The following is everything you need to know about eyebrow tinting. Our eyes play a vital role in how we express ourselves. This leaves many of us turning to eye, lash, and brow makeup to enhance our eyes. Framing our eyes with defining brows is something women have been doing since the 1940s. It began with a 2-part brow and lash darkener by Swimproof. This dye was waterproof and eliminated smudges, smears, and raccoon eyes. By the 1960s, the first cosmetic brow kits hit the market. They were essentially an eye shadow for our eyebrows.

Today, anyone who wants to better define, shape, and fill in their brows has countless cosmetic options. From brow powders to pencils, waxes, and gels. These products work well, but they are time-consuming to apply, and not all stay on and stay put all day long. This leaves many turning to eyebrow tinting.


Eyebrow tinting is the process of applying a semi-permanent color to brow hairs. By darkening your brow hairs, you create a bold but natural brow shape that makes your brows and eyes pop. The process is temporary, pain-free, and darkens even the ultra-fine hairs you can barely see.

This service can be performed in a salon setting or at home. Common applications for eyebrow tinting are after you color your hair, and a brow tint is used to match the new shade. Products can be purchased over the counter or online.

Tinting doesn’t permanently fill in patchy areas so you may continue to use brow cosmetics, but it will make even thin and fine brows stand out. However, sometimes the skin directly underneath the area that has been tinted will take on the color for a week or so. The tint will wash away naturally from your skin within a week. With proper care, the tint will gradually fade from your hair over 4 to 6 weeks.


Brow tinting is popular among a variety of demographics. It’s ideal for anyone with thin and fine brows or light-colored brows. For those who wear makeup, it accelerates your morning routine. For those who don’t wear much makeup, tinting refines your features and highlights your natural beauty. Meanwhile, for those who tint over their grey hair, eyebrow tints provide a perfect complement to your hair color. It’s rare to find a cosmetic that works well for all lifestyles like brow tinting does. We’ve written a whole piece on the benefits of eyebrow tinting HERE.

Additional benefits include:

  • Define brow shape
  • Added depth & dimension
  • Darken brow hairs
  • Fuller-looking brows
  • Thicker-looking brows
  • More youthful appearance
  • Smudge-proof brows
  • Waterproof and sweatproof brows
  • Pain-free brow enhancement
  • Time-saving brow treatment
  • Low-maintenance brow treatment


Microblading is another option your esthetician may provide. It is the process of using hairlike micro-incisions to tattoo on your eyebrows. You’ll still have your natural brows, but they will be far more defined. While still semi-permanent, the dye used lasts for 18 to 30 months before it gradually fades.

The main difference between microblading and eyebrow tinting is microblading will last longer than a tint, however the process can be painful and expensive. Microblading can create the appearance of more brow hairs while a tint accentuates the hairs that are already here. Microblading must also be performed by a professional in a salon while eyebrow tinting can be done at home.


Currently there’s a multitude of different brow tints on the market, but here are the big three:

  1. Silver Nitrate
  2. Traditional PPD
  3. Henna

Silver Nitrate — As of 2022, this formulation is the only FDA approved formula to tint your eyebrows and is becoming the de facto way to tint around the eye area. It utilizes the naturally occurring reaction of silver nitrate, light, and iron oxide to deposit color onto hair. This fundamentally changes the way tints are applied and makes tints much safer to use on the sensitive eye area when compared to PPD and Henna. This is due to a much lower allergic reaction rate, less invasive, and less corrosive ingredients. Silver Nitrate hair tints also do not contain hydrogen peroxide, and is PFAS free.

PPD — In a recent statement by the FDA, PPD has been specifically mentioned as a banned ingredient for use around the eye area. This is mostly due to two factors: a high allergic reaction rate, and corrosive materials (hydrogen peroxide) which can cause damage if it comes in contact with the eyes. Most hair and brow tints are formulated with para-phenylenediamine (PPD). Some “plant-based tints” actually contain PPD as the active ingredient be sure to read the labels carefully and choose what is right for you.

Henna — Henna is a semi-permanent dye derived from the flowering henna plant. You may also be familiar with henna body art, which is popular in Hindi and Urdu cultures. Henna can be used to dye fingernails, skin, brows, and hair. Unlike other brow tints, henna will also stain your skin for 6 to 8 weeks and can carry an orange hue. Most henna tints contain around 75% henna and 25% chemical ingredients. As a hair and brow tint, Henna is often mixed with PPD to better deposit the color, which can cause allergic reactions and is banned in the US.


To maximize your time spent in a salon, schedule your tinting at the same time as your hair dye treatment, lash tint, or with other lash and beauty services. Your first appointment may take a bit longer, as your esthetician will talk you through the process. This includes your brow goals to help determine what shade to apply.

Most opt for a tint color that matches their natural hair color. However, you may want to go anywhere from a half to full shade darker. If you really want contrast, you can go as much as 2 full shades darker. If your hair is dyed, your esthetician will talk you through your color options. When in doubt, go lighter with the option to darken in the future.

Your first appointment may take up to 30 minutes, longer if you need to have your brows waxed or threaded first. It is important to tint the brows first before you do any hair removal service.  If your skin is sensitive, you may want to wax or thread on separate days. Touch ups and ongoing tinting with the same esthetician should only take about 15 minutes.

How much does it cost in a salon? You can find eyebrow tinting services between $10 to $75, with an average being $25

Brow tinting at home is quickly becoming the most common way to tint eyebrows and eyelashes, with Instant Eyebrow Tint being the most popular silver nitrate based eyebrow tint in the US.


After your tint color is confirmed, your esthetician will apply it to your brows. To minimize staining on the skin that surrounds your brows, they will apply a thin layer of Vaseline.

How brow tinting is done: The tint is brushed on in two layers. The first layer is the iron oxide gel and is brushed on in the direction your brows grow. Wait a minute and apply the second silver nitrate activator gel to deposit the iron pigment onto your hair. This process simply coats the hairs rather than penetrating into the follicle, which is how PPD and oxidative dyes work. The penetration onto the hair and skin is what usually causes adverse reactions in people. The tint is left on for an additional minute, then wiped off.

At-home tinting kits are cheaper and more convenient because you don’t have to schedule a spa appointment. Directions vary greatly from one at-home tint kit to the next. Some take about the same time as a salon visit, some are fasters, and some products stay on for far longer.


We mentioned the 3 primary tint ingredients above—Henna, PPD, and Silver Nitrate. Regardless of the ingredients, the only brow tints approved by the FDA are silver nitrate formulas.

Can I use Just for Men for my eyebrows? No. Many eyebrow hacks talk about using Just for Men beard tints on your brows for a bold look. The issue is that Just for Men, and other beard tints, use PPD which is harmful around the eye area. Just for Men in particular has a very harsh formula which can create chemical burns on the skin if not treated properly. This works fine for beards, but around the eye can be very dangerous. Any tints other than silver nitrate is not approved by the FDA and can be harmful.

Can I use hair color on my brows? Also no. Most hair colorants also use PPD which can create chemical burns on the skin if not treated properly. Again, this works fine for hair, but around the eye is dangerous. The only FDA approved tints are silver nitrate-based formulations.

While many states’ cosmetology boards don’t mention brow or lash tinting, some states have strict laws. In California, all brow and lash tinting services are banned outright. In New York, estheticians and cosmetologists cannot perform tinting, but other salon professionals can. With recent FDA filings, expect states to update their laws regarding eyebrow tinting.


Aftercare: Tinted eyebrow do not require much maintenance; however steps can be taken to increase the lifespan of the colorant. To take care of your newly tinted brows you’ll need to keep them dry for 12 to 24 hours. Wash your face with a washcloth or cleansing cloth and avoid cleaning your brows with soap. Oil-based cleansers, serums, exfoliants, and face oils can fade the tint faster. Sun and chlorine bleach all hair, eyebrows included, so intense days at the beach or pool will reduce their lifespan and need more frequent applications.

Consider using an aftercare lotion such as Color Keep which forms a protective layer to maintain your color and hydrate the hair. Color Keep also includes a light SPF boost to block some damaging light from the sun without being chalky or heavy to wear. With consistent application, you can increase the lifespan of your tint by up to two weeks.


There you have it! Everything you need to know about eyebrow tinting. Follow us on Instagram for promotional deals.

You can find further assistance by emailing us at support@godefroybeauty.com

Or call us at: (800) 854-9809

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My hair is gray. What is the best brow tint to purchase


It was a good tip when you suggested we get a tint color that is a half or a full shade darker than our natural hair color if we want better results. I’ve been interested in makeup lately, so I was considering getting eyelash tinting done on my next day off as a treat for myself. I’ll be sure to consider your suggestion once I find a salon that offers services for eyelash tinting.


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