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I love lashes. I have been in about every eyelash situation you can imagine; drugstore brands like Andrea “Curl 91” style and Ardell’s “Wispy” model were the gateway products that ignited my lash habit. These days, my habit now involves feeding my lashes daily with Lash Food serum to promote growth and, when time permits, getting eyelash extensions for $100 a set.

Extensions last about three to four weeks, and frankly, the upkeep can be a pain in the ass. Preserving your lashes means being conscious never to rub your eyes, avoiding certain types of face cleansers and even the water in the shower hitting your face directly, since it can dislodge the delicately glued-on hairs. Don’t get me wrong; they look beautiful, but it’s a process.

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If you’re a lash-aholic like me, then magnetic lashes are the clean and economical answer to get your lash fix on and poppin’. Magnetic lashes apparently appeared on the beauty scene about a year ago; don’t ask me how I slept on that, but I hit the Amazon Prime button and ordered myself a cheap off-brand set last week for a test drive.

Here’s how they work: Basically, it’s an eyelash sandwich. The box I ordered included four strips of lashes with teeny, tiny magnets attached to the ends of the strips. When one strip is placed on the upper lash and the other placed underneath, they magnetically attract one another and clamp shut. Sounds simple, right?

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Yes, in principle; but in practice, they are a bear to put on correctly. And you have to practice …

First, do your mascara, because you can’t put mascara on the magnetic lashes if you want them to last. Then put down a piece of paper towel to prevent losing the lashes if you drop one—handling the lashes reminded me of being a kid trying to hold a crawly insect.

Oddly, the lash strip is as straight as an arrow; I don’t know what that’s about, since last time I checked, we all have curved lids. So you need to take the lashes and bend them back and forth in a U shape to form the curve to fit them to your eye. Next step: Cut the lashes in half (some brands come this way, so lesson learned); the straightness of the strip only allows them to work on the outer corners of your lashes. But there’s a beauty hack that we’ll get to later …

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The upper and lower magnets are usually two different colors to help the wearer differentiate them, unless you have some cheapies; then you’ll know you mixed up the lashes if they start to repel instead of attract when you try to apply them. Once you’re trimmed up and ready to go, then comes the delicate task of getting them mounted on your own lash line.

The upper lash goes on in a second; just line it up with the corner of your lashes and then look down as you lay it on top of them. Then comes the tricky part: Fit the lower lash in the identical position underneath the upper lash. Girl! It took me 20 tries!

When you close your eye to attach the lower lash, “May the force be with you” is all I can say. The magnets cause the bottom lash to move like a slinky and stand up like a caterpillar. For me, both lashes ended up stuck together over my own lash; without your own lashes to hold the magnetic ones in place, both lashes come off like two kids going down a slide.

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Warning! Do not try to pull or peel off the magnetic lashes as you would a glue on strip lash. You will snatch your eyes bald! I figured that one out the hard way and lost more than a few hairs from both sets of my real and fake lashes because the magnetic lashes are sandwiching your real lashes. It’s best if you slide the lashes horizontally and gently toward the outer corners of your eyes to remove them.

And yes, I tried to use tweezers. However, the magnets stick the lashes to metal tweezers. Then I remembered my fab plastic eyelash tweezers from my drugstore lash kit and seized them to continue my attack. OK, major help on getting the lashes not to stick to one another, but I was still not mastering getting them flush against the lash line. They were kind of halfway on, halfway off, and like a weave weeks overdue for a tightening, they showed a visible track across the middle of my lashes. Not cute. Not cute at all.

But I wanted this: the promise of no glue and no waste—because you can reuse the magnetic lashes indefinitely instead of throwing them away after one or two uses. Plus, the thought of escaping the expense and maintenance of eyelash extensions kept me going.

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Finally, I worked it out that I could look down, put on the upper lash over my natural lashes, then look all the way up to apply the bottom lash. The advantage of having really curly hair is that curly lashes make a cradle for the top lashes to hold them in place. Voilà! I got it.

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How do they feel? Light as a feather, but still as if you have a little something on your eyes. It’s the slight sensation of something touching the waterline of the upper lid, as though an eyelash is out of place, but not irritating or painful. Sort of like wearing contacts or strip lashes, the sensation goes away in a few moments.

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The magnets wear as well as the glue-on fake lashes; I wouldn’t go swimming with them on, but I did wear them for a strenuous workout (vanity, thy name is Veronica). I just had to be careful not to wipe the sweat off my forehead with the back of my arm and push the lashes out of place.

The drawback for magnetic lashes is that as of right now, they only come in sets that work on the outer corners of your own lashes, so you still have to wear mascara. It’s just not just a pop-’em-on-and-be-Insta-fab situation. But there are some hacks, if you’re looking to do a DIY full-strip lash and skip the mascara and the glue:

Buy a full-strip lash that you really like a lot, since you’ll be reusing them, and any magnetic set of lashes. They range from the $5.99 jobs from Amazon.com to the original inventors’, the premium One Two lashes, at $69; totally up to you. You simply trim the strip lash and the magnetic lashes to fit your eyelids and then position the magnetic lashes on the outer corners of the strip lash in the same position as you would on your eyes.

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Using lash glue—I like Kiss Lash Glue with Aloe—adhere the magnetic strip to the bottom. If the glue you’re using doesn’t come with a brush, use the tip of the handle of a small makeup brush to carefully spread the glue along the edge of the two lash strips. Taking extra care to make sure the magnetic lash is on the bottom, glue the two strips together. Instant upgrade!

There are two great tutorials that I think are 100 percent when it comes to how to apply or to make magnetic lashes. Check them out, and see what you’re attracted to!

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