The truth about magnetic lashes

False lashes may seem like a modern invention, but they actually got their start in the late 1800s. "Parisians have found out how to make false eyelashes," reported writer Henry Labouchère in 1882, as noted by WN.com. The procedure involved sewing hair through the eyelids. Um, no thank you!

Thankfully, falsies have come a long way since their inception. In 1911, a woman by the name of Anna Taylor patented artificial lashes and, by 1916, a wigmaker had fashioned a pair of adhesive false lashes using spirit gum — a product meant for applying wigs. Although this resulted in the young actress who wore the glue-ons to experience nearly swollen-shut eyes, adhesive lashes continued to evolve and are still in use today — albeit much safer versions. In recent years, however, magnetic lashes have taken the world by storm. Here's everything you need to know about these glue-free false lashes that everyone's been talking about.

How it all began

"It all started on a Saturday evening," Katy Stoka, founder of One Two Cosmetics and One Two Lash, told Swaay. "I was in the shower and thought to myself 'do I have time to wash my hair AND glue on my lashes? Ugh, why do lashes have to take so much time?'" In that very moment, the idea of magnetic lashes was born. After two years of researching and developing the product, Stoka released her invention. To say magnetic lashes were an instant success would be an understatement. "After selling through the initial stock immediately, we now have tremendous U.S. production capabilities and ship worldwide," Stoka revealed.

It wasn't long before other companies started churning out their own versions of magnetic lashes. "Despite imitations, our sales continue to grow," Stoka explained. Although she's obviously not a big fan of the imitation products, many people have come to love a wide variety of magnetic lashes.

They're not all created equal

The prices of magnetic lashes are seemingly all over the place. As of this writing, One Two Lash falsies range from $59 to $69 for pairs while one pair of Ardell magnetic lashes come in around $12. It's not just the price that differs — the products themselves can vary greatly.

Ardell states that their magnetic lashes are made from "100% human hair." One Two Lash, on the other hand, revealed, "We love all furry creatures including humans. One Two Lash uses our patent pending magnetic technology and design with synthetic fiber." Human hair may appear more natural while synthetic can look full and thick — but those aren't your only options.

Magnetic lashes by Uptown Lashes, for example, are "100% mink fur." Michelle Nicole, a California-based lash expert, told Racked that mink fur lashes — which are also used for eyelash extensions — are "really superior in the sense that they have this really fluffy, natural look." If you're seeking out a cruelty-free variety, however, you'll want to stay away from this kind.

They can be difficult to apply

Learning how to use magnetic lashes is an interesting process. One Two Lash and many other brands use the same system for application. Unlike adhesive lashes that stick to your eyelid, magnetic lashes use, well, magnets. But this means two sets of lashes are required for each eye. Basically, you "sandwich" your natural lashes between a top and bottom layer of magnetized false lashes. 

To begin, you'll want to rest the top strip of lashes along your lash line while you bring in the bottom lashes and wait for the magical click to let you know they're adhered. While it sounds easy peasy, it will probably take quite a few tries to get your lashes to sit where they're supposed to, as noted by YouTuber and makeup artist Nikol Johnson. Even if you're used to applying adhesive lashes, the technique of applying the magnetic style is quite different. Once you get the hang of it though, you may never go back to the glue.

You might still need mascara

While you may be all about false lashes because it means you'll no longer have to mess with mascara, that may not actually be the case. One Two Lash falsies are "intended to be worn without mascara directly applied on them," according to the company's site, but even they admit to using "mascara to blend the product with real lashes (if necessary)." Sometimes you just need a little mascara, right? 

Even if you deem mascara not totally necessary to blend your natural and false lashes together, you may actually want to use mascara before using your magnetic lashes. In fact, Today reported that Ardell "recommends applying a layer of mascara prior to application." Not only will this help with blending, but it also "gives the lashes some grip." As mascara can be quite the sticky product, you will likely find it much easier to apply the top set of magnetic lashes if you use at least a little bit of the cosmetic.

Are they safe?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) requires all "false eyelashes, eyelash extensions, and their adhesives" to meet their safety requirements, much like other cosmetics. Although the FDA warns users to "check the ingredients" before using adhesives, how do magnets fit in? The FDA doesn't say. However, one optometrist, Mila Loussifova, said she isn't concerned about the use of magnets near one's eyes. "I like there's no glue in this," she told KATU News, "if you have to use them once in a while." 

While this may not be the case for all magnetic lashes, One Two Cosmetics asserts that it "has performed extensive internal testing, and retained Princeton Consumer Research to independently study the effect of continued use of the magnetic lashes in healthy female subjects" and has thus been dubbed "safe for use." However, those with preexisting eye conditions should abstain from using eye products, including One Two Lash magnetic lashes.

They're reusable

One of the great things about both adhesive and magnetic lashes is the ability to reuse them. It certainly makes the price of the higher end products much easier to swallow knowing they're not disposable. In an interview with InStyle, celebrity makeup artist Allan Avendaño explained, saying, "Regular [adhesive] lashes can last at least 4 or 5 times if taken care of, whereas mink can last even longer — pretty much until they're just unusable." So, because no glue is needed to apply magnetic lashes, these bad boys can last even longer.

Uptown Lashes claim their 100 percent mink magnetic lashes are "reusable up to 50 times." That's ten times longer than adhesive lashes! While One Two Lash doesn't specify how long their lashes will last, the company confirmed that they can be reused "many times" as long as you take care of them, which includes keeping them in their case when they're not in use, gently removing and applying the lashes, and being sure to take them off before you hop in the shower. 

Wait, you don't need to clean them?

The trick to being able to reuse adhesive lashes is really in how well you remove the glue, as noted by InStyle. Naturally, this means you'll have to spend some time cleaning them. Caring for magnetic lashes, however, is a whole lot easier. In fact, pro makeup artist for Ardell, Yamima Salahieh, revealed that once you've removed your lashes and placed them back into the case, "no aftercare is necessary." As long as you only applied mascara to your natural lashes before using the magnetic lashes, the expert said, "Nothing else is needed so your lashes are now ready for use for their next time."

As you already know, not all magnetic lashes follow the same guidelines. Unlike Ardell, One Two Lash does recommend using their designated cleanser to "extend the longevity even further." Nevertheless, the company said the lashes can be worn "many times without cleaning." Woohoo!

Beware of MRI machines

Magnetic lashes may very well be safe for everyday use, but, if you have a date with an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine, don't forget to take them off! If you've ever had an MRI, you likely know that jewelry — including piercings — are a big no-no because the machine contains an incredibly powerful magnet, as noted by Yale Medicine. Any metal that is pulled toward the machine can, of course, cause some pretty gnarly injuries. According to the Newcastle Clinic in England, even some types of makeup and hairspray contain metal, which is why many medical professionals recommend going Plain Jane during your visit.

However, since magnetic lashes are a fairly new invention, it's entirely possible that your MRI technologist may not even think to remind you to take off the falsies. And, as some kinds look super natural, they might go unnoticed. Thankfully though, some medical centers, like Intermountain Imaging Services, have updated their metal screening questionnaires to include magnetic lashes.

A different kind of magnetic lashes

There is no denying that Katy Stoka completely revolutionized the way we use false lashes. In many ways, magnetic eyelashes — no matter which brand you buy — are far superior to their glue-on predecessor. Since One Two Lash rolled out their product, companies have stuck with a similar model of production. The brands you'll find in stores all rely on the "sandwich" technique and most call for two rows of lashes per eye.

By summer 2018, Seattle-based Laura Hunter launched a kickstarter project that took magnetic lashes to a whole new level. Instead of relying on two rows of magnetized false lashes, Hunter created "The LashLiner System," which calls for magnetic eyeliner and just a single row of magnetic lashes. "Just apply the liner, let dry, and the lashes softly 'click' onto the liner!" the instructions reveal. By December 2018, the product became available for purchase on lashliner.com. What could be next for magnetic lashes? Well, we'll just have to keep our eyes peeled for the next big innovation.