How to Use Eyelash Curlers

The eyelash curler is a great tool to add lift and curve to eyelashes – if you know how to use it properly. Curlers work wonders by making the eyes look more open – they are also great for stubborn, limp or shorter eyelashes that need an extra helping hand to curl more. Here is our guide to eyelash curlers and not turning them into a torture device!

Why Use an Eyelash Curler?

An eyelash curler is a hand-operated mechanical device used to curl eyelashes for cosmetic purposes. Curlers put an upward curve into the lashes, which creates the look of eyes being more open and the lashes longer. It is usually only the upper eyelashes that are curled – lower lashes don’t need curling, plus it is really fiddly.

Types of Eyelash Curler

If you’re a little bit hesitant to use curlers, or are put off by the look of the traditional clamp curler, there are other designs to look at.

Most makeup brands have an eyelash curler as part of their range of makeup tools, and curlers come in different sizes, shapes and designs. Some are heated, others are not. When looking to buy an eyelash curler, try out as many brands and designs as possible.

Traditional Clamp Curler

Eyelash curler

  • The most commonly seen curler, consisting of a scissor-like handle that open and close two curved plates at the “business end”.
  • The lower plate is tipped with a removable rubber or silicone pad, which cushions and protect the lashes. This pad must be placed correctly to work properly to prevent lash damage.
  • Spare rubber pads are usually supplied and can be bought separately. Replace them when they get too compressed or worn out.
  • Lots of makeup brands make these curlers, and they do vary in size, curvature and shape, so try in-store to see which work best for your eye shape.

Portable Clamp Curler

Portable Eyelash Curler

  • This type of eyelash curler works in the same way as the traditional clamp curler by using pressure on the lashes to create a curl.
  • We think this design is a bit easier to use – possibly a better choice for people who are a bit wary of the traditional clamp design.
  • Being small and compact, these curlers are perfect for handbags or travel, and have space in the base for spare pads.
  • There are also larger versions that are heated.

Corner Eyelash Clamp Curler

Corner Lash Curler

  • These small and highly portable curlers are great for getting corner lashes. Also good for people with thick or long lashes, as you might find it easier to manage a few lashes at a time.
  • They look a bit like tweezers and work in a similar way by simply squeezing the two tips together. There is a rubber pad on one of the tips to cushion the lashes.

Heated Wand

Heated wand eyelash curler

  • Easier to use than a traditional curler – no careful lining up required and no clamping, so much less chance of lash breakage.
  • Curlers have a pen-like handle with a comb tip, which has ridges for the lashes to sit in. The tip can be curved or straight and comes with a detachable lid to protect it.
  • Heat is provided by batteries, which sit in the handle and are turned on/off via a switch. Some curlers have a light to indicate that the tip has heated to the optimum curling temperature.
  • Once heated, press the comb tip under your lashes and press upwards (and in towards your eye) to create the lift. Keep it held to your lashes for 5 – 10 seconds a time. You can also use a slow upward rolling action.
  • These curlers can be used before or after mascara (once it has dried fully). Good for topping up a curl during the day.

How to Hold a Clamp Eyelash Curler

As a curler can be used on you or on a client, this affects which way round you hold the curler. Very simply, the curve of the top plates needs to match the curve of the eyelashes they are going on to.

So, for using on yourself, the curve faces you. For use on a client, the curve is away from you (so, you’re looking at the back of the plates, often where the brand name is).

The finger positions are the same either way – your thumb goes in the first loop, middle finger in the second loop and use your index finger to add support. Use the same hand you write with to hold the curler.

Using a Clamp Eyelash Curler

You will need: curlers | mascara | makeup remover | cotton buds

Check your curlers

2) Check your curlers are clean and the rubber pad is in place

1) Lashes should be clean and dry. Remove ALL traces of makeup from your lashes, especially mascara.

You can apply all other makeup before using curlers EXCEPT mascara.

Use curlers before applying mascara, else the mascara can smear, crumble, or make the lashes stick together.

2) Check the curlers are clean and the rubber pad is in the right position. The little rubber pad is there to protect and cushion your lashes. If it’s not positioned correctly, you could break or dent your lashes.

Using eyelash curlers

Top: Steps 3-4) Place a finger on the upper eyelid to lift the lashes. Open the curlers and place lashes; Bottom: Steps 7-8) Close the curler gently and press

3) To help access your lashes more easily, you may find placing a finger (or a brush handle or cotton bud) on the upper eyelid and lifting the eyelid skin up (and more out of the way) lifts up the lashes.

4) Hold the curler correctly and open fully. Place your lashes right through the opening.

5) Move the curler back so that the rubber pad sits just before the base of your lashes and follows the curve of your eye.

6) Blink (keep the curler still) and this should flick any stragglers into the curler opening.

7) Gently and slowly close the curler. If it starts to pinch at all, open up the curler and move it slightly forward (or tilt it forward) away from your eyelid and try again to get the right position.

8) Gently squeeze the curler closed for between 5 to 15 seconds – repeat a couple of times until you get the curl you want. Don’t press too hard – you could damage your lashes or leave a crimp mark.

9) To remove, open the curler fully and then remove the curler from your lashes. Don’t pull the eyelash curler from your eyes before you have released the pressure or you will pull your lashes out! Yes, ouch.

10) Depending on the design of your curler, you may need to move along the lashes to curl them all, especially at the ends of your lash line. Not all curlers will curl every lash in one hit!

11) Repeat on your other eye.

12) Apply mascara. Add a couple of finer layers of mascara (allow the mascara to dry before adding more) rather than one great big thick one. Unless clumpy tarantulas are your thing. And work the mascara right into the roots of your lashes to really work that lift. Comb them through afterwards with a clean brush to separate and remove any clumps.

13) Admire one’s lashes. Flutter them a few times and feel the breeze!

Tricks and Tips

  • Clean curlers regularly to remove any eye makeup and to prevent infection. The rubber pads on the clamp curlers can be removed and washed.
  • Replace old or damaged rubber pads to help protect your lashes from damage.
  • Don’t share eyelash curlers or mascara. Unless you like bacteria and eye infections. If you are a makeup artist, then sterilise curlers before and after using, and never ever share mascara wands. More about Good Working Practices in Makeup.
  • Practice! Using curlers can take a bit of practice, especially traditional clamp curlers. Don’t give up after one or two attempts!
  • To create a more sweeping curl, you can use the curler along the whole length of the lashes to create a more gentle curl up. So, clamp at the root of the lash as normal, then move half way along and clamp again, and finally clamp again towards the ends of the lashes.
  • Heat up your curlers if you have stubborn lashes. If your curlers don’t have a heated feature, you can use a hairdryer or run the curlers under hot water to warm them up a little, but don’t go crazy hot and then burn your eyelids. Not a winning look. And painful.
  • If you find it hard to get mascara right up to your lash line using a mascara wand, dip a short and firm bristled brush (like an eye brow brush) into the mascara wand and paint the mascara onto your lashes. Especially useful if you have light-coloured lashes.
  • Use eyelash curlers on false eyelashes. Curl your own lashes first, apply your false eyelashes, then (once the glue has fully dried), use the curlers on everything to bring the false eyelashes and your lashes together.

Find Out More:

Hope this helps. Curlers can be intimidating, but try out different designs and have a practice. Watch some tutorial videos – seeing someone do it helps. Curlers are great tools and not as scary as they look!

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