the tip, pressing and pulsing over the eyelash with the same pressure, until you reach the end.

Open the eyelash curler and examine the perfect pro curl. Repeat if necessary to define your lashes before applying makeup. Then, of course, do the other eye!

A lot of artists have their favorite lash curlers, myself include. The Shiseido and Shu Uemura are probably the two most popular with professionals. I do love them, but find they work better for flatter, less curved eye shapes.

For rounder eyes (the more common, universal shape), my two personal favorites are the Billy B Beauty Eyelash Curler and The Eyelash Curler from Kevyn Aucoin. Billy B’s is the ideal shape and size for most every eye and provides excellent pressure for perfect curl. The late makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin designed the Shu Uemura curler and felt it was not as universal as he wanted it to be. So he created his own, which is wider and allows for one of the closest, most precise curls I have ever seen.

Now you know my secrets for how to curl lashes. Don't be afraid of the pinch. Just jump in and get those gorgeous lashes fluttering.

As Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine, makeup artist James Vincent has touched every facet of the industry with his talent. With specialties in film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway work, James is foremast a passionate educator, training for brands such as MAC, Stila, CNN and Lancome. He continues to inspire the next wave of artists with his beauty expertise. Follow James on Twitter @JVincentmakeup.