Why I Perm My Eyelashes (And You Should, Too!)

Not me!

Confession: I perm my eyelashes.

I’ve tried both traditional and heated eyelash curlers, but they don’t make a dent on my stick-straight Asian lashes. I’ve tried all the curling mascaras — they don’t work either. Applying mascara after I’ve curled my lashes only de-curls them, and applying mascara before curling leaves me with clumpy lashes at a weird 90-degree angle instead of in a soft curve. I thought my lashes would remain super straight forever.

Then everything changed when my sister-in-law told me that she permed her eyelashes. After seeing her perfectly curled fringe, I knew what I had to do, and now I’m a regular eyelash perm-er. It costs a mere $20 at my regular salon in Brooklyn, and I get my lashes done every three months or so. It’s a bargain and pretty low maintenance — two important things to me.

As far as the process is concerned, I lie on a comfy bed and close my eyes as my aesthetician puts a curved rod on my eyelids. The rod’s circumference depends on how curled I want my lashes to be — a thicker rod results gives a more natural curl, while a thinner rod gives a more extreme curl. I usually choose the thinner rod since I prefer a wide-eyed look, and my eyes can use all the enlarging they can get.

Then she applies a glue-like perming agent onto a spooly brush, and combs my lashes up to the mold until they stick. She repeats the process until all my lashes (even the shortest ones!) adhere to the mold, covers my lids with a heated towel, and flicks on an overhead lamp. After about half an hour, she applies extra glue, and brings back the heated towel for another 20 minutes or so. She takes off the towel, removes the rod, et voilà — perfectly curled lashes from the inner to outer corners of my eyes.

The best thing about perming my lashes (aside from them being perfectly curled) is that there’s no downtime. I can rub my eyes immediately after the perm and don’t have to worry about de-curling. And despite the possible dangers associated with the perming solution and my fear of objects near my eyes, I will continue to perm my lashes. Why? Why not? I’m not suggesting that you ignore the possible dangers or side effects, but personally, the pros outweigh the cons.

My lashes stay curled for three months, or until they fall out. They feel the same and haven’t broken off either. I also don’t have to wear mascara, which is great when I’m running late in the mornings or haven’t gotten enough sleep the night before. My eyes look more open and awake, even when I’m not. And I only spend $20 every three months — can I argue with a beauty treatment that costs less than a quarter per day?

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