Truly Everything You Need to Know About Eyebrow Tinting
If you’re looking for a super simple, cost-effective, and completely painless way to transform the look of your brows, well, then you should definitely consider getting them tinted. Compared to treatments or procedures like micro-blading—which involves tattooing individual hair strokes onto your existing brows one at a time—tinting is totally pain-free, as well as far more affordable. (More on that later.)
Here, we bring you our official eyebrow tinting guide, complete with insight and advice from professional brow artists Joey Healy and Savanna Dillon, both of whom highly recommend tinting. “Brow tinting is, in my eyes, the most underrated brow service, as it’s a service for nearly anyone with eyebrow hairs,” says Dillon. “It enhances the natural brows that you already have, which are not always as noticeable to you because the hairs may be really light or fine.”
The Canadian brow expert adds that she finds most people tend to underestimate how many hairs they actually have, so tinting usually blows them away. “Everyone’s little baby hairs show up with that fresh tint and it’s so exciting for me and them!” muses Dillon, who provides a variety of different brow services at Studio Sashiko.
Below, you’ll find a full breakdown of brow tinting, including a step-by-step guide on how it’s done, how to choose the right shade for yourself, how long it lasts and costs, and more. Additionally, our experts shared a few DIY tinting kits should you want to try them yourself at home.
How Does Brow Tinting Work?
Let’s dive into it, shall we? “In a professional service, we used a vegetable-based dye and activate it with a bit of cream oxidant,” says Healy of the process at his studio in New York City. “We then custom-blend the color and apply it to the eyebrow, which should be clean, dry, and free of skincare, suncare, and makeup.” From there, Healy says they allow the dye to process on the hairs before removing it. “Depending on what we are doing, the length of time changes,” he explains. “For instance, If we are covering gray, we’ll usually mix some darker colors and let it process for longer but if somebody has really light, virgin-blonde hair, we usually mix lighter colors and don’t leave it on as long.”
Ultimately, it depends on the person and what they’re hoping to achieve with their brows, but Healy says the tinting process can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes. “I personally like to apply the dye in stages, opting to do the entire brow right out of the gate, and then to go back in maybe two or three times to leave it on areas that need it longer, like the front and the tails,” explains Healy of his personal technique.
Once the waiting period is over, the dye is then removed with wet cotton rounds. “I use a product called tint-off, which is like a skin-stain remover that ensures there’s no ‘halo’ of tint left on the skin,” says Healy.
Here’s How It Works:
- Consult with your brow technician and let them know your eyebrow goals
- After plucking any stray hairs, your technician will then paint your brows with a custom-blended vegetable-based pigment that suits your skin and hair color
- The dye is left on to process for up to 30 minutes
- Your brow technician may go back and add more dye to areas where it’s needed, such as the tail
- Finally, the dye is removed with a tint-off product to ensure the pigment doesn’t stain the surrounding skin
How Do I Achieve the Right Shade?
When it comes to brow tinting, selecting the right shade is definitely one of—if not the—most important factors to consider, as the goal is for the color to blend in naturally with your skin tone and hair. “I recommend going for a color that is a shade or two darker than your natural roots to enhance the brows and subtly add a bit more definition,” says Dillon, who likes to assess her clients’ brows under a bright light to help determine what shade or combination of shades will work best. “I use a brand called HairPearl and I’ve been using them for the past 12 years; I swear by it,” she adds. “They have about four or five shades that I use and mix together on a regular basis.”
As for Healy, he prefers to access the undertones of his clients’ brows first. “I’ll determine whether the hair is neutral, cool, or warm, and that’s where I like to stay in the blend for the mixing,” he says. “Basically, the longer you leave the tint on the darker it gets, so starting with the right undertone is key, and then depending on how long you let it sit, that will change the depth of the color you achieve.”
Healy notes that he doesn’t advise relying on the hair color on your head as a reference when it comes to tinting. “I like to look at the brow more specifically because, for instance, maybe you have a redhead who just dyed their hair auburn and their brows are kind of a mousey brown, so we want to bring some of that auburn in,” he says. “At the end of the day, you want to look to the brow color itself for inspiration; then determine your undertone and go from there.”
How Much Does Brow Tinting Cost, and How Long Does It Last?
As with almost any cosmetic procedure or treatment, it depends where you go and who you see. That said, tinting is definitely on the more affordable side of the spectrum, especially when compared to micro-blading, which can cost up to $1000 per session. “The cost really varies anywhere from free, like say if it’s an add-on when you get your hair color done, to professional, which could be $100 or more,” says Healy. At Dillon’s studio, however, she says you can expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $30 for the service, and it should last between four to eight weeks.
Are There DIY Tinting Kits to Try at Home?
Yes, yes there are. In fact, many kits you can easily score on Amazon, including Refectocil, which is the brand Healy himself uses. “They have a series of cream dyes and a cream oxidant and it’s readily available to anyone these days,” he says. “If you’re in a pinch or you are at the drugstore, a lot of people use Just For Men’s mustache and beard dye, as there’s a variety of colors and it’s really cheap.” (You can also get it on Amazon for $8.) This one by Godefry is another solid option with myriad five-star ratings on Amazon.
Alternatively, if you’re not looking for a commitment, Healy suggests a tinted brow gel like his brand’s Brow Lacquer. “It’s called Brow Lacquer for a reason, so it really does coat the individual hairs,” he says. “It’s not a sheer deposit of color, but actually changes your brow hair color.”