When it comes to makeup, applying false eyelashes ranks pretty high in terms of difficulty (or at the least, intimidation), right up there with winged liner and impeccable contouring. That's why we’re here to demystify all of your questions surrounding the various (and plentiful) types of faux lashes on the market — which, by the way, has flooded everywhere, including drugstore aisles, Instagram, and the most luxurious beauty boutiques.
Once primarily associated with theatrical performers, glamazons, and the red carpet set, thanks to Instagram-fueled trends and a reclaimed power in the individuality of makeup (I’ll rock a false lash on a Tuesday afternoon trip to the grocery store, thanks very much), the false has become totally democratized. In fact, the rapid ascent of false lash-effect mascaras like Glossier’s Lash Slick, Maybelline New York’s The Falsies, and (my all-time favorite) D.J.V. Miaray Fiberwig, are proof that the look of endless, fluttery lashes aren't going out of style any time soon.
We've enlisted the pros to break down everything you need to know about finding the perfect false lash for your eye shape and desired effect. So grab your falsies and your lash glue (remember: give it a few seconds to dry until tacky before sticking them on your eyelids) and get ready to become a lash master.
Individual Natural Mink Eyelashes are a great option if you want to give a subtle, all-over boost to the fullness and length of your natural lashes, or simply want to add definition in certain areas of the lash line. Individuals are usually available in sets of 30-60 strands of varying lengths, which makes them one of the best options for a customizable look. "With individuals, you have more control and you can become your own lash artist,” makeup artist and Tweezerman brow & lash ambassador Gita Bass tells Allure.
Who it's for: Anyone who’s looking for a natural-looking way to add length and volume in specific areas or looking to fill in any gaps in the natural lash. “They are the most versatile [false lash type] and can create any gorgeous look from a natural, ‘day’ lash to a maximum intensity look,” says Bass. "When applied correctly, individuals can disappear into your own lashes and really keep people guessing.”
Also known as "flares" or "accents," clusters work well if you're short on time or need a little more practice applying full strip according to Bass. “The little band on a cluster makes them easier to pop on the lash line, and they don’t lift on the corners like strips can.” Another great thing about clusters is that they can be strategically applied to create a variety of looks. “I’ll often add a few clusters on the corners to create a cat-eyed effect,” says Bass.
Who it's for: If you’re looking for similar results from a strip, but with the customizability of smaller, more workable pieces, then clusters are definitely for you. Apply them in a row for a full strip-like finish, or pop them just onto the outer corner of your eyes to create a wider, cat-eye effect.
How to use it: Similarly to lash strips, clusters are applied by dispensing a thin amount of lash adhesive and placing each one onto the upper lash line and layering as desired. “Once your lash is on, wiggle mascara at your root to ‘marry’ the false and your natural lashes together to give a seamless look,” recommends makeup artist Kelsey Deenihan.
When people talk about false lashes, odds are they’re most likely referring to strips, which — as their name suggests — are a horizontal band of faux wisps that are worn across the entirety of your upper lash line.“Strip lashes work well as long as you find a style that suits your eye shape,” Bass recommends. “Rounder eyes look great with a winged or demi lash on the outer corners, while deep-set eyes need a slightly longer lash to be visible. Hooded eyes benefit from a lash that is longer in the middle.”
Who it's for: Full strips are a one-step way to instantly add drama and volume to your eyes and are widely available in a variety of price points. Some feature a black band for added definition, while others may feature an “invisible” band for a more subtle effect. “I prefer to use them for a more dramatic look, or if a client has very sparse lashes and needs the help of the lash base,” says Bass.