Fact Checked

What Is Semi-Permanent Mascara?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Semi-permanent mascara is a cosmetic treatment that provides enhancement of a person's eyelashes that lasts for several weeks. The treatment is a substitute for daily mascara usage, although some individuals may choose to apply a standard mascara over semi-permanent mascara for a more dramatic look. The product is not a dye, and like regular mascara, it thickens, lengthens, and separates lashes. Typically, manufacturers of semi-permanent mascara stipulate that its application can take place only in a salon or spa environment by a licensed beauty professional, such as a cosmetologist or aesthetician.

Many people who wear mascara do so because they wish to accentuate their eyelashes to draw attention to their eyes. While many different types of mascara are on the market, they generally have several drawbacks. Mascaras must typically be reapplied on a daily basis, and during the day they may flake or wear off. Plus, unless a person uses waterproof mascara, sweat, tears, or any type of moisture can cause it to run. As a result, some cosmetic companies have developed a semi-permanent mascara that can be applied once every few weeks and that does not wear off during everyday activities or exposure to water. This mascara coats lashes like regular mascara, but remains on the lashes for a significant period of time without flaking or running.

A cosmetician applying semi-permanent mascara to a client.
A cosmetician applying semi-permanent mascara to a client.

The formulas for different types of semi-permanent mascara vary by manufacturer, and some brands may last longer than others. Beauty professionals are typically trained in the application of semi-permanent mascara by manufacturers before they are permitted to provide this treatment to their customers. Some types of semi-permanent mascara can be “refreshed” after a few weeks by the beauty professional without the need for a complete reapplication of the product. Some formulas may also require the wearer to use a specially formulated mascara over the semi-permanent mascara if he or she desires additional thickening or coverage.

Regular mascaras must be reapplied on a daily basis.
Regular mascaras must be reapplied on a daily basis.

For many people, this process is a good alternative to the daily application of thickening mascara. Until recently, the only semi-permanent option for mascara wearers was to undergo the process of eyelash dyeing, which some beauty experts feel is dangerous. While eyelash dyeing resulted in darker lashes, it did not provide enhanced thickness or length for wearers, forcing them to use additional mascara for a more conspicuous look. Those who are interested in undergoing the procedure can visit the websites of product manufacturers to find out the locations of beauty professionals certified in the product's application.

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Discussion Comments


I would expect something like semi-permanent mascara to cost more than regular mascara, but what might someone expect to pay for an application of this?

This sounds like it would be a perfect solution for me, but I am not sure I could fit it in my budget right now. I have found once you start paying for something like this, it is hard to go without it, and I am curious how much this would cost me on a regular basis.

I have also thought about getting some permanent makeup in the future, but this sounds like it would be cheaper and a good way to see if I would even like it or not.


@golf07-- The reason I tried semi-permanent mascara was because of a problem with infection I had with traditional mascara. Even when I would change mascara every few months, I had a hard time finding something that would not bother my eyes.

So far I have not had any problems with the semi-permanent mascara. I don't know what is different about it, but it is wonderful being able to wear mascara all the time without problems with my eyes itching.

I don't wear any kind of special mascara over what they apply at the salon. If I had to do this, I probably would have never gone ahead with it. I have my lashes "refreshed" every few weeks, but this never takes very long and this way I can extend the life of the initial application.


It is interesting to read about those who have been pleased with semi-permanent mascara. This is something I have been thinking about, but have wondered if the extra expense would be worth it.

I have dyed my lashes before trying to get them darker without having to apply mascara every day. I really wouldn't recommend doing this. Not only was it messy, but the dye didn't seem to stay on all that long.

I found it was just easier to go back to applying mascara every day without all the mess. I wonder if there would be much of a chance of infection using semi-permanent mascara?

My eyes aren't that sensitive, but my daughter really has to be careful with what she uses. If something like this worked for her, I think it would be well worth it.


I have also had great results with the semi-permanent mascara. I go to a salon that will apply this and do my nails too, so it doesn't really take up that much more time.

Yes, it is another expense, but once you get used to it, it is hard to go without out. I love knowing I don't need to apply and remove mascara every day.

When I wake up in the morning it already looks like I have some makeup on. On the weekends I don't wear a lot of makeup, but this way it looks like I still have mascara on my lashes.

I would recommend every woman give this a try at least once. I have found other things to cut back on so I can have my lashes done every few weeks. I think it is worth the extra expense and time.


@ankara, @alisha-- I have semi-permanent mascara done regularly and personally I love it. I'm not trying to convince you to get it. It might not be right for everyone, but it has definitely worked out for me.

I used to get eyelash extensions before which cost me a lot of money and didn't look very natural. So when I switched to semi-permanent mascara, I was pleasantly surprised. It costs less than extensions, looks better and requires absolutely no maintenance.

I recommend it to women who are really busy and who don't have time to think about makeup. The best part about this treatment is that it doesn't run or come off no matter what for at least two to three weeks. For me, it lasts a little longer than that, close to a month.

I shower, I workout, I do everything and it's still intact and looks perfect. I think it'd be great for a bride too. Of course, it costs more than regular mascara, but it pays off.


@ankara-- I haven't tried it but I don't think it's worth it. I asked a beauty spa about it last month and the price they told me was too high for me. I did not expect it to be so expensive. I was hoping that I would save money and time by having this done. I don't mind buying mascara every month but I'm so lazy to apply it every day.

Unfortunately, semi-permanent mascara is far more expensive than buying two drugstore tube mascaras. And you will have to get it re-done every single month. I think you're better off using regular mascara.

I'm not planning to have this done unless the price goes down. Hopefully it will.


Wow, this sounds great! I don't know why I've never heard of it before because I need something like this badly!

I'm not allowed to use regular tube mascara on a daily basis because it accumulates germs so easily. I have very sensitive eyes and using mascara every day gives me eyelash infections and eyelash fall out which is horrible. My eye doctor has told me to not use mascara every day or buy a brand new one every couple of weeks. I love using mascara but I can't afford to get a new one twice a month. So I've been really frustrated not knowing what to do.

Semi-permanent mascara sounds like the answer to my prayers. Has anyone here had it done? What are your thoughts on it? Please share!

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    • A cosmetician applying semi-permanent mascara to a client.
      By: haveseen
      A cosmetician applying semi-permanent mascara to a client.
    • Regular mascaras must be reapplied on a daily basis.
      By: bedya
      Regular mascaras must be reapplied on a daily basis.
    • Semi-permanent mascara won't run like other types will.
      By: beornbjorn
      Semi-permanent mascara won't run like other types will.
    • Using eye makeup that is older than three months old may increase the chances of contracting an eye infection.
      By: Minerva Studio
      Using eye makeup that is older than three months old may increase the chances of contracting an eye infection.
    • Mascara should enhance a person's eye color.
      By: Antonioguillem
      Mascara should enhance a person's eye color.