Lessons in Brow Tinting

BY AMY HUTCHENS

Want to know one of the best things about this last decade? The eyebrow returned. Words and phrases like “fleek,” “bushy,” & “boy brows” have even been added to our vernacular to describe perfect brows. The days of the 2000 Gwen Stefani barely-there eyebrows are over— thank goodness! Because I’m convinced eyebrows are one of our biggest beauty assets. They bring out all other features and frame the face superbly.

But because we over-plucked in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and also because we’re not Cara Delevinge— our eyebrows need some TLC. We use pencils, brow powders and pomade to achieve full brows. One of my biggest “perfect” eyebrow tricks is to tint them. Tint is very similar to hair dye, but not as permanent. Tinting your eye brows are great for darkening light eyebrows, if that’s your thing. But mostly why I love it is because it colors every single baby fine eyebrow hair, the ones you can’t normally see. So after you tint, your brows seem 10x fuller.

You can get this done at most salons and spas— but I’m going to let you in on a secret, YOU can also just do this yourself. As an esthetician, I’ve been trained and doing this for almost ten years, and I’m here to tell you it’s EASY, totally affordable and I’m going to teach you. Your lucky day, huh?

Tinting Supplies

I was taught to use RefectoCil Eyebrow Tint in esthetics school and it’s still the brand I live and swear by. They sell nine different shades & I use a combo of Natural Brown (3) and Light Brown (3.1). Like most good things in life, it can be purchased on Amazon.

The supplies you’ll need are:

1.  Makeup Remover or Face Cleanser
2. Tint
3. Developer
4. Angled Brush
5. Mixing Cup
6. Disposable Eyelash Wand (Spoolie)
7. Q-tips
8. Cotton Rounds
9. Vaseline/Auquaphor

 *Note: If it’s your first time, I’d recommend getting the starter pack which comes with tint, developer, angled brush and a mixing cup. 

1. Cleanse eyebrows with makeup remover and cotton round. Making sure makeup, dead skin and dirt are gone. The cleaner your brows and skin, the longer the tint will last. Then brush through brows with a clean eyelash wand.

2. With a Q-tip, apply Vaseline, Aquaphor (or any other petroleum jelly) to the area around your brows you DON’T want tinted. I apply it around the entire brow perimeter. This keeps things clean and tidy. Be sure not to get the petroleum jelly on your actual brow hair, otherwise it won’t tint.

3. Squeeze 2-3 centimeters of tint out of the tube, into your mixing cup. Mix 4-6 drops of 3% 10 volume Oxidant into the tint. Mix with either the stick that comes in the box, or you can use an eyebrow waxing stick or even a toothpick. Mix the formula until the consistency is a smooth and creamy paste.

4. Using an angled brush, a tooth pick or a small waxing stick, start applying to your brow. I prefer an angled brush, which gives me more control. I start on the outer half, brushing it in outward, even strokes. Once the other portion is covered, I move to the inner brow, closest to the nose. I apply in upward strokes in this area. I apply to the outer portion first because in my opinion, brows that are too full/dark on the inner portion look blocky and unnatural.

It should be noted that if you’re familiar with brow tinting, the phrase “tinting the skin” will be important to you. To “tint the skin” is to apply eyebrow tint to areas that sparse, to achieve fullness that isn’t there. Tinting the skin is a killer way to fake full brows. Don’t go overboard with tinting the skin, but strategically apply tint in areas you wish were fuller— this technique is a game changer.

 **If any unwanted tint gets on your skin, clean off with a Q-tip. 

5. Apply a small amount of the tinting mixture to an eyelash wand and with (tiny) strokes, brush through your brows— this is an insurance policy that gets all the layers of hair covered. Be careful with the tint, because it can deposit color quickly. So if it gets on hands, clothes, hair, countertops, etc, clean it off immediately. Be VERY cautious as to not get it in your eyes.

6. Wait. The processing time will vary greatly from person to person and how much color your brows will absorb. As a general rule, I recommend starting at 10 minutes— but there have been times when I’ve taken the tint off after 5 minutes. I’ve also left the tint on for 25+ minutes. To check the color, scrap off a small amount of the tint with a Q-tip. If the color looks dark enough, you’re done. If it’s still light, keep processing the color. I have naturally dark eyebrows, and I LOVE dark eyebrows with my lighter hair. I also want the most bang for my buck—so I tint them longer which makes them last longer. If you don’t want them as dark, be cautious with the processing time.

7. To remove the tint, scrape the majority of it off with a Q-tip. With water damp (not soaking) cotton rounds, scrub away the rest of the tint. During the cleaning process, be extra careful not to let any tint or water from the rounds get in your eyes.

8. Once they’re tinted, I clean them up with tweezing and trimming. I always recommend tweezing or waxing AFTER you’ve tinted, because after all the baby hairs have been darkened, you’ll have more to work with. To trim, brush eyebrows straight up and cut the very ends off of the hairs. Then comb straight down and do the same. Be VERY frugal with how much you trim off your brows— not doing so will give you “holes” in your brows.

Full, perfect brows are way easier than you thought, right? Try out this tutorial— let me know what you think and how it works for you!
Xoxo,
Amy Hutchens

Article by Amy Hutchens. To view more content by Amy, visit her Instagram here or check out the Barefoot Blonde Hair blog where she writes all sorts of helpful tips to keep your hair looking beautiful and healthy. 

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  1. Thank you again for another excellent tutorial article. I feel like I know what I’m doing when tinting now.

  2. This was awesome, thanks for posting! Excited to try it myself 😊

  3. I absolutely love this. It is the most in detail at home eyebrow tinting article I have seen and I actually feel like I understand what to do now instead of paying someone to do it. Thank you!!!!

  4. I love how dark brows look with my blonde hair too!!! Cannot wait to try this out- already ordered! I also am a big fan of your insta and am already learning so much!! xx

  5. Thank you for sharing! Question. I’m starting to get greys here and there in my brows. Will this tinting process cover them? And how often do you tint?

  6. Loved this post! Already have the kit in my amazon basket!! LOL <3

  7. I love this!!! Beautiful photos & super helpful directions – you nailed it!!!