Is It Safe to DIY Eyelash Perms at Home?

Is It Safe to DIY Eyelash Perms at Home?


My life was forever changed when I got my first professional lash lift five years ago. The process was easy, the results were amazing, and there wasn’t really anything I didn’t love about it—except for the price. Had I kept up with consistent lash lifts over the last few years (which would mean spending $150 every other month), my bank account would be hurting by now. Still, not a day goes by that I don’t miss my eyelashes that were always curled and ready for life, so when I started seeing at-home lash lift kits popping up on social media, I was v curious…especially about the safety.

Now, usually, I’m down to try any DIY alternative to save a few bucks and trips to the salon, but something about applying strong chemical solutions around my eyes just…didn’t sit right with me. So before I even though about trying one for myself, I turned to Ilyse Haberman, MD, an ophthalmologist at NYU Langone Health, for her expert opinion. Are these at-home lash kits safe? Will they damage my eyelashes? Make me go blind?! DW—I got Dr. Haberman to answer all of my anxiety-riddled questions, below.

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What’s the difference between lash lift and lash perm?

It really depends on the brand you’re working with, but generally speaking, a lash lift is like a lash perm, only it uses newer and better products and techniques, Courtney Buhler, founder and CEO of Sugarlash PRO, has previously told Cosmo. These days, “lash lift” and “lash perm” are used synonymously when referring to a treatment that enhances, lifts, and curves your natural lashes, so don’t be surprised if you see both terms thrown around for the same thing. If you search around for lash lift kits online, you’ll probably even see both terms used to market the same product.

Do eyelash perms damage your eyelashes?

Eyelash perms and lash lifts, when done professionally, are usually safe—but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to damage your eyelashes or eyelids, especially if you’re using an at-home kit. Dr. Haberman explains that using these chemicals on the eyelashes themselves can actually cause the lashes to change in quality and even fall out. Not only that, but if the solution is left on for too long, it will damage the lashes. This, my friends, is why it’s so important to do your research and find a reputable salon and trained technician that knows what they’re doing.

Is it safe to do a lash lift at home?

Honest answer: No, it’s not safe to do DIY lash lifts at home. There is a good reason most lash lift kits you find online are indicated for professional use only. “Putting chemicals on your lashes could be irritating and potentially damaging to the cells on the surface of the eye,” says Dr. Haberman, “which can cause decreased vision and potential for infection.” Scared yet? It gets worse. “Another potential side effect is a contact dermatitis, allergic reaction, or burning of the eyelid skin, which can cause swelling of the area around the eye.”

Another important thing to think about: In a salon, your eyes are closed throughout the entire process to protect them from potential irritation. So I can’t even imagine trying to apply a strong perming lotion to my eye area…with my eyes open…at home…with zero experience. No thank you.

Can lash lifts go wrong?

You betcha! That’s the very reason why people receive training for the correct lash perming application and techniques. So, given all the risks, it’s unsurprising that Dr. Haberman does not recommend using at-home lash lift kits, and instead suggests finding a lash specialist who is attentive, knowledgeable, and experienced. If you’re really just on the hunt for products you can use at home, though, here are four alternatives we highly recommend for longer, fuller-looking lashes.

Are lash lifts worth it?

A professional lash lift? Yes, 10/10 would highly recommend. Totally worth it. But you heard the doctor; don’t do it yourself. Might I suggest a new eyelash curler instead? Or a pair of falsies? Or an eyelash serum? Or literally anything but an at-home lash lift kit. After all, your precious eyes are worth more than the money you save from a DIY kit.

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