Everything You Need To Know Before Getting Your Eyebrows Tinted

If you think full, beautifully shaped eyebrows are something you can only dream about, think again. If you've always envied people with fuller eyebrows, wishing your thinner brows could have just a little more oomph, there's a literal quick fix that can make all your dreams come true: eyebrow tinting.

Sure, perhaps you've tried some quality brow pencils and serums to help your brows achieve that fuller look, but spending the better part of your morning trying to get that arch just right can be frustrating, not to mention time-consuming.

When you get your eyebrows tinted professionally, the result can be pretty much life-changing: You'll walk away with full, shaped brows that add some extra definition to your face. In fact, the change can be so pronounced that it changes the way your face looks — but in a good way. "One of my clients told me after we did a tint on her brows that her girlfriends all thought she got a facelift. When done correctly, it's just that good," licensed esthetician Jeseé McSpadden tells Byrdie

It's no wonder everyone is slightly obsessed with eyebrow tinting; few quick beauty treatments can provide such amazing results. If you're ready to jump on the bandwagon and try it out for yourself, read on for everything you need to know before getting your eyebrows tinted for the first time.

What exactly does eyebrow tinting entail?

Of course, you already know that eyebrow tinting is the process of changing or enhancing the colors of your eyebrows, but what exactly does it entail?

First, if you've never had your brows done, just know that eyebrow tinting is really simple and painless. The tinting process will semi-permanently enhance or change the color of your brows, depending on what you prefer. As a bonus, the tint will leave a stain on the skin beneath your brows, which makes them look fuller and thicker, licensed esthetician Jeseé McSpadden tells Byrdie.

There's a reason eyebrow tinting is so popular: It gives your eyebrows renewed definition and enhances their natural shape. Speaking to Harper's Bazaar, brow expert Azi Sacks explains that eyebrow tinting allows professionals to "manipulate the brow area by darkening the fine hairs that surround the perimeter of the brow to increase the width." Brow experts typically also do a great job of extending the natural brow line.

McSpadden adds that you can expect the stain to last for about a week after treatment. Your brow hairs will hold onto the tint for about two to four weeks. Yes, this kind of treatment requires maintenance, but it's so worth it.

Will an eyebrow tint work for me?

If you've never tried an eyebrow tint before, it's natural to wonder if it'll work for your unique features. According to Australian national brow artist Hannah Mutze, it works for literally everyone. "Once upon a time, brow tinting was one color fits all and this did scare a lot of people away," Mutze tells Marie Claire, adding that, luckily, times have changed. Brow tints can now be adapted to the individual's natural color, so you won't walk away looking like a horror movie character.

If having dark brows makes you doubt whether a tint will make any difference, Mutze says that it definitely will. Even though the tint won't do much to enhance your already dark color, it'll create that sought-after definition and shape. People with lighter brows usually fall in love with the slightly darker shade a tint provides. It's a win-win situation no matter what your natural color.

While eyebrow tinting is literally for everyone, Mutze warns that there is one instance where you have to be careful, and that's when you go for a spray tan. "Those who have a fake-tanned face should avoid tinting their brows as the tint tends to stain the skin a lot more than normal," Mutze warns. She recommends you leave a 24-hour window between your eyebrow tint and spray tan. Rather safe than sorry, right?

How do I choose the right color?

This is the million-dollar question, isn't it? Especially when you're getting your eyebrows tinted for the first time. You don't want your brows to be so pronounced that people see them before they notice you, but you also don't want to go with a color that's too light and makes no difference at all. Glizour points out that choosing the right color is crucial to ensure your brows complement your features instead of overshadowing them.

Brow technician Suman Brown tells Glizour that you have nothing to worry about if you get your brows tinted by a professional. "After years of experience, I can choose the shade for each person simply by looking at their skin tone and hair color — but I will always chat with each client to assess which shade they want," Brown says, adding that the color the technician chooses for you will depend on the shade you'd like to begin with and whether you want the tint to be more natural or give your eyebrows a bit more structure. 

Suman says that she usually opts for a shade darker than the client's natural color, but those who want to play it safe can go for a tint that's closer to their original eyebrow color. If you're going for a bolder look, you can go a few shades darker. A qualified brow technician will be able to guide you, so make an appointment with someone who knows their stuff.

What's the tinting process like?

The eyebrow tinting process might vary depending on the technician you go to, but the basics will remain pretty much the same. According to Allure, you'll likely kick off the process with a consultation. This will give you the opportunity to discuss what you want to get out of the tint with the technician. Makeup and brow artist Dani Kimiko Vincent told Allure that she typically creates a unique tint for each client. "I create a customized tint for each client which takes into account hair tone, any highlights, skin tone, and the underlying color of the brows," she explains. 

Once the perfect color is selected, the technician will usually apply a layer of Vaseline around your eyebrows to prevent the tint from staining the skin around it. Then they will mix the tint and apply it to your eyebrows, where it will sit for a few minutes. Vincent says that, once she removes the tint, she finishes shaping the brows and applies a brow gel to moisturize the area. The whole tinting and shaping process takes around 15 minutes, but Vincent tells Cosmopolitan that the entire appointment can last anything between 30 to 40 minutes. As you can see, the tinting process itself is pretty quick, simple, and painless. It's no wonder eyebrow tinting is so addictive.

Is eyebrow tinting safe?

Whenever you allow a stranger to make changes to your appearance, you want to know that it's safe. So, does eyebrow tinting tick that box? According to Cosmopolitan, not entirely.

You might have heard that professional eyebrow tinting isn't legal in California, and this is because eyebrow tints actually haven't yet been approved by the FDA. The reason? Apparently, these dyes could cause serious eye injuries. Most eyebrow dyes also include para-phenylenediamine (PPD), which commonly triggers allergic reactions, according to a 2018 study published in the Annals of Dermatology.

This doesn't mean you're necessarily going to lose an eye if you tint your eyebrows, but it would be wise to ask the technician what type of dye they use. Natural and vegetable-based dyes are the best options. If something about the ingredient list seems a little off, or the technician doesn't want to share the information with you, it's best to find someone else that is open about the products they use.

It's also a good idea to go check out the brow technician or salon's social media accounts, as well as the pictures they were tagged in. This will give you an idea of how happy their previous customers were with their work.

Everything you need to know before you make an appointment

We've already established that not all eyebrow dyes are created equal, so before you book an appointment, ask the brow technician what dye they use and perform a patch test to ensure you don't have an adverse reaction to it. You don't want to find out you're allergic to it when it's already on your face. You should also read up on whether your state requires brow technicians to have a tinting certification. If it is required, ask the brow technician whether they have that certification before you decide to use their services.

You'll also want to think about the results you desire from the tint, Byrdie advises. Do you want your eyebrows to be darker, or do you want to go for a more natural tint? What do you want the end result to look like? Knowing what you want before the appointment will help you communicate your brow goals to the technician without feeling overwhelmed by all the options available to you.

Last, but not least, be prepared to be a little shocked at the results post-appointment. "If you're starting with very sparse brows or very blonde brows, the after can be a bit shocking," Licensed esthetician Jeseé McSpadden tells Byrdie. She says to keep in mind that the difference is much more obvious to you than to the people around you. You might feel like you look very different, but others will simply be gawking at your stunning eyebrows.

The downsides of eyebrow tinting

As with any other treatment, there are some downsides to eyebrow tinting. The most obvious one is that it doesn't last forever, and you'll have to maintain it on a monthly basis, which means it can get pretty expensive, brow expert Jared Bailey tells Refinery29.

There's also the effect it has on your skin. Brow expert Sania Vucetaj tells Allure that the dye used to tint eyebrows can be pretty harsh on the skin beneath your eyebrows, and when it gets into the hair follicles, it can even cause unwanted side effects like shedding. Yikes.

There's also the possibility of the technician getting the color wrong. Vucetaj says this happens more easily than one would think. If the tint turns out way darker than you wanted, there's really nothing you can do but face the world with your extra bold brows until it fades. She added that tinting your brows can also potentially highlight their imperfections, especially if the color turns out too dark, which is the last thing anyone wants.

If these downsides are convincing you to hold off on the tint, for now, Vucetaj says that a brow pencil can do wonders for your eyebrows' color and shape.

The benefits of eyebrow tinting

The biggest benefit of tinting your eyebrows is that they will look fuller and more defined, according to Byrdie. The fact that it lasts for a month is another sweet benefit, along with the convenience of waking up with eyebrows that look amazing.

Tinting your eyebrows can also make them appear more symmetrical and even make you look younger. Licensed esthetician Jeseé McSpadden tel;s Byrdie that the thicker your brows are, the more youthful your face will appear.

"In addition to adding depth and dimension to a look, brow tinting can also add length to the end of a brow, where our hairs tend to be lighter and finer," brow expert Jared Bailey says, adding that there's no awkward grow-out phase, which makes it all the more worth it. Brow artist Hannah Mutze tells Marie Claire that an eyebrow tint can also "lift the face" and make your eyes appear bigger.

And, of course, the fact that the process isn't painful at all makes it incredibly convenient. You'll also shave some time off your morning routine since you won't have to spend time tending to your eyebrows along with your other makeup.

How long does it take to see results?

One of the best perks of getting your eyebrows tinted is that, unlike many other beauty treatments, the results are visible instantly.

Shoba Tummala, the CEO and founder of Shoba Salon, tells Harper's Bazaar that you'll notice the difference as soon as the technician finishes their work. Your eyebrows will look thicker and more pronounced, and you'll no longer need to apply multiple products to make them look that way on a daily basis. She added that the tint can last up to six weeks, after which your brows will need a touch-up tint to keep them looking amazing.

Dermatological surgeon Tiffany Libby suggests you take good care of the area surrounding your eyebrows after you get them tinted. The skin surrounding your brows is thinner, to begin with, and after a tint, it can be even more sensitive. Hold off on applying skincare products like retinol and retinoids to avoid irritating the area even more. Rather apply something that can help your skin rebuild its barrier, like Aquaphor or Vaseline.

How can I make the tint last as long as possible?

Since eyebrow dye is only semi-permanent, your new brows won't last forever, and while we're okay with that, most of us don't want them to fade two weeks in. Luckily, there are a few hacks that will ensure the tint sticks around as long as possible.

Speaking to Allure, brow expert and makeup artist Stevi Christine says that the amount of time eyebrow tint lasts varies from person to person, but, usually, her clients come back for touchups every four to eight weeks.

If you're super determined to hit that eight-week mark, you'll have to follow a good aftercare routine. Salon owner Shoba Tummala told Harper's Bazaar that keeping your brows dry for the first 12 hours after your appointment is crucial to ensure the tint sticks. You'll also want to skip your brow area when you exfoliate your skin. Makeup and brow artist Dani Kamiko Vincent says that heavy creams and oils can make the tint fade faster if you apply them within the first 24 hours after your appointment. She also recommends opting for a gel cleanser instead of one that contains oil to ensure your cleansing routine doesn't negatively affect your new tint.

If you'd like to style your brows or just keep them healthy between tints, Vincent recommends you invest in a clear brow gel. Check the labels for nourishing ingredients like coconut oil and hyaluronic acid.

What does eyebrow tinting cost?

If eyebrow tinting sounds like the answer to all your brow woes, you're likely curious about what it costs. As with most beauty treatments out there, your location, as well as the expertise of the brow artist, will influence the price.

According to Cosmopolitan, you can expect to pay anything between $20 to $40 if you get your brows done in a city like New York. Meanwhile, according to Allure, some salons can charge up to $100 for an eyebrow tint. However, take into account that some eyebrow tints include other treatments as well, like waxing and laminating, which can really hike up the price. If you just want a tint, chances are the price will be a little lower.

You should also keep in mind that, since this treatment includes your eye area, you should most definitely ensure that you go to a professional, even when it costs more. You only have one pair of eyeballs, and you don't want someone who doesn't know what they're doing to scar your face for life.

Is it possible to tint eyebrows at home?

So, maybe you're more of a DIY person and are itching to do this whole eyebrow tinting thing at home. But is it possible or even advisable?

According to experts, it is possible to tint your brows at home, but you need to follow some ground rules when you do. Speaking to Glizour, Suman, who owns Suman Brows London, says that making sure you clean your brow area properly prior to applying the tint is paramount. Then, you should apply Vaseline around your brows so you don't accidentally stain the skin around them. Suman also says to dress in dark clothes or wear something you don't mind getting stains on. Once you're all set, apply the dye in small amounts to your brows. This will prevent any dripping. Suman says to do one brow at a time and remove the second brow's dye last so they both look even. The longer you leave the dye on, the darker your brows will be. Make sure you read the product instructions carefully before starting the tinting process.

Even though tinting your eyebrows at home can be pretty simple and cost-effective, lash expert Clementina Richardson tells Allure that she generally advises against it. Richardson says that someone who hasn't received any training typically doesn't have the know-how when it comes to shaping the brows. "When tinting, selecting the correct shade is extremely important as well, and should be left up to a professional," she cautions.

The difference between eyebrow tinting and microblading

You've probably heard of microblading before, which basically consists of getting your eyebrows tattooed onto your face for permanent, fuller-looking brows.

"Microblading is performed with the help of a pen fixed with multiple tiny blades. Small fine hair-like incisions are made into the skin, and the tattoo pigment is deposited in the dermal layer," dermatologist and aesthetic physician Pallavi Sule explains to Vogue.

These hair-like incisions mimic natural hair and make your eyebrows appear naturally fuller. The process can be quite painful, so it's done under local anesthesia. Sule added that, unlike traditional tattoos, the ink used in microblading fades, which creates a natural look. However, this means that you need to go for touchups every six to eight months. Tinting, on the other hand, requires monthly touchups. As with tinting, microblading also poses some risks, like allergies and scarring.

Speaking to Cosmopolitan, makeup and brow artist Dani Kimiko Vincent says that tinting focuses more on enhancing your natural brows, whereas microblading focuses more on filling in the spaces between your brow hairs. For those who have very thin eyebrows, microblading can work wonders, especially if a tint doesn't manage to make much of a difference, Sule says.