About Eyelash Tinting

Updated November 21, 2016

Eyelash tinting is an option for women who like the look of mascara enough to make it semi-permanent. The eyelashes are dyed with vegetable dye so that they look darker than their natural shade. Most people select a brown or black shade, but eyelashes can be tinted virtually any colour.
Potential clients should be forewarned, however, that though many salons and spas offer this procedure, the FDA has not approved it and manufacturing dye for this purpose is, in fact, illegal. In the 1930s, one woman was blinded and another died as a result of eyelash-tinting procedures. Other injuries have since been reported.


Eyelash tinting mimics the look of mascara for those who are allergic to make-up or play sports that might cause make-up to smear or run. Those who spend a lot of time outdoors may also benefit from this semi-permanent make-up. Eyelash tinting can be used to play up the colour of the eyes and make them more vivid. Eyelash tinting can also flatter hair and skin tones. For those born with eyelashes so light that they are almost disappear, eyelash tinting can be an aesthetic solution. Eyelash tinting can also be done for a special occasion only, like a wedding or other event. One should weigh, however, the grave risk factors associated with this activity before deciding to tint one's eyelashes in a permanent fashion.

Risk Factors

Any procedure done to the eye or around it must be performed with the utmost caution. A patch test should be done at least two days before the eyelash tinting to make sure the patient is not allergic to any of the chemicals utilised. Cotton should also be placed beneath a patient's closed eyes to protect them. In most cases, the procedure is painless; however, if some dye does enter the eye, pain and stinging may occur. Dye should be immediately flushed from the eye or blindness may occur. Eyelash tinting should only be done by a trained professional. Do not try it at home with a product like hair dye or henna.
Eyelash tinting should not be done if the patient is suffering from any kind of eye infection or irritation. You should also take out your contact lenses before the procedure begins. All eye make-up should also be removed. Patients should keep their eyes closed during the entire eyelash tinting. Eyelashes should be rinsed before the patient opens her eyes. Please bear in mind that the FDA has not approved this procedure, no matter what precautions are taken.
Blindness is a risk and eyelash tinting has even proven fatal in the past.

Time Frame

Eyelash tinting is a quick procedure. An appointment may be as short as fifteen minutes and, when done correctly, can last up to six weeks. The longer the dye is left on, the deeper and more dramatic the colour will be. Eyelashes fall out naturally, and as they do, the effects of the eyelash tinting will become less noticeable.


A professional stylist can help someone interested in eyelash tinting select the shade that will best flatter her eye, hair and skin tones. Bringing out these colours can make a client more attractive.
Since eyelash tinting is semi-permanent procedure, the colour will last four to six weeks before fading.

The Facts

Eyelash tinting can cost anywhere from £9 to £16, not including the customary tip for good service paid to the stylist or spa employee. Alhough offered by many beauty businesses, the FDA does not approve of eyelash tinting and the procedure is considered illegal. Complications and one death during the 1930s has motivated the FDA to prohibit this practice even today.

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