The Pros and Cons of Lash Lifts, According to a Beauty Expert

Eyelash treatments have been a huge trend in the beauty category for the past few years. One of the biggest treatments is lash lifts, also called eyelash perms, in which a chemical solution is applied to your lash hairs to keep them curled. The process yields lifted eyelashes that that enhance their appearance but don't require a lash curler or mascara. The service is typically paired with a lash tint, depending on whether your technician is licensed to do so.

Lash extensions are another popular service. Lash extensions are individually placed on the natural lash with a bonding glue, giving your eyes the illusion of naturally grown volume. This service, however, requires more maintenance, including biweekly fill-ins and daily cleansing, and you cannot wear mascara (you won't really need it, anyway). For those who want a little drama without the fuss, lash lifts may seem more appealing and easier to manage.

I started getting lash lifts a few years ago, and the response from friends, family, and strangers has been surprising. There's genuine curiosity about the treatment and whether it's a better alternative to lash extensions. Nothing is perfect, so let me explain the pros and cons of lash perms and extensions.

Lash-Lift Pro: It Makes Your Eyes Look More Open

One complaint I had about lash extensions was that, depending on your tech, your lashes can end up looking heavy and separate into clumps; if too many extensions are placed, it can weigh down the lashes. With a lash lift, your natural lashes are enhanced to look longer, because they're curled upward.

Extensions provide a similar effect, but with lifts, you don't have to worry about heavy, clumpy lashes. This curled effect is especially great for the outer corners of your lash line, which can also create an overall lifted look for your eye.

Lash-Lift Con: There Can Be Wear and Tear

As with lash extensions, you need to see a professional with a lot of practice. Most states require a cosmetology license to perform the treatment. (Check your state board to learn what qualifications are needed from those administering lash lifts.)

"When the lash lift is overprocessed, it can damage the natural lashes, giving a frizzy look," Christina Son, a lash lift specialist in Los Angeles, tells POPSUGAR. "It is important that your lash-lift artist assess the natural lashes first to give the proper lash lift."

I get my lash lifts every three months or so — my lashes hold the curl well — but I've noticed that if I don't wait long enough, the treatment can make the tips of my lashes brittle. It is a chemical service, after all. My technician is very careful, and once she noticed this, she advised me to wait and give my lashes a rest — because as you can probably guess, this treatment is addicting.

Lash-Lift Pro: It's Great For Straight Lashes

Many people have straight lashes that won't hold a curl no matter what. Curlers aren't an option for them. Since lash perms are a chemical service, they're guaranteed to lift your lashes. However, the results depend on how well your lashes take the treatment. Sometimes, they can last as long as three months; others might need to schedule their next appointment as soon as four weeks.

Lash-Lift Pro: You Don't Need to Change Your Beauty Routine

When you have eyelash extensions, you typically have to change a lot about your skin-care routine at first. You're not supposed to apply aggressive cleansers to the eye area or rub, which can make liner and eyeshadow a challenge to remove at the end of the day. Many extension techs suggest turning your face away from the shower head and not submerging your face in water. Many of you have also probably learned how to pat your face with a towel instead rubbing aggressively.

With lash lifts, all you have to do is keep your lashes from getting wet for 24 hours. Be prepared to shower before your appointment, and go in sans makeup.

Lash-Lift Con: You Can't Get Extensions With a Lash Lift

If you love extensions, you'll have to pick one or the other. "I highly discourage getting both a lash lift and extensions together," Son says. "The extensions will shed drastically, as the natural lashes will be too curly to attach the extensions. It will not be worth the investment."

Lash-Lifts Pro: You Can Wear Mascara

I don't know about you, but I love mascara. Even though extensions intended to keep you from having to apply mascara regularly, I always broke the "no mascara" rule and applied a little to the tips of my lashes to make them look a bit bolder for nights out. That's one of the reasons I experienced lash breakage from extensions. With lash lifts, you can wear mascara if you want and not have to worry.

Lash-Lift Con: You Can Wear Mascara

OK, so this isn't necessarily a "con." For some people, getting extensions is a great way to avoid wearing mascara. With lifts, you typically need mascara to accentuate the perm and thicken the lashes.

Lash-Lift Pro: There's Less Maintenance

Sick of having to get lash fills every two or three weeks? Those days will be long gone with a lash lift. Son says her clients typically come back for a lift every two to three months: "Some clients can stretch the retention between visits longer than others, and vice versa. Clients with very strong lashes may come back a little sooner."