Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack.
Lash extensions were the one thing that blew my mind when I realized how common they were. Like, my brain exploded with this knowledge, given that so many of my friends and colleagues had them. I believed for the longest time that everyone was rocking full strip lashes, waking up at 4 a.m. every day to put them on. For me, a big, bold lash is typically reserved for special occasions and events — so when I got lost in my usual 8-10 hour TikTok hole a few weeks ago and discovered the stacked eyelashes hack, I had to try it out.
For those of you who are wondering what "stacked eyelashes" are, it’s pretty straightforward: Those cute little single lash clusters are applied in segments underneath the lash, using an at-home bonding system. The main appeal is that you can apply as many lashes as you like, “stacking” them in place using the bonder, layer after layer, until you get your desired look. Want an easy, natural look? Just do one layer. Going out on the town? Stack ‘em up, baybee! The lashes come in different lengths — short, medium, and long — so you can really control the style and appearance of the lashes themselves. Ever since the one time I had lash extensions applied ended with me having a full-blown panic attack, I was, to put it simply, intrigued. Basically, if you’re looking for the lash extensions look but don’t want to make the commitment while also NOT wanting to have to deal with strip lashes being applied every day, this is your happiest of mediums. The only thing is getting past the ick of applying lashes underneath your eye, which is… shockingly easy once you get past the learning curve of applying.
The example I saw on TikTok had the application being done using the Lashify bonding system and premade lash fans from Amazon — which, FYI, is not a recommended use by Lashify, who suggest the entire system being used as a unit. Kiss also makes their own version with the Falscara as well as the V-Luxe lines, if you'd rather try the drugstore route before jumping in feet first with Lashify. But because I live in excess and enjoy breaking the rules, I, well, I did what I wanted just to see what I could actually do here, meaning I used a mishmash of all of these lashes to get my desired look for the photos in this story. Lashify, thankfully, walked me through my first application a few weeks ago over Zoom with a consultant, who made my terrified-of-eye-infections self feel at ease about doing it. She told me with care and use, one Lashify application can last up to ten days, which intrigued me.
The example shown in the TikTok above is pretty much how I did mine over Zoom, and on my own time. Working one eye at a time, I applied the black Lashify bonder, waited 30 seconds, and then applied the clear layer, before letting that get tacky. Once that was ready, I took the Lashify Fuse Control™ Wand, which TRULY looks like if you took a traditional eyelash applicator and gave it to Michael Myers and said “You can no longer use that big ol’ knife, this is now your weapon of choice, have fun with Laurie.”
I’m joking. But really, when I first saw it, I thought torture device. But the Fuse Control wand is built to get really close to your lash and allow you to pinch them, move them, and really fuse them to your lashes. What I saw as a foe, was really a friend! And really, I don’t think I’d be able to get past the “underneath the lashes” part without it. I once read a story on XOVain (RIP) about how a writer who applied her strip lashes from the bottom, and the entire comment section nope'd the hell out of that concept, myself included. But guess what? Some concepts age better with time, and this is one of them.
Honestly, the concept of stacking eyelashes isn’t exactly new: Drag queens have been taking traditional strip lashes and gluing them on top of each other for a lifetime, and that’s considered the other form of “stacking eyelashes." But not everyone is good at using strip lashes, and this is a great way to come over that hurdle. It definitely is more of a time commitment. My first application over Zoom took 30 minutes, and I would say every time I’ve applied them since, that seems to be the amount of time it takes me as a true beginner. When testing for this story, it took even longer — around 45 minutes — because I just kept applying, bonding, and stacking, applying, bonding, and stacking. In the photos for this story, I believe I have on eight single-strips on each eye, over three bonded layers, because I truly wanted to get the full show for you readers. Having tried them over three times, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. When they say you need a thin layer of bonder for each eye, they’re not lying. Too much had my eyelids trying to kiss each other.
2. A “lash map” is your friend. Plan out what you want the lashes to be applied before you start applying and make sure you have enough lashes in the length you need for your desired effect.
3. Alternate eyes during your application so you don’t finish one eye and immediately forget your lash map, like I did.
So, how’s wearing stacked eyelashes, really? I don’t know if it’s a regular thing for me, for two reasons that have nothing to do with the actual products themselves. The first being my deep commitment to my hardcore eyeliner lifestyle, and I like oil cleansing more than I like having on fake eyelashes. Bonded lashes are removed with oil, so I’d have to swap my entire makeup routine in order to make this a regular thing. The second is that yes, these should last for up to ten days with proper application and you can wear them to bed and pretty much anywhere you like, but as a deeply restless and violent sleeper, that is not the case on my end. Really — after my first application, I woke up in a sea of tiny lash feathers all over my pillows, which made me sad because of the time, effort, and expense involved. But that’s not saying I didn’t deeply enjoy this, I did — I think I’m going to save these for special occasions when I can prepare ahead of time. I found the actual application period incredibly relaxing and therapeutic, getting the same level of satisfaction you get from doing crafts, which says a lot considering, you know, the panic attack I had last time I had lash extensions.
However, for those looking for a regular lash extension look without the commitment, maintainance, or expense of getting regular lash extensions and fills, this is 1000% for you. And that’s the best kind of recommendation, right — I can safely recommend them to you and say that yeah, if you’re interested, try it out, but it’s not my every day thing. Good for you, not for me.
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