Extreme Makeover

Lately I’ve been trying to look like less of a slob. My current style is best summarised as Slum Chic. It’s high time I stopped being so lazy and tried to look more presentable. Some people say women let themselves go after they get married, but I can hardly let go when I wasn’t holding on in the first place!

My first tentative step in this campaign was to get my eyelashes tinted. Beauty editors are always gushing about how all you need is mascara and lipgloss and you’re ready to take on the world! But mascara seems like such a bloody palaver. It takes so long to apply, and I poke my eyeballs with the mascara wand every freaking time. I figured I could just get my Invisible Redhead Lashes tinted, that way it would look like I was putting in an effort without me actually having to put in an effort.

So I returned to the House of Wax. I thought the procedure would involve some very small paintbrushes, and some tiny fairy-like creatures sitting on my cheekbones, delicately tinting me one lash at a time. What actually happens is that they put Vaseline around your eyes, slap on some cotton wool blobs, tell you to close your eyes then unceremoniously swish on the dye. Then they repeat, DO NOT OPEN YOUR EYES under any circumstances.

Of course this was my cue to completely freak out and imagine the dye seeping into my retinas. And then freak out some more when my Waxtress said, “Okay, I’ll just do your eyebrows while we wait.”

Do my eyebrows now!?

My usual reaction to having small hairs ripped from my brow is to spring up in alarm and scream “Bastard!”, with EYES WIDE OPEN. So now she tells me I’m supposed to lay very still so she can torture me with hot wax while there are potentially blinding chemicals tiptoeing round the edge of my eyeballs?

“Are you okay?” came the gentle voice after the first brow was done.

“Fine!” I increased my death grip on the table.

“I was just making sure, since your nostrils are kind of flaring rapidly…”



“You’re all done!” she mopped my flaming brow with tea-tree gel. “I just need to get some cotton balls to wipe off the eyelash tint, I’ll be right back.”


How long does it take to find a fucking COTTON BALL!? It must have been twenty million minutes, at least. I swear I could feel the dye crawling up my eyelashes and peering over the rim. I couldn’t believe it, robbed of my vision right in the middle of the World Cup! I wondered if I would get the hang of Braille. Would I get a chocolate brown lab for a Guide dog or a traditional yellow one? Would it really matter?

It was so dark. So cold. And I really needed to blink. Should I cry for help? Should I strike out with my leg and kick over that bamboo screen to get attention? Or maybe the Waxtress was actually lurking there, behind the screen and laughing very quietly at my predicament.

I was just about to bellow, “I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE!” when I finally heard her singsong tones.

“Sorry about that! Here I am.”

She swabbed away then finally I was free . My breathing returned to normal only when I could successfully count all my fingers and read BANK OF SCOTLAND on the ten pound note I handed over to her. The finished effect was nice, but I’m not sure the thirty seconds saved each morning is worth the trauma. I tell you, if they employed the Hot Wax/Lash Tint Torture Combo at Guantanamo Bay, I would have squealed like a piggy.

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for June 2021.

28 thoughts on “Extreme Makeover

  1. How long is a professional lash tint supposed to last? I only ask because I know that you can use a DIY lash tint at home that will last a couple days at a time. It was just in the US InStyle Makeover issue which for the life of me I cannot locate at the moment in order to give you the exact name of the product.

  2. Everytime I get my eyebrows ripped… they swell and turn red for half a day… why do I do it? What women do for the sake of beauty! Mental!

  3. Oh, I’m a redhead too, and so consigned to a life of invisi-lashes. I used to assiduously apply mascara every day–ESPECIALLY after reading, in high school I think, a short story about a guy who hung out at roadhouses and hit on redheaded women with pale lashes and then took them home and murdered them. Because of their eyelashes. I’m not usually QUITE this impressionable, but after that story I resolutely wore mascara for about the next 10 years.

    But then, a couple of years ago (I’m 30 now), I finally just said, “fuck it.” It’s such a pain to put on and an even bigger pain to take off, and I realized that, on me, it actually looks kinda weird unless I’m in full-on nighttime makeup, because I’m so fucking pale that the dark lashes are, c’mon, so NOT natural looking.

    Of course, if I could have them dyed some middle-ground color that wasn’t SO obviously fake, I might consider it! Hmm….

  4. Mascara I don’t have a problem with – it is the eyeliner. I can’t manage to put it on without looking like a clown on heroin (and there is NO WAY I would try the liquid stuff!!!)

  5. You are Slum Chic – I am Trailer Trash Corporate. I was sitting in the city office yesterday with two of the women I work with and I looked down at their lovely leather pointy expensive looking shoes, and then at my shed-mud smeared docs – [groan] – and as for just generally letting myself go? Baby, I’m gone! I used to tint my own eyelashes, and go for bikini waxes, and now I’m just plain old growth forest girl with mousy lashes. [sigh] I really have to pull my finger out.

  6. I am the anti-chic chick- I just can’t be bothered with all that make-up and stuff unless I’m actually going out (and even then not always).

    However my sister-in-law is a beautitian with her own salon, and has been known to test out new techniques on me.

    You think its hard having your eye lashes tinted? Try getting your eye lashes PERMED.

    Yes permed. They glue (GLUE!) your eyelashes to a roller, and then put the perm solution on, and you CAN NOT open your eyes for 20 minutes… which as you say is much easier said than done… and even with your eyes squeezed shut it stings like a bastard.

  7. The only time I bother with make-up is when I’m stuck in traffic, with hours to waste.
    I’ll do practically anything to entertain myself in traffic.

  8. I had the EXACT, THE EXACT same experience! Except when she took it off some dye got in my eyes and STUNG like hell and my vision was blurry for hours. I went so far as to sponsor a seeing eye dog! Asked for a female chocolate but got a yellow male called Elroy, he didn’t graduate.

  9. I get my eyelashes tinted about once a month or 6 weeks. I can’t do mascara because it irritates my eyes and I end up rubbing them and looking like I’ve been beaten up. Not to mention what the rubbing does for my wrinkles…
    I find the dye quite irritating as well and it usually stings quite a lot when they’re removing the dye but I look so much better with it done.

    I do like being pampered. I’ve got a facial booked in for Saturday.

    I’ve been thinking about wax torture. Once upon a time I used to get my legs done regularly but I neither shave nor wax my legs at all now. As a fellow giniger, it’s the one positive that we have – invisible leg hairs. I mean I know they’re hairy and they stick out when I wear stickings but what the hell. But anyway, we have a sun holiday in October and I’ve been wondering if i should get a bikini wax so I don’t scare small children in my swimsuit. However, I cannot imagine unearthing my private hair in my usual salon as I don’t think I’d be able to look them in the eye again. Not sure if I have the guts to even go to an anonymous salon. But my previous experience with shaving near there resulted in a rash and I don’t want to risk that again.
    It’s bloody difficult being a woman sometimes!

  10. Was this the nice redhaired waxtress, or the surprise-bordering-on-alarm waxtress?

    You are very brave. While as vain as the next person, I am far too much of a wimp to let anyone do stuff to me with wax, or to tint my lashes (just as well they’re dark). I totally agree with you about mascara, though — it’s a palaver. And I always manage to rub my eye and smear it across my face at some point…

  11. How about some before and after pictures so we can judge for ourselves whether the tinting was worth the trauma you had to endure. Actually, the story would be hilarious if they took pictures of you while applying the tint! Since I assume no such pictures exist, I’ll just have to rely on my imagination.

  12. I’m hoping that one day the TV commercials will advocate the panda-eyed, clumpy-mascara look that I have perfected over the years. It will feel so nice to finally be en vogue.

    Sigh I’m like you Shauna, I can’t operate a mascara wand without blinding myself, and I’m even worse with eyeliner. I don’t mind having my eyelashes and eyebrows tinted though but I just can’t be arsed going to the salon. I live in the States now – surely I can get someone to come to me and do this?!

  13. my goodness… permed eyelashes is a bridge too far!

    george – i rejoice to say there are no pics 😛

    k – it was the same place as the nice redhead but it was a different chick this time. i am sure the nice redhead would have been so evil to do the dyeing and the waxing at the same bloody time!

    pete! you’re right, eyeliner is evil! i can’t get that to work without looking like a hooker…

    lora – it’s meant to last 4 weeks or so, i got mine done at the start of the world cup (when was that?) and it’s just started to fade now… pretty cool 🙂

  14. I used to dye my eyelashes myself, with a hydrogen peroxide based kit, when I was 15. But then my Mum asked me to do her too, and I got it in her eye. It took me YEARS to forgive myself for getting chemicals in my Mum’s eye.

    Somehow it’s the epitome of 15-year-old gung ho, that I thought nothing of painting hydrogen peroxide and stain on my eyelashes. Now I’m contemplating trying to find the kit again, because I’m too cheap to pay for a regular tint, and I’m sick of the raccoon-eyes from mascara not washing off properly.

  15. Hey Shauna,
    I too am a red head, but I have dark lashes and eye brows, with the exception on a few cute little ginger bastards on my top layer of lashes. My eyebrows are worse than John Howards… sweet jesus girl you have no idea!! I must of had them waxed around twelve times in the past two years, and still the little nazi arseholes continue to pop up. The last time I had them waxed, they looked smooth and sleak, until two whole days later when there were little stubbly bits poking back up through my no doubt traumatized skin.
    I am also a fan of the EyeLash tinting… although I dont really enjoy it as such.
    The very first time I had it done the women was a trainee (at this point I should have screamed hysterically and run from the building, however I was young and innocent) The women put the dye on my eyes and not gently either. By the time she walked out of the room the edges of my eyes were burning. She came back TWENTY MINUTES LATER to check how I was doing–I didnt know she had entered the little cubical as she was very quiet and the background music (birds chirping shrilly, etc.) was quite loud (not very relaxing, eh?) I nearly died of fright when I felt a hand on my face. When she washed it out of my eyes, she somehow managed to get twice as much back into them.

    But the end result was good, although I was still slightly dazed by the pain and bright lights when I finally found my way out of that hell hole.
    p.s. oooh, and FYI, if you get the Navy dye, it actually makes your lashes look thicker and longer! :O

  16. Damn, that waxing, whatever the hell it is, sounds just scary. I think given the choice of excruciating feminine procedures to undergo I would take childbirth first every time. As long as there were plenty of cotton buds to hand, of course.

  17. well, blondes and redheads have all the fun, dont they! still trot off regularly for my little tint, eyebrows n’all, except last time i went to the surfer wench from hell, who seared the hot wax not only under the brows but between my bloody eyes. I said “what ARE you doing, revealing that furrow which is nicely covered by fine blond hairs?” at which point she said “aw well, have to just rip it off anyway!”.
    And then she had the audacity to smear a great swathe of the molten stuff onto my chin, saying, oh, and theres a few hairs here too!
    RRip- just for good measure.
    Half my bloody rotten face was bald, not to mention red and stingy!

  18. okay,try again…

    redheads and blondes get All the fun..
    I still trot off to have my eyelashes and eyebrows tinted..and my brows waxed as well.
    Last time, i went to the Surfer Wench from Hell, who, after applying the hot wax below the eyerows, proceeded to smear it between my eyes.
    “What are you doing?! I exclaimed, “revealing that furrow which has up till now been veiled by fine blond hais?”
    “aw well, hafta just rip it off anyway”she said, and then proceeded to smear molten wax on my CHIN as well, saying, “ya’ve got a coupla stray hairs here too, y’know!”
    Very red, patchy bald face….MOST unattractive.

  19. Funny stuff. Every time I get my eyebrows waxed, the area directly around each brow is bright red for HOURS afterward. Looks like I got in a brawl with a steaming pot of water – and that the water won!

  20. MY GOD you are so much braver than I. You made my eyes water. I wish you would put up a close-up pic!!!

  21. LOL I love your wild imagination. I suppose it wouldn’t matter what colour dog you would have if you were truly vision impaired 😉 The things people do for beauty! Just as bad as those corsets they used to wear. I bet thats what started off the breast cancer genes.
    Anyway bet you look lovely now !

  22. OMG, the same thing happened to me last week. My eyese were closed, and she started on my brows. She kept reminging me of what a treat she was providing (no charge for the brow beating). Outch. And, unfortunately, I live in Oregon where the dyd is not the creapy, drippy, burning kind and only lasts a few weeks. . . Then she wiped my whole face with a stridex pad due to the recent break out (full moon blemishes, as she called them). . .

  23. it’s high time men went through the pain of beautifying themselves for the greater good of society. At present all they do is wash and shave nothing painful in that at all. PAIN is the way to go I say.

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