While I love a good brow product, a few years ago I discovered the ultimate in semipermanent beauty: eyebrow tinting. Almost instantly it lends the appearance of thicker, darker, more robust arches by dyeing both the hairs and the skin underneath. Plus, I love that I don’t need to perform the Sisyphean task of penciling in my brows between dye jobs. I began to dutifully schedule an appointment every two or three weeks and headed to my local brow expert.
Now, maybe it’s the former financial writer in me, but after spending $25+ getting my eyebrows tinted at fancy salons only for the hue to fade within two weeks, I decided I needed a stronger value proposition to keep investing the time and money. So I ended up taking my brow game into my own hands, literally. A friend of mine—with really amazing brows—once told me that she uses mustache dye to do eyebrow tinting at home instead of booking pro jobs. Considering a box of dye only runs about $10 and you can use it for up to seven or eight applications, it seemed worth of trying. And if you hate it or it’s way too dark, much, etc.? It fades in a week and a half tops.
Bless my friend for the recommendation, because I’ve now been doing it regularly, and I've found that doing my own DIY eyebrow tinting every couple of weeks is so much easier, effective, and wallet-friendly. There’s no travel time to a salon involved, no wait while at the salon, and I can dye my brows at 1:00 A.M. on a Friday night while listening to podcasts and brushing my teeth, which I’ve been known to do.
Want to try eyebrow tinting at home? All you need is five to 10 minutes. You’ll need a timer, Vaseline, cotton swabs, mild shampoo, and the Just for Men Brush-in Color Gel for Mustache & Beard, which comes with dye, developer, a brush, gloves, and a mini tray. Follow along through my routine.
Here’s my DIY brow-tint starter kit.
Decide on a Dye/Shade
As I said above, I’m a fan of how easy it is to use Just for Men's Mustache and Beard Gel, but Sania’s Brow Bar owner Sania Vucetaj also recommends root touch-up kits you can buy at the drugstore. One to try: L’Oréal Paris Root Rescue. Both are used for more targeted color applications, so the dye portions are smaller and the tools they come with also work well on your brows.
As for finding your right color, Exhale aesthetician Angela Marinescu says to test the hue on a small section of a paper towel and let it sit for a few minutes. “Then hold the paper above your brows to see the result,” she says. My shade is Medium Brown, which is deeper and warmer than my natural brow hue. An up-front warning: Before going through this whole how-to, you should do a patch test 48 hours before dyeing to ensure your skin won't react negatively to the solution.
Create a Drip-Proof Barrier
Use a cotton swab to apply a small amount of Vaseline around your brows (but not on your brows) as a sort of buffer to ensure the color won’t run or bleed.
Mix Up the Magic
Wearing the gloves that come with the package (I've become a pro at this, so I tend to skip them), squeeze a line of the color base tube into the mixing tray. You’ll see the tray has a small median in the middle to keep the base and developer from mixing until you want them to. Squeeze an equal line of the developer on the other side of the median. Mix the two with the plastic end of the brush until blended.
Brush It On
Make sure your brows are dry before you start, then apply the dye quickly, using the brush to go over your brow hairs. If gray hairs are a concern (the joys of getting older), apply to gray areas first.
This is not where you want human error to be a thing, trust. Use a timer to time five minutes; I use my iPhone timer by simply telling Siri to start the clock. Then I podcast and chill. (But if you're more of a Netflix-and-chill or wine-and-chill girl, you can of course do that instead. Just don't get too distracted is the point.)
Wash It Off
After five minutes, rinse it all off using a washcloth and incorporating a tiny bit of gentle shampoo to ensure you get all the dye off. “Wash the dye off, don’t rub it off,” Vucetaj says. “You remove hairs that way.” Blotting softly should do the trick.
How to Maintain Your DIY Brow Tint
Your gorgeous tinted brows will be good to go for another couple of weeks. To condition brows in between dyeing sessions, Marinescu recommends applying castor oil to them at night. (Charlize Theron swears by it.) And as for the rest of your brow routine? You're free to style your brows as normal.
Other Great Brow-Tint Products to Try
If you're hesitant to use mustache dye, these semi-permanent options last anywhere from a few days (Maybelline and Wunderbrow) to a few weeks (Eylure and Ardell), meaning they're good starter options if you're nervous about getting the color right.
Maybelline Tattoo Brow Long-Lasting Tint
Wunder2 Wunderbrow Eyebrow Gel
Eylure Dybrow Dye Kit
Ardell Brow Tint
Amber Katz is a beauty writer in New York City. Follow her @rouge_18.
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