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Forget false lashes. Learn the right way to amp up your eyes with this tried-and-true tool.

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While every woman may have slightly different must-haves in her makeup bag, we’re here to say an eyelash curler should make the cut. Inexpensive and portable with powerful impact, eyelash curlers are one of the easiest ways to brighten your eyes and bring drama to your lashes. Whether you’re a seasoned makeup lover or new to the curling scene, there may be a few things you don’t realize you’re doing wrong when it comes to clamping down around your eyes. 

Here is everything you need to know to correctly curl your eyelashes like a pro.

1. Choose the right curler for you

Before you get started, make sure you have the right tool for your style and routine. The two most common types of eyelash curlers you’ll encounter are heated curlers and traditional eyelash curlers.

Much like other heated hair tools, heated eyelash curlers deliver a more intense curl that lasts longer. However, if you’re looking for a simpler step to add to your eye makeup routine or just learning how to curl your eyelashes, you may want to stick with a more traditional, unheated eyelash curler. Be sure to look for an unheated curler that is curved for the natural shape of your eye and includes a plentiful enough pad to press against your lashes. Plus, if you ever want to add a little heat, you can always use a hairdryer to heat up your metal curler before using. Just make sure the metal tool is not too hot before holding against your eye.

2. Begin with clean eyelashes 

It’s easy to overlook yesterday's face wash routine the next day, but it’s important to make sure old makeup is fully removed. Starting with leftover mascara will cause your lashes to clump. Even more concerning, leaving mascara on too long can lead to lash damage or eye irritation. Curling with dirty lashes can also cause old mascara to build up old on your eyelash curler over time.

3. Do your eye makeup first, but stop before the mascara

If you want to style your eyes without lashes, apply your eye makeup before curling. However, definitely stop before reaching for the mascara wand. Curling your lashes with mascara already applied can cause damage. Dried mascara makes your lashes stiff, which can lead to serious breakage when curled.

4. Carefully curl your lashes…the right way

For unheated eyelash curlers, start by holding the curler like a pair of scissors and opening it completely. Keep your eyes open and bring the tool towards your upper lashes. Place your lashes in between the top and padded base, stopping as close to the root of your eyelashes as possible without pinching skin. For the first round of curling, keep your tool upright by the roots of your lashes. Check that all of your lashes are inside the curler. Clamp down (don’t be scared!) on your lashes carefully, gently squeezing and lightly pulsing for about 10 seconds.

Don’t stop there. After you’ve completed your first clamp, turn the angle of the curler slightly so that it lines up with the curve of your eyelid crease. Clamp down again here to get a more curled, not a crimped, result.

Continue avoiding a sharp bend by moving the curler slightly up the lashes away from the roots for another clamp. Lastly, wiggle the curler up towards the tip of your lashes and close down softly with the same pulsating pressure to complete the curl.

Repeat on your second eye for beautifully curled lashes ready for a layer of mascara.

WATCH: This Is When You Should Toss Your Eyelash Curler 

6. Care for your lashes and curler

No one wants an eye infection or damaged lashes, so make sure to take care of your curler and eyelashes alike. Use makeup remover or soap regularly to get rid of any makeup left on your curler, and make sure to remove your eye makeup completely each night. It's also good to keep in mind that the pads on your curler should be repaced every 3 months.