By Marianne Mychaskiw
Updated Feb 14, 2016 @ 12:00 pm
Credit: Getty Images

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 arches are transformed into brows that would challenge even Brooke Shields's iconic set. However, in the light of recent FDA rulings, the service has recently recieved a lot of criticism, and has been banned in a few states. To clear the air, we spoke to Paz Stark, owner of founder of the famed Stark Waxing Studio, who gave us the lowdown on everything you need to know about the service.

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

Is It Safe?

Technically, yes. No adverse reactions to the treatment have been reported in Stark's case, and salons take extra care to ensure the formula doesn't come in contact with the delicate eye area. "We used the same cream that all salons use, as an industry standard," Stark tells us. "I can only speak from experience, and we had great results when we used it. During application, we use Vaseline to protect the area and create a barrier so that the cream could not enter the eye." To boot, the product is applied with disposable spoolies that were tossed after each service, and at Stark Waxing Studio in particular, technicians also surrounded the eye area with cool, damp cotton pads to soak up any runaway tint.

VIDEO: How to Use Tinted Brow Gel

So, Why the Restrictions?

"The FDA has put a 'not safe for face' label on the tinting cream used by salons for lash and brow tinting," Stark explains. According to the FDA's website, the problem lies within the coal tar ingredient used in the dye. "There are some natural vegetable dyes on the market, but I don't know if they're up against the same FDA ruling, and the tinting results are not as long-lasting," she adds. "Despite only having positive results with the tinting cream, we decided to play it safe and discontinue the service. As a company, we agreed across the board to not use a product that might make our clients feel safe or unsure."

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. Just as you would with any treatment, be sure 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. Says Stark: "Look at ingredients, get informed, and only go to salons that have very high standards."