If you had asked me a few years ago to choose a desert-island beauty product, lip balm and hand cream would have been pretty high on the list. But nothing could come close to my eyelash curler. While I’ve been blessed with rather long and decently full lashes, they have basically no curve. So after I discovered the eye-enhancing effects of an eyelash curler (Shu Uemura, in my case), I never left home without one.
But lashes get wet or it’s too humid, and the curve disappears. So I hesitantly started getting eyelash perms, but the thought of chemicals so close to my eyes scared me and the results were often inconsistent. And then… yes, you guessed it, I discovered the keratin lash lift.
After trying a few different salons in Hong Kong, I found my holy grail at Lyla Lash Bar. Here I talk to founder Leona Lam to learn more about this life-changing (at least for me) treatment, which is now the second-most popular at Lyla Lash Bar after eyelash extensions.
What exactly is a keratin lash lift?
“A keratin lash lift is like a perm for your lashes,” explains Lam. “Like those old-school perms from the ’80s, it lifts your natural lashes upward to make them appear longer and fuller. But the formulas are much better now. We use a keratin-based product that doesn’t damage the lashes and contains beneficial ingredients.”
Keratin, a protein, is the main structural building block of our hair and often credited with giving hair its fullness and shine. By combining keratin with other proteins and nourishing ingredients, the lash lift actually helps to protect the lashes while adding length, height and volume.
How is the keratin lash lift different from a regular eyelash perm or extensions?
For one, Lam says, it’s not as damaging. Traditional eyelash perms, like perms for the hair on your head, use chemicals to break down the shape of the hair and therefore can lead to breakage.
It also lasts longer. Eyelash extensions, which involve attaching artificial lashes to your existing lashes, require frequent touch-ups as the individual lashes grow out.
How long does a keratin lash lift last?
“Six weeks or even longer in some cases,” Lam says.
Can I still wear mascara and eye makeup?
“Yes! You can wear makeup like eyeliner and mascara, and use makeup remover,” Lam says, while noting that you might not need to given the extra volume the lash lift provides (not to mention the inevitable smudges that come with wearing mascara in a humid climate like Hong Kong’s). Lam also recommends combining the lash lift with a lash tint to further reduce the need for mascara.
Just remember to wait at least 12 hours after the treatment, and to be gentle with your lashes to keep them looking their best.
What about swimming or getting the lashes wet?
Anything goes after 12 hours.
What’s the best way to maintain and care for my lashes after the treatment?
“Lash lifts are very low-maintenance,” Lam says. “We recommend not using an eyelash curler and being gentle when you remove mascara or clean the lashes. A keratin serum can also help to nourish and protect the lashes.”
Most salons will provide a spoolie brush to take home, and the option to purchase a serum. At Lyla Lash Bar, they also send clients home with tiny microfibre-tipped brushes to gently clean the lash roots.
What’s it like to get a keratin lash lift?
We visited Lyla Lash Bar’s LKF studio (it has since moved to 14/F, C Wisdom Centre, 37 Hollywood Road, Central). Before lying down in one of two comfortable recliner chairs, we consulted with Lam on our desired lash curve. We chose the more natural C curve over the D, which lifts closer to the root for a more dramatic effect.
Once positioned in the chair, the lash artist applied a silicone pad under the eyes to protect the skin and cover the lower lashes. After positioning the curling pad with glue along the lash line, she applied the keratin solution and painstakingly smoothed each individual lash over the pad.
We opted to add the last tint, which adds another 15 minutes, so the entire process took just over an hour. As promised, it was not at all irritating and we even found ourselves drifting off at times.
Immediately afterwards, the lashes tend to look a bit spiky but after a day or so they become fuller and natural-looking. A week later and they remain just as full and lifted, and I’ve yet to touch mascara or my now-lonely eyelash curler. While a keratin lash lift can never offer the drama of Russian volume eyelash extensions, it’s a great choice if you want to wake up looking like yourself—only better.
A keratin lash lift at Lyla Lash Bar costs HK$680, plus HK$220 if you include lash tinting. Find out more at lylalash.com