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Lash Tints, Eyelash Extensions & More: Which Eyelash Option is Best For You?

You’ve been practicing your eyelash batting on that cutie you met in class, but now you’ve decided to up your game by exploring eyelash enhancers beyond mascara and lash curlers. They say that beauty is pain (and expensive!), but are these options worth it? We spoke to NaturaLash-certified aesthetician Mallorie Mason and collegiettes about the pros and cons of some of the eyelash options out there.

Eyelash extensions

Eyelash extensions go on your real lashes to make them look longer and thicker. A special adhesive is used to bond them onto your natural eyelashes to last until your natural lashes fall off, or about two to three months (your individual eyelashes fall out at different times).

The most popular lash extensions are synthetic and go on each individual natural lash, so the application process takes around one hour. Depending on where you go to get the procedure done, you can choose from a variety of different curls and thicknesses. Though prices vary depending on the technician, location, and type of product, Mason estimates that the average price of eyelash extensions ranges from $120 to $250.

If you decide you like the lash extensions after they’re first applied, you can go in for refills about every 2-3 months to maintain the look. Generally refills are cheaper, at about $50 to $70, and go on faster than when first put on.

Remember: The better care you take of your lash extensions, the longer they will last. To ensure that they last longer, Mason recommends avoiding oil-based makeup and face products (at least around the eyes) and avoiding water or steam for the first day.


Pros of eyelash extensions

Your lashes will look great

Mason says a benefit of eyelash extensions is that they will make your lashes look not just longer, but also fuller.

Lily Herman, a freshman at Wesleyan University, is a huge fan of eyelash extensions. “I liked the lash extensions a lot once [I got them] done. They definitely did the best job making my lashes look fuller and longer [compared to eyelash serums].” 

Katrina Kairys, HC Campus Correspondent for McGill University, has had eyelash extensions done a few times and recommends collegiettes give it a go. “They instantly give you long, gorgeous, Kardashianworthy lashes!” she says.

Bye-bye, mascara

There is also no need for mascara when you have eyelash extensions, according to Mason. “[My clients] always rave to me about not having to put on mascara,” she says. “[It] saves them so much precious time every day!”

Lily agrees: “You don’t have to wear mascara on top of them, so you get the effects of having mascara on 24/7 but no more sticky mess! It meant I had to deal with fewer makeup products on a daily basis (always a plus for a busy collegiette on the go!).”

If you’re tempted to go even thicker and longer with your already-extended lashes, Mason strongly advises against using mascara on top of lash extensions.

“I do not recommend using any mascara because it may have an effect on the adhesion of the glue and structure of the extensions,” she says. “By continuing to use mascara, you are essentially defeating the most convenient aspect of the extensions in the first place and the added wear and tear of applying and removing mascara will most definitely adversely affect the time frame between fills.”


Cons of eyelash extensions

The “doctor’s table”

While eyelash extensions did achieve the desired look for Lily, she did not enjoy the procedure.

“It required me to lay on a doctor’s table for several hours with my eyes closed while the technician put in each individual eyelash. It was just really time-consuming and extremely uncomfortable because someone’s poking at your eyes and there’s glue and it’s just a bizarre experience,” she says.

Beauty is (a) pain (in the eye)

Lily also found that there could be a downside to having those beautiful, long lashes you desire. “Depending on the shape and angle of your eyelashes, sometimes the artificial lashes sort of poke your eyes and get in the way of your vision once they’re done,” she says. “It’s one of those things you don’t really think about when you’re getting them, but later on it’s kind of a pain.”

They’re expensive

As beautiful as the extensions may look, paying $120 to $250 for extensions can be pricey for a collegiette, especially if you decide to return for refills. $50 to $70 every two to three weeks can burn a serious hole in your wallet if you want to maintain this look.


Eyelash Serums

Eyelash serums like Latisse and RapidLash come in a bottle with an applicator. Unlike eyelash extensions, you can apply serums yourself, without the help of a technician.



Latisse is an FDA-approved product for people with a condition called hypotrichosis—having a lack of eyelashes. It claims to make lashes grow longer, fuller, and darker. According to Latisse’s official site, the serum increases the anagen (growth cycle) phase of the eyelash cycle, which increases the growth of eyelash hairs.

Because Latisse is a medical product, you will need a doctor’s prescription. Some women who use Latisse do not have hypotrichosis, but it is at your doctor’s discretion whether or not he or she will prescribe Latisse to you.

You will need to apply the product daily or nightly (unless your doctor gives different instructions) on the upper eyelash line, and you’ll see full results after about 16 weeks. The results will last for as long as you continue to use the product. Once you stop, your eyelash cycle will return to its regular anagen phase and your eyelashes will return to their regular length and thickness.

Although prices vary for Latisse depending on your state or pharmacy, one kit (with a bottle and 30 applicators) is about $120. It is usually not covered by insurance companies.



RapidLash is an eyelash serum that the company claims doesn’t just enhance the look of eyelashes, but also strengthens, darkens, and moisturizes them. A 3mL tube is about $30 to $50, which you can purchase through the website or at a drugstore.

RapidLash should be applied once daily. When first applied, you might feel a bit of a tingling sensation, which should slowly cease with each use.


Pros of eyelash serums

Simple application process

In addition to eyelash extensions, Lily also tried L’Oreal’s Lash Boosting Serum, $14.99, and liked the quick and easy application process: swipe the serum across your eyelids one to two times a day. Compared to the eyelash extension process, she prefers the simplicity of getting to apply the product herself.

“I liked the eyelash serum I used because of the convenience and the lower price,” Lily says. “Even though I used a cheaper brand than most, I still saw some results over the course of about a month, which was great!” 


Cons of eyelash serums

Waiting for results

Unlike eyelash extensions, the results are not as instant. “You have to continually put on the serum (overtime) and it can take 1-2 months to really see results,” says Lily. 

Potential side effects

If you want to use Latisse, be aware of some of the negative side effects that can occur, as listed on their website:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Darkening of the skin on your eyelid, which “may be reversible.” They recommend only applying the product on the base of the top lashes, and discourage applying to the lower lid.
  • Ocular irritation
  • Dry eyes
  • Redness or a rash on the eyelid
  • “Increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye, which is likely permanent”
  • Hair growth on skin that Latisse comes in frequent contact with

The site states that these side effects have only happened to less than four percent of patients.

It can be costly

Latisse comes in a tiny 3mL bottle, which costs $120 and is usually not covered by insurance. It lasts about two months, which means you could be spending up to $720 a year to maintain the look!  If you want to try out a serum without breaking your bank, L’Oreal’s Lash Boosting Serum, which Lily tried, may be more up your alley at $14.99 a bottle.


Eyelash Tints

If getting darker lashes is your priority, you might want to look into eyelash tinting. You can buy an at-home eyelash tint kit and apply it on your own, but if you’d rather put your lash-tinting in the hands of a professional, you can go to a salon that offers the service. Usually, dyes at salons are available in different colors, such as blue-black, blue, and brown.

Although DIY eyelash tinting can save you money in the long run, it’s probably best if you get a certified technician to do the job, since they’ve been properly trained and are familiar with the product and procedure.

When at the salon, a technician will brush the semi-permanent dye onto your lashes (there will likely be cotton pads under your bottom lids to prevent staining the skin underneath), which can take about 10 minutes. The technician will then wipe the excess tint off. Most technicians will ask you if it is your first time getting your eyelashes tinted and will probably recommend you do a patch test (usually behind the ear) before they start the lash tinting to make sure you’re not allergic to the dye.

The color should last around six weeks and the average price is between $15 and $25.


Pros of eyelash tints

More defined lashes

Although Mason does not perform lash tinting at her salon, she says they are “a great way to create a more dramatic look.” Also, as mentioned above, having the dye on your lashes will save you the time and trouble of re-applying mascara every day (if you only use mascara for color).


Cons of eyelash tints

Possible allergic reaction or blindness

A side effect of eyelash tinting could be an allergic reaction. To be safe, request a patch test if the technician doesn’t mention it first.

There are no FDA-approved permanent dyes, so stick to semi-permanent ones, because some have been known to cause eye injuries as bad as blindness. The FDA warns against dyes containing coal-tar, which are “believed to be widely distributed in the United States… sold to and used in beauty salons.” Ask the technician what is in the dye he or she is using and whether it is permanent or semi-permanent.

No matter which eyelash enhancement option you choose, if you decide to get the procedure done at a salon, it’s important to go to one that’s reputable. Look for a salon state board licensed in cosmetology or a professional aesthetician, says Mason. Before picking a salon, check online customer reviews to see other peoples’ experiences.


Have you tried any of these lash enhancers? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!

Sarah Casimong is a graduate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has written for the Vancouver Observer, Cave Magazine and Urban Pie. She is also the scriptwriter for Beautiful Minds Radio on Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5 FM, and occasionally conducts interviews for the "personal story" segment of the show. In her spare time she enjoys British music and television, playing the Mass Effect and Dragon Age video games and getting lost in really good chick lits. You can follow her on twitter: @sarahcasimong
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