If you dream of having maybe-she’s-born-with-it longer and fuller eyelashes, you might opt for eyelash curlers, tubes of mascara, or falsies regularly — applying them before work and for special events. And of course, nothing against effective mascara and lash serums, but if you want to really live your best semi-permanent lash life, it might be time to invest in a lash tint. “Lash tinting is the process of darkening your natural lashes,” shares Lara Kaiser, licensed esthetician at Carrie Lindsey Beauty Salon. “Utilizing a vegetable base tint and an eye-safe oxidant to develop the color, it gives you weeks of dark, full lashes without the assistance of mascara.”
Plus, with the plethora of options, committing to fake eyelashes can be a lesson in trial and error and a rather expensive habit. Whereas, eyelash tints offer you a long-lasting, and affordable option. And because professional lash tints — when applied by a reputable technician — will give you the most natural no-mascara mascara look, TZR spoke to five licensed estheticians to get the 411 on the treatment. Ahead, the experts dish about the best candidate for a lash tint, the added benefits of the procedure, how often to get it, the cost, and so much more.
What Is A Lash Tint?
Not to be confused with a lash lift or lash extensions that work to add curl, length, or volume to lashes, a lash tint will darken and intensify the color of your natural lashes — however, you can still use mascara for some added drama if you so choose. As Marisa Franco, lash expert from Laurel Cosmetic Tattoo, explains “The pigment — made of various hair, beard, vegetable, plant, and food dyes — is used to create more defined eyelashes by dyeing the eyelash hair, from root to tip, with a shade of color darker than your natural lash color.”
Fortunately, the 20- to 30-minute process is a relatively painless one. Elizabeth Taylor, esthetician and co-owner of True Beauty Brooklyn, credits this to the lack of severity of the dye. Rather than using the traditional oxidant for hair dye used in salons, “the oxidant used in lash tints has a lower percentage — coating the hair with a semi-permanent stain, rather than opening up the cuticle of the hair as the permanent dye does,” Taylor tells TZR.
What Are The Added Benefits Of A Lash Tint?
Firstly, anyone can get a lash tint, regardless of the color of your eyelashes. “The service is terrific for light colored eyelashes because it makes your lash line pop like mascara without the hassle,” says Franco, who likes to think of it as an overall eye brightening service. “And it’s great on darker hair because we tend to lose color at the tips of our eyelashes, and with tints it makes the eyelashes appear longer.”
Lash tints have a way of making every single eyelash pop as the dye is applied from root to end — making them look longer, fuller, and more visible. “Many people enjoy the extra oomph the treatment gives on the lower lashes most because mascara on lower lashes looks clumpy, whereas tinting gives them a natural boost,” says Kaiser. The ultimate benefit of course, is the ability to go mascara-free if you choose to. “A lash tint adds depth and dimension to your face by darkening the lash line and bringing the lashes forward,” says Taylor. “Making you look more awake, well-rested, and open-eyed.”
To enhance the natural look, the experts all recommend adding a lash lift to your service. “Lash lifts will curl, lengthen, and really make your eyes pop,” says Helen Yu, CEO and founder of Dazzling Lash Bar, who rarely performs one treatment without the other.
What Happens At A Lash Tint Appointment?
The very first step your esthetician and you will decide on is the tint color (light brown, dark brown, jet black, blue-black) that best complements your complexion and current lashes. Next, they will apply a lotion or gel around the eyes to protect the under eye skin from receiving dye. Now that the eye area is prepped, lashes are ready for tints.
With a disposable microtip brush (or really thin Q-tips), dye softly attaches onto the eyelashes and is left to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. “We make sure the dye is spread evenly over your lashes, paying special attention that the dye hugs your roots and is covering your tips,” Franco shares. If your eyes remain closed, you will feel no pain except for a slight sting. “Sometimes it does feel a little peppery or stingy because it's so close to the membranous tissue of your eye, but it's not unsafe,” Kaiser tells TZR.
Once the desired depth of color is reached, your esthetician will remove any excess dye with a cotton swab and clean the area surrounding your eye. Once your tint is done, the experts recommend not washing your face the rest of the day so the color can set in. Lash serum is occasionally added as a final step to restore hydration back to your lashes. After that, you can go about your normal routine, makeup included.
To prolong the results, Malynda Vigliotti, founder of Boom Boom Beauty Bar recommends avoiding any harsh skin care products and sun exposure. Similar to chlorine, sun has a bleaching effect that could alter the color of the lashes within the first few days of treatment. To combat this, simply wear sunglasses when outside and goggles when in water.
Are There Any Risks To Lash Tints?
Although Instagram and A-listers are fans of the service, eyelash tinting is not approved by the FDA. Their site shares that: “no color additives are approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows," and "permanent eyelash and eyebrow tints and dyes have been known to cause serious eye injuries." Of course, if you strictly follow the guidelines listed by the FDA, this won’t be a service for you. But it should be noted that the FDA has not issued a green light for CBD products, among other buzzy trends right now either and plenty of people still partake.
Although the FDA hasn’t approved the treatments, salons are still legally allowed to perform services, up to individual state regulation. For example, in New York it is possible, but in California the service is entirely banned. If you are interested in getting the service, double check your state laws to verify the salon is allowed to perform the tint. With that being said, Yu confirms that as long as you do your research and link up with a trained professional, in a state that it is legal, you should have a fine experience.
With that being said, if you have sensitive eyes, allergies, or any type of infection, receiving a lash tint could make it worse. Franco recommends waiting until your eye condition has subsided or first committing to a patch test on your wrist or behind the ear to assess if you will react.
How Do You Maintain A Lash Tint?
Priced anywhere between $40 to $75 dollars per service, lash tints will typically last for a month or more depending on how much you touch your eyes and how often you cleanse your face. “To keep up with even saturation it is recommended to have it done every four to six weeks or when you notice most new hair growth,” Franco tells TZR. According to Vigliotti, after getting a tint, your lashes will slowly start to lighten over time. It is not that the tint is wearing off but similar to the hair on your head, eyelashes have a cycle — growing out and falling out naturally. So when you start to notice the tinted eyelashes falling out (typically at the four to six mark), it is because they are being replaced with new ones — signaling it’s time to go in for another treatment.
In terms of direct after-treatment care, Taylor suggests avoiding water, oil cleansers, and oil-based makeup removers for at least 24 hours since they could wash the tint off a lot faster. “Oil weakens the bond between the tint and your lashes,” she says. Regular lash tints (more often than 4 to 6 weeks at a time) can dry out the eyelashes. So if you are committing for a long-term journey, Taylor recommends using a conditioning lash serum to stimulate growth and maintain the condition of lashes.
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