I Used An Eye Mask To Curl My Lashes Naturally & The Results Surprised Me

·7-min read

Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok’s viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.

TikTok’s obsession with Bambi-esque lashes shows no sign of letting up. Among tutorials on how to fake lash extensions on a budget, you’ll spot impressive before and after reviews of trending lash growth serums by the likes of The Ordinary and Maybelline, as well as how to get the best out of your mascara (a little translucent powder on the wand goes a long way to boost thickness). But the biggest lash trend right now is how to make the most of what you’ve got naturally.

A handful of TikTokers recently went viral for ditching the mascara in favour of Vaseline and a lash curler — the results are mind-blowing to say the least. In fact, the hack is something I can attest to having tried it and absolutely loved it. On days when I don’t want to wear makeup but need to look awake, it’s my go-to. Fast forward to this week, however, there’s a new lash-enhancing hack doing the rounds.

In a video with an enormous 7.2 million views and counting, TikToker @allyrbackus showed their followers how they curl their lashes naturally overnight — by sleeping in an eye mask. “I used to get a lash lift every three months because I thought that was the only way to make them look longer,” said Ally in the video, “but then I realised you can train your lashes to sit like this naturally over time.” All you do, said Ally, is put the sleeping mask on, but when you do so, have your eyes open — not closed. “Put it on tight and then close your eyes,” continued Ally. “You’ll literally feel your eyelashes go up like this,” Ally said pointing upwards, “and you will wake up to your lashes sitting up like this all day every day. Then once you put makeup on, even longer.”

@allyrbackus #stitch with @alexis this is how i’ve given myself a natural lash lift over the past few months so i can stop putting chemicals on them every few months 🫶🏼🫶🏼🫶🏼 #nogatekeeping #lashlift #lashes #lifehack #fyp ♬ original sound – ally

What? You, mean the lashes stay upright and take on that shape throughout the night? Ally’s followers were quick to take to the comments to share their opinions, but among the sceptics were a handful of people who had been doing this already. “I’ve been saying this for years,” wrote one. “It’s like putting your lashes in an overnight roller.” Another observed, “So basically heatless curls but for your lashes,” while plenty of others headed to Amazon to order an eye mask, stat.

If you’re an R29 regular, you’ll know that I’m always willing to put my hair/brows/nails – and now lashes – on the line for honest content. So, I picked up the Slip Silk Sleep Mask, £50. The soft, slippery material is kind on skin and lashes (and looks chic on a bedside table). I waited a couple of hours after cleansing and applying my skincare – so that the mask wouldn’t get stuck to my face – before pulling it down and ensuring that my lashes were facing upwards. The mask itself felt nice and comfortable but my eyes were open ever so slightly, which made nodding off quite difficult. After a long weekend of covering backstage at London Fashion Week, though, the sleep finally got me.

I’m a fidget and when woke up at around 5am, I realised that the mask was askew. In too much of a daze to do anything about it, I went back to sleep and hoped that the few hours of wearing it properly had done enough to curl my lashes, even if only a little bit.


When I rushed to the mirror the next morning, I was pleasantly surprised. The lashes above my right eye were standing upright, as though I’d given them a very quick press in a lash curler. However, the lashes in the inner corner were perkier than the lashes in the middle and the end, so the effect isn’t as uniform as using a pro curler. My left eye was a slightly different story. I must’ve been sleeping on this side, because they were lifted in places, flatter in others and a little messy. A dry spoolie seemed to sort the crooked lashes.

Applying my Jones Road The Mascara, £24, to them in the morning only enhanced the lifted effect, as you can see in the below selfie. I was really impressed with the results and it lasted well throughout the day. Without mascara, though, the results are short lived in comparison to an eyelash curler, and the lashes droop. But that’s why Ally suggests being consistent and doing this trick nightly. I’m not entirely sure how the magic actually works, but I’d bet it’s sandwiching your lashes between the mask and against the heat of your skin which contributes to the subtle, curled effect.

The next night, I tried this hack with another, tighter mask from a different brand in the hope that I could boost the lifted effect, but this one had slightly fluffy material inside — and that was a rookie error. As my eyes were open a little, the material felt scratchy. I immediately ended up with bloodshot eyes and the fear that I’d wake up with conjunctivitis, so you can forgive me for giving up after a few minutes. Peep Club’s Instant Relief Eye Spray, £15, was something of a saviour.

While I can’t fault that this lash curling hack kind of works when done correctly, eye experts have different ideas. Nicola Alexander-Cross, optometrist and co-founder of Peep Club, told me that this TikTok trend is concerning for two reasons: “When we sleep, our eyes need to be closed because we can’t blink while we sleep,” said Nicola. “Blinks are like little sips of water for the eye and they are there to hydrate your eye. Tears are our eyes only line of defence against infection and bacteria. That’s why it’s important to keep eyes closed while you sleep.” In other words, no-one wants uncomfortable, dry eyes, which can affect your vision over time.

In Ally’s case, their eyes are closed, and it’s just the lashes which sit upright against the mask. But as I discovered, it’s difficult to close your eyes completely. There’s another reason why you might want to re-think this hack, said Nicola. “You’re putting a mask against an open eye, which can accumulate bacteria, lashes, dust and debris.” Nicola also said that, the material of the mask (depending on the quality of it) can scratch your eye while it’s slightly open, which can cause infections.

As a result, this isn’t the optometrist recommendation when it comes to curling your lashes. “If you want to do this, a heated lash curler that only you use is your best bet,” said Nicola. It pays to get your tool right, though. “You want to make sure it’s more of a mascara wand design, versus a clamp,” said Nicola, like the Lash Star Heated Lash Curler, £32. Try not to do this very often, added Nicola, who said it’s like straightening your hair. “Heat can make any kind of hair follicle brittle and vulnerable,” she explained. Nicola advises making sure the tool is kept clean before and after use — and only using it before mascara.

Using a sleeping mask probably isn’t the worst lash curling hack optometrists have seen. But as I discovered, it can be hit and miss. According to Nicola, anything which involves glue or harsh chemicals near the eye is the real no-no. So would I try this hack again? Though you’re asleep when it’s happening, nothing can beat my trusty Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler, £17, for ease and speed. It’s so gentle on lashes, which is why you’ll spot it in most makeup artist kits. This and a slick of mascara (I love the L’Oréal Castor Oil-Enriched Paradise Volumising Mascara, £12.99, and the ISAMAYA Rubber Lash Mascara, £35, in particular) is the tried and tested beauty editor’s recommendation for perky lashes that really last.

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