Skip the Extensions! Here's Your Cheat Sheet to Va-Va-Voom Lashes

This beauty DIY is gonna save you money and time, we promise.

Like nine out of 10 of you, when I’m packing a survival kit in for my stuck-on-a-desert-island daydream, mascara is my top beauty essential. The reasons are obvious, but the quick-fix that mascara does for lashes is really just the start. Ahead, eight steps to get fantasy-level lashes IRL.

Step 1: Lash Serum

The very first time I heard about lash serums, I snap-judged them as just another product giving false hope to the stubby lashed. They couldn’t possibly work, right? The concept, though, is pretty similar to that of the active-packed serum you use on your face, this time delivering antioxidants and peptides to follicles to spur growth.

RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner

BUY FROM: Nordstrom, $55

Step 2: FDA-Approved Lash Lengthener

Formerly used as a treatment for glaucoma, Latisse’s active ingredient, bimatoprost, was discovered to have a delightful side effect: interrupting lashes’ growth cycle and allowing them to continue lengthening indefinitely (some patients even need to trim their Snuffaluffagus-grade lashes). Be warned: You need a prescription and should definitely skip this step if you have blue or green eyes due to another, far less delightful side effect: Though uncommon, the product can change the color of irises in those hues.

Latisse

BUY FROM: MintRxPharmacy, SALE $149 (Regularly $179, 20% Off!)

Step 3: Curl

So you’ve got the long-game sorted with your growth serums, but in the day-to-day, don’t underestimate the importance of the lash curler. By angling the lashes up, it tricks others’ eyes into believing they’re longer than they really are. The best of the bunch is this classic from Shu Uemura, which perfectly presses lashes into an upward sweep.

Shu Uemura Eye Lash Curler

BUY FROM: Amazon, $21.75

Step 4: Lash Primer

With your lashes now curled, you’re going to want to fake some thickness with a primer base, which will plump them up with a cloak that triples their circumference. Your lashes will look snowy and strange until you top with mascara.

Diorshow Maximizer 3D Primer

BUY FROM: Sephora, $29.50

Step 5: Tubing Mascara

A little different from a standard product, tubing mascaras coat lashes in little rubbery suits that stay put until you rinse them off with water in the evening, when they wash down the drain like spiders. They’re less volumizing than some other mascara varieties (though you’ve sorted that issue with your primer base) but far more believable.

Blinc Mascara

BUY FROM: Sephora, $26

Step 6: False Lashes

While strip lashes do take the guesswork out of applying falsies, they can sometimes be a little too loud and proud for everyday wear. Individual lashes like these, however, can give a more natural look and put you in charge of how much or how little volume you want. I sometimes like to apply a trio of them just to the outer corners to emphasize a cat-eye. If you want a full-on effect, though, work from the inner corner to outer corner, progressing from short to medium to long tufts until you reach the pupil, then graduate back down to small at the outer corners of your eyes.

M.A.C 30 Lash

BUY FROM: Bloomingdale’s, $17

Step 7: Cleanse

Such a good lash day you’ve had, but now it’s time to wash it all off. While oil-based cleansers tend to work best for removing mascara, primer, and false lashes, they have the obvious downside of leaving skin greasy. This oil-free take does just as good a job as its oilier cousins at removing makeup without drying out lashes.

Talika Lash Conditioning Cleanser

BUY FROM: Dermstore, $27

Step 8: Overnight Treatment

Not so fast, sleepyhead—before you stumble off to bed, take a couple seconds to sweep on a lash oil, which will soak in overnight and prep you for better lashes tomorrow.

Bbrowbar Luscious Lash Oil

BUY FROM: Birchbox, $30

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