Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
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If TikTok is anything to go by, there isn't much you can't achieve with an eyelash curler. Beauty enthusiasts are using the curved edge as a stencil to create seamless cut crease eyeshadow looks, flawless winged eyeliner and even perfectly lined lips. But any professional makeup artist will tell you that the handy tool is better used as intended: to curl and lift lashes.
That hasn't stopped TikTokers from finding new ways to make the most out of their lash curlers, though. The majority of us might stick to the instructions but the beauty community's latest viral hack will have you believe that you've been doing things all wrong.
It all started with TikToker Audrey aka @audboos. In a clip with 10 million views and counting, Audrey flips her lash curler so that it's upside down, then threads her lashes through the gap before pressing down for a few moments. When Audrey unclamps the curler, her lashes are poker-straight rather than lifted. It's the next step — curling those straight lashes the right way around — that supposedly makes all the difference.
As Audrey piles on the mascara, the results are clear: her lashes are twice as long as usual. According to Audrey, curling your lashes in this way lends more of an L-shaped curl rather than a C shape, which creates the illusion of length. "You've just changed the eyelash game," wrote one follower in the comments section.
Considering the response, it wasn't long before trusted beauty obsessives like Erin Dugan Jurchak (5.5 million views), Nikkia Joy (106.2 million views) and Scortezz Beauty (67.2 million views) stitched the video with their own attempts. "Oh my god," said Nikkia. "Because it's straightened them, they're actually sticking up a lot more! Are you seeing this? My lashes look huge."
Before I get into things, a disclaimer: my lashes are on the long side anyway but once I put mascara on them, they tend to droop rather dramatically. This leaves me with sooty smudges underneath my eyes that I have to clean up throughout the day. It's not a big deal but part of me hoped that the upside-down lash curler hack would solve this problem, especially as many TikTokers are extolling its virtues. Judging by similar videos, it also prevents lashes from emerging too curled, so they don't sweep your brows and transfer mascara. This suggests it could be a win for those with hooded eyes.
My favourite lash curler is Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler, $40, which is gentle but lifts and lengthens lashes in seconds. I've had it for a good few years and haven't needed to change the soft pad yet, unlike other lash contraptions I've used in the past, which have become dented, loose and a bit useless. I curled the lashes on my right eye like normal in the hope of noticing a marked difference, then flipped the lash curler on my left eye.
I'll be honest, curling your lashes upside down isn't as seamless as TikTokers make it out to be. I must've accidentally poked myself in the eye three or four times before I managed to capture some — not all — of my lashes, and by then my eyes were streaming. In other words, this isn't the most comfortable hack and holding the curler's metal plate so close to my actual eyeball was alarming. I approached it with a laser focus.
Once my lashes emerged from the curler's chokehold, they were pin-straight and poking downwards. As I wiped my watery eyes, I was certain my lashes wouldn't come back from this. But sure enough, curling them the right way around made them a little perkier than the lashes on the other side. That said, the difference was subtle and I had to stand pretty close to the mirror to see it.
Applying mascara to this eye was just as easy as the other eye. My lashes on the upside-down side did appear a tiny bit longer and fuller. I can only assume that curling the lashes downwards straightens them out somewhat, giving the illusion of more length when they are then curled upright. A couple of hours later, however, I started to pay for it. I noticed that a few lashes were poking me in the eye and when I went to push them back into place, it felt a little painful. Eventually they fell out.
Worried I'd damaged my lashes, I reached out to a professional makeup artist for their thoughts, and it seems I'm not the only one with doubts about this hack. "This technique, when executed successfully, works by creating a downwards crease in the lash and then a sharp curl upward, which gives the illusion of thicker lashes," says Saffron Hughes, makeup artist at FalseEyelashes.co.uk. "The results can mimic a lash lift, in which eyelashes appear longer and thicker."
While Saffron explains that using a lash curler is a great way to lift straight lashes that need that extra bit of support to curl towards the brow, she adds that you are always at risk of damaging, crimping or even pulling out your lashes if you don't use the tool with caution. "Turning a lash curler upside down may only cause more problems for some people," says Saffron. "The curvature of an eyelash curler may not align with the natural shape of your eye when held upside down, which could lead to either trapping the skin of your eyelid, damaged lashes or even scratching your cornea." Saffron points out that one TikToker commented on Nikkia Joy’s video urging people not to do this as it snipped their lashes off.
Your best bet is to use a lash curler the right way around or simply forgo it entirely in favour of a curling mascara. "Choose a mascara with a curved wand," says Saffron. "A curved wand hugs lashes from root to tip, forcing straight eyelashes to curl as you coat them with product." Try e.l.f. Lash 'N Roll Mascara, $18, Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara, $12.49, or Lancôme Lash Idôle Mascara, $31, if you have a little more to spend.
"You can even enhance the curl by working the bristles across your lashes, starting at the root and wiggling side by side to fully coat the lashes," adds Saffron. "When you reach the end of your lash, gently hold them in a curl with the wand for a few seconds, then release and continue with the other eye. Opting for a waterproof formula maintains the curl throughout the day, too."
If you want a little more drama, reach for individual false lashes. "This is a brilliant way to enhance existing lashes without relying on lash curlers," says Saffron. "To give the illusion of lustrous and full lashes, place them towards the outer corner of the eye to create a cat-eye effect — this is a popular technique used by professional lash artists."
Though I did notice a slight difference, it wasn't enough to convince me to attempt TikTok's upside-down lash curler hack again, especially not when I can achieve a similar lifted effect with the right mascara. I will continue to use my trusty lash curler, though, placing it more towards the base of my lashes rather than the ends to create a similar L-shaped, lash-lengthening effect — without the tears.