It’s sooner than you think.

If your lashes aren’t curling quite as nicely as they used to, or you're finding yourself clamping down harder and harder to create that perfect curve, it’s probably time to replace your eyelash curler. It might come as a surprise when these or similar issues arise just a few months after bringing home your new $20 curler, but rest assured, neither a faulty product nor user error is to blame.

Standard eyelash curlers typically come with one or two replacement pads that are designed to last about three months each, at which point you can buy additional replacement pads (depending on the manufacturer) or invest another $20 in a brand new tool. After weighing the pros and cons, our vote is for the latter.

Even with weekly maintenance—wiping down the curler with makeup remover and perhaps even rubbing alcohol to kill any germs and bacteria—the mechanics can start to loosen over time. This can necessitate more force when curling, in turn, you could wind up with a strange-looking curve or even damaged lashes. Keeping your tool clean and replacing the pad once it starts to show signs of wear will prolong the life of your curler, but it still won't live forever. When you start to think your trusty Shiseido, Shu Eumura, or Tweezerman has seen better days, it’s time to toss it. A new curler and a tube of the drugstore mascara we swear is even better than the expensive stuff will have you putting your best lashes forward, and that’s something we can all get behind.