Anyway, I've been perming my lashes for almost a year every 4-6 weeks because my straight lashes are such a faff to deal with (heating lash curlers with a hairdryer, clamping at multiple points up the length of the lash, looking for mascaras which will hold the curl... etc). Also because curled lashes are more of a welcoming sight when I look in the mirror first thing in the morning. And it's nice on holidays too.
The equipment I use are eyelash perming clips (from the brand "SimplePerm") and a permanent lotion and setting lotion from Salon System (both from an eyelash perming student kit).
The clips clamp onto the lashes and push them upwards, a bit like an eyelash curler does. You're meant to put the clips in place before applying the permanent lotion (which is pushed through the rows with a brush). And then after 15 minutes, the setting lotion is meant to be applied without removing the clips. But I find that it's easier to apply the permanent solution first onto my lashes using a cotton bud, and then clamping on the clips quickly afterwards. This is what it looks like (no sniggering at the back please):
After 15 minutes is up (during which time the bonds in the hair are meant to have broken up), I remove the clips and apply the setting lotion with new cotton buds, then as swiftly as possible put the clips back in place. I wait another 15 minutes for the bonds to set in the new curled lash shape... then slide the clips up to remove them. Then a quick wipe over the lashes with a damp cotton wool pad, and it's all done.
I haven't been getting very curly results lately though. I think the permanent lotion has been exposed to air too many times and has become ineffective or something. The last couple of times I've permed, rather than curling upwards, the lashes have only managed to become slightly more lifted than they were before. So instead of pointing downward, they'll point forward... but not upward. But this time, it's almost like the perm hasn't "taken" at all.
Lashes pointing forward is still a whole lot better than lashes pointing downward though! If I need a more intense curl, I only need to squeeze eyelash curlers once at the base of the lashes and don't need to heat them first. But actually, a good mascara alone is sufficient to pull the lashes upward (I like L'Oréal Lash Architect for that).
Here are the results of the not-so-curly eyelash perm (sorry, I don't have a "before" photo but trust me, this is slightly more "curled" compared to how my lashes are naturally! But there's hardly any curl this time because I probably need to replace the old perming lotion):
I get much curlier results using the traditional "rollers" / "rods" method where the eyelashes are glued to a roller instead of clamped in clips. But the that method is unbelievably fiddly! It takes absolutely forever to evenly stick the lashes onto the rollers using weird Copydex-style glue, and then they become unstuck anyway once the solutions are applied. Also, the curl that results from using rollers is so drastically different to the straightness of my natural lashes, that it all looks a bit of a mess when the new lashes grow through (from 2 weeks after the perm).
Just need to add before I publish this post, I'm pretty sure eyelash perming is meant to be done at salons only, and not at home... so err... don't try this at home kids...
Update (17th October 2011): I've since found out that perm solutions become much less effective once they've been exposed to air! I think mine must have been completely neutralised over time! I've now started using the Lash Lifter kit from Cils France which comes with silicone shields (to give a more "lifted" look than traditional rollers and comes with single use sachets of perming and setting lotions. Here is an updated photo of my bare lashes since: