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The cheap, easy hack to make fake eyelashes

Sometimes a beauty hack is so simple I wonder why I didn’t think of it myself. But mostly I’m just grateful other people are more creative than I am, as evidenced by this super-cheap, super-easy way to get longer, fuller lashes.

Between tubing mascaras, fibers, primers, extensions and even false lashes, ladies will go to extreme lengths (sorry, had to go there!) to get amazing eye curtains. And these methods can be expensive and painful. But thanks to this tip from Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty now you can get dreamy butterfly lashes on the cheap.

Just keep your eye on the cotton ball.

No, literally: She uses the fibers from a regular cotton ball as lash fibers to lengthen and thicken her eyelashes. All you need is a spoolie (a clean mascara wand, basically) and a fluffy white ball of cotton, both of which you can buy at almost any drug store for a few bucks.

Start by putting eyelash primer or one coat of your favorite mascara on your upper lashes. Then roll the clean spoolie in the cotton ball until it picks up some of the fibers and brush through your eyelashes. The cotton fibers will stick to the primer or mascara. Let it dry for a bit and then cover it with a couple of more coats of mascara.

More: 5 Different ways to wear eyeliner for any occasion

Of course I had to try this myself! (I used an eyebrow comb because I didn’t have a spoolie and it worked fine.) Here’s a snap of my puffed-up peepers:

Image: Charlotte Andersen

Here are a few tips I learned the hard way if you’re interested in trying this:

1. Start small. Just like any eyelash fibers, if you try to put a lot on at once they’ll fall into your eyeballs and cause you endless misery — especially if you wear contacts. (Which I do, heaven help me. It hurt.) You can always add more if you’d like. Remember, you want fluffy lashes, not fluffy eyeballs.

2. Try brushing just the tips for length. While you can coat your entire eyelash shaft, as Huda does, I found I got a more “natural” look (well, as natural as this can look anyhow) by just brushing the fibers at the ends of my lashes. It lengthened them without looking clumpy or spidery.

More: 7 facts about fake lashes that will make you a fan

3. Use a gentle hand. The first time through I accidentally brushed all the fibers off when I put on the mascara over the top. They’re delicate little things so they require a light touch, which can be hard if you’re as uncoordinated as I am! To avoid de-furring your eyes, make sure the primer/mascara is good and wet when you put on the fibers and then let it dry. (I did one eye completely before moving on to the next.) When you do add the first topcoat of mascara, go gentle! You can always do more coats.

4. Top with waterproof mascara. I found this out the hard way after going to pick up my kindergartner from school only to realize I had gooey black clumps stuck to my eyelids. It looked like my brows were molting. (I know they say full brows are the “it” look right now, but I’m pretty sure they don’t mean full all the way down your face!) To fix this, I used a waterproof mascara as the final coat to seal everything in.

More: How to care for thinning eyelashes

Ready to try this yourself? Hey, we can’t all have the genes for long, lush eyelashes, but we can all have cotton balls!

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