How to dye your own eyelashesSome beauty treatments should always, always be done in a salon, by professionals who know what they’re doing. (Cutting your own hair is a prime example of this…)Others, though, you can do equally well in the comfort of your own home, for a fraction of the price you’d pay a salon – and one of these is eyelash/eyebrow dyeing.
Now, as regular readers will know, I have been cursed with pale, almost translucent eyelashes since I was born. Without mascara, I actually look like I don’t have any eyelashes at all, and because that’s not exactly a look I aspire to (and it makes me look like I’ve been in some terrible, eyelash destroying accident), as soon as I discovered it was possible to have my lashes dyed, I’ve been doing it.
(I actually do have some dye on the very tips of my lashes in these photos: I normally re-dye my lashes every few weeks, so it rarely gets the chance to grow out completely – my natural lashes are even paler than this.)
I’ve had my eyelashes dyed at more salons than I can remember. Cheap ones, expensive ones, in-between ones… The results have varied. Sometimes it’s been great, sometimes it hasn’t made much of a difference. Sometimes it’s been cheap, sometimes it’s been expensive. Almost every time, my eyes have stung horribly because of dye getting into them and I’ve emerged from the treatment looking like I’ve been up crying all night. After a while, I worked out that eyelash dyeing is one of those things that it’s just easier to do yourself, and given how quickly my eyelashes grow, it’s most definitely cheaper.
Here’s my guide how to do it*…
Ask yourself if you really need an eyelash dye
While eyelash dyeing has been great for me, and makes a big difference to the way I look (at least without makeup), it’s something that will only be useful to those of you who have naturally pale eyelashes. It’s not like mascara (despite the name of the product shown above!): it won’t make your lashes thicker or longer, or curlier – it will just make them darker. And if they happen to be dark already, well, you’re not going to see much benefit to this – or, indeed, any benefit. Just as hair dye doesn’t magically make your hair longer, thicker or curlier, eyelash dye won’t do those things either: you need mascara for that, and if you’re looking to lengthen, thicken or curl your lashes, you’ll STILL need to use mascara once your lashes have been dyed.
So, who does eyelash dyeing benefit? People like me, who have pale/almost translucent lashes, and who want to be able to go without mascara sometimes, without looking like they don’t actually HAVE lashes. I also find dyeing my lashes makes my mascara look more polished, without the blonde roots I tend to have if I leave my lashes natural.
Choose your eyelash dye
There are tons of different eyelash dyes out there, but for the purposes of this post I’ll be using Colorsport 30 Day Mascara in black. This also comes in brown if you want a more natural look: personally, I like my lashes to be as dark as possible so that when I go to the gym and don’t have any makeup on, I still look like I actually HAVE lashes. To be honest, I don’t think there’s a huge difference between brown and black dye, but it’s up to you to decide which colour is best for you.
*IMPORTANT* Colorsport recently changed the formula of this product: I purchased the box shown just last week, and it’s in the “old” style that I’m used to, but you should be aware that not all eyelash dye from this brand will work the same way, so make sure you read the box first! Most of the other brands I’ve tried work in exactly the same way this one does, and it’s by far my preferred method to dye my own lashes, but it’s not the only one, so as I say, check the box before following this tutorial.
Do a patch test
This is a dye, and as with any other dyes, it’s really important to do a patch test 24 hours before you use it, and to repeat the test every time, regardless of whether or not you’ve done it before. You’ll find instructions for the patch test in the box, but it basically involves following the mixing instructions below, and then applying to the skin on your underarm (or any other unobtrusive place) rather than to your lashes.
Mix the eyelash dye
Inside the kit you’ll find:
1 tube of eyelash dye cream
1 plastic mixing wand
1 bottle of developer liquid
1 plastic mixing tray
First, squeeze some dye from the tube onto the tray. I use about 2 inches. Next, add a couple of drops of activating solution and stir until the mixture is thick and gloopy. Be careful not to add too much solution – if it’s too runny it’ll be hard to apply and won’t make much of a difference to your lashes. You want it to be thick enough to stay on the wand, and on your lashes so one or two drops of activating solution is enough.
Apply a barrier cream
First, some preparation. If you’ve never done this before (and even if you have, to be honest), you WILL make mistakes. Those mistakes will involve getting dye on your eyelids, face and God knows where else, and while I’ve always found that it just washes right off and doesn’t stain the skin, it’s best to be safe, either by applying some kind of barrier cream (Vaseline will do fine) around your eyes, or by using the paper “shields” that come with some of the kits.
Apply the dye to your lashes
With this particular kit, you’re supposed to apply the dye using the same white plastic stick you used to mix the dye. Some of the other kits I’ve used, however, provide a small ,mascara-style brush with which to apply the eyelash dye. I find this much easier than using the plastic mixing stick, so I’ve saved one of the mascara wands from another kit to use here. If you don’t have one of these, my advice is to clean up an old mascara wand and use that: you can also purchase these brushes in places like Sephora or Sally Beauty.
So, you have your mascara wand, you have your barrier cream in place: all that remains is for you to load up the brush with eyelash dye, and apply it in exactly the same way you would apply mascara, being careful to get as close to the roots of the lashes as you can.
Be careful while you’re doing this: if it gets in your eyes it WILL sting and you’ll need to wash it out at first. I find I get dye in my eyes much less often when I do this myself than I ever did when I used to go to a salon (in fact, hardly ever), but accidents can happen, and it will hurt! So be careful.
There’s really no special trick to the application here: if you’re used to using mascara, you should find it pretty straightforward, although you’re going o want to take more time over it, obviously, and make sure that you’ve coated every bit of lash you can find. The key difference between applying dye and applying mascara is that while you generally only coat the underside of your lashes with mascara, you’ll have to coat both sides with the dye, making sure you get as close to the roots as possible.
♦ Pay most attention to the top of the lashes, getting as close to the root as you can, so you’re not left with pale roots. I find the best way to do this is to close the eye you’re working on, and kind of roll the mascara wand down the lash, to completely coat it. It can also help to hold a piece of tissue paper under the lash, to catch any of the dye.
♦ Some of the dye will end up on your eyelids, and under the eye: don’t worry about this – as long as you have plenty of Vaseline around the eye, it won’t stain. You’ll obviously want to
Then you wait.
The instructions will tell you to wait for 5 – 10 minutes before washing the dye off. I generally leave it longer than this – anything from 15 – 20 minutes, to make sure the dye really has time to set. Nothing bad has ever happened as a result of this but you may want to just go for the recommended 5 – 10 minutes, at least to start with.
Dyeing your eyebrows
Eyelash dye can be applied to both the eyelashes and the eyebrows. You can use exactly the same process to dye your eyebrows, but if you do, bear in mind that this a larger area, with longer hair, and the dye will be much more obvious – as will any mistakes. For this reason, you should only ever leave the dye on your brows for 1-2 minutes. Any more than that and you run the risk of ending up with jet black eyebrows that’ll look very obviously dyed – not a great look.
Having waited the requisite amount of time, all that remains is for you to gently wash the dye off, being careful not to get any of it in your eyes. I used cotton wool pads dipped in water, which I press onto my eyelids and then remove. You should now have perfectly-dyed eyelashes!