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I Tried a Brow Tint and Was Shocked at the Difference

As someone with dark hair, I never thought an eyebrow tint would make much of a difference. Now, I'm hooked.
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To be transparent, I've long thought I had good brows. They're a dark brunette tone and other than tweezing random strays and keeping them tidy with a brow gel, I pretty much leave them alone. On days I'm going all out, I'll flick an eyebrow pencil through the arch and lengthen the tails a bit. And every few months (but less so this past year-plus) I get a professional brow shaping. 

That's the regimen I was on when my brow specialist, Dani Kimiko Vincent, asked me if I'd ever tried brow tinting. The treatment had never occurred to me. After all, my brows are plenty dark already. (Related: This Surprising $8 Beauty Hack Will Tint Your Brows in 3 Minutes Flat)

Turns out, tinting is beneficial for most hair colors because "it picks up the lighter hairs most people have within their brows and makes them more visible," says Vincent. "The impact is obvious for those who are blonde. But a lot of people — even dark brunettes — are amazed at how full their brows look after a tint." For the most flattering result, you want the tint to match your darkest brow hairs; for me, the hue was a dark chocolate brown. (Related: I Got an Eyelash Tint and Didn't Wear Mascara for Weeks)

The service — which typically costs about $30 or so — is easy. A brow specialist mixes and then brushes a semi-permanent dye that's formulated specifically for brow hair onto both eyebrows. Less than 10 minutes later, they wipe it off, and you're done. "It's a really low-commitment service," says Vincent. There are a lot of different dyes on the market, including vegan formulas (which is what I used), non-vegan plant-based formulas (which use a different type of color processing and yield a slightly different result), and traditional hair dye. Each lasts four to six weeks. For the first 24 hours after getting your brows tinted, you'll want to avoid heavy creams, oils, or oil-based cleansers to help ensure that the dye sets, says Vincent.

So, unlike more permanent brow shaping measures, such as microblading, you aren't married to the look for months and months. "I tend to recommend microblading for scar coverage and severe hair loss," says Vincent. "But many of my clients who thought they needed microblading [due to lack of hair] have realized that if they stop tweezing for at least six months and apply a brow growth formula daily, then they can re-grow enough hair to tint and shape." (By the way, if you've gotten microblading and aren't happy with the tone, an eyebrow tint service can dye whatever existing hair you have to offset the hue and create a more balanced, blended look.)

In between appointments, it's a good idea to follow a brow-care regimen. Overall, you want to be as gentle as possible with your brows to keep them strong and healthy. After the first 24 hours, when you wash your face at night, make sure that you're cleansing your eyebrows at the same time.  "This prevents product build-up and dead skin, which can block follicles," says Vincent. "But use a soft touch, treating those brows as delicately as you do your lashes." Afterward you can apply a brow growth serum that contains peptides to strengthen hair. I use Joey Healy Brow Renovation Serum (Buy It, $125, amazon.com).

In the morning, avoid applying any heavy oil or cream to your brows, which would cause makeup on your brows to slide off. Instead, just groom them with a clear brow gel. Vincent's new vegan formula, called The Brow Sensei (Buy It, $33, kimikobeauty.com), has enough hold to keep brows lifted and also contains nourishing plant ingredients to care for them at the same time. (Related: The Best Eyebrow Growth Serums for Healthier, Bolder Brows

The result is a brow that looks flattering and naturally full and doesn't smear or fade. In fact, it's during my bare-faced exercise sessions that I appreciate my newly-tinted brown eyebrows most of all, and not just for the fact that they help keep sweat out of my eyes. These bold brows act like built-in makeup, defining, balancing, and even lifting my features — at least, for the next four to six weeks.