While a great mascara can certainly do wonders for short, sparse, or limp lashes, there’s another tool that you might want to consider tossing in your makeup bag for dramatic effects: an eyelash curler. Though most, admittedly, look more like medieval torture devices than beauty tools, the humble curler can help give naturally straight lashes more eye-opening dimension.
There’s one problem, though: The vast majority of eyelash curlers are bulky and hard to store—and they don’t seem to have long-lasting curling effects. Plus, who really wants to add another step to their beauty routine—especially if the difference is negligible?
To find out which curlers are worth your time and money, we tested nine highly rated eyelash curlers. And we’re so glad we did, because we found a couple of true standouts, including our top pick: the Japonesque Go Curl Eyelash Curler(available at Amazon for $11.00), an affordable and unassumingly small device that offers impressive results. Of all products tested, it was the only curler that was both highly functional and easy to store.
If you’re less concerned about storage and want a standard eyelash curler, consider our best upgrade pick, the Surratt Beauty Relevée Lash Curler (available at Amazon). While it’s significantly more expensive and bulkier, it was the only eyelash curler we tested that delivered truly wow-worthy results.
These are the best eyelash curlers we tested ranked, in order:
Surratt Beauty Relevée Lash Curler
Japonesque Go Curl Eyelash Curler
Tweezerman ProMaster Lash Curler
Laura Mercier Artist Eyelash Curler
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
Brilliant Beauty Eyelash Curler
Revlon Extra Curl Eyelash Curler
Shiseido Eyelash Curler
Covergirl Makeup Masters Eyelash Curler
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This compact device caught my attention because it’s unlike any other eyelash curler I’ve ever seen. Most devices are too long and wide to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, but this one measures just 1.5 inches wide and 2.5 inches long. As a result, it can easily be stashed in any makeup bag or drawer when not in use. I don’t even have a huge collection of products, but regularly struggle to get my makeup bag to zip, so this is quite the perk.
And the really good news? The tiny curler works just as well—better, in fact—than nearly all other eyelash curlers I tested. The device grabs almost all lashes and curls well without tugging, but it has a bit of a learning curve due to the fact that it operates a bit differently—you squeeze a little lever down, rather than two handles together.
If there’s any downside, it’s that the product is made from plastic, not metal, so it feels a little flimsier than others—particularly the lever. I worry this product may have a shorter lifespan than some others—especially because you can’t buy replacement pads for it. But for such a low price, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the conveniences and functionality.
Right off the bat, I was skeptical of this product. Though I’d heard and read glowing praise, it was the most expensive eyelash curler I came across in my research. In fact, it costs more than double our top pick. I wondered: Do you really need to spend that much on something like an eyelash curler?
Here’s the thing: Whether I liked the price or not, this was the only eyelash curler that truly impressed me in terms of how well it curled my lashes. Though I had to carefully shimmy the tool right up to my lash line to grab all of my eyelashes (including the smaller ones in the inner corner), there was no pinching and my lashes looked great—long and significantly curled—after three crimps.
What’s more, the tool itself is very well made. The sleek, black metal doesn’t feel flimsy or squeak while you use it, unlike some other models. It also comes with a convenient and hygienic case for transport and storage, as well as one replacement pad, for when the rubber gets creased and compressed from daily use. (You can purchase more on Surratt Beauty or Amazon.)
Beyond price, my biggest problem with this eyelash curler was its size, in terms of storage in my vanity. To be fair, though, it's very similar to that of your standard eyelash curler—it just couldn’t compete with the convenience (or, yes, the lower price) of the compact Japonesque.
I'm Brigitt Earley, a freelance writer and editor with extensive experience testing beauty products over the course of my decade-plus career. I have previously tested other cosmetics and self-care products for Reviewed, including mascaras and face cleansing brushes, but have also evaluated dozens of cosmetics and personal care products for other lifestyle media outlets.
Through the years, I’ve learned that the right eye makeup can do wonders to make you look awake and ready for the day. But as a woman who wears many hats, including mom, full-time writer, and house manager, I don’t have time for a lengthy makeup routine. Because of this, it’s important to me to find products that really work. If it’s not worth the extra step, I’m simply not going to make the time for it.
We perused best-seller lists across retailers, beauty blogs, and social media to find the most popular eyelash curlers. Then, I tested out each product the same way you might: Each morning, before putting on the rest of my makeup, I used each eyelash curler followed by my favorite (and best tested) drugstore mascara—the Milani Highly Rated 10-in-1 Volume.
Unlike the way you might test, though, I took copious notes about each eyelash curler’s performance in terms of both functionality and longevity, as well as the tool’s durability. Then, when all was said and done, I teamed up with Reviewed’s senior scientist, Julia MacDougall, to score and weigh the results of my daily tests on a calibrated rubric. During this process, I answered weighted questions related to:
Functionality: How easy is it to use this eyelash curler? Does it curl all of the eyelashes on one eye, in one crimp? To what degree was it able to curl eyelashes? How portable is the eyelash curler when it's not in use? How easy is it to store the eyelash curler when it's not in use?
Comfort: How comfortable is it to use the eyelash curler? Did it pinch or pull eyelashes or skin in the process?
Curling effect: Did eyelashes stay curled after applying your mascara? By the end of the day, were eyelashes still curled?
Cleanability: How easy is it to clean the eyelash cleaner? The good news: cleaning was pretty easy across the board. As such, this section didn’t have much effect on the overall scoring.
Availability of replacement pads: How easy is it to buy replacement pads for this eyelash curler? Because pads need to be replaced on a consistent basis (every few weeks, as explained below), we assessed whether or not each curler came with replacement pads, plus the availability of additional ones.
What Should You Know About Eyelash Curlers
When it comes to eyelash curlers, there are a few very important rules to follow. First, it’s vital to keep the tool clean—you are, after all, putting it right up to your eye! Doing so is easy: Simply spray the tool with a bit of alcohol and wipe clean with a cotton pad. Alternatively, for a deeper clean, you can wash with soap and water—just be sure to thoroughly dry the device to prevent rusting.
You also want to curl lashes prior to applying mascara (or any other eye makeup) to prevent lashes from sticking to the tool, which can break or pull out these delicate hairs, causing long-term damage. Also very important: There’s no need to heat up the device with a blow dryer (please don’t—again, you’re putting this thing really close to your eye). The safest and most effective way to curl your lashes is to carefully shimmy the curler as close to your lash line as possible and then squeeze down three times at increasing distance from your eyelid.
Finally, eyelash curler pads need to be replaced every so often—every two to three months to be exact. (You’ll know it’s time to replace the pad if it’s dried out and cracked or misshapen.) Most curlers come with at least one extra pad; others are available to purchase separately. In some cases—particularly when it comes to the more affordable drugstore brands—replacement pads are not available for purchase. In these cases, you will have to replace the entire tool.
Other Eyelash Curlers We Tested
Tweezerman ProMaster Lash Curler
The Tweezerman ProMaster Lash Curler is a decent drugstore pick and the same type of curler as the pricey Surratt but it will save you some cash compared to others on this list. It easily grabbed all of my lashes, but the difference was in the degree of curl. Though I saw an improvement in the upward curve of my lashes, the result wasn’t quite as prominent as it was with the Surratt Beauty curler. The effect was closer to that of the Japonesque, and I personally prefer the more compact option, but for someone who likes the familiarity of a regularly-shaped eyelash curler, the Tweezerman is a fine option.
If you choose to go this route, you can feel good about the quality of this device. The handles are reinforced with a double layer of metal all around, and the whole thing feels quite sturdy. It makes a clicking sound with each squeeze, but there’s nothing flimsy about it. The tool also comes with three replacement pads—more than most other curlers tested—plus additional replacements are widely available.
The Laura Mercier Artist Eyelash Curler is another solid option, though it’s a bit expensive for what you get. It grabs most lashes without pinching, but the curl isn’t as defined as the top options. While it yields a slight difference, you won’t necessarily walk away feeling wowed (or at least, I didn’t), which is disappointing given the higher price.
Like our top contenders, though, the metal tool itself feels sturdy. Plus, I liked the charcoal color—it just feels a little more upscale than your standard stainless steel. In terms of size, there’s not much worth mentioning—the curler is about the same size and shape as most traditional curlers and has roomy, comfortable handles that don’t favor righties or lefties.
The biggest downside is that, while the curler comes with one replacement pad (a standard offering for these products), I couldn’t find an easy way to buy more. For the relatively high price, this presents a big problem for the tool’s usable lifespan.
The best way to describe the Shu Uemura curler is “nice enough.” The design is sleek—it’s slightly smaller than other traditional eyelash curlers, but the handles are still roomy enough to hold comfortably. The stainless steel is nice and bright, making it look the part of a quality product.
The problem lies more in the wear. The curl is satisfactory, but because it wasn’t significant, it didn’t hold up throughout my eight-hour day, making me question whether or not it was really worth the extra step.
At a lower price than the drugstore Tweezerman Pro Lash, I can see the argument for this curler, despite its lackluster performance. And It may work perfectly fine for you if your lashes have a more prominent natural curl to them than my naturally pin-straight lashes. One upside is that the eyelash curler comes with one replacement pad, so you don’t have to go hunting for more right away. However, additional replacements seem difficult to come by—I couldn’t find refills at any online retailers (even on the brand’s own website).
The first thing I noticed about this stainless steel product is that it comes in a gorgeous rose-gold color. (What can I say, I’m a sucker for aesthetics!) It also has a roomy satin carrying case that makes both storage and transport easier and more hygienic. Beginners will also appreciate the fact that the curler includes a small instruction booklet, which includes directions for proper usage (complete with pictures), as well as safety information, replacement guidance, and details on the lifetime warranty. What’s more, you get two replacement pads with your purchase.
All in all, this sturdy eyelash curler offers a good value, considering it’s one of the cheapest options we tested. The problem is that the tool’s actual functionality can only be described as “fine.” While it grabbed most lashes, it only left them slightly curled. As a result, the look didn’t hold up the way I’d hoped it might. If your lashes hold a curl well or you use a mascara that helps hold a curl, this could work for you.
This eyelash curler has a very wide design that makes it even bulkier than your standard tool—something that already presents a bit of a storage issue. It’s also a little flimsy and squeaky compared to other options. That said, it has some redeeming qualities, like rubber grips inside the handle that help prevent any slipping that may cause you to pinch yourself while using the curler.
I also encountered a slight hiccup while using the product: When pressing down to get a good curl, the tool made a big click—almost like it broke. When I stopped to examine it, all looked fine, but it was distracting and a bit disconcerting at the time, as I had the tool up close and personal with my eye.
In terms of wear, the curler grasped most of my lashes, but it hardly curled them, despite multiple firm presses and a second pass through (something that’s not usually necessary).
This particular eyelash curler didn’t come with replacement pads, and refills don’t seem to be available for purchase. Given the very low price tag (the lowest of all items tested), this is forgivable. Still, I would recommend spending a bit more to get something that actually curls.
This is another beautifully designed option—at least in the way of eyelash curlers, anyway!— that comes in a bright gold metal with a vivid red replacement pad. Because of the aesthetic, you feel rather glamorous using it.
But the allure wears off rather quickly, especially when you consider the higher price tag. The first thing I noticed when using the tool was that the finger holes are relatively small, which makes holding the curler a bit more awkward than others, and potentially impossible for those with larger digits than mine. Additionally, I was not able to get a satisfactory curl—possibly a result of the fact that I couldn’t get a good grip on the small handles.
The replacement pads are widely available for this eyelash curler, so you’d have no need to replace the device for a very long time, but that convenience isn’t worth the less-than-stellar results or, frankly, the investment in the device itself.
Unfortunately, this drugstore buy was an all-around failure for me. The significantly curved shape made it hard to get the business end of the tool close to my lid to grab all of my lashes without pinching myself. And when I got as close as possible, I didn’t notice much of a curl at all for my efforts. In fact, my mascara alone does way more to enhance my lashes. It just isn’t worth the extra step.
Additionally, the flimsy-feeling construction of the curler isn’t up to snuff compared to other products tested. You’re better off spending a few extra dollars to get a sturdier, more effective eyelash curler.
Brigitt Earley is a freelance writer and editor based in NJ. Her work has appeared in a number of lifestyle publications, including Real Simple and Apartment Therapy. She’s a new mom, runs an Instagram account full of the most delicious food she can find, and loves to hate a good barre class.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.