How to Curl Your Eyelashes with Fire (Sort Of)

The somewhat perilous Korean beauty trick you may or may not want to try at home. (Either way, we show you how.)

By: Naomi Nachmani
Photography: Masha Maltsava

Okay, we admit we don’t typically want fire anywhere near our face. TBH, prior to this particular discovery, a lighter would probably be the last thing we’d think to find in our makeup kit. But when we heard that there was a pyro-friendly mini-perm method popular in South Korea that keeps your eyelashes curled all day, we were equal parts intrigued and apprehensive (read: terrified). Leaning slightly closer to the latter—okay fine, we’re just huge wusses—we called in Angela Kim of Korean e-comm shop InsiderBeauty to act as guinea pig for the cause, breaking down the heated technique one safe step at a time.

 

The Background

“Korean women tend to have sparse and straight lashes that have difficulty holding a curl. There’s a plethora of electric eyelash curlers available on the Korean beauty market, but many women complain that they take too long to heat up. The [Q-tip burning] method first began as a beauty trick used amongst insider makeup artists [in South Korea] and became viral once beauty bloggers began to upload the trick onto YouTube.”

 

The Benefits

“This mini eyelash perm takes a mere ten seconds, so people tend to like it better [than electric eyelash curlers] because it’s so quick and convenient, and keeps one’s lashes curled all day. It gives even the sparsest and straight lashes a voluminous curl that will leave your eyes looking larger and more awake.”

 

The Tools

1.    Cotton or Wooden Q-tip. Note: it’s very important to not use a plastic Q-tip.
2.    Lighter or match
3.    Eyelash curler
4.    Mascara

 

The Method

Precautionary note: Use these steps with caution. Using a Q-tip that’s burned or too hot can result in burning your lashes. We highly recommend you test the Q-tip’s heat each time you utilize this trick.

 


 

1.

Curl 

“Curl your lashes as you normally would and apply a coat or two of mascara.”

 


 

2.

Warm up the Q-tip

“Break off the cotton end of a Q-tip, then use a lighter or match (a lighter is easier) to quickly warm up the Q-tip stick by swaying it back and forth over the open flame. Do this for about five to six seconds. It’s important that during this step you slowly warm up the stick and not burn it. If there’s any smoke, start over with a new Q-tip.”

 


 

3.

Test for Heat

 

“Place the end of the Q-tip against your hand to make sure it’s warm and not too hot. Precautionary note: if the Q-tip is too hot or burned, your lashes can burn off.”

 


 

4.

Apply and Curl

 

“Now walk the warmed end of the Q-tip [on the outside of your lashes] from the root all the way to the tip. Press against your eyelid at the base of your lashes for a better curl. Repeat four to five times. The clumps of your mascara may smooth over during this step.”

 


 

5.

Finishing Touches

“Reapply your mascara at the very end and voilà! You’re done!”

 

 

Curious about other unusual Korean beauty trends? Check out facial acupuncture (Seoul swears by its anti-aging effects) and why cleansing with carbonated water might be just the thing. And follow us on Pinterest for more weird and wonderful beauty inspo.

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