in my own testing, i've tried dozens of eyelash curlers from expensive to super cheap, but these three stick out in my mind as the best possible buys for each price range. starting off at the lower end, the N.Y.C. (or New York Color) Eyelash Curler, $2.99, is a great buy. found at lots of drugstores and any Target, this eyelash curler gets the job done with no pinching and no damage to your lashes. the one i'm recommending is metal with purple accents-- make sure to pick up that one because the plastic one that N.Y.C. also makes is utter crap. and while we're on the topic, i just have to say that i think all plastic eyelash curlers are crap and should stop being manufactured. they just plain don't work well at all! you may have had different experiences and if you're happy using a plastic eyelash curler then by all means keep it up, but that's my story and i'm stickin' to it. also worthy of a mention for those on a fixed budget is E.L.F.'s Mechanical Eyelash Curler, $1 (pictured at right). this smash hit of a curler has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Make Up Alley's review boards, a rating so high it's almost unheard of! check out the amazing reviews here and read for yourself how many reviewers would pay fifteen TIMES as much for this eyelash curler.
next up on the list is the very first eyelash curler i ever purchased, Maybelline's Expert Tools Eyelash Curler, $5.79 (at Walgreen's). for those who can spend a little bit more but still aren't ready to pony up almost twenty dollars, Maybelline's curler is sturdy, dependable, and long lasting. as a matter of fact, i used mine for years before the rubber pad finally gave out and cracked! (note: never, ever use a curler with a cracked pad, it can break or pull out your lashes and those cracks are breeding grounds for all kinds of nasty bacteria that can cause eye infections!) another great reason to use and love the Maybelline curler? it's easily found at any drugstore and you can also purchase replacement pads for it when yours wear out!
now onto the high-end eyelash curlers for those who want to splurge, and the first thing i want to address is the misconception that the Shu Uemura curler is the be-all, end-all king of curlers and the only one you should have in your arsenal. i know you've read countless magazine articles singing the Shu's praise but don't be fooled into thinking you have to buy it just because everyone says it's the best. after using many fabulous eyelash curlers for years i still felt like i was always missing out on something because i didn't have the Shu, and when i finally did spring for it, guess what? it didn't even fit my eye shape! yes my loyal readers, i got better results with my $1 E.L.F. curler than i did with the Shu. now this isn't to say that you won't fall madly in love with it, i know many people swear by it, but make sure you test it out at the department store and see that it fits your eye shape before you hit the checkout. and one more negative thing about the Shu? after you've paid $18.50 for it, you can't even purchase a replacement pad once your original pad is out of commission! yes, that's right, they don't sell replacement pads. so i'm left to guess that if you're a faithful user of the Shu and your pad wears out you just...buy a whole new curler? i don't think so. moving on...if you're going to splurge on a high-end curler, my recommendation would be the Shiseido Eyelash Curler, $17.50 (at left). after my extreme disappointment with the Shu, this sleek little silver curler saved the day! the reason that this takes the #1 top spot of Best Eyelash Curler ever is because it's the first and only one i've found that gets every single eyelash curled in one quick press of the handles! usually i have to curl the inner half of my eyelashes and then reposition and curl the outer half to get everything even, but not with the Shiseido! it manages to get everything from the tiny, inner lashes to the very last impossible-to-grab lash on the outer corner of my eye. not only that, but when you're using the Shi you only have to press very gently to get a perfect, sharp curl! with most lash curlers i've found that you have to press down really hard to get a nice, even clamp on your lashes but not this one, it grabs all your lashes so easily there's no pressure needed. and two replacement pads are only $5, so if you take care of your Shi the way you should, you can keep it in tip top shape for years to come. for an honorable mention, i also really love the Japonesque Power Curl Eyelash Curler, $16.50. i used this curler for atleast 6 months until i bought my Shi and it works almost as well! it does everything correctly, from giving you a great, even curl to keeping it's shape and never pinching the delicate skin around your eyes.
some tips for getting the best possible curl?
- always curl your lashes before you apply your mascara and never after you've put it on; the mascara can make your lashes stick to the metal of the curler and rip them out or break them off!
- before you curl, turn on your blowdryer and aim it at your eyelash curler to heat it up slightly. before you put it up to your eye, make sure to test it out on your arm first so you don't burn yourself! this turns your eyelash curler into an eyelash curling iron and really helps to lock in your curl so it stays all day.
- when curling your lashes, position your curler near your lashes roots and press once, holding it for a few moments. repeat if you'd like, but don't move the position of your curler. i find that if you only curl your lashes in one spot, it helps the curl to stay longer.
- keep your eyelash curler in a safe place so it doesn't get bent; if it loses it's shape, it can pinch your skin and break off your lashes.
- always keep your eyelash curler clean and replace the pads as needed.
i hope you've enjoyed this eyelash curling manifesto, and haven't fallen asleep halfway through! if you have any tips or tricks for curling lashes or getting a great looking fringe, i'd love to hear them! meow!