Few beauty tricks or techniques are as immediately transformational as curled eyelashes. Even without any other product or added makeup, curled eyelashes alone can make your eyes look bigger, brighter, and more alert instantly — it’s why no makeup artist worth their salt (or setting powder) would dare leave their kit without one. The best eyelash curlers hug and grip every lash for maximum lift and leave an impression that lasts all day. But, of course, not all eyelash curlers are created equal, and they certainly aren’t one-size-fits-all. To help you find the right eyelash curler for your needs and eye shape, TZR’s tapped two top-rated makeup artists for insider expertise on the industry’s best — and exactly how to use them the right way to make lashes pop.
The first thing you'll want to do before actually purchasing a new eyelash curler is run an assessment on your own eyelashes and eye shape. These days, most eyelash curlers are designed with large, angled openings to accommodate virtually all eyes, but if you have particularly short lashes, long eyes, hooded eyes, or monolids, you might want to look for a partial lash curler or one designed for your specific eye shape (scroll through some favorites down below). But just as important as what you’re using is how you’re using it — and according to the professionals, proper eyelash curler form can make the difference between wide-awake Bambi lashes and some serious painful pinching.
How To Use An Eyelash Curler
Terri Bryant, celebrity makeup artist and founder of GUIDE BEAUTY, says to start off by anchoring your thumb to your cheek which will ground and steady your hand — this stability is always important when working around your eyes, but especially while using a tool like a lash curler. Carefully straddling the lashes across the inner “mouth” of the curler, she says you’ll want to start at the very root of the lashes and gently squeeze. “Slightly tighten and soften your grip several times creating little pulsing movements without releasing the lashes from the curler,” Bryant instructs, then “lift your thumb off the face, tilt the curler so it rests into the crease of the lid, and continue pulsing the curler against the lashes.” She says to continue gently walking the curling up from the root of the lashes to the tips, lightly “squeezing and releasing as you go to create a soft and natural curl.”
Curled lashes on their own are beautiful and eye-opening, but well-chosen mascara takes the shape and hold to the next level, according to Brittany Lo, professional makeup artist and founder of Beia Beauty. “Finding the right mascara helps a ton in addition to curling your lashes,” she says. “Some thinner formulas may give you length while others will give the lashes boldness. Adding a primer also will add to this!”
Common Eyelash Curler Mistakes
Though you shouldn’t really use your eyelash curler on lashes that already have mascara on them to avoid the half-dried viscous gunk from yanking your eyelashes out, residue and buildup do happen — and Lo says it’s crucial to make sure your curler is clean before every use. Placement is also more important than it would seem, with the optimal curl spot being as close to the lash line as possible. In fact, Lo says wonky curl placement is one of the most common mistakes she sees. “They don't go close enough to the lash line so the lashes curl in an unnatural way,” she explains. “They almost look like a 90-degree angle from the side of the eyes rather than a natural curve, which is not the look you want from curled lashes.”
Bryant says that along with looking out for mascara mishaps, keep an eye on your lash curler’s pads and make sure to replace them before they get too worn down to form an effective curl. “These mistakes stand in the way of a great curl and can result in damage to the lashes,” she tells TZR.
The Best Eyelash Curler Hacks
There are plenty of so-called eyelash curler hacks floating around the web (especially TikTok) but it’s hard to know what’s a solid tip and what’s bunk. One common idea involves heating up the curler with a lighter or hairdryer before taking it to lashes for an exaggerated curl and longer-lasting hold. While Bryant says the theory is right on, there are much safer options to get the same effect. “Traditional lash curlers crimp the lashes from both sides while heated lash curlers work like little combs,” she explains. “While you could use a hairdryer to heat up a traditional lash curler, it’s not something I recommend. I prefer to start with a traditional curler, no heat applied. For clients who want the extra hold, I’ll then follow with a heated lash curler (preferably one with a low setting), starting at the middle of the lashes and combing outwards.”
Lo’s go-to hack for serious hold is equally effective and utilizes a household favorite. “Wash a teaspoon with hot water then put the curved side outward-facing,” she explains to TZR. From there, carefully and gently press your lashes against the spoon and hold them there for 5-10 seconds before removing the spoon and immediately following with mascara. “This technique definitely works, but be careful how hard you press your lashes,” she cautions. “For contact lens wearers, I would be extra careful!”
Equipped with the straight-from-the-pros know-how, all that's left is to find your own personal dream eyelash curler. Below, shop some of the top-rated ones out there, plus recommendations from the experts.
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