Should You Try Eyebrow Tinting?


Cara Delevingne and her bold, dark brows

Cara Delevingne and her bold, dark brows; Image: Imaxtree

Whether you prefer a fresh-faced look or an Insta-glam version, brows make all the difference. They punctuate your face and tinting them the perfect shade can have a mind-blowing, transformative effect. Eyebrow tinting done the right way will accentuate your brows and define them. The subtle wash of color grabs on to all hairs, making brows look fuller and more youthful and will add symmetry and definition to your visage. Not to mention, your morning routine will be forever simplified: just brush your brows up and over and you are good to go.

The eyebrow tinting process takes about 10 to 15 minutes in a salon and results can last up to four to six weeks before your brows naturally fade to their original hue. But please note, brow tinting is illegal in some states, so do your due diligence before committing to the face-altering beauty treatment. And to further help you get your brow game on point, we asked several of our favorite brow gurus for the lowdown on the art of dying the anchors that frame your face.

If Eyebrow Tinting at a Salon

Look for a Reputable Brow Specialist

Avoid going to a salon or someone who doesn’t specialize in brows. Pour over reviews and especially the reader comments. “They are extremely helpful in helping to find the best artisan or boutique,” says Umbreen Sheikh, founder of Wink Brow Bar. “Look for a highly-trained professional with tons of experience and a good eye for color to customize your brows.”

Let Nature Be Your Guide

Look to the color of the roots on your head as your natural starting point.

But You Don’t Need to Be Matchy-Matchy

“Staying within one to two shades of your current hair color is the safest way to attain a natural-looking result, however, going slightly darker or lighter can give one more flattering results. Redheads usually have cooler undertones in the skin and will look best in an ashy light brown to keep the brows from looking orange. If you are blonde, match to the darkest undertones of your hair to give definition and add contrast. If you are a dark-eyed brunette, try matching your brows to your highlights to make your dark eyes pop. If you are a light-eyed brunette, match eyebrows to overall hair color to frame the eyes,” suggests Maribeth Madron, makeup artist/brow specialist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger. And “if the hair on your head is very black, go one shade lighter,” adds Sheikh.

But Never Go Too Light

“Bleached-out brows only truly work with a dramatic smoky eye. If you are a natural, no-makeup kind of girl, overly light brows will only make you look older and tired,” states Madron.

Take Stock of the Depth and Tones of Your Hair Color

If you’ve changed your hair from cool to warm or vice versa, you may need to adjust your brow color. “If you have more warm, orangey tones in your hair color, you do not want cooler-toned brows as it reads very ashy,” says Tonya Crooks, celebrity brow expert and founder of The BrowGal product line. “Alternatively, if you don’t have much warmth in your hair color, don’t use a brow tint that has more golden tones as you’ll be left looking very orangey.”

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If Eyebrow Tinting at Home

Never Use the Same Dye as You Would for Your Mane

Most tints or dyes used to color your locks are dangerous to use around the eyes. “The concentrated formulas can cause an allergic reaction, damage your eye or cause blindness,” warns Madron. “Dyes used in the eye area are created specifically to be safe and more gentle on the delicate, thin skin around the eyes,” she explains. Plus, “the hairs on your brow and your head are completely different both in texture and in strength. Brow hairs are less tolerant to chemicals as head hairs and could be damaged or have breakage if you use a harsh hair dye,” adds Crooks. Use semi-permanent vegetable dyes made specifically for the eye area for eyebrow tinting.

Don’t Skip the Patch Test

“The skin on your face is much more delicate than the skin on your scalp and could suffer irritation,” cautions Crooks. “Conduct the patch test 6 to 24 hours earlier to ensure that you are not sensitive to the formula,” advises Sheikh.

Follow the Instructions on the Box

“Start off with clean brows with nothing on them. Mix with a fresh stick and then apply to the brows with a clean, angled brush directly onto brow hair. Take it off after the recommended time on the box (usually around 45 seconds) to check the color. If you want it darker, reapply,” says Crooks.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Eyes

Madron stresses the importance of applying a barrier cream or ointment around the brows to prevent staining and to protect the tint from seeping into the sensitive eye area.

Avoid Leaving the Dye on Too Long

“The dye darkens when it oxidizes, so don’t be overzealous when applying. If the color isn’t dark enough, you can always reapply; but if you make it too dark, it will be hard to fix. Also, make sure to not use too much product when applying — less is more,” adds Crooks.

Use Care When Removing the Brow Tint

Again, you don’t want the mixture to get in your eyes. For precision, “remove with water and cotton,” says Madron. “Stains should be removed with stain remover and a soothing cream or oil can be applied afterward.”

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