I Tried It: Eyelashing Tinting at Laurentius Salon

Is permanent mascara too good to be true?


Long, lush lashes — without makeup? | Shutterstock

I have two friends who, every three weeks, get their eyelashes filled. They’ve sat through the process of getting the eyelash extensions once—an hours-long power nap where individual extensions are painstakingly applied to each and every one of their natural lashes—and now, they enjoy a 20-minute cat nap every now and then while the lashes that have shed since their last visit and grown anew are given their extension once again.

These days, eyelash treatments are climbing right up there with gel manis and hair trims on ladies’ regular rounds of grooming exercises, and more and more salons are extending their menus to cater to them. Laurentius Salon in South Philly’s Italian Market neighborhood is one of the most recent to add tinting and a battery of extensions (from silk to mink) to their roster, and so the other day, to see what all this lash hubbub was about, I let them play with mine.

Every makeup artist who has ever touched my face (including, several times, Laurentius Purnama himself ) has uttered something along the lines of: Oohh, your eyelashes are really long … Ohhhh (sad trombone) … but they’re blonde. I even have memories of a helpful lady at the MAC store in Florence during my semester abroad {redacted} years ago looking at me confoundedly: “Le ciglia sono bionda.”

They’re right. You know how every girl has the one piece of makeup she won’t leave the house without? Mine is three coats of Diorshow in Chestnut. Without it my face looks bizarrely naked and monochromatic. People think I’m sick or haven’t slept or can’t exactly put their finger on why I look weird, but inevitably ask me what’s up.

Well, no more! After a grand total of about 20 minutes in stylist Sherry Lanphear’s chair at Laurentius (five for the prep of sticking pads underneath my eyes, 10 for the tinting treatment, five afterwards for cleanup and mirror-staring), I type before you a makeup-less, yet still normal-looking person. Behold:

I have lashes now!

I have lashes now!

This tinting thing is easy, fast and worth it. You recline in a leather chair, pillow propped comfortably behind your head, while Sherry paints on your desired color tint (because I wear brown mascara, we discussed going that way, but decided to go whole hog with the black), and then you let it sit for 10 minutes while she touches it up here and there.

When the timer rings, she’ll swipe off the tinting liquid—which can turn into a bit of scrubbing, depending on how absorbent your eyelids happen to be—and you’re on your way. There is a bit of staining on the skin along your lash lines, especially underneath—for me, this lasted through the following day—but it comes off with regular face-washing and eye-makeup remover to reveal lovely lashes that have color even without a swipe of the mascara wand.

The process doesn’t add length or thickness, of course—this is strictly color—but if you happen to lack that on your own, like me, or simply want to have a bit of oomph on your lashes without thinking twice about makeup (beach vacation, anyone?), this is just fab. A lunch-break trip and $25 later, and your colleagues will squeal at you (I can vouch) when you return to the office.

In about three to four weeks, my lashes will be blonde again, and I’ll be due for a pedi. I think I’ll take care of both.

The Details: Laurentius Salon, 815 Christian Street, 215-238-0764.