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How to Apply False Eyelashes Like a Pro

Like riding a bike or parallel parking, learning how to apply false eyelashes isn’t a skill that comes easily. But anyone who’s mastered it will tell you it’s well worth the practice. False lashes can make your eyes look bigger and more dramatic without the mess of mascara—and for the fraction of the price of eyelash extensions or lash lifts.

But we know few things can be more intimidating than putting glue near your eye, so we called on Benefit Cosmetics makeup artist Deanna Tharp to share her expert advice. Whether you want the drama of strip lashes or the full, natural look of individual ones, here’s everything you need know about how to apply false eyelashes like a pro.

How to Put on Eyelash Strips

Step 1: Choose the right eyelash set for your eye shape.

While most false lash strips will fit all types of eyes, knowing your shape can help you get the placement of yours just right. There are six main shapes: monolid, upturned, downturned, hooded, round, and almond, as this video from Smashbox demonstrates.

If you have monolids (lids without a crease), you’ll want a shorter set of lashes that’s fuller at the outer corner to open your eyes up. Otherwise you’ll want to cut strip lashes and stack leftovers at the outer edge (like the trick seen here). Upturned eyes, or eyes that are lifted higher at the outer corner than the inner corner, and downturned eyes (which slope downward at the outer corner) also benefit from more volume at the outer edge. Think of these types of sets as the cat eyes of false lashes.

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Hooded eyes (eyes with a prominent brow bone that don’t show a crease when open) can be easily weighed down by false lashes, so you’ll want long, fluttery lashes concentrated just above your pupil to open your eye at the center. Individuals or shorter lash strips work well for this.

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If you have round eyes (you can see the whites of your eyes above or below your irises), opt for curled lashes that lift and enhance the curve your eye shape. Anything too dense or voluminous will make your eyes look smaller.

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Lastly, almond eyes (no whites of your eyes show above or below your irises while looking straight ahead) are traditionally the easiest to place lash strips on, since most styles work well with this eye shape. Feel free to experiment and see which style you prefer.

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Step 2: Apply eyeliner.

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