Life Style

Doll Lashes Are the Retro Makeup Trend We’re Loving Right Now

Zendaya wearing doll lashes at the SAG Awards

Some of us are just doll people—innately fascinated with baby dolls, American Girl Dolls, Barbies,  and Bratz alike from our earliest days.  Besides being fun to dress up, throw tea parties with, or create dramatic soap opera plotlines for (just me?), dolls can teach children empathy, social skills and help them expand their imagination.

If you were a doll kid, you probably have a few beloved favorites still stashed away in a memory box or on a shelf—but have you ever thought of using those treasured toys as beauty inspo? The doll lashes trend, a fun mix of mod cheekiness and high fashion impact, is more babydoll than Bratz, with a decidedly throwback feel similar to your mom or grandma’s childhood toys. If you’re looking to change up your lash game, grab your mascara and get to work turning yourself into the cutest and coolest doll in town. Ahead, everything you need to know about the trend.


Behind the Trend

The doll lash look, reminiscent of the clumped, spiky-yet-fluttery eyelashes on ‘50s babydolls and ‘80s Barbies, has a long and storied history in the beauty world; it was a hallmark of the mod movement in the mid-1960s, with stars like Twiggy and actor Sharon Tate making the style their signatures. Today, doll lashes pop up all over TikTok (sometimes called “manga lashes”) and on K-pop stars, as well as beauty influencers like Danielle Marcan and actors like Taylor Russell and Zendaya.

The trend also perfectly aligns with the ultra-feminine coquette aesthetic with its pastel pink, bow-bedecked trademark elements similar to those worn by our plastic counterparts. Beauty brands have long capitalized on the look, too—Lancôme even sells a Doll Lashes “flanker” of its popular lengthening Hypnôse mascara.


“I have definitely seen more of a request for spikier doll eyelashes or the ‘wet’ lash look when it comes to applying lash extensions,” says Sara Edward Wayne, lash and makeup artist and owner of Outlaw Cosmetics. “They’re definitely having a moment … I feel like the anime trend, AI tools, and social media apps and filters have influenced bringing back this more animated look that had its moment in the ‘60s and ‘70s.”

Wayne has seen an uptick in doll-inspired beauty looks in general, but lashes are absolutely essential to nailing that bright-eyed, almost cartoonish vibe. “Doll lashes do a great job at really opening up the eye and adding a more youthful look,” she explains. “When I think of doll lashes, I think of Katy Perry’s eyes or old photos of Dolly Parton and Twiggy.”


How to Get Doll Lashes

You can channel the Chatty Cathys and Kewpie dolls of the past in a few different ways depending on your desired result; it all depends on how steady your hand is and how you feel about false lashes.

To kick your lashes into high gear with falsies, all you need is a steady hand and a strip lash. “Using false lashes is the best bet to achieve a more emphasized look,” says Wayne, who recommends Outlaw Cosmetics Faux Mink Strip Lashes. “The lashes are texturized with up and down peaks to give you that spiky doll eye look while maintaining a soft and fluffy look.”

If you’re a faux lash pro, Wayne also recommends using single lashes and mascara to really hone in on the spikier, segmented lash.

Working with just your faithful tube of Maybelline or Too Faced Better Than Sex? “Use only the tip of the mascara wand and paint small sections of the lashes in an upward motion to bring chunks of the lashes together,” advises Wayne. “Then, using tweezers, gently compress sections of the tops of lashes together while separating other sections to create a textured look.” (Selena Gomez is a fan of this technique; she demonstrated the method on her lower lashes for a subtle doll lash effect.)


Doll lashes are a bit more involved than simply swiping a coat of mascara through your lashes, so you may want to save the look for a special occasion or a smartly-timed Instagram post—but then again, why not wear them every day if you love the look? “I would wear a doll eye look if I’m in a more high fashion or character state of mind and if I want to make a statement,” Wayne shares.

Ready to play? Doll lashes can be surprisingly versatile. “My favorite look with the doll eye is to keep the rest of the makeup very minimal or natural with muted neutral tones and let the lashes be the statement piece,” says Wayne. Go full retro a la Twiggy with a swoop of winged liner, fluffy brows, and a pale pink lip, channel a retro dolly with baby pink blush concentrated at the apples of your cheeks and a smattering of faux freckles, or strip it down and pair the clumpy, spiky lash look with just a touch of red lipstick.


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