While I love a good brow product, a few months ago, I discovered the ultimate in semi-permanent beauty: getting my brows dyed. Almost instantly, it lends the appearance of thicker, darker, more robust arches (hello, #browgoals) by dyeing both the hairs and the skin underneath. Plus, I love that I don’t need to perform the Sisyphean task of penciling-in my brows at all in between dye jobs. I began to dutifully schedule an appointment every two or three weeks and headed to my local brow expert.
Now, maybe it’s the former financial writer in me, but after spending $25+ getting my brows tinted at fancy salons only for the hue to fade within two weeks, I decided I needed a stronger value proposition to keep investing the time and money. So I ended up taking my brow game into my own hands, literally. A friend of mine—with really amazing brows—once told me that she uses mustache dye to tint her eyebrows herself instead of booking pro jobs. Considering a box of dye only runs about $10 and you can use it for up to seven or eight applications, it seemed worthy of trying. And if you hate it or it’s way too dark, much, etc.? It fades in a week and a half tops.
Bless my friend for the recommendation, because I’ve now been doing it regularly, and I’ve found that dyeing my brows every couple of weeks is so much easier, effective, and wallet-friendly. There’s no travel time to a salon involved, no wait while at the salon, and I can dye my brows at 1 A.M. on a Friday night while listening to podcasts and brushing my teeth, which I’ve been known to do.
Want to dye your own brows chez vous? All you need is five to 10 minutes. You’ll need a timer, Vaseline, cotton swabs, mild shampoo, and the Just For Men Brush-in Color Gel For Mustache & Beard ($8, drugstore.com) which comes with dye, developer, a brush, gloves, and a mini tray. Follow along through my routine.
1. Decide on a Dye/Shade
Like I said above, I’m a fan of how easy it is to use Just For Men’s Mustache and Beard Gel, but Sania’s Brow Bar owner Sania Vucetaj also recommends root touch-up kits you can buy at the drugstore. One to try: L’Oréal Paris Root Rescue ($7, drugstore.com). Both are used for more targeted color applications, so the dye portions are smaller and the tools they come with also work well on your brows.
As for finding your right color, Exhale aesthetician Angela Marinescu says to test the hue on a small section of a paper towel and let it sit for a few minutes. “Then, hold the paper above your brows to see the result,” she says. My shade is Medium Brown, which is deeper and warmer than my natural brow hue. An up-front warning: Before going through this whole how-to, you should do a patch test 48 hours before dyeing to ensure your skin won’t react negatively to the dye.
2. Create a Drip-Proof Barrier
Use a cotton swab to apply a small amount of Vaseline around your brows (but not on your brows) as a sort of buffer to ensure the color won’t run or bleed.
3. Mix Up the Magic
Wearing the gloves that come with the package (I’ve become a pro at this, so I tend to skip them), squeeze a line of the color base tube into the mixing tray. You’ll see the tray has a small median in the middle to keep the base and developer from mixing until you want them to. Squeeze an equal line of the developer on the other side of the median. Mix the two with the plastic end of the brush until blended.
4. Brush It On
Make sure your brows are dry before you start, then apply the dye quickly, using the brush to go over your brow hairs. If gray hairs are a concern (the joys of getting older), apply to gray areas first.
5. Time It
This is not where you want human error to be a thing, trust. Use a timer to time five minutes; I use my iPhone timer by simply telling Siri to start the clock. Then I podcast and chill. (But if you’re more of a Netflix and chill or wine and chill girl, you can, of course, do that too. Just don’t get too distracted is the point.)
6. Wash It Off
After five minutes, rinse it all off using a washcloth and incorporate a tiny bit of gentle shampoo to ensure you get all the dye off. “Wash the dye off, don’t rub it off,” Vucetaj notes. “You remove hairs that way.” Blotting softly should do the trick.
That’s it! Your gorgeous, enhanced brows are good to go for another couple of weeks. To condition brows in between dyeing sessions, Marinescu recommends applying castor oil to them at night. And as for the rest of your brow routine? Be sure you’re not making any of these crucial (but common!) eyebrow mistakes.
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