7 Eyelash Curling Tips For Newbies Who Are A Bit Wary Of That Weird Looking Makeup Tool

Recently, a friend of mine (OK, she's my editor too) informed me it was a bit odd that I had never used an eyelash curler. Not only had I never used one, but I had helped spread the rumor that the effects of an eyelash curler are merely a myth, much like any quick trick to make your boobs look bigger (14-year-old me tried several). Since, apparently, my theory was largely unfounded and wildly unpopular, I recently decided to test out just how long I could make my lashes look with the help of a device that looks vaguely torturous.

Here's what I thought I knew about my eyelashes: They will never curl and they will never look as long as they do when I wake up makeup-free in the morning. Mascara only makes them darker, which disguises me as a person who has medium-length eyelashes when in reality, my lashes are quite short. According to many beauty sites, including this one, with the right eyelash curler and method, you can actually add the appearance of length to your lashes.

When, for this article, I received my first ever eyelash curler, I was slightly horrified. My eyes water in bright lighting, dim lighting, and any temperature under 60 degrees — they are incredibly sensitive and slowly losing their main purpose (sight). Obviously, I was less than eager to wield any clampy looking tools near my eyeballs. After watching several tutorials and validation from my mother that the likelihood of me accidentally catching my eyeball in the curler was very low, I went for it.

Here are some tips I learned during my trial and error period that I think all you other eyelash curling newbies will fully appreciate.

1. Invest In An Eyelash Curler That Fits Your Eye

Tweezerman Lash Logic Curler, $22, Saks Fifth Avenue

The Tweezerman Lash Logic series (which I used for this experiment) has curlers available in almond shaped and round shaped to perfectly fit your eyes. If you've ever worn contacts, you know that the different shape of your eye actually does matter and that goes for curling the lashes around your eyes as well. Using the right curler will help avoid any skin snagging and increase how well your curler, well, curls.

2. Curl At The Base Of Your Lashes

Apparently, curling at the very base of your lashes makes for the best curl. This sounded terrifying to me. Every repressed memory of my mother accidentally snagging my neck while zipping up my coat came pouring back into my brain. However, not only did I not snag my skin (or eyeball) at all, I found that it was actually pretty easy to grasp close to the root of the hair.

3. You Don't Need To Use Heat To Curl

Some recommend heating your lash curler by running the plate under hot water or heating it with a blow dryer, but I didn't find this necessary. Besides, many lash experts warn that this is risky business for something you're putting so close to your eye. If you've got the right tools, you won't need to add heat.

4. Take Your Time Curling

My roommate watched me curl my lashes for the first time and, when after about two seconds I exclaimed "I knew this wouldn't work," she suggested that I keep the curler clamped for a full 60 seconds. I hate spending more than the bare minimum of time on my makeup, but for the sake of science, I listened to her. When I saw the difference of leaving the curler on for even 30 seconds, it all became clear to me. Good lashes take time!

5. Curling On Clean Lashes Is Essential

I don't know any mascara-wearer that has not woken up with residue on their lashes. However, thoroughly clean lashes are essential to properly use your eyelash curler. You also don't want to get any left-over residue on your curler because (as I learned the hard way) it will stick to the lashes after you press down, which can lead to some lash loss I was not very into. Even if you think you've gotten all the gunk off your lashes the night before, take a damp cotton swab and remove any excess makeup before using your lash curler in the morning. Just to be safe.

6. Curlers Aren't The Only Awesome Tools For Your Lashes

Eyebrow Groomer, $10, Saks Fifth Avenue

Usually, I'll use a random eyebrow brush I find lying around to remove any clumps in my lashes after I've applied mascara. But with a piqued curiosity in eyelash tools after some successful curling sessions, I found these adorable plated combs that easily separate my lashes, which makes them look even longer than the curl alone.

7. With New Tools Come Great Cleaning Responsibilities

If you are like me, a new makeup tool usually means a new thing to get tossed around in your makeup bag or on your dresser collecting bacteria and other nonsense. However, since your curler is gonna be all up in your eye business, cleaning it is crucial. Besides getting rid of all the gross germs you definitely don't want touching your eyeballs, cleaning your eyelash curler will make sure your curler continues to give you good results and last for many years. Don't worry, cleaning your eyelash curler is super easy.

So are eyelash curlers worth it? As long as you use the right tools and techniques and have just a little bit of patience, I can absolutely say that yes. Yes they are.

Image: Kristin Collins Jackson (7)