Your Guide To False Eyelash Materials

Throughout history, humans have gone to great lengths in the pursuit of long, luxurious eyelashes. While some of these early fake eyelash attempts were rather creepy, false eyelashes that look like contemporary lashes made their official debut when Anna Taylor, a Canadian inventor, patented her design in the US in 1911, per USA Today. A few years later, fake lashes were also marketed with the practical advantage of protecting people's eyes from electric lights, in addition to their aesthetic purposes (via The New York Times).

Over the decades, false eyelashes signified Hollywood glamour, as worn by classic film stars like Bette Davis and Lauren Bacall, according to NPR. Later they made a big splash on the fashion front, when style icon Twiggy made fake eyelashes part of her signature makeup look.

To emulate Twiggy's look, fans bought 20 million pairs of falsies in the 1960s. Since then demand has increased, with $1.26 billion in false eyelash sales in 2021, per Fortune Business Insights. Everywhere you look, there's a ton of false eyelashes in a variety of materials. So how to choose? Read on for the ins and outs of different eyelash options.

Human hair falsies are a comfortable starting point

While human hair eyelashes are not a choice for eyelash extensions, notes Stacy Lash, they are an option for false eyelashes. Since they're the same material as your own eyelashes, human hair falsies are user-friendly and comfortable for sensitive eyes, per Elite Daily. On the con side, this type of fake lash is not as long-lasting as synthetic varieties.

According to Byrdie, if you're looking for human hair falsies, Ardell offers multiple options, including glue-on and magnetic varieties. This brand is a fan favorite among makeup artists and offers a variety of lengths within each strip to mimic a natural look.

Surprisingly, human hair false eyelashes may not look as convincing as other options. Due to the manufacturing process, they have a more blunt edge, rather than a tapered one, notes Mademoiselle Lash.

Mink false lashes are natural looking but controversial

According to Fashion Gone Rogue, mink false eyelashes are a natural-looking option that excels in comfort and durability. Speaking to The New York Times, makeup artist Nam Vo recommended Bvcklash Beauty, a line of cruelty-free mink eyelashes. These lashes come in multiple styles, ranging from subtle to dramatic looks. They are intended to be worn 30 times, making their cost about $1 per wear.

On the downside, because they are so lightweight, "Real mink lashes are relatively thin and tend not to hold a curl," Clementina Richardson, founder of Envious Lashes, told Byrdie.

Besides being difficult to curl, bona fide mink lashes can be controversial. According to PETA Australia, these eyelashes are not cruelty-free. Instead, this organization recommends consumers seek out fur-free options. In response to Peta's efforts, in 2020 beauty retailer Sephora pledged to stop selling mink falsies

Silk lashes offer curl, durability, and work well for sensitive eyes

In contrast to mink false eyelashes, holding curl is one of silk lashes' strong suits, according to Secret Lash Paris. In addition, silk lashes offer lots of variety, both in colors and sheen of the lashes. They also note that silk lashes are crafted from a synthetic fiber, since nature-derived silk would be too soft for this purpose.

Mademoiselle Lash also notes that vegan silk lasts longer than mink lashes and is a better choice for people with allergy concerns. Silk lashes can also be a plus for people who want to achieve bold, dark lashes without mascara, since they are typically darker than other false lash materials, per Byrdie.

Synthetic false eyelashes are a convincing faux option

Of all the false eyelash materials, synthetics offer the most options. According to LivBay Lash, synthetics are made of plastic and can be crafted for a multitude of style preferences. While they're made to hold curl, one downside is their overt shininess, although matte options are available.

Besides mimicking silk, some synthetic falsies are designed to have a faux mink look. Colourpop Falsies Faux Mink Lashes is a 2023 top pick from People, emulates the lightweight mink look, and is cruelty-free. The outlet also recommended Loveseen Troi lashes, which are made of synthetic nylon. Even though they're man-made, these nylon lashes are crafted in a mix of black and brown strands to create a natural look.

For an animal-free and plastic-free option, The New York Times suggests Velour's hemp-based false lashes. According to Ethos, this greener choice lasts 20 wears, is 90% biodegradable, and is a favorite of music sensation Lizzo.

Achieve a natural eyelash look with these pro application tips

While past false lash trends have veered toward the dramatic, these days the natural look reigns. "I think customers want beautiful lashes that stand out but don't look fake," Haley Chipman, founder and CEO of Pro Lash, told Harper's Bazaar.

To achieve this look, reach for the scissors. Measure and cut the lashes to fit your eye. You can also take this idea further by cutting each strip into multiple pieces. "I find they're easier to apply and you can control them a lot easier when they fit your eye," makeup artist Amanda Wilson told CNN.

When applying glue, Joanna Simkin, a celebrity makeup artist, suggests waiting 30 seconds to allow it to be sticky but not too wet, per Allure. She also recommends looking down into a mirror when attaching the strip for an easier, more ergonomic application.