I’ve been working on getting this post up for awhile now, thinking about the best way to approach it. I figure if you are reading this post, you either are just curious, or you have some interest in learning how someone can tint their lashes at home. There are a few benefits, with saving money by doing this yourself as one of the biggest. Another benefit is feeling more comfortable and confident going “bare faced” (ever have someone ask if you’re feeling alright when you aren’t wearing mascara? …if yes, then you understand).
I’m going to try and keep this post as straight-forward, clear, and concise as possible. I’ll share some of my background, how to minimize risk with DIY lash tint, and then I’ll share what I do to tint my own eyelashes at home, with tips and tricks I have learned from my experience. If you’re concerned about difficulty level, my question would be — can you apply mascara? If yes, then read on.
- I obtained a cosmetology license back in 2008 and had maintained it for almost a decade. This means I had continued education paired with working in the beauty industry and gaining professional experience.
- Because of my background, I feel comfortable doing at-home beauty services on myself because I have been properly trained and I performed such services professionally on clients.
- That being said, if and when you choose to do an at-home beauty service on yourself, you accept the risk of it going wrong. As with all things, you need to exercise caution, maintain hygienic standards, and–this is VERY important–make sure that you have not only read instructions, but you understand instructions.
This blog post is intended to share my personal experience of how I tint my own lashes at home. This is not an exhaustive guide by any means, and I accept no responsibility for the experiences of others.
The Tools: What I Use
Not pictured: non-metal bowl and 3% hydrogen peroxide
Here is a list of what I use when I tint my lashes at home:
- RefectoCil (Pure Black) – (Amazon)
- Note: When I bought this, it was $9.50 + free shipping. At the time of this blog post, it is $7.45 + free shipping.
- Make sure to be aware of the estimated shipping dates. Here is a link to see other sellers who offer it with Prime shipping, but the cost may be between $10 to $12.
- Buying one tube saves a ton of money in the long run, so to be honest I would just purchase a tube from a seller that offers Prime shipping even though it’s a few dollars more.
- A non-metal mixing bowl.
- This is a general rule of thumb to follow: some dyes with developer can have chemical reactions to metal implements. It’s best to stick with non-metal implements.
- Clean, disposable mascara wand.
- I prefer the kind with silicone bristles for the purpose of lash tinting.
- A few options: can either re-use an old mascara wand that has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, a bag of disposable wands can be bought online for pretty cheap, or stop by a cosmetic counter and ask for one. Just make sure the wand is clean and free of debris before using.
- OPTIONAL: Hydrogen Peroxide – 3%
- RefectoCil wants people to buy their version of “developer”, but it’s just 3% hydrogen peroxide. Save your money.
- Most households likely have this already in their home, and if it isn’t, a small bottle at any drugstore is usually around $1 to $2.
- I say this is optional because this color will deposit whether you use a developer or not. The main difference is that it will take the RefectoCil from being a semi-permanent dye (where color deposits only on the outside of the hair shaft) to a demi-permanent dye (the use of a 3% peroxide developer will help open the cuticle a little bit so that the pigment can deposit with your natural pigment, and not just on the outside of the hair shaft).
- Keep in mind that semi-permanent will fade quicker than demi-permanent.
The Steps: How I Tinted My Lashes
So, above you can see the instructions for application that RefectoCil provides in the box. It shows the mixing ratio of the dye and their brand of developer (aka 3% hydrogen peroxide), and the demonstration is to put a protective shield under the eye and thickly paint the dye mixture onto lashes with the white tool that comes in the box (seen in photo in previous section). It also gives a recommendation for timing.
Now let’s talk about how I would do it.
First, here are the ingredients. If you know that you are allergic to any of these ingredients, then stop right here and don’t use this product.
Ingredients: Aqua, Cetearyl Alcohol, Toluene-2,5-Diamine, m-Aminophenol, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, CI 77499.
Okay, so now let’s say you think you probably aren’t allergic to this product. Here is the next step: perform a patch test. Even if you think you don’t need to do a patch test, please do one anyway, especially when something is going to go around your eyes.
How to perform a patch test: Take a cotton swab (“Q-Tip”) and place a small dot of the product behind your ear or inner elbow. I like inner elbow because I can see it and don’t need a mirror to check anything out. Since this is a dye, it’ll leave a temporary dot where it’s placed, which is why some people recommend behind the ear. After placing a small dot of the product, you wait 24 hours to see if any redness or irritation occurs. If nothing happens, you’re good to go.
I saw a negative review with photos of someone who had a terrible experience with this product. The skin around the eyes (upper and lower eyelid, around the lash lines) were incredibly irritated. This suggested two things to me: first, that they did not do a patch test first to confirm they would not have a reaction should the product touch their skin; and second, they probably were attempting to recreate what the instructional photos were showing — and in doing so, the dye likely came into direct contact with the upper and lower eyelid, hence the adverse reaction all around. Their photo is the exact reason everyone should do a patch test and everyone should be cautious to keep the dye only on the lashes.
Pea-sized amount of dye with ~3 drops of peroxide, before mixing
How much product do you mix? I personally don’t like the 1:1 ratio that the instructions provided. Since this is around the eyes, I don’t want this product to be too liquid in its consistency (I want to avoid it dripping and/or traveling down the eyelashes to my eyelids), so I prefer a creamier texture. I mix a pea-sized amount of the dye, to about 3-4 drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
I then use the cute white stick that came in the box and will mix the dye and peroxide together until it has combined nice and evenly.
How do you get it on the wand? I just use the very same white stick that I used to mix the dye and peroxide together. I pick up product with it and load up the bristles by sweeping across them. I will go back and get more of the mixture as needed as I go through the process of applying to my lashes.
How my lashes looked after applying the dye mixture
How did you apply to your lashes? Just like I would apply mascara, but with more caution. Using the mascara wand, I comb the product through the lashes and I am very careful to not let this touch the waterline or surrounding lid (skin). Use the wand to get the front and back of the lashes and definitely get the dye on the tips. Afterward, my lashes kind of clump together and get that “spider lash” effect. 🙂
Note: I do not slap it on really thick and messy like the instructions show because I don’t want to risk getting this on my eyelid or waterline. It WILL burn… especially when using developer (hydrogen peroxide)! The best tip I can give to avoid this is to take your time, be careful, be clean about your application.
Another note: Product can transfer to skin where the tips of the lashes might touch (like seen above). Whenever that happened, I would take a slightly damp cotton swab with water and wipe any smudges away.
How long do you keep it on your lashes? Since this product is not lifting / lightening, I don’t mind leaving the dye for longer than recommended. The instructions say ~10 minutes is sufficient, so I set a timer for 15 minutes instead. I have left it on for 20 minutes with no adverse effect.
How do you remove it? I have two methods, my “not preferred” method and my “preferred” method.
- Not preferred: If I am not planning to shower, I will do this at the sink with warm water and cotton rounds. I will wet a cotton round with warm water and squeeze a bit out so it damp but not dripping wet. Then, I will gently run the cotton round in upward motions on the top lashes to begin removing most of the dye. I will run it on the lower lash line in downward motions. Essentially, I’m trying to wipe away from my eyes. When I’ve gotten a lot of the dye removed, I close my eyes and go in with just my fingers and water and begin “rinsing”. I try not to open my eyes at all until I’m confident I’ve rinsed all the dye away, because I learned the hard way that if you do open your eyes, you will feel some burning. The burning will go away after a few minutes, it’s just slightly uncomfortable.
- Preferred: In the shower. Rinsing in the shower has been the easiest way I have removed the lash tint. I’ll turn so I face the stream of water and allow it to hit my face, eyes closed the entire time. The water will do a majority of the rinsing of the dye for me, and I use my fingers to gently massage out any excess (again: eyes closed). After a few minutes when I think it may be rinsed thoroughly, I will then open my eyes.
Before and After Results
Before and after tinting my lashes at home
It’s important to keep realistic expectations of what lash tinting will do! Please notice that tinting your lashes doesn’t necessarily add volume and thickness the way mascara does. What it does do is help color the tips of your lashes (that are usually lighter) and makes your lashes appear longer. The results are more apparent: 1) if your lashes are light to begin with, and 2) over time as you do more re-tints.
Close-up of lashes after tinting
Notice the photo on the right — the very base of my lashes where they connect to my lid are not dyed. This is because I took extra caution to try and avoid contact with my skin and keep the dye mixture purely on the lashes themselves.
I hope this post was helpful and informative. If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them based on my personal experience.