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How to Dye Your Eyebrows

Three Parts:Choosing the Right DyePreparing to Dye Your EyebrowsDyeing Your Eyebrows

Changing the color of your eyebrows can really impact your look--contrasting brows can give you a bold, mysterious air; darker brows can look fuller and thicker; and brows that are similar to your hair color can give you a natural, balanced look. While dyeing your brows is a fairly simple process, using dye on the sensitive skin around your eyes, and so close to your eyes, can be somewhat dangerous. Make sure you follow all instructions very carefully and, when in doubt, visit a professional!

Part 1
Choosing the Right Dye

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    Avoid using hair dye. The dye that is formulated for use on your scalp is going to be way too harsh on the skin around your eyes. You may damage the fragile skin around your eyes or even singe your brows off.[1]
    • Look for beard dyes[2] or demi-permanent eyebrow dyes instead.[3]
    • Beard dyes often come in a wide variety of neutral tones and are designed to dye fine hairs, like the ones in your eyebrows.[4]
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    Go a shade darker to add definition and make brows appear fuller. Darkening the hair will refine the shape of your brow and can make your brows look thicker and fuller--perfect for anyone with sparse or very light eyebrows.[5] You can try dyeing two shades darker if you want to up the drama of your look.
    • Try not to go drastically darker than your natural shade--your brows can look inky and fake[6] and your natural roots will be obvious when new hairs grown in.[7]
    • Some beauty experts suggest trying to match the color of your eyebrows to the darkest hairs on your head.[8]
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    Lighten your brows one or two shades if you've gone from dark to blonde hair.[9] If you've made a big color change with your hair, your dark brows might look a little harsh. If your brows are black, try dyeing them a dark brown. Again, try not to stray too far from your natural shade so it won't look strange when your roots grow in.[10]
    • Keep in mind that contrasting brows are on-trend right now, so you may want to keep your bold, dark eyebrows for the moment.

Part 2
Preparing to Dye Your Eyebrows

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    Be aware of the risks. No dye--even products marketed as eyebrow dye--is FDA approved for use on your eyebrows or eyelashes. You can have an allergic reaction or damage the sensitive skin around your eye. The dyes can cause irritation and, if they get in your eye, can potentially cause blindness.[11]
    • If you decide to dye your eyebrows, be very very careful not to get any in your eye. Apply the dye in small amounts so there is less chance it will drip off the applicator and into your eye.
    • Keep two bottles of sterile eye irrigation solution on-hand to flush out your eye, should you get any dye in it. Irrigate your eye with the entire bottle and, if burning continues, use the entire second bottle.[12]
    • Be sure to spot test the dye on your skin (the back of your neck or the inside of your upper arm will work). If your skin doesn't react in the two days following the treatment, then you can dye your brows without worrying about a reaction.[13]
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    Wash your face with facial cleanser or soap. Eyebrow dye should be applied to a clean area. Gently scrub your eyebrows to remove oil and dirt. If your skin or eyebrows are oily, the dye may not work as well.[14]
    • Secure your hair back from your face, either by pulling it into a ponytail or using a headband or bobby pins.
    • Make sure you remove any makeup as well so you can clearly see the color change.[15]
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    Outline your brow with a generous amount of petroleum jelly or balm. Use a cotton swab to spread the petroleum on the skin around your eyebrow (but make sure you don't get any on your eyebrows). This will act as a barrier to make sure you don't dye the skin around your brow and help keep the dye out of your eye. It may also reduce skin irritation.[16]
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    Prepare the eyebrow dye according to the directions on the package. Mixing instructions vary based on the brand of product purchased, but the result is the same. The mixed eyebrow dye should have the consistency of a thick paste. If the dye is runny or watery, it is not mixed correctly. The pasty composition keeps the dye on your eyebrows without running into your eyes.[17]
    • If the dye consists of two tubes of product that you mix together, use only about a pea-sized amount of each. You won't need much, and you can save the rest of the dye for touch ups later.[18]
    • Make the dye solution right before you plan to use it.

Part 3
Dyeing Your Eyebrows

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    Apply the eyebrow dye by spreading a thick layer over your brow. Eyebrow dye kits come with an applicator, but you also can use a cotton swab or a clean spoolie wand. Try building up the dye from the inside half of your eyebrow (the side closest to your nose) and working out toward the thinner end.[19]
    • Make sure you cover the roots of your eyebrows and cover the entire eyebrow evenly.[20]
    • Cover one eyebrow completely, then do the other eyebrow.
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    Wait for three minutes, cleaning up the dye with a pointed cotton swab. Brands usually suggest between 10-15 minutes to dye, but dyeing in three minute increments gives you more control over the final color.[21]
    • Use a cotton swab dipped in warm water to wipe off any cream that ended up on your skin and not your hair, or to clean up areas where it appears to be dying your skin. If warm water doesn't work, you can use a little facial tonic to clean it up.[22]
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    Wipe the dye from your eyebrows with a dry cotton pad. Close your eyes to avoid getting any dye in them. Smooth your brows and inspect the color. If the dye didn't take, repeat the dye process for another three minutes.[23]
    • Don't use the dye more than two or three times, as you may dry out or damage your skin.
    • When you reach the desired shade, remove the dye with a dry cotton pad. Then go over your eyebrow with cotton pad wet with dye stain remover to stop the dyeing process.[24]
    • Rinse or wipe your brow with warm water.
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    Check your eyebrows in the mirror to see if you missed any spots. You can use a cotton swab to spot-treat anywhere you may have missed.[25]
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    Tweeze or wax your eyebrows into a desired shape. It is important you don't tweeze before dying your eyebrows, as this can lead to irritation and infection.[26]
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    Don't stress out if the color isn't exactly what you wanted. Eyebrow dye usually begins to fade after a week so the color won't be as intense.[27] If you can't wait a week, brush a drop of clarifying shampoo through your eyebrows with a clean toothbrush or spoolie. Allow it to sit for 60 seconds, then rinse your brows.[28] The clarifying shampoo will strip the oils and some of the dye off your eyebrows.
    • If you notice you have dye on your skin underneath your eyebrows, apply an oil or silicone based makeup remover to a cotton pad and gently wipe your brows. If there is dye on your skin it should show up on the cotton pad, and your brows should be toned down about a shade once they dry.[29]
    • You can also make a paste using a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and your usual shampoo. Apply this to your brows with a clean brush and allow it to sit for several minutes. It may take a few tries, but this should calm the color of your brows.[30]
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  • Purchase two packages of eyebrow dye. Use one to perform a skin test. Mix up the batch according to the directions and apply a small amount to either your inner arm or back of your neck. If either area shows sensitivity or results in irritation, you could be allergic or sensitive to the ingredients in that dye and should avoid using it on your eyebrows.


  • Do not leave the eyebrow dye on longer than recommended on the package instructions. This can increase the risk of irritation or result in hair loss.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits hair dye from being used to dye eyebrows due to the risk of blindness. It's safest to use products specifically designed to dye eyebrows.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Eyebrow Care