Over the course of the pandemic, my relationship with makeup — like most people’s — changed. Stuck at home behind a screen, a tinted moisturizer seemed as glam as I’d ever need to go again. But as the months dragged on, the dark circles under my eyes deepened, and the hours I’d spent inadvertently staring at my own tired face on a video feed increased, I discovered a new beauty gripe: my eyes looked small and tired, but the idea of grabbing an eyelash curler and piling on a few coats of mascara felt ridiculous.
Enter the increasingly popular lash lift and tint, a two-for-one beauty treatment that’s designed to give your lashes a semi-permanent version of the curl and color you get from the aforementioned eyelash curler and mascara. “A lash lift is designed to enhance your natural lashes at a minimal level. It curls your lash from base to tip so that you can see its full length,” explains Clementina Richardson, a celebrity lash expert and founder of Envious Lashes.
So how exactly does it work and is it worth the investment? We’ve got the answers.
How do a lash lift and tint work?
A lash lift and tint are technically two separate treatments but Richardson always recommends doing them together. “It will lift and darken your natural lashes and create a balanced effortless look,” she says.
A lash lift is essentially a perm for your eyelashes — a solution is applied to each individual lash to create the curled effect, lifting your lashes from the root to create a more awake, freshly fanned out root. “There are different types of rods that are used” — think of them like teeny tiny heatless curling irons — “depending on the desired styling and the amount of curl you would like to achieve,” Richardson says. “The larger the rod, the softer the curl.”
Once the lashes are curled, a pro will apply lash tint — think of it like semi-permanent mascara that will make each lash look thicker and longer. For about $150, “it’s a fast service that can transform your lashes in 45 minutes to an hour,” Richardson says.
What’s the difference between a lash lift and lash extensions?
“Lash lifts are for the minimalists, those that really don’t want to come in for refills,” says Richardson. Lash extensions (which add falsies to your natural set) give a more dramatic effect but be prepared for bi-weekly touch-ups.
“For the client who wants a natural ‘woke up like this’ appearance, a lash lift and tint alone is perfect,” says Richardson. You can also combine the two treatments for a really dramatic effect. “A lash lift can be done a couple of weeks prior to extension application for added lift and fullness,” she explains. “Darker lashes taking up space in between extensions reduces contrasts and makes it seem as though they are fuller.”
How long do a lash lift and tint last?
A lash lift and tint will last as long as the natural growth cycle of your eyelash: about four to six weeks. Taking good care of your lashes will help keep them looking fresh as long as possible.
Rule 1: “It’s important to not get your lashes wet for the first 48 hours,” says Richardson. You should also avoid rubbing your eyes too often or picking at your lashes, she adds. “Lashes do need to be brushed every so often with a spoolie brush — just don’t overdo it,” she says. “Try to avoid applying cream-based liners on your top lid, never use a mechanical eyelash curler and avoid mascara.”
What kind of results can I expect?
How dramatic your final result will depend on what kind of natural lashes you have. “There is only so much that can be accomplished with a lift,” Richardson says. To see results, lashes need to be at least four millimeters long so that the technician has enough to work with. “In some cases, lifting and tinting don’t give off the mascara effect that lash extensions do. Especially for those with naturally very fine and light lashes, it will be more of a ‘look how great my lashes are without anything on them’ effect,” she says. The longer your natural lashes are, the more dramatic your results will be.
What to know before you go
Do your homework before getting any beauty treatment. “This should be done carefully by a licensed and certified professional,” says Richardson. (Never from an at-home lift kit — “I don’t recommend this, says Richardson. “You may cause serious damage to your lashes and even eyes.”)
While it’s very safe, the chemical solution can be irritating if you have sensitive skin, so proceed carefully. “Unfortunately, there is no way of telling if you will be sensitive to the product until it’s on your skin. People with lighter eyes or those who wear contacts are usually sensitive to stinging when getting their lashes done, but this is not always the case,” Richardson says. “The most common risk is over processing the natural lashes, which could take up to two months to grow out.”
To set yourself up for the best results, your lashes should be healthy (i.e. not brittle or breaking). Richardson recommends using a lash conditioning serum that will help boost lash density and length.
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