Friday, 13 September 2019 06:26

Playing with Pigment: Tips for Eyelash and Eyebrow Tinting

Written by Ellie Malmin

Eyelash tinting, eyebrow tinting, and henna eyebrows are an easy upgrade for any aesthetician during a facial service. Each state has different rules and regulations. Check with your state to make sure it is in the scope of your license.


Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. The natural color of eyebrows and eyelashes depends on the ratio and quantities of melanin. Melanin is a specialized pigment of cells called melanocytes.


The eumelanin creates a variety of shades, ranging from brown to black. Phaeomelanin creates shades of golden blonde, ginger, and red.


When melanin is absent from the hair, it turns grey, the hardest to tint. Grey hairs can be caused from aging.



If someone is sensitive to hair dyes or has a sty, herpes in the area, conjunctivitis, scabies or lice, sunburn, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, or open cuts or wounds in the eyebrow area, treatment should be avoided. It is always recommended to perform a patch test first.


When we tint eyebrows, we are depositing color into the cuticle of the hair. This action is a result of chemical reactions between the molecules in hair, pigments, as well as peroxide. The peroxide is used as an oxidizing agent, which removes pre-exisiting color, breaking the hair’s chemical. As the melanin is decolorized, the tint color is bonded to the hair cortex. If applied on the skin, a stain will appear, lasting a day or two. Color choices can be light, medium, natural, dark brown, auburn, grey, or black, which can be mixed together to create any shade or tone. A patch test is always recommended when preforming any chemical service.


Most eyebrows process in five to 10 minutes, except for grey hairs. The reason for the quick processing time is the cuticle of the eyebrows are more open than hair on our head or eyelashes, due to environmental and chemical exposure from the products that are used on skin.



  1. Apply gloves.
  2. Cleanse the eyebrow area free of makeup and oils.
  3. Use a barrier cream around the outline you are applying tint to.
  4. Mix the tint according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  5. Use a microfiber brush or an eyeliner brush (preferably disposable). Start at the tail of the eyebrow stroking under and lighting the hairs then back stroke the hairs. Do not lay hair on the skin. Start with one eyebrow.
  6. Do a color check in two minutes by removing tint with water (this will give you an idea of how long to leave the color on). Reapply.
  7. Apply on second eye.
  8. After the desired color is achieved, wipe tint off with water, then apply eyebrow shampoo. Many people just wipe color away and do not realize it will keep processing. We would never leave a salon having hair color done and rinse only with water, so make sure to shampoo the eyebrows after you are done.


Henna is a natural permanent dye which comes from the henna plant, lawsonia inermis. Henna is absorbed into the hair’s keratin and into the cortex of the hair. The thicker the skin, the darker the stain can absorb. The stain takes 12 to 48 hours to reach its full potential. The skin needs to be kept dry for 12 hours after. Henna is mixed with water, then applied on the skin and hair. Remember, it will stain, so make sure it is applied in the exact area that you are creating or enhancing the eyebrow. A color check should be done after five minutes of application by removing the henna, then reapplying it. The henna will dry like clay. You can do several layers. Once it is dry, remove by moistening a four-by-four cotton pad and removing the henna as you would a clay mask. The stain will last anywhere from 10 days to several weeks.


Eyelash tint comes in black, blue-black, seep chocolate brown, deep purple, and deep blue . When tinting blonde eyelashes, be aware that they will fade to a lighter version of the color used.


When tinting eyelashes, apply shy of the base all the way to the tips. Warning: when tint is mixed with developer, the molecules expand. If not careful, it will expand, get into the eyes, and may cause burning, stinging, and possible chemical conjunctivitis. Use a microfiber brush. You do not have to apply a thick amount. After it is applied, you can take a mascara spoolie and brush through the eyelashes and reapply more, if needed. For best results, leave the tint on for 30 to 35 minutes. An easy method for removal is to comb through the eyelashes with a mascara spoolie to remove the excess tint. Then, take several, moist, lint-free applicators and work from the base of the eyelashes to the tip, until the eyelashes are free of tint.


If you get tint into the eye, it is important you rinse the eye with eyewash for at least 10 minutes.


Eyelash tints can range from $25.00 to $50.00. Eyebrow tints range from $25.00 to $40.00.


Henna ranges from $40.00 to $95.00.


Ellie MalminEllie Malmin a true entrepreneur celebrating her 40th year in the beauty industry. Malmin is a licensed cosmetologist and electrologist and was an active makeup judge in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, now enjoying being a judge in the eyelash industry and actively teaching and mentoring students in her Lash Brow Makeup Academy. She is a co-founder of Anushka Spa, Salon, and Cosmedical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Malmin is on several advisory boards throughout the industry. She is the author of several training manuals and developed training programs for numerous beauty manufacturers and eyelash companies. Malmin is a national public speaker and educator. She has released her Lashologist Choice Barrier Cream, which is the most innovative product to hit the eyelash industry in dealing with eye limiting exposure to eyelash adhesives molecules that settle on the skin causing irritation.


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