Beauty Wednesday: False Eyelashes

false eyelashes for work

2018 Update: We still think this is an awesome discussion of false eyelashes — you may also want to check out our more recent discussions of false eyelashes for the office, including my magnetic lashes review.

Today’s Beauty Wednesday was reader K’s request…

I have a question that might work for a Beauty Wednesday piece. Does anyone have experience with false eyelashes? I’m considering them because my lashes are tiny and sparse. I’m afraid to try them, though, because I’m not the most coordinated person, and putting glue near my eyes scares me a bit. Would love to hear about others’ experiences, including any recommendations for brands.

(Pictured:  False eyelashes, originally uploaded to Flickr by randompinkness.) We have always heard that the trick to wearing falsies in a low-key way (unlike our illustration) is to either use only the very small “individual” lashes, or to cut the bigger strips of lashes so you’re only applying about a quarter of an inch of them to the outside rim of your lashes.  In terms of brands, we have heard such great things about Duo glue that it’s the only one we’ve tested (Duo Eyelash Adhesive, Dark Tone, $5.99 at, but we’ve experimented with lashes, buying both inexpensive and fancy ones (e.g., the $3.49 Ardell DuraLash Naturals Individual Lashes, Medium Blackfrom Drugstore and the $15 MAKE UP FOR EVER Eyelashes – Individual from Sephora), and we’ve even bought contraptions that are supposed to make applying the lashes easier.  Still: we’ve just never had the time or energy to invest in perfecting the skill, and our batting average isn’t great:  we’ve self-applied them about once (maaaaaybe twice) and attempted to apply them about 10 times.

So, readers — this question is largely for you.  How do you fare with false eyelashes?  Any tips?  And, a question for debate:  are false eyelashes ever a work-acceptable look, or are they automatically the stuff of nights out?



  1. One more – how do you gracefully deal with a false eyelash that decides to unglue itself in the middle of a business meeting, lunch with clients, deposition, etc?

    This just seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

    • anon - chi :

      I’ve never used false lashes so take this with a grain of salt, but wouldn’t it just look like a regular eyelash shedding? I don’t think I would give it a second thought if I saw this happen unless it were somehow obvious that the lash was fake – for instance, if someone were wearing a clump of fake lashes that all came out together. I imagine that would be fairly embarassing.

      • the only fake eyelashes Ive ever seen in a store have been all together, like a row of them, you don’t glue one on at a time

        • They have individual ones you can buy. They look more natural than a whole chunk of them but it takes more time to put them on individually.

  2. Buy the small individual lashes, lash glue & invest in a good pair of tweezers & a magnifying mirror. Start small- perhaps two “strands” in your outer corner of your eyes. You want to glue the false lashes TO YOUR OWN (clean/dry) LASHES not the lash line, which creates a much more natural look (and keeps them on for a week+). If they are significantly longer than your real lashes, give them a small trim before applying them. You’ll be surprised at how easy they become (ok, expect the first application to be a disaster & remember practice makes perfect) to apply. I wore them at work for the month leading up to my wedding (so I could practice putting them on) and you couldn’t tell they were not my own once I swiped a coat of mascara on.

  3. The best thing to do is just practice. My eyelashes are sparse as well and I actually wear fake eyelashes a lot. You need to remove the glue that has dried on the eyelashes each time before you go to wear them again. All they need is a thin strip of the glue, give them about 5 seconds to get the glue a little sticky, and then start to apply them. I take tweezers and hold them on the outside lashes (on the opposite side from the tear duct) and just slowly place them on your eyelid. Sometimes I’ll add a little glue along the lash line on my eyelid, because the glue can dry out during the day, and that just gives them a little extra hold. Also, I use liquid eyeliner, and I wait to apply that until after the lashes go on. Putting that on top of them helps to hold them down a little too. I usually keep the glue with me during the day and some sort of applicator (maybe tweezers or something) to help re-apply the glue during the day. Trust me, if your eyes start watering or something during the day, you will for sure need to re-apply! I suggest just practicing. Maybe on like a Saturday or something, when you have plenty of time to see what they do and what times of the day you might need to re-apply.

  4. I only do it for special occasions definitely not for work. I read a good tutorial that I cannot remember where I found it. Basically, squeeze the glue out on some paper and use a broken Q-tip to apply very little glue to the lashes, then with two hands or tweezers, get them as close as possible to your lash line. I think you have to wait about 30 seconds for the glue to get tacky too, but I cannot remember. Then line your upper lashes, eye shadow, etc.

  5. I think the right ones can definitely be appropriate for work! For individual lashes (or small clusters), I love the Make Up For Ever ones. If you’d rather go with full lashes, the Laura Mercier ones are great. She also makes ones that are just for the center and ones that are just for the outside corners.

    I know some people aren’t comfortable with using it, but I’d also suggest Latisse. My mother has been using it for a while around (since around the time it came out) and she loves it. I have decent eyelashes, but I’m considering using it, too, just to really get my fullness (and the darken my lashes). I know other women who have used it/are using it, too, and they all love it! I initially had worries about it darkening the color of my light blue eyes, but upon further research, I found that increased iris pigmentation isn’t really a concern with Latisse. They mention it in the commercials because people were experiencing it when the same medication was used for glaucoma. It’s a medication and obviously needs to be taken seriously, but I urge you to research it and see if it might work for you! (I swear, I’m not paid by Latisse or anything, I’ve just seen it work for a few different women.)

    • Anonymous :

      I also have light blue eyes and did not want to turn them brown, but I would love longer eyelashes. I heard that the only people who were experiencing pigmentation changes were people who were misapplying the product – putting it on the inside rim of the eye instead of where it’s supposed to go. Is that what you heard?

      • That is what I’ve heard and read, that people who use Latisse improperly or people who use the same medicine for glaucoma (in which case the proper usage would be to put it directly in the eye) are the ones experiencing the problem. I’ve also read that it’s more common for people who already have dark eyes to experience darkening than for people with light eyes to have their eyes turn brown/darker.

      • I have heard same, and don’t even have blue eyes to worry about but am still kind of nervous about trying Latisse.
        There was a NY Times story about it a while back. Apparently, many people don’t get it from the doctor & hence all the misapplication.

        A friend of mine gets eye lash extensions — she loves it. The only downside is you can use mascara (and it’s expensive but so is Latisse and so are fake eye lashes everyday). The eyelashes look so great you don’t really need the mascara though.

    • The NYT recently ran a story about the possible side effects of Latisse, so I hope you’re using it with a doctor’s supervision.

      • A safe alternative to Latisse is LashAllure. I have light colored eyes, so I didn’t want to take the risk with Latisse. I’ve been very impressed with results from LashAllure.

        • I’ve tried all of the over-the-counter ones, including Lash Allure, and haven’t really gotten results from any of them. The same goes for my mom. Like I said, my lashes aren’t that bad, which is why I haven’t tried Latisse yet, but they are light and thin enough for me to have tried everything else! Basically, I don’t feel like going to the doctor just for this. I think I may mention it the next time I’m at the dermatologist for something else, though.

      • Well, yes, I thought it would go without saying that you shouldn’t use a prescription drug without consulting with a doctor, but apparently not! God, some people are stupid. (Not you, the people in the article. If you are experiencing side effects from a cosmetic medication, it’s probably best to discontinue use, not to keep using it!)

        • Amen. Some people just lack common sense (again, just the idiots in the article, not any of our commentators). Go to a doctor who actually knows the product and how to use it and you should be ok.
          Here’s a question – do you just use this product long enough to get the new eye lashes to grow or do you have to use it forever to keep them growing?
          Also, just today I saw a commercial for a new mascara by Revlon (I think) that claims to help grow lashes.

          • Here’s the stuff. It is made by Revlon:

    • Instead of Latisse (which I have never used and am not necessarily against but it’s expensive) get your eyelashed dyed. I have blue eyes, blond hair and normal lashes in length but they are very light. I get them dyed the blue-black and it makes them pop (especially lower lashes). I normally don’t even wear mascara after I get it done. Also, I have heard of other people who have used Rapid Lash and liked it.

      • Dying lashes can also be dangerous. Make sure the person doing it knows what they’re doing.

        You can also get lash extensions.

  6. I’ve never worn fake eyelashes before but would think understated ones (no glitter or diamantes) would be pretty for big events at work. Especially the ones that are applied one lash at a time and placed strategically across the lashline so they look natural.

    I also wanted to share a recent news story about the semi permanent ones that people pay to have applied at salons. Beware – apparently the glue they use to stick those suckers on is more or less the same as super glue. And for one of the people interviewed, the person at the salon “trimmed” her eyelashes before applying the fake ones. There seems to be no regulation of this and it’s a big risk to put super glue or any other strong chemical so close to your eye. That said, I haven’t had it done and of course there’s a range of quality in terms of services based on the salon.

  7. Falsies are easy. Go to MAC and ask them to teach you. Buy their lashes and the glue. They’ll show you how (putting the glue on the paper, dabbing it onto the lashes, allowing for the glue to get tacky for 15-30 seconds and then applying by looking down into a small mirror) and they’ll pick out the right lashes for you and then cut them down to fit your eyes. It’s a $20 investment. The lashes will last for a couple usages (or more if you’re careful) but there’s enough glue in the tube to last a year or more with regular use. After you get the hang of it you can experiment with the cheaper ones from Sally’s.

    • Ooh, good to know–thanks!

    • I agree with M; the MAC makeup artists are great. Duo is the best adhesive, and here’s a great link for buying lashes. x
      This is where i always get them–great prices and a good selection.

      I would suggest trying out some of the demi styles to see if you like the look. Try them out on the weekends/evenings because it does feel different. If you put them on correctly, they won’t come off until you’re ready to take them off, but it does take some practice.

      Good luck!

  8. Just curious – mascara and eye makeup sometimes cause my eyelashes to fall out (not all of them, but more than usual). Does the glue from false eyelashes do the same?

    I’ve never used fake eyelashes before and I’m probably too low maintenance (read: lazy) to do it in the future, but it seems like they could be used in a work-appropriate way.

  9. I’ve had good results with Revitalash (shocking, I know). And yes, it will probably give me cancer, but for now my formerly crappy lashes are nice and long!

    • Oh, one thing I can say as a warning–it did give me a bit of a red line where it goes on by my lashes–so, I would recommend treating as carefully as you would liquid eyeliner, just in case you get that tattoo effect.

  10. Not strictly related to the false eyelashes/Latisse discussion, but I’ve noticed an amazing difference in the length of my eyelashes just by switching to a quality eye makeup remover. FWIW, I’m using Clinique Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (no ties or endorsements).

  11. Delta Sierra :

    False eyelashes. SO not for me.

    I can’t even get my eyes to accept contact lenses, blinkblinkblinkblinkblink, nope, don’t want those things in there. Can’t imagine what a fuss they’d put up if I tried false eyelashes.

    Also, life is too short to sit there fiddling with such things.

  12. I’ve never worn fake eyelashes before, would like to try them for a date in a couple of weeks, but not for days thereafter. Does it work to just wear them for one night, or does taking them off prematurely lead to problems? That red line someone mentioned sounds to me like flesh being peeled off, in which case I’ll skip it.
    Any hints or tips about fakes for a night would be much appreciated!

    • They didn’t do anything bad to my eyes, even when taking them off. The glue is gentle enough that they come off easily. I used cheap drugstore brands, too. I think the red line mentioned above was in reference to some other method.
      Don’t worry about it – give it a try :) But I would recommend practicing first, the first few times I put them on they were all crooked.

    • I always though false lashes were intended to be worn only one day/night. I find it odd that some people wear them a full week; I’ve never heard of that before! (Other than with the salon-applied ones.)

  13. criminaldefense :

    I have practically no eyelashes, but I really learned to work fake eyelashes when my mom had chemo.

    The key is the glue, the Shu Uemura kind. And the individual kind of lashes, not the RuPaul one piece kind.

  14. If I wear em, I’ll have the person who’s doing my hair put them on for me. Otherwise it’d be a botched mess & the opposite of the effect I’m going for. ;-)

  15. You can try a lash serum like this one

    or you can get lash extensions for about $100. They’ll last about a month.

    • I’m jealous that you’ve found a place to get lash extensions for $100! They’re $275 minimum where I am (for the good quality ones, at least). Although, refills tend to be more in the $100 range.

  16. I’m also too lazy to wear false eyelashes, but I have had great success with last tinting. It’s a dye (like hair dye) applied to your lashes, and it helps thin lashes look thicker and short lashes look longer. It may be a better substitute for mascara than for fake eyelashes, but I swear by it anyway.

    The details: Pads are applied under your eyes (and Vaseline above) to keep your skin from being dyed as well. The dye (mixed to meet your needs — so you can get light brown, dark brown, or black — as appropriate for your skin/hair combo) gets painted onto both sides of your lashes. Then you close your eyes and meditate for about 10-15 minutes while the dye does it’s work. After a quick wipe of the excess, you’re ready to go for 4-6 weeks.

  17. I do fake eyelashes daily. The individuals are way way too time consuming. I use cheap drugstore brands (DUO glue, Ardell lashes), cut the lashes to a length where they will span from outer edge of your eye to the furthest edge of the iris. Line a little glue to the base of the lashes, let it set for about 30 seconds and place. You’ll have about 10 seconds to get it right. The glue dries clear. The tip that really helps is to put your makeup on before sticking the lash on as the makeup really shortens the lifespan of the lash ’cause they get all “gunky”. They take me 2 minutes (quicker than layers of mascara) and are great for those of us with sparse lashes. As stated above, crying will destroy the bond and you’ll be picking it out of your tissue.

  18. I recently started using LashAllure and was very impressed with the results. Unlike Latisse, there’s no risk of pigment change in your eyes (I have light colored eyes and didn’t want to risk it).

  19. I would pass on wearing false eye lashes to work. I’ve used them many times, but usually only for special/fun events e.g. weddings, New Year’s Eve, etc. They just take too long to put on and there are too many risks, they could fall off, irritate your eye, anything is possible!

    If you’re lacking in the lash department it might be worth it to look into dyeing your lashes? I’ve heard it’s a simple and fairly inexpensive option.

  20. Due to very thin-to-none in the way of eyelashes, I’ve worn the single individual short black or brown Ardell Duralash lashes for years – won’t be caught dead without them as I look totally weird otherwise. They allow me to wear very little in the way of eye makeup at the office and look extremely natural unless too many are applied – even my best friend didn’t know until once I made some comment re. having run out. It takes practice but – per above comments – a good magnifying mirror and tweezers, dark glue, and patience work wonders.
    It helps to also buy the clear glue remover for accidental spills or other goofs. The one negative is goofs with the glue – on clothes or bathroom counters, etc. I use small plastic vials with screw caps (in which the glue used to come – not sure why it no longer does) – then squeeze out a tiny bit at a time onto a folded kleenex – pouring can be disasterous, to say nothing of wasteful. I get the little vials at a beauty supply or from my manicurist when she’s through with them – wash out thoroughly and then fill from the small Ardell container. Ardell has a website.

  21. Anonymous :

    Lash dying is amazing. Mine are relatively short and almost clear. With lash dye I can go without mascara and not feel naked. Lash extensions are also an option. Both should only be done by a board certified professional. The extensions do not have to be super long or super thick; a good esthetician can modify them to make them work appropriate.

  22. anonymous :

    I use false eyelashes on stage and I love them, but can’t imagine wearing them daily. Have you tried the kind of mascaras that have a white fiber end that thickens and lengthens, and then a dark mascara on the other end? They work really well and are way less work than false eyelashes. L’Oreal’s version is called double extend, Maybeline makes XXL pro Extensions, there are probably others out there.

  23. I can’t imagine a situation where I’d want to wear false lashes.

  24. Trust me, a lot of mascara on your 5 lashes/my 5 lashes, looks like a lot of mascara on 5 lashes. Go with falsies, they are easy with a teeny practice. Love the idea about going to the MAC counter!

  25. I’ve noticed only a few people mentioned the salon ones. Can people share their experiences with these. My understanding is they are semi-permanent– lasting 4-6 weeks.

  26. I’ve tried false lashes and there is NO WAY I’m wearing them to work every day, unless I take a job where it’s one of my duties to look super hot. I’ve got to go through 4-5 different products on which I’ve spent a small fortune to wash my face before I put on foundation, concealer, powder, mascara and lipstick to look ” professional”. I live in Florida and on hot days when the AC conks out the makeup will slide right off your face. Go with lash primer and mascara first if your lashes bug you enough that you’re considering daily falsies, lash extensions and Latisse. I’ve found lining the top lashline helps in making people think you have more lashes than you do and it doesn’t induce eyelash shedding like daily falsies, mascara, and eyelash crimping does.

  27. I wear falsies every once in a while on the weekend, but not during the week, because like Clark Kent I wear my glasses to work. If you want to see application in action, just search youtube. There are hundreds of tutorials on there for false lashes. Good luck!

  28. False eyelashes are FUN, just like eyeshadow and lots of other stuff we do as part of getting ready for a special occasion or date! Try them at work, you can pick the shorter less full kind which just give the look of lush mascara, after a couple practice sessions you will be a pro they are really fun and not that uncomfortable, I know there are chemicals in the glue so I don’t do it all the time. Condition your lashes with castor oil afterward or jojoba.

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