Already have an account?
Get back to the

What Is a Lash Lift and How Does It Work?

Find out if it's the beauty solution for you.


Ever wished that you could wake up with your lashes curled and mascara applied? Personally, I’ve yearned for longer, thicker lashes since I was a teen, and have since gone through more than my share of Maybelline Great Lash tubes. I recently discovered, though, that there’s a not-so-secret beauty treatment that makes this possible… ish

Lash lifts are the latest beauty obsession, and having tried them, I can attest that they work. After just one session, I woke up with the long, thick eyelashes of my dreams (at least for a few weeks). So what exactly is a lash lift, and how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

What is a lash lift?

A lash lift is a semi-permanent procedure that lifts your lashes at the root to make them appear fuller and thicker without using extensions or chemicals. Think of it as a perm for your eyelashes but without the harsh chemicals that you’d use on your hair to achieve the same effect. Lash lifts are great for anyone considering lash extensions; regular users of eyelash curler and mascara; and women over 50 who are dealing with thinning hair as we age. In fact, this type of lash perm has become so popular that a 2018 Business of Fashion report said it was more popular than mascara. Whether you want to mask your sparse eyelashes or wake up looking like you just applied falsies, a lash lift could be the solution you seek.

Types of Lash Lift

Just like a perm, there are a few different types of lash lift, each with its own lifespan and considerations. The most popular is the Yumi lash lift, also called a keratin lash lift. Keratin is a naturally-occurring protein that strengthens and smooths hair. During a Yumi lash lift, a wand coated in keratin is applied to the lashes to lift them and create volume. The keratin is followed by a serum that sets the treatment in place. The procedure typically takes less than an hour. With the proper care, a Yumi lash lift can last six weeks or more.

Another option is the length-to-volume (LVL) lash lift. Rather than using keratin, this type of lash lift requires applying a lifting serum, volumizer, and tint to the lashes to create natural volume and curl. Just like the Yumi lash lift, this procedure usually takes less than an hour, but it tends to fade a little quicker, typically lasting between four and six weeks.

The third option is an at-home lash lift, although I’d recommend sticking to the experts for this beauty treatment. Your eyes need to be closed to properly apply a lash lift, and leaving any of the products on for too long can be dangerous. It’s true that getting a lash lift at a salon is expensive. But ask yourself: Is risking my vision with an at-home lash lift worth it? I vote no.

Lash Lift Maintenance

The better care you take of your lash lift, the longer it will last. Most lash lifts have a lifespan of four to six weeks, but you might find that with the proper care, you can significantly extend that timeline. (Of course, some eyelashes will hold onto the lift longer than others — part of it is just genetics.)

Your aesthetician will provide care instructions for you after the procedure, and it’s important that you follow them. According to plastic surgeon Alexis Parcells, it can take up to two days for the serums to set, so avoid cleansing around your eyes or applying any makeup products for at least 48 hours.

Your aesthetician may also provide a little brush to wipe away irritants — if not, ask for one. Keeping your eyelash area as clean and dry as possible for the first 48 hours is crucial for maximizing your lash lift’s lifespan.

Once the initial 48 hours have passed, there are a few simple things you can do to protect your lash lift and increase its longevity. Avoid waterproof mascara, and apply regular mascara sparingly. Try not to rub your eyes or use eyelash curlers during this time. Avoid eye masks, serums, and heavy makeup. In general, avoid anything that requires wiping or scrubbing your eye area.

Still, no matter how well you protect your lash lift, it will eventually fade. At this point, you can either return to your lash curler and mascara — or you can make a touch-up appointment at the salon. The more frequently you go for lash lifts, the longer they tend to last. This is due to the strengthening and hydrating effects of keratin.

How can I prepare for a lash lift?

Good lash lift prep is just as important as good aftercare. The most important step you can take is to find a licensed aesthetician or reputable salon to perform the procedure safely and effectively. They will also provide important information about the care and maintenance of your au naturel lash extensions.

You might be tempted to go to the cheapest salon you can find or the one offering steep Groupon deals and discounts — but be warned, when it comes to beauty treatments near your eyes, you don’t want to skimp. A high-quality salon is pricier, but the safety of your eyes is well worth the cost.

Before your aesthetician applies the products, do a patch test on the skin of your wrist or forearm to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of them. Don’t wear makeup to your appointment, and avoid curling your lashes or wearing waterproof mascara for two days beforehand. All of these steps will ensure you max out your lash lift longevity and have the best lash lift experience possible.

Alternatives to a Lash Lift

We’ve covered everything you need to know about getting a lash lift. If you still aren’t convinced but don’t want to give up on having voluminous lashes, there are a few other options.

Eyelash Extensions

Eyelash extensions are an uber-popular beauty treatment meant to extend and volumize your lashes. During this procedure, an aesthetician adds extensions to each individual eyelash, creating automatic doe eyes whether you’re sweating it out at the gym or you just woke up. Like an eyelash lift, this procedure is semi-permanent and typically lasts several weeks. 

Lash extensions can create a much more dramatic look than a lash lift, although they tend to be a bit pricier as well. Plus, not everyone’s priority is lash growth — if lash color is more important to you than lash length, extensions might not be the treatment you’re looking for.

Lash Tints

It’s no secret that we tend to lose hair (and hair pigmentation) as we age. This is why a lash tint is a great low-maintenance lash lift alternative that mimics the fluttery magic of great eyelashes. 

Lash tinting is exactly what it sounds like: an aesthetician applies a color tint to your lashes, just like they might apply color to your hair. It’s like waking up every day with your eye makeup already applied (although if you have pale or graying eyelashes, you can tint in the natural shade of your hair as well).

False Eyelashes

Tried-and-true falsies are always an option. Applying false eyelashes may be a challenge, but they’re definitely cheaper (and lower commitment) than any perming solution or lift service. If you’re thinking about getting a lash lift but don’t know if the look is for you, consider applying falsies a few times to get a sense of what you might look like. 

Rocking What You’ve Got

And, of course, you can always go natural and wear your eyelashes totally bare. There’s no shame in using beauty procedures and products like eyeliner and mascara to look and feel your best, but at the end of the day, true beauty comes from within — and no amount of lash serums or brow laminations can replace that.

The Bottom Line

Whether you want to stave off thinning eyelashes for a little longer or just want to hop on the most popular beauty trend of the times, a lash lift treatment could be exactly what you’re looking for. Dramatic eyelashes are an easy way to amplify the eyes and draw attention to the most expressive part of your face. 

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.