Ask Jean: How to Curl Lashes?

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We want to answer your most pressing questions—or, you know, just the things that you’re curious about. Please keep them coming to: [email protected]. Below, a q for our beauty director, Jean Godfrey-June.

Dear Jean, Should I be curling my lashes? Does it make that much of a difference? And: How do I do it? Eyelash curlers terrify me. —Eileen F.

  1. Saie The Lash Kit Saie The Lash Kit
    Saie The Lash Kit goop, $40

Dear Eileen, The short answer: It’s easier than you think and totally worth it. The key is to not get so close to the roots of your lashes that you worry you’re going to pinch yourself. Take that off the table, always apply mascara after you curl (not before), focus on the outer corners most of all, and you’re on your way.

The complete answer and how-to: From the first time I ever had my makeup done (at a department-store counter in Cincinnati before my first-ever office party—as tactlessly as you might imagine a twenty-two-year-old would, I decided to buy none of what the poor artist was trying to sell me) to the last (the brilliant Jillian Dempsey touched me up after rolling away my undereye circles with her gold roller), no makeup artist has ever neglected to curl my lashes.

  1. Saie The Lash Kit Saie The Lash Kit
    Saie The Lash Kit goop, $40
  1. Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar
    Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar goop, $195

This is because curled lashes make just about every person look instantly prettier (there are, of course, Bambi-lashed exceptions). A quick crimp with what’s an admittedly medieval-looking device opens up the eyes and, for most people, the whole face. If you wear mascara, curling your lashes optimizes the mascara—you need less, and what you do use goes further.

  1. Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar
    Jillian Dempsey Gold Sculpting Bar goop, $195

Lush, flirty lashes in seconds flat


The key, as mentioned in the short answer, is not getting tripped up on the possibility of pinching yourself. As you’re getting started, don’t focus on getting the curler too close to the root of your lashes. When it becomes old hat, sure, venture closer, but the majority of the difference made by any eyelash curler is made farther down the lash. The new curler from Saie is a pretty pale lavender, which somehow cuts the panic factor for me. (Cushy black silicone pads on both sides help, too.)


So: Start where you start—where it feels comfortable, where you don’t feel you are in danger of injuring yourself. Look at yourself straight on in the mirror.


Get all the lashes fanned out neatly between the two pads of the curler (it’s worth a second to arrange your lashes into position), then clamp down gently.


Open the curler again and gently pulse it open and then closed as you move up the lashes.


You might be done, or you might want to do it again to try to amplify. Do any amplifying, redoing, and adjusting before applying mascara, however. Plenty of people curl their lashes and wear no mascara, but I curl only for special occasions and always follow with mascara.


Try this mascara over your just-curled lashes—I predict you’ll need only one coat—and stand back. The combination is literally eye-opening. Do one side and not the other and you won’t believe the contrast. Inky, glossy, perfectly defined, long, lush-looking lashes. Flirty lashes. Lashes that the others look upon and think: It isn’t fair that some people are born with generous lashes. Or: Does that girl have lash extensions? Or: What pretty eyes!

I am, on non-special-event days, a very big fan of the Saie mascara on its own. The brush has a near-magical ability to pick up every last lash, and the formula is super defining and never clumps, yet it’s got enough…guts—can a mascara have guts?—that it really thickens up your lashes and makes your eyes instantly more noticeable. I’d like to be the person who curls each time (that it makes me look better there is no doubt), but I also like, pre-special-occasion, being blown away by the difference a lash curl plus mascara can really make.