What is eyebrow tinting? How it works, how long it lasts, before and after, and more.
It wasn’t that long ago when pencil-thin eyebrows were all the rage, but of course, trends come and go. Now, to our delight, bold brows are extremely en vogue — and it seems like there are endless ways to achieve them. Some techniques are more extreme than others; microblading, for example, involves semi-permanent dye being applied to the skin using a tattoo-like technique. While eyebrow tinting, on the other hand, is a popular, pain-free way to get a similar effect by dyeing the existing brow hairs.
Salons and brow bars are starting to offer this service as an add on to routine brow shaping, as the treatment can make a huge difference in the color, definition, and fullness of brows. However, a bad brow tint is hard to hide. So, when it comes to eyebrow tinting, it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for — and what will give you the best result. To learn about everything from proper technique to choosing the right shade, we spoke with brow expert Joey Healy.
What is eyebrow tinting?
While eyebrow tinting and microblading may give you a similar look, Healy explains that the two processes are extremely different. “Unlike microblading, brow tints do not dye the skin,” he says. “Rather, eyebrow tinting uses semi-permanently dye to color the individual brow hairs.” However, he notes, the dye can leave a temporary stain of color on the skin that adds definition.
At his studio, Healy uses a custom-blended, vegetable-based dye applied in several rounds. “I’ll usually start by applying it to the inner corners, the tail where hairs tend to be lighter and finer, and the weakest areas in between,” he says. “Then, I’ll pull it through the entire shape before going back for a third round on areas need it the most.”
Like coloring the hair on your head, eyebrow tinting is an art that’s best left to the pros. Healy emphasizes the importance of going to a professional who not only custom blends their dye, but also customizes the treatment to your unique brows. “If you just plop tint on the brow, it’s not going to look as even as you would think. You actually have to apply it strategic rounds for it to look the most balanced,” he says.
Brow tinting benefits
Because it darkens the hairs and defines the shape of brows, the biggest benefit of brow tinting is that you don’t have to fill-in your brows with makeup to achieve a fuller appearance. It also provides a natural-looking effect and because it’s temporary, is less risky than some of the more permanent brow treatments. “Brow tinting makes the most out of what you have,” Healy says. “It’s simple, it’s painless, it’s natural-looking.” He adds that brow tinting is also great for covering any gray hairs that are starting to pop up, or any hairs that have been lightened by the summer sun.
How much does eyebrow tinting cost?
According to Healy, the cost of eyebrow tinting can vary greatly. At his studio, it can be anywhere from $50 to $105, but he says in most places, you can find services in the range of $10 to $30. “It’s really all over the place,” he notes. Brow tinting lasts four to six weeks before it will need to be touched up, so keep that in mind when considering costs.
Eyebrow tinting before and after:
Brow tinting at home
Like we said above, going to a professional is going to give you the best results. That said, you can certainly attempt to tint your brows at home. If you choose the DIY route, Healy recommends using the Just For Men Mustache & Beard Dye, which is formulated specifically for facial hair. When it comes to selecting your shade of dye, Healy says there are two factors to consider: the color itself and the amount of time it will be sitting on your eyebrows. “If you are not sure about which shade to choose and you are doing it at home, go a bit lighter because you can always leave it on longer for darker results,” he says.
On that note, while everyone’s hair will take differently, eyebrow tinting should take no longer than five minutes. For best results, Healy suggests slowly building up to your desired darkness. Start by leaving the dye on for about a minute, then wipe it off and assess. If it isn’t dark enough, apply more and leave it on for another minute or two. It’s also important to note that if you experience any burning or irritation during that process, you should immediately remove the dye and rinse your face.
Another way to recreate the effect of brow tinting is by using a tinted brow gel, rather than dye. “The little wand coats every individual hair and makes each brow hair come forward and look darker,” Healy says. Brow gels are also a great way to test out the look of brow tinting and experiment with different shades. “It’s just makeup, you can put it on and take it off and experience what different colors look like,” he adds. “Also, having a good brow gel product is a great way to extend the results of brow tinting at home.”
Tinted brow gels to try:
Joey Healy Brow Laquer ($28; joeyhealy.com)
IT Cosmetics Brow Power Filler Volumizing Tinted Fiber Eyebrow Gel ($25; sephora.com)
NYX Tinted Brow Mascara ($8; ulta.com)
Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Voluminizing Eyebrow Gel ($22; sephora.com)
Glossier Boy Brow ($16; glossier.com)
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