Brow Maintenance

eyebrow maintenance

I’m proud to say that when it comes to beauty hangups, I don’t have too many. My hair is difficult to deal with, but I’d never trade the texture, because it’s a veritable chameleon and holds any style you can think of. Body not the perfect shape for certain types of clothes? Meh, there are other styles to rock and women that wish they had my shape — so no point in stressing over it. But I have to admit, there is one part of my body that has long been the bane of my existence.

My eyebrows.

Such a small, simple thing, but one that makes a huge difference. I was not born with lush, thick brows. Oh, I guess they grow thick enough, but my problem with my brows is that the hairs are so fine, and also long that they always end up looking very sparse. I have filled in my brows — with varying degrees of success, as I tend to get really impatient with them in the mornings — since early high school. My impatience in dealing with them also leads to other unattractive habits…like forgoing brow shapings for months at a time. I’ll look in the mirror one day, make a feeble attempt at tweezing out the jungle that has appeared, and finally concede, “Eh, it might be time for a wax.”

Last week, I decided to do something semi-drastic (for me, at least!). I finally bit the bullet and got a brow tint. Basically, a brow tint is just a temporary dye job to your eyebrow hairs. Have you ever done one? In my case, I popped in to my local Benefit (where I always stop to get a brow wax when I’m in a pinch — I vacillate between waxes and threadings at this salon in NYC). After telling the girl I needed a brow wax, I heard myself say, “And I’m going to try a brow tint too.” Cue nervousness that I’d walk out with too-dark eyebrows…a dye job gone bad.

In reality though, the entire tint took about 5 minutes. My brow guru applied petroleum jelly around my brows to prevent the dye from seeping elsewhere in the skin (I tried to remember that I never put petrochemicals on my face normally, so I could handle it this one time, for a few minutes — and especially in the name of not dying my eyelids). She mixed up the dye — almost black, in my case — applied it, and let it sit for three minutes.

The results were pretty incredible! Now when I wake up each day, while my brows still need a bit of filling in, they’re nowhere near as sparse as they used to be. The Benefit girl told me to avoid getting soap, excess water, or creams on my brows (you know, like when you wash your face or apply moisturizer), as doing this can help extend your tint for 6 weeks. If my impatience with filling in my brows is any indication, I will NOT be carefully sudsing around my eyebrows for the next month, so I’m guessing mine would have to re-tinted every 4 weeks or so. But I think I’m going to stick with it! Brows obviously make a huge difference in anyone’s face, and for me, it’s a small expense (and worth the non-natural sacrifice) to have a lot more self confidence in those furry caterpillars.

What about you? Have you ever tried a brow tint? Are you a brow wax, threading, or tweeze kind of girl? And the most drastic — would you ever consider tattooing on your eyebrows?

Image by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese

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  1. 1.14.14
    emma said:

    I have been considering getting a brow tint for a while now as my hair is dyed dark but my eyebrows are blonde. I fill them in every day but after reading this I may just take the leap and get them tinted! I don’t think I would ever get them tattooed on though, would you?

    • 1.14.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      It would scare me, for sure!

  2. 1.14.14
    Alexandra said:

    I’ve heard of brow and lash tinting but never thought of trying it out. As a fellow dark haired girl (almost black) I just always assumed it was meant for people with blonde to medium brown hair. Its nice to hear its an option for darker haired people as well, I may have to check it out.

  3. 1.14.14

    Haha, like you I am not overly fixated on much beauty-wise (except maybe my eyelashes) but I am freakishly obsessed with my eyebrows, too. My natural eyebrows are sparse and a little bit of a mousy brown color.

    I am on a sort of grow-out plan right now. I go to Completely Bare every 6 weeks to get them tinted and groomed, and only pluck a few places (that my brow specialist told me were okay to pluck) while I wait for the holes to fill in.

    In the meantime, I use Benefit’s instant brow pencil every day, and then I groom them with benefit speed brow.

  4. 1.14.14

    I tried it once, but I’m convinced the girl did it wrong since it lasted um, less than a week! But it did look fabulous and so I plan to try it again but somewhere that knows what they are doing. So glad to hear your results came through great; I totally understand! I have the same problem with regards to my hairs being fine as well as light in colour! Totally need to try this again.

  5. 1.14.14

    Great idea to consider! I have to say, I feel pretty blessed in the brow department, but love playing them up on occasion with an Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil. I instantly feel more polished with groomed brows :)

  6. 1.14.14

    I just tweeze my eyebrows. I have tried filling them it, but they always just come out weird!

    I would love to see before and after pictures of your eyebrows!

  7. 1.14.14
    AnnMarie said:

    I actually tint my eyebrows myself now — after paying for it to be done a few times and seeing exactly what the girl would do (and the brand tint she used), I figured I could do it myself. I’ve only made them a bit too dark once and that’s because I lost track of the time ;). It really does save so much time not having to fill in my eyebrows everyday (sometimes multiple times a day!) or worry that the makeup will smudge during a workout. I don’t even think about my eye brows anymore until it’s time to touch them up, which takes less than 10 min.! let me know if you want to know what color brand I use :)

    • 1.14.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Yes! I would love to know where you buy the tint. Also, do you follow the same procedure — Vaseline around the eyes, etc? What do you do exactly?

  8. 1.14.14
    AnnMarie said:

    I do put Vaseline around my eyes first. This is what I bought and I mix half the light with the natural ( which is what they did at the salon (I have light brown hair with blond highlights and my eyebrows are super light- the dye makes them medium brown). You mix the oxidant stuff with the dye -there are instructions in the box for the ratio- then apply by brushing onto eyebrows. I always seem to have extra dye leftover so you don’t need much. I leave it on for about 5 min then take off excess with Kleenex, wash off the Vaseline and voila! Brows done for 2-3 weeks :). I bought the kit last spring and have barely made a dent in the tubes, so it’s well worth it for me. If you aren’t sure yet, I’d get it done professionally once more and just watch carefully. If you have any other questions just let me know!

    • 1.15.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Thanks so much! This is awesome!

  9. 1.15.14
    Adara said:

    Great post- I’ve never done it before but wouldn’t be opposed! My brows always cause me problems as well! Thanks for sharing!

  10. 1.15.14
    Tori said:

    I’m lucky to have dark brows, but they do have a little sparseness towards to outer edges. I fill that part in every morning and every coupld of weeks I trim the hairs w/ little nail scissors, that seems to keep them looking way more manicured!

  11. 1.15.14

    I love going to benefit for my brows! I am the worst normally with my brows too especially since they are blonde! I have to get tint all the time but I love love love the brow kit from Benefit and now they have the “gimme brow” which is amaze for on the go!

    xoxo Meg & Mal

  12. 1.16.14
    Jen said:

    As a beauty fanatic I’m actually a tad embarrassed that I don’t have any special brow routine but I’m starting to think that I need one. I’m currently “growing them out” – instructions from my salon but could use some tools. I’m thinking of picking up the benefit brow pencil this weekend…anyone have one?

    • 1.16.14
      Victoria McGinley said:

      I use their Brow Zings kit and it’s pretty good!

  13. 1.18.14

    This post just reminded me that a little bit of tweezing may be in order in my case :) My brows literally exasperate me: they are almost blonde, even if my natural hair color is chocolate, they are almost invisible, and I simply can’t leave the house without filling them in if I don’t want to look like a corpse :) I had them dyed twice or three times in the past, but I’m usually too lazy to make an appointment just for a dye job (I don’t let anyone else tweeze them, because of one bad experience), so a brow powder is my best friend! I’m happy to know than I’m not the only one obsessed with my brows :)

    xx Ivana
    Macarons and Pearls