DIY Eyelash Extensions

One day I was browsing in my usual drugstore in Hawaii, Lil Tot in tow, when I spied something in the Sally Hansen nail products aisle
that stopped me in my tracks.  Ardell Duralash Eyelash Extension Kit. DIY eyelash extensions???!

It was mid-2007, Talika Lipocils seemed to be taking over the world, and I was toying with the idea of forking over the $40 for a tube.  I’ve always had sparse, light brown lashes with blonde roots – so I’ve had to gunk on tons of mascara to get full coverage all the way to my eyelids to completely disguise the blonde part.  (Which I’ve found almost impossible anyway.)  I’d considered getting them dyed before, but the side effects and potential for disaster (blindness, anyone?) had scared me off.  After having my son, I noticed my eyelashes were falling out about the same time the hair on my head was [if you didn’t know, about 6 weeks – 4 months after having a baby your body begins shedding all the hair that it held onto during pregnancy; normally you lose about 100 hairs a day but during pregnancy your hair does not shed at the same rate – we’ve all heard that your hair gets thick and luscious during pregnancy, right?  It’s in part due to less shedding…which commences abruptly and often in large clumps after delivery, just FYI].  So I was looking to do something about the situation…and being such a do-it-yourselfing frugalista, I figured I wouldn’t be stepping into a salon anytime soon.

I was so intrigued by the concept of the eyelash extension kit, I just had to try them.  They were pretty affordable, too – at around $11 for a pack.  So I took them home, and after my son was asleep for the night I spent about an hour and a half grappling with them and applying them.

The next day, it was amazing.  I got so many compliments wherever I went – from the women in my Mom’s Club asking: “Did you do something different?” to the lady at the grocery checkout line telling me I had beautiful eyes.  Amazing!!  And even more amazing, the lashes I had applied so painstakingly over that hour-and-a-half lasted….3 and a half WEEKS.  Absolutely incredible.

So since then, I’ve been hooked on Ardell Duralash.  Not too long afterwards I started seeing ads for expertly-applied eyelash extensions in the Japanese magazines I was reading, and eventually went to a salon in Tokyo to have them applied ($84 for 120 lashes!!…back in 2008, though it’s more pricey now).  But since I don’t go to Tokyo more than once a year (and salons that apply extensions here in the U.S. are few and far between and AMAZINGLY expensive at $150 – $400 for a full set of extensions) this DIY version is much more doable.

Now, eyelash extensions are not something that should be worn continuously.  As your natural eyelashes grow, the extensions start to twist in different directions and poke you in the eye, or get matted in the corners of your eyes.  The glue is annoying and crusty, and visible in closeups (unless you get them done by an expert).  You don’t ever want to get the glue in your eyes or on your eyelids, since it will burn and possibly cause damage.  You can’t rub your eyes or else you run the risk of pulling the extensions off.  You can’t wear mascara or eyelash conditioner on your lashes at the glueline since both will dissolve the glue.  And with extended weight on your eyelashes for long periods of time, your natural eyelashes can become brittle and prone to breaking off.  You will want to give your eyelashes a “rest” in-between wearing the extensions, so they can get healthy and flourish during their natural growing cycle, and you may have to regularly use an eyelash conditioner to undo the damage.  Plus, I’m not an expert and am not dispensing medical advice – if you choose to follow, please do so at your own risk!!

So, if you do want to try out Ardell Durlash, they are available online where I’ve linked above, and in the Sally Hansen/false eyelash section of your drugstore (at least here in the States, I’m not sure about internationally).  The only version I’ve seen for years includes eyelashes that are wide, fanning clumps – not the kind they used to have (the slimline, bundled clump which I used in the below tutorial).  But the application method is the same: (WARNING: There’s a lot of close-up photos of my eye in the tute below, so if you find close-up photos of [my] eyes gross, skip it!)

You Need:

*Ardell Duralash Eyelash Extension Kit (my old kit is on the left; currently sold kit is on the right)

*magnifying stand mirror (it’s sooooo much easier when your mirror is on a stand!!)

*small pieces of foil

*tiny scissors (optional), not pictured

*tissue (optional), not pictured

*lampstand if you need more light, not pictured

[The tweezers, LashTite adhesive, and set of lashes are all included in the kit.]

The Before photo.  I was startled by how much I look like Steve Buscemi in the above photo. :-/

How To:

1. Open up the kit, pull out the tweezers and Eyelash Adhesive.  Fold the piece of foil so it’s doubled-over.

2. Pour a small amount of the adhesive onto the foil (about the size of a pea).

Grasp one of the shorter eyelashes near the end (just beyond the curve in the center) with the tweezers, and dip the knotted end into the adhesive.  Allow a tiny bead of adhesive to form on the underside of the knot before you apply.

3. Close one eye and use your other hand to hold the eyelid taut while you are applying.  (I like to start in the middle of my eye and fan out from there, but it’s up to you.)  Carefully place the lash ON TOP of your top lashes.

Use the tweezers to squeeze the lash onto your natural lashes, and open your eye and squeeze the lashes together (being careful not to touch the gluey end).  Wait for a few seconds, and the glue should dry and adhere to your natural lashes.  DON’T touch or try to shift the extension lashes at all after a few seconds, or else you could pull them off.

4. Repeat with the shorter lashes, applying in towards your nose, and then outwards towards the outer corner of your eye.

Change to the medium- or even the longer-length lashes near and at the outer corners of your eyes for a natural look.

5. If you find the application doesn’t look as “full” as you like, go back in and apply the shorter lashes in-between what you’ve already applied.  If you drop the lashes or the glue dries too fast before you can place them on your natural lashes, you can wait a few seconds, and use your fingers to “ball up” the glue and pull it off the lashes, and then re-apply glue and start over.  If you get glue on your natural lashes where you aren’t applying the extensions, pull off the glue as quickly as you can before it dries using your fingers (you can also use Adhesive Remover, included in the kit, on a tissue to remove extra gobs of glue).  I also find that as I’m going back in and filling in the lashes, I can use my fingers to grasp the lashes and then “squeeze” them onto my lashline since I have all the applied lashes to grip and press against.

6. Once you’re happy with one eye, count the number of lashes you end up applying.  Then apply the same amount and sizes to the other eye so they match.  For me (since I’ve done this many, many times), the whole process takes about 30 minutes, and I usually do it while watching some bad late-night TV.

7. (Optional) I find that straight out of the kit the lashes are a little long for me for daily wear, so I like to trim them with nail scissors. DON’T simply cut the ends straight up or else they’ll look weird; you want to half-close the scissors and pull the blades down the length of each clump of the lashes so they snip the ends at different lengths (kind of like how you would “feather” your bangs or hair if you were cutting it).  Always snip just a little – you can go back and cut more if you want.  And DON’T cut your natural lashes!!

Once all dry, take care of them – no scrubbing or pulling; avoid contact with soaps/makeup/makeup remover; and be extra careful when you wake up in the morning and want to rub the “grit” out of your eyes – because a lot of it is GLUE that needs to be there!!  Your natural lashes will shed as time goes on, and the glue will weaken and the extensions fall off, so you can choose to re-apply more, or use the Remover that was in the kit to remove them all.

No more Steve Buscemi!  And the best thing is, I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and feel pretty immediately…without makeup, without washing my face or doing my hair…it’s truly amazing what a different a pair of lashes make!

But they’re still long-lasting lash extensions for a fraction of the cost!

I know, I know – here I am advocating poking at your eye with sharp instruments and a pair of scissors, not to mention toxic, smelly glue and bristly clumps of eyelashes.  FOLLOW AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

Happy DIY’ing!



18 Comments on DIY Eyelash Extensions

  1. marta
    2.26.2011 at 7:47 am (5 years ago)

    wow, this looks great!

  2. Kirsten
    2.26.2011 at 1:54 pm (5 years ago)

    Oh wow, these look like tedious work but props to you for making them work! And look great! My eyes are kind of tingling just thinking of putting them on, but I think that’s because I wear contacts and get really touchy feely when something near goes my eyes. Ah! Lovely job! They look awesome.
    Kirsten recently posted..DIY- Watercolor Petal Necklace

    2.26.2011 at 6:19 pm (5 years ago)

    I’ve actually used these before! And I must say, I looked SO amazing in them. A fuller-flirtier set of eyelashes really DO make a hugggeee difference. I stopped for a while because I had to let my eyelashes grow back normally (it did cause my eyelashes to be brittle and I lost of a lot of eyelashes because it was my first time playing with it…)

    Do you know another way of removing the extensions? The stores run out of the adhesive remover very quickly
    NOSTALiA MOON recently posted..Rachel Roy

    • carlyjcais
      2.28.2011 at 12:54 pm (5 years ago)

      Aren’t these eyelashes great??? I just love them, but yes, repeated use does damage the natural lashes. I’ve mostly used the remover included in the kit to remove them…but I’ve also had success with doing exactly what the instructions say NOT to do…applying mascara on the glued area, and then using regular eye makeup remover; I found that this softened the glue and allowed the eyelashes to come off.
      Hope that helps!:-)

      • Gee
        7.30.2012 at 2:10 pm (3 years ago)

        The remover does run out fast. Try not to put the false lash with another lash. Make sure they are–one to one and also don’t place it too close to the the root. This way if your natural lash falls the false lash will fall too without disturbing any of the other lashes. :) Have fun looking beautiful ladies!

        • carlyjcais
          3.30.2013 at 11:14 am (2 years ago)

          Thanks for the tips! I shall have to try these the next time I play with these extension! Thank you:-)

  4. Kelley Kovich
    11.08.2011 at 8:19 am (4 years ago)

    Where do you buy these kits?

    • carlyjcais
      11.08.2011 at 11:04 am (4 years ago)

      The Sally Hansen nail products aisle in most drugstores, Target, Wal-Mart, or other superstore. Or Ebay if you can’t find them there.

  5. lisa fuchs
    11.14.2011 at 8:25 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, just to say thanks for the tutorial. I am planning to get these done professionally on Wednesday this week and stumbled on your webpage. I think that I wlll still go for the pro treatment this time (it’s about $80) because I am a bit scared of the whole thing but if I like the effect, I now know that I won’t have to become homeless in order to feed my eyelash habit. thanks again. and you never looked like steve buscemi!!

  6. Stepahnie
    1.30.2012 at 4:56 pm (4 years ago)

    Those look like shit. First of all, you have pale eyelashes and you’re putting on dark lashes. Second of all, you put them on so sparsely that it looks like you didn’t finish. Fill them in and you *might* look better.

    • Tina
      3.29.2013 at 7:59 am (2 years ago)


      Is it THOUGHTFUL
      Is is HELPFUL
      Is it INSPIRING
      Is it Neccessary
      Is it Kind

      In your case NONE OF THE ABOVE!

  7. Nonnie
    2.13.2012 at 9:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Without meaning to be as rude or harsh as the poster above
    I would have to agree. These look quite terrible because they are so
    sparse and spidery. Initially in the before and after picture I thought you had just put in some really clumpy mascara.
    Thus would have looked good with more lashes. I might give them a try!

  8. Emily
    3.25.2013 at 7:52 pm (2 years ago)

    This is definitely an interesting tutorial. I applaud you for posting a disclaimer that repeated use of this type of lash enhancement is potentially detrimental to the natural lash line. This type of enhancement is NOT a true eyelash extension as it is a cluster of lashes, similar but not exactly like flares. A true eyelash extension as done by reputable professionals are one lash extension placed on one natural lash and separated so they are not glued in a clump. The REAL type of lash extension will not cause damage to the natural lash line as long as the appropriate lengths and diameters are used and they are completely separated from other hairs. This is why you pay more at a spa than the DIY or McLash bars. You really do get what you pay for in this incidence. There is a reason we professionals pay thousands of dollars for lash extension training. It’s so much more than just throwing on some glue and hair fibers.

    On the note of dyeing the lashes, again, if you go have an eyelash tint service from a reputable esthetician, you are more likely to cause blindness with people trying these tutorial steps than to get them tinted. Assuming they are using eyelash tint and not hair dye. Again, the key word here is “reputable”.

    As an esthetician who does REAL eyelash extensions as a service, I urge you to please stop using and encouraging this type of lash enhancement as the potential to blind yourself, cut yourself or cause permanent damage to your eye (hairs and surrounding tissue) is extremely high, even when you think you have it down to a T. May I also suggest to trim the lashes BEFORE you have them adhered to your eye? I would recommend either to have them done by a trained professional, or if the price is too high, use strip lashes with temporary latex glue instead. When taken care of, the strip lashes are reusable, and the glue will cause less damage than the type you are currently using. I like Ardell Brand lash strips and their latex based glue in dark. (it dries black so it looks like liner)

    Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions of comments. As you can probably tell, I am very passionate about the use and misuse of lashes. If you need more information on what I mean by real lash extensions, I’d be happy to provide photos of what I am comparing your lashes to, and more details.

    Happy Lashing!

    • carlyjcais
      3.26.2013 at 9:53 am (2 years ago)

      Hi Emily- thanks for your input. I totally get what you’re saying when you write about your concern for the health of the eye and using lashes – thanks for bringing that to our attention!

      The kit I used for these extensions was called “Ardell Duralash Eyelash Extensions Kit,” and though I noticed the lashes included in the kit were clumped together as opposed to a single lash extension that I later experienced when I went to Japan and had them done professionally, I had no reason to believe that the kit was misleading and not a real eyelash extension as you wrote. The instructions and photos I posted followed the instructions in the kit exactly, and I was just sharing how to use this kit that’s been on the market for some time (though admittedly changed its lash type a bit over the years).

      Regarding dyeing lashes, I really don’t know anything about that since I’ve never had my eyelashes tinted or dyed, so having had no experience with that I can’t really advise one way or the other. I just had read testimonials and disclaimers online and had been scared off from doing it because of that – my own personal reaction to reading about other people’s [negative or so-so] experiences.

      Of course any beauty service is going to be much better done when going to a trained professional and I’m not discouraging anyone from doing that if that is what they want to do! As I wrote, I am not an expert or a trained professional, just someone who spotted this kit in the makeup aisle and thought it would be fun to try out.

      I presented this kit as a low-priced possibility for the lash extension “look,” the results of which some people didn’t like anyway. To each her own!

      Thanks for the information!

  9. Sara
    2.04.2015 at 5:24 am (7 months ago)

    Hi Carly, this is the best tutorial on DIY eyelash extensions Ive seen so far and Im happy that I discovered your blog through this post :) Although I must admit I`ve never heard of eyelash conditioner before, which brand do you use? One more question – can you do your make up as usual when you wear these extensions?Im thinking to try out and do them myself but I like to wear eyeshadow and eyeliner on a daily basis so I dont know if theres any point doing eyelash extensions if I cant use make up remover around them? Thanks for your help, Sara x

    • carlyjcais
      2.12.2015 at 1:38 pm (7 months ago)

      Hi Sara! Thanks so much for your kind words. When I posted it, had I known it would prove to be that useful to people, I would have taken better photos!! I’ve used Revitalash Conditioner in the past…it seems a little hard to get now, you can always do a search for “Eyelash Conditioner” on a website like Sephora or Amazon and there will be some options there. ( Many girls swear by coconut oil too – rubbed into the lashes at bedtime! If you have these extensions on, you can do your makeup as normal you just have to be careful about not letting any makeup remover touch the glue where the lashes are applied, because the remover will dissolve the glue. Usually when I’m wearing these I tend to stay away from eyeliner since it’s just too hard to remove without touching the lashes, and I can’t use mascara at all, because it will pull off these extensions. You could wear eyeshadow though…and wearing eyeliner once your lashes have grown out a bit and you won’t touch the extensions with the makeup remover is a possibility too. Hope that helps! :-)


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