False eyelashes are one of the most transformative, yet tricky, makeup techniques to master. Most people first get introduced to falsies as strips, which require multiple steps: You have to measure, trim, delicately glue, and blend with your natural lashes. We don’t blame you if you’ve avoided wearing fakes—one wrong move, and they’re falling off your face in the middle of the day. But, when they’re done well, you’re feeling yourself so much you can’t imagine life without them (cue: this viral meme).
Celebrity makeup artist Gita Bass, who works with Emily Blunt, Emmy Rossum, and Tina Fey, has a pro secret: Skip the strip lashes altogether. She claims individual lashes, which come in tiny clusters, are much simpler to work with. “They look so much more natural and you can really create the shape you want. You can build them up to make them look more extreme and dramatic,” she tells ELLE.com. “Once you master them, they’re so easy.”
Ahead, follow along to learn how to master fake lashes step-by-step.
In order for falsies to look like your own, they need to blend with your natural lashes. Curling them creates a base that will seamlessly support the lashes.
Bass prefers to apply mascara before rather than after putting on fakes because the latter could result in clumpy-looking lashes. She isn’t against another layer after finishing if the whole beauty look calls for it, however, claiming “it does add more drama.”
One cool trick Bass shared was to use your hand as an assistant: Create a dollop of lash glue and line up the individuals so you can easily dip them in. “Ardell lashes are the best!” she says, “I love the knot-free ones. They’re undetectable.”
Bass is a fan of Tweezerman’s Lash Assist Tool because “the angled end of the tweezer helps you place them flat.” She says one of the biggest mistakes people do with false lashes is applying them too far from the lash line and wearing them too far on the outer corner, which makes the eyes droop.
“You can really be your own artist and create what you want,” Bass says of using individual lashes. Layer them, use them just on the outer corners, or mix and match different styles of lashes. Once you’re satisfied, repeat on the other eye and voila, you’re done.