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Lash Lift vs. Lash Perm: What’s the Difference?

Lash Lift vs. Lash Perm: What’s the Difference?

Lash lifts and lash perms have become increasingly popular in the beauty industry. They allow individuals to achieve longer, fuller, and more defined lashes without the hassle of daily mascara or lash extensions. But what exactly are lash lifts and perms, and how are they different?

Suppose you're an esthetician who's trying to decide whether to offer one or both of these treatments to your clients. In that case, it's worth learning more about the benefits and processes and what professional lash lift products or lash perm tools you may need to acquire.

What Is a Lash Lift?

A lash lift is a beauty treatment designed to enhance and uplift your natural lashes, giving them a more curled and voluminous appearance. It is a popular alternative to traditional eyelash extensions and mascara, providing a semi-permanent solution for clients seeking a low-maintenance way to enhance their lashes.

The Process of a Lash Lift

During a lash lift procedure, you will carefully place the client's lashes on a lash shield or lash rod to keep them securely in place. Then, you will apply a specialized lifting solution to the lashes. This solution gently breaks down the bonds in the lashes so you can mold and shape them into a lifted position.

The next step in a lash lift procedure is to apply a neutralizing solution. This stops the lifting process and locks the lashes into their lifted shape. Finally, you'll use a moisturizer on the client's lashes to keep them healthy and moisturized. The entire lash lift process typically takes around 45 to 60 minutes, and the results can last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks, depending on how fast your client's lashes grow and how diligent they are with their lash aftercare routine.

The Benefits of a Lash Lift

  • Enhanced curl & volume: Lash lifts give lashes a beautiful curl and added volume, making your client's eyes appear more open and awake.
  • Natural look: Lash lifts enhance your natural lashes, providing a more natural and subtle look than lash extensions.
  • Low maintenance: Unlike mascara or extensions requiring daily application or touch-ups, lash lifts require minimal maintenance following the initial procedure.
  • Timesaving: With a lash lift, your client can save time getting ready in the morning as they won't need to curl their lashes or apply mascara.
  • Waterproof: Lash lifts resist water, sweat, and tears, allowing your client to enjoy activities without worrying about smudging or running mascara.

Who's Best Suited for a Lash Lift?

Lash lifts are suitable for many individuals, but there are a few factors to consider:

  • Natural lash length: Lash lifts work best on individuals with medium to long natural lashes. A lash lift may not provide the desired results if your client's lashes are short.
  • Straight or downward lashes: A lash lift can help create a more lifted and curled appearance if your client has naturally straight or downward-facing lashes.
  • Desire for low-maintenance: If your client is looking for a low-maintenance lash enhancement option that still provides noticeable results, a lash lift may be a great choice.

What Is a Lash Perm?

A lash perm, also known as a lash permanent wave, is a cosmetic treatment that gives natural lashes a semi-permanent curl. It's a popular option for those who desire long-lasting and beautifully curled lashes without needing daily curling or mascara application.

The Process of a Lash Perm

You will apply a specialized perming solution to your client's lashes during a lash perm procedure. This solution breaks down the disulfide bonds in the lashes, allowing you to reshape and curl them. Then, you'll wrap the lashes around a small rod or curling tool, creating the client's desired curl. 

Once the lashes are wrapped, you'll apply a setting solution to help reform the disulfide bonds in the new curled position. This step is crucial in ensuring that the curl holds and lasts for an extended period. Finally, you'll apply a nourishing serum or conditioning treatment to the client's lashes to keep them healthy and moisturized. 

The entire lash perm process typically takes 60-90 minutes, and the results can last 4-6 weeks, depending on how fast your client's lashes grow and how they care for them.

The Benefits of a Lash Perm

  • Dramatic look: A lash perm creates a dramatic curl, enhancing the visual impact of shorter lashes and making the eyes appear more open.
  • Long-lasting curl: The treatment provides a consistent, lasting curl that eliminates the daily need for an eyelash curler, saving time in your client's beauty routine.
  • Enhanced eyes: A lash perm can make the lashes look thicker and fuller, boosting the overall appearance of the client's eyes.
  • Low-maintenance: This treatment is relatively low-maintenance, requiring little daily upkeep, ideal for active or busy lifestyles.

Who's Best Suited for a Lash Perm?

Lash perms are suitable for most people, but there are a couple of essential factors:

  • Straight or downward Lashes: If your client has naturally straight or downward-facing lashes and desires a long-lasting curl, a lash perm can help them achieve the desired look.
  • The desire for long-lasting results: If your client wants a semi-permanent solution that provides extended curl and longevity, a lash perm may be the right choice.

Critical Differences Between Lash Lifts & Lash Perms

When helping your clients choose between a lash lift and a lash perm, it's essential to understand that you understand the critical differences between the two treatments. While both aim to enhance the appearance of a person's natural lashes, there are distinct variations in the following key areas.


A client with longer lashes might opt for a lash lift, which enhances the natural length and curvature for a subtler, more elegant uplift. Conversely, a client with shorter lashes may prefer a lash perm, as it provides a tighter curl that can make the lashes appear more noticeable.

Appearance & Longevity

A lash lift provides a more natural and lifted appearance, enhancing the natural lashes' curl and volume. The results can last 6-8 weeks, depending on the lash growth cycle. In contrast, a lash perm gives the lashes a more pronounced and defined curl, creating a bolder look. The results can last 4-6 weeks.


Silicone rods or shields are among the lash lift supplies estheticians use to lift and curl the lashes. These come in various sizes to accommodate different lash lengths and desired curl levels. On the other hand, lash perms typically use small rods or curling tools to wrap the lashes around and create the desired curl. An esthetician can customize the size of the shields or rods based on the client's lash length and desired curl.

Technique & Application

During a lash lift, the technician applies a lifting solution to break down the bonds in the lashes and shapes them using the silicone rod or shield. A setting solution then locks in the lifted shape. However, in a lash perm, the technician applies a perming solution to break down the bonds in the lashes and wraps them around the rod or curling tool to create a curl. A setting solution reforms the bonds in the new curled position.

Conditioning Treatments

Many lash lift treatments include a nourishing serum or conditioning treatment as a final step. This helps to keep the lashes healthy and moisturized, promoting their overall appearance and longevity. Meanwhile, lash perms do not typically include conditioning treatments. However, clients can still use lash serums or conditioners at home to maintain the health and strength of their lashes.


The pricing for a lash lift can vary depending on location, salon reputation, technician's experience, and fees for add-on services. On average, lash lifts are more affordable than lash extensions or perms. Depending on the salon and location, lash perms may be priced similarly to lash lifts or slightly higher. The cost can also vary based on any additional treatments or services.

Market Confusion

There often needs to be more clarity in the market regarding lash lifts and lash perms, mainly because both treatments aim to enhance the natural curl of the eyelashes but achieve this through different methods and results. This confusion can lead consumers to book the wrong service, resulting in an outcome that doesn't meet their expectations. 

To ensure your client gets the desired treatment, it's crucial to explain the specific effects of each treatment thoroughly. A lash perm offers a more dramatic curl, which is suitable for making shorter lashes stand out. In comparison, a lash lift provides a subtle lift that enhances the natural shape and length of longer lashes. 

When the client books their appointment, politely clarify their desired outcome or share before-and-after photos of each treatment with them. This approach will help them visualize the potential results and make an informed decision, ensuring their satisfaction with your eyelash enhancement.

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  • Sara Millecam
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