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What is Eyelash Perming?

By Mandi R. Hall
Updated May 21, 2024
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Eyelash perming is similar to hair perming. Short for the term permanent wave, a perm is a chemical process that can generally be applied to any type of hair long enough in length. An eyelash perm makes for a wide-eyed effect. Although individuals can purchase eyelash perming kits, this process is best left to professionals. Though mechanical eyelash curlers and mascara can further enhance curled lashes, a lash perm makes for curly eyelashes without assistance.

Contrary to its root name, eyelash perming isn’t actually permanent because the curl doesn’t last forever after application. A standard permanent wave, applied to a full head of hair, lasts until the permed strands grow out or are cut at the initial perm placement. Likewise, as eyelashes fall out and are replaced by new ones, the lash line becomes straighter.

Eyelashes that have been permed typically stay curly for about a month and a half. Different people may experience different results. Some women may have curly lashes for two weeks, whereas others maintain the curl for a couple of months.

For centuries, women have desired a certain wide-eyed look. This look has long been achieved by the use of mascara and additional cosmetics. An eyelash curler can further enhance the curly eyelash look, though these results last for just a few hours. Some people turn to eyelash perming for lashes that point upwards. It is important to note, however, that eyelash perming does not make eyelashes darker, thicker, or longer.

Eyelash perming produces a longer lasting curl. It can be dangerous, however. As with all chemical processes, placing active chemicals near the body can result in harm. Because the eye area is one of the most sensitive areas on the body, the harmful effects are greatly increased. Skin contact should be minimized.

Products used during the eyelash perming process may include a setting lotion, perming lotion and softening agents, among others. Products like this should be kept away from the eyeball and surrounding skin. Allergic reactions, burns, and eye infections may occur if chemicals do affect the skin.

Before perming, a professional will clean and dry the eye area. Along with perming agents, curlers or rods are also used. The lashes are wrapped around a spongy cylinder to be set into a permanent curl. Approximately 10 or 15 minutes later, the curlers are removed and the eyelashes are carefully rinsed.

The entire process takes a professional around 30 to 50 minutes. Prices vary according to each professional. Those wary of getting such a procedure done may ask for references to ensure the cosmetologist or esthetician has other pleased clients.

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Discussion Comments
By Raynbow — On Aug 14, 2014

@rundocuri- I use an eyelash curler on a regular basis, and the curl it gives my eyelashes usually last 24 hours or longer. I have found that if I am in a humid environment or I take a steamy shower, my curled lashes fall, much like curled hair would in these conditions.

There are several things you can do to make the curl you get from using an eyelash curler last longer. When you curl your lashes, repeat it several times to make your lashes stand straight up and to reinforce the curl.

Next, apply several coats of mascara after curling your eyelashes. It almost acts like hairspray does on your hair, because it seems to lock in the curl. Finally, when possible, avoid moist, humid conditions to keep your lash curl looking good for a long time.

By Rundocuri — On Aug 14, 2014

Does anyone have experience using an eyelash curler? Does this tool really produce results that only last for a few hours?

By Heavanet — On Aug 13, 2014

The eyelash perming procedure is not worth the risks involved, and may cause more harm that good. Getting chemicals near the eyes is never recommended, and you can't get much closer than putting the chemicals on the eyelashes.

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