What is Eyebrow Tinting? We've Got All Your Questions Answered

If the bulk of your makeup routine revolves around filling in your brows, then you might want to consider brow tinting. One session can buy you up to a month of fuller, more defined arches without ever having to pick up a pencil—and, it’s much less expensive (and less permanent) than microblading. Curious to hear more? We’ll walk you through the whole thing. 

First Off, What Is Eyebrow Tinting? 

It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like—tinting your brows with semi-permanent dye to make them appear fuller. You can get this service done at salons and even do it at-home (though we’d caution against trying this until you’ve had some experience first).

Who Is Eyebrow Tinting Best For? 

Ah, herein lies the beauty of brow tinting: It works on everyone of all skin tones and hair colors. So long as you pass the patch test, you can enjoy the brow boosting benefits. The process can be a bit trickier if you have white or grey hairs, as those hairs tend to be a bit wiry and more resistant to the dye. Nevertheless, an experienced technician should know how to adjust accordingly. 

How Long Does Eyebrow Tinting Take?

It’s actually a very quick process. From start to finish, a brow tinting appointment typically only takes about 15 minutes. During your appointment, you’ll have a consultation with your specialist about how you want your brows to look. Similar to when you go in for, say, highlights, it’s helpful if you have photos to illustrate the brow shape that you’re looking for, but bear in mind that the most natural-looking arches match your actual hair color and facial structure. (The goal is to enhance your brows, not completely change them.)

After the consultation, your technician will clean your brows and the surrounding skin and prep  the area with a thin layer of petroleum jelly or barrier cream to prevent any staining. The dye will then be carefully brushed onto your brows (often using a clean spoolie brush) and left on for several minutes until they’ve reached your desired shade. The tech will then wipe off any remaining dye from your brows and send you on your way.

A quick note here: If you see a bit of staining underneath your brows or they look a tad too dark initially, don’t fret. The excess dye will wash away after a day or two, after which point, they’ll look more natural.

What’s The Maintenance For Eyebrow Tinting Like?

Most technicians will advise you not to get your brows wet for the first 12 hours after getting them tinted. The tint should last between four and six weeks for most people pending various lifestyle factors like how often you wash your face, what products you use, how much sun exposure you get and how fast your hair grows. To prolong the color, avoid using any oil-based products (i.e., cleansers) in the area and any exfoliating ingredients (like AHAs or retinols), as they can cause the tint to fade faster. After a few weeks, the color will gradually fade, at which point, you’ll want to go back for a touchup. 

Is Eyebrow Tinting Safe?

Depends on who you ask. The FDA has deemed that many brow tinting creams are “not safe for face” because of the coal tar ingredient used in most dyes. As such, the service has been banned in the states of California and Massachusetts; however, it is legal everywhere else and in other parts of the world.

Theoretically and certainly anecdotally, it’s no less safe than other treatments we get like lash extensions or perms, but no matter what, make sure you do your homework. Ask around for referrals, read reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask the salon questions about what they use and how they maintain hygienic standards.

And, if it’s your first time, get a patch test done 24 hours before to make sure you’re not allergic to anything in the dye. A patch test is very quick and involves applying a small amount of the dye to an area of skin that’s easily concealed like behind your ear or in the crook of your elbow, where it’s left on overnight. If it starts to itch or look red, wash it off immediately. No reaction? You may proceed with your brow tinting. 

Where Are The Best Places To Go For Eyebrow Tinting?

Start by asking your friends and colleagues if they get their eyebrows tinted. Referrals are always best. Otherwise, you can check to see if your local Benefit Brow Bar offers tinting services at one of their nationwide locations.

The Ultimate Guide to Filling in Your Brows

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...