True, they can be a little scary looking, but lash curlers are must-have for anyone worth her beauty salt. After all, what else can make you look sexier and more awake in 10 seconds flat? Check out our lash curler round-up and find the best one for you.
If you’ve never curled your lashes before, typical metal curlers can seem a little intimidating. Plastic travel curlers, on the other hand, look a little less like a torture device you’d see on “Game of Thrones”—and they’re actually a great choice for lash curling novices. “The plastic is safer and easier to handle than metal, especially if you’re just starting out,” says New York City makeup artist Josephine Keo. “You can compress the curler over and over and not clip your skin as easily versus a metal curler.” The only downside: Plastic doesn’t pack as powerful a curling punch as metal, so it may take longer to get the curl you want. “Plastic curlers take a little more work than metal,” Keo notes. “So depending on how curled you want your lashes to be, you’ll have to keep compressing the curler.”
Heated wand curler
- Short, sparse or hard-to-curl lashes
- Anyone with lash extensions
- Those who can’t shake the habit of applying mascara then curling
If your lashes are impossible to curl (or you’re a tiny-lashed type who’s sick of getting pinched by metal curlers) you might want to try heating things up with a wand-style curler. Just press gently against your lashes and hold until you’ve got the curl you want. “Since it has heat to help with the curling process, you don’t have to work as hard,” says Keo. Heated wand curlers are also the best choice for those with lash extensions or fragile lashes, because there’s less risk of breakage compared to daily clamp-downs from a metal curler. Keep in mind you still have to take care when curling, though. “Compare it to a curling iron for your hair,” says Keo. “With a hot iron barrel, you avoid your scalp. With a heated lash curler, avoid getting too close to your lid.” And although heated wand curlers can be used safely after mascara (no risk of lashes getting stuck and having an omg-what-just-happened moment), most makeup artists still prefer the traditional curl-then-apply-mascara approach. “Using a heated curler after applying mascara can be beneficial, especially if you want to smooth out clumps and separate the lashes, but I prefer using the heated curler first, then mascara. Just like the cool shot on a blow dryer, applying the mascara afterward seals in the curl you got from the heat,” adds Keo.
Classic metal clamp curler
- Medium to long lashes
- All-purpose curling
- Those with steady hands/more experienced lash curlers
It’s the grandfather (make that grandmother) of lash curlers, and it will give you a reliable curl every time. The tricky thing? There are about a million different models out there, so it’s tough to know which one will give you the results you want (pretty curl) versus the results you don’t want (weird crimp). Makeup artist Fiona Stiles, the celebrity makeup spokesperson for Mark. cosmetics, prefers the two curlers listed above for a very specific reason: “It’s really the length and curve of the curler that makes these exceptional. Many drugstore curlers are too rounded and you can’t get the curler close enough to the lashes. These are flatter, so you can really get next to the lash roots,” she explains. Curling novices might need a little practice to start using a classic metal clamp curler, but the results are worth it. “You should be able to get a good curl with three compressions,” says Keo. “Start close to the lashline and compress once, then move the curler slightly up to the middle and compress a second time. Finally, bring it to the tip.”
Metal curler with spring tension
- Medium to long lashes
- Those who tend to be heavy-handed when curling
Similar to a classic metal clamp curler, models with spring tension will give you a reliable, lasting curl. So what’s the difference? First off, the handles. “Spring tension curlers have finger pads that you rest your pointer finger and thumb on while compressing, while clamp curlers have handles you have to put your fingers through,” explains Keo. Second, the level of control. The spring provides more resistance, so it allows for a more gentle closing action—super-beneficial if you tend to use a heavy hand when curling (more gentle closing equals less risk of breakage).