Looking to Tint Your Brows? Here's What You Need to Know

An expert answers your burning questions.

If you've ever had your brows tinted, we can probably all agree that the service is nothing short of life-changing. In 10 to 15 minutes, sparse, patchy eyebrows are transformed into something that could challenge even Brooke Shields's iconic set. So there's no denying that brow tint before and after pictures show a more defined look. However, in recent years, eyebrow tinting has received a lot of criticism, and has even been banned in a few states.

To clear the air, we spoke to brow expert Boom Boom (Malynda Vigliotti), founder of Boom Boom Brow Bar. Below, she gives us the lowdown on everything you need to know about the service.

Extreme close up of woman's eye
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What Does Eyebrow Tinting Do?

Eyebrow tinting is pretty self-explanatory: the treatment involves applying a gentle dye to your arches for about 10 to 15 minutes to make them a shade or two darker. For sparse brows, in particular, tinting works wonders at grabbing the lighter hairs to result in a fuller, more dramatic shape.

"First the tint color is mixed to match the undertones of the client's hair, then it's applied to the brow area, sits for 10 minutes, and then it's removed," says Boom Boom. "At Boom Boom Brow Bar, we wax after we tint to make sure we have the most hair to work with before shaping."

Tinting will color teeny tiny hairs, so your brow hair is darker and more noticeable. "The service is especially impactful for blondes and redheads, but brunettes get amazing results too because it picks up all the baby hairs to give a fuller look," says Boom Boom. "It's really natural-looking so you don't have to use brow enhancing products as much, if at all."

Your fill-in method will be pretty low-key for a four to six week life span, during which time the tint will naturally fade to your original hue.

Is It Safe?

Technically, yes, but it really depends on what dye is used. The FDA currently has an Import Alert in effect for eyelash and eyebrow dyes containing coal tar colors, with studies indicating that such products can cause a severe health hazard with the possibility of permanent eye injury, including impaired sight and blindness.

"We use a professional vegetable-based dye," says Boom Boom. "It's the safest thing to put close to the eyes. ​​Do not use store-bought hair color box kits to tint your brows — these dyes have ammonia in them and can be super dangerous, not only if they get into your eyes, but also if they get on the fragile, sensitive skin around the eye area."

"Coal and tar and other chemicals are not safe around the eye orbital. Anything you put on your eyes goes into your skin," adds Boom Boom. "It's best to be extra safe with anything you put on the eye area. The cleaner, the better."

Where Is the Service Currently Allowed?

If you live in California or Massachusetts, you're out of luck; the service has officially been banned in those two states. Everywhere else, it's a salon by salon basis. But regardless of where you get your eyebrows done, make sure to ask what ingredients the salon uses, get informed, and only go to salons that have very high standards.

That said, it's always important to do your research before committing to the service, and if a salon seems shady or the prices appear too good to be true, go with your gut.

What's the Best Way To Care For Your Eyebrows After Tinting?

According to Boom Boom, it's best to avoid applying facial serums and oils to the brow area as they remove the tint quicker. "Also, if you self-tan, coat your eyebrows with Aquaphor or Vaseline as it tends to get stuck in brows, and the tint can pick up warm tones."

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