Adventures In DIY Eyelash Tinting

Lash Tint Kit
Lash Tint Kit
Application Part 1
Application Part 2

There’s a time and place for mascara. That time is night and the place is only reachable via car, because if I’m going to go so far as to wear mascara I’m probably also wearing shoes meant for sitting. The effect is that Bambi-eyed openness that looks great peering over a glass of vodka in a dimly lit bar, but otherwise I find mascara quite crusty and heavy. It actually weighs my lashes down if I don’t curl them beforehand, and for day I like to show a lot of lid. (It’s a no-makeup makeup thing, a movement which I find tricks people into thinking you’re calmer and more trustworthy.) Not to mention the flake and run potential, and the removal mess—mascara is an impracticality at best, the Tar of Satan at worst.

Regardless, I like my lashes pitch black. And regardless, they are not. The very tips of about half a dozen strands per eye are a noticeable (to me, at least) shade of blonde—ombré, if you will. And the bottom lashes just sort of disappear into translucent-ness at the ends. Overall they’re quite dark, but, like Dick Wolf instructs his SVU writers after reading the first few drafts of every script, they “could be darker.” Enter: lash tinting. Ah! But I’ve not the foresight to schedule appointments beyond my thrice-yearly hair trim and felt foolish handing somebody money for something I could have done myself. Thank God for Godefroy DIY eyelash tinting kit.

I found it at Ricky’s, the one-stop-shop for Mason Pearson brushes, novelty candies, and vibrators with multiple hole-in-the-wall locations around NYC. Godefroy promises 28 days worth of permanency at only $9, so I thought, “Sure, I’ll rub this stuff on my eyes.”

The kit can be used on brows or lashes, and comes with a packet of cream color, a packet of gel activator, soft paper under-eye shields, an applicator wand, a tiny comb, and some card stock on which to smush out the colorants—your "work station." You should also have on hand a magnifying mirror, some petroleum jelly, cotton swabs, disposable mascara wands, and tissues. This trial was a momentous occasion for me, as it marked the first time in my life that I’ve ever performed an allergy test. Visions of swollen, puss-filled lids filled my brain as I read the warning label: “Avoid contact with skin and eyes.” Because that’s reasonable instruction on a lash-tint kit…? The patch on my arm was stained grey, but seemed fine otherwise after 24 hours, so I proceeded with the experiment:

1. Start with squeaky-clean, dry lashes. So obviously no mascara, but no oily mascara remover residue, either. Soap and water or a Bioderma Créaline-type makeup remover will work instead.

2. Squeeze the cream color and gel activator onto their appropriate circles if you play by the rules, but really any clean, flat surface that you don’t mind staining will do.

3. The instructions recommend adhering the eye shields to your under-eyes with petroleum jelly, but I found the eye shields quite cumbersome and a bit unnecessary on my first go-round, so I ditched them altogether after seeing that the dye didn’t stain or irritate my skin for the short time it made contact.

4. Using the wand, apply the cream color to the lashes. Do one strip of lashes at a time, not an entire eye, or both eyes for that matter. The lashes really clumped together and became quite spider-y at this point, which is when I’d recommend brushing with the disposable mascara wands to really distribute the color between the lashes. Also, don’t forget to color the tops of the lashes, this isn’t like applying mascara.

5. Follow with a coating of the gel activator. Taking full advantage of the fact that I didn’t see staining or experience burning, I really globbed the dye and activator onto every nook and cranny of my lash line, even into the roots. I feel I have a legal obligation to recommend you don’t do the same.

6. Check Instagram for one minute.

7. Remove the dye with a clean tissue. This was the worst part—so messy, there’s no right way to do it, I lost probably six lashes in the process, and the stuff did end up in my eyeball, which burned about as bad as those crazy menthol Japanese eye drops and for only about as long. There was no redness, though, so I considered this a “no biggie.”

8. Continue with the rest of your lashes, one section at a time.

The difference wasn’t extreme, but again, this isn’t mascara. The ends were sufficiently black, rather than blonde or clear, and overall they look a bit fuller, glossier, and, of course, darker. My bottom lashes look much longer, too. Twenty-eight days worth of complete and utter blackness is a stretch, though, as, like any semi-permanent hair dye, this stuff will fade over time. If you wear eye makeup often, which means you probably clean the eye area just as often, this will speed the fade.

I’m happy with the stuff overall, though I’d go for the version of the kit that contains 25 applications at $1 each, rather than a single-use serving of dye to make this a more cost-effective option to mascara or just dealing with my sun-bleached, shameful excuses for natural lashes.

—Annie Kreighbaum

Photos by Annie Kreighbaum and Elizabeth Brockway.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Molly Lyon

    Her eyelashes are beautiful. Please say they aren't genetic and she uses some nifty Vaseline related trick to get them so full and *cringe* fluttery?

    • ITG Annie

      Hi Molly! And thank you! I got lucky. Even when I was my at my most creaturely (Seriously I was horrifyingly unattractive as a child) I got compliments on them, which was very encouraging to a little ugly duckling.

      • rose

        me too! i also got lucky, my huge eyes and eyelashes balance out my big nose :)

  • Kelly

    you should check out Blinc tube mascara...adds darkness and the tiniest bit of natural looking length, and slide off with a bit of water but otherwise doesn't budge during the day.

  • Prenouveau

    This kit seems needlessly complicated. You can also just buy a tube of tint and some cream developer, like Refectocil, mix the a dab of each in a shot glass for each use, instead of having packets that you end up throwing out. I agree that the shields are annoying and vaseline or chapstick is enough to protect the skin.

  • Liz

    You're probably tired of hearing this but your writing is impeccable. I hope to be as great as you one day!

  • ais

    @anniekreighbaum, never touch those eyebrows, ever! they're remarkable.

  • LAltice

    This is awesome! I need to tint my lower lashes. I use 3D mascara by Younique on my upper lashes and not only do they make my lashes longer and thicker but they aren't crunchy and heavy like regular mascara!!!

  • þrúður guðmundsdóttir

    this really doesn't need to be this complicated or planned out. i put vaseline around my eye area, mix either eyebrow or eyelash tint + jelly or liquid activator and use a q-tip to apply to the lashes. although i definitely agree that you don't put the colour all the way to the root - this shit burns! and it also isn't that hard to get the colour of in my experience. anyways, i recommend that you do this yourself at home as it costs way less than at a salon and honestly, it always got in my eyes at the salons and i buuurrnedd.

  • murt

    you have beautiful eyelashes! I feel the same way about mascara - at night it can be cool, but it's hard to avoid that clumpy/hard look during the day sometimes. I checked out Lisa Eldridge's latest video and her eyelashes looked like dead twigs at the end, with all of the mascara she used. Though I do like that kind of look once in a while.

  • Lara

    I know this has been posted a week ago, but I need to tell you that today (inspired by this post) I bought an eyelash kit myself :) Tbh eyelash tinting didn't ever even occur to me but now I am so excited to try - this weekend it's on! I am aware I will never reach your incredible gorgeousness (hope that's a real word) Annie, but since my lower lashes are almost invisible I really hope it'll make a difference. Fingers crossed I don't blind myself :)

  • hannah

    this article is so insightful. I was actually just wondering if I could diy lash tint. it really doesn't seem that hard, I definitely wanna give it a try!


Godefroy 28 Day Mascara Permanent Eyelash Tint Kit