Unless you're going for the Cara Delevingne light-hair-dark-eyebrows look, if you dye your hair you're inevitably going to want to tint your eyebrows, too. But as with any process that involves putting foreign objects near your eyeballs, there is some concern about the safety and side effects of eyebrow tinting, especially considering the process isn't FDA approved.
Semi-permanent eyebrow tinting (aka the kind that is done with actual dye, not cleverly applied eye pencil) can be done at home, but to get the best results (and avoid potentially blinding yourself) it's recommended that you test it out at a salon. The dye can last anywhere from a few months to 10 years, depending on how strong the pigment is that you use, so be sure to double check with the salon before they put it on you so you aren't stuck with bleach blonde eyebrows for longer than you want them.
There are a few ways to avoid the risks associated with eyebrow tinting. First in foremost, you're less apt to get hurt if you leave the dying to a trained professional instead of trying to do it yourself at home. Choose a vegetable-based or natural dye, which have fewer chemicals and are less likely to irritate your skin, though make sure you check the label — there have been cases of salons claiming dyes are "natural" when really they're filled with tar and other harmful substances. And if you wear contact lenses, be sure to take them out before the procedure.
With all of that in mind, here are some of the (really, really scary) side effects that could happen with eyebrow tinting. They're all fairly rare, but when it comes to the health of your eyes — it's better to be safe than sorry!
1. Skin Infections
Dying the hair on your brows also dyes the skin underneath — it's part of what makes them look darker or lighter. Possible side effects of the skin include contact dermatitis (a fancy name for a rash) or granulomas, which are small areas of inflamed tissue. Because the skin around your eyes is incredibly sensitive, it's important to know exactly what's in the dye you're using before it goes on your face. Take the time to read the label — it will help you in the long run!
2. Burning Eyes
If any of the dye gets into your eyes, it results in a horrible burning sensation that is very, very painful (because, ya know, there are horrible chemicals in your eyeballs). This is due to the three percent peroxide in the solution, which is basically part bleach. If this happens, splash cold water in your eyes or put water-soaked cotton balls over them to soothe the burning.
3. Eye Infections
If the chemicals come in contact with the delicate cornea in your eye, there is a serious risk of infection. Conjunctivitis is a condition in which the skin covering the eyeball becomes inflamed and turns red — it will basically look like you have pink eye. To keep your eyes clean during the process, carry saline solution and put drops in your eyes to wash out any chemicals. And remember: Keep your eyes closed!
As with all beauty products, it's possible that you may have an allergic reaction to certain tints. Before using a particular dye, do a patch test 24 hours before the procedure. Apply a small patch of the color to the skin on your arm or neck, and leave it on overnight. If the skin breaks out in any sort of rash or hives, opt for an alternate dye or stick with shading your brows with temporary makeup.
Whenever you put chemicals in your eyes — especially those as harsh as the ones found in many eyebrow dyes — you're putting yourself at risk for blindness. It won't matter how perfectly tinted your eyebrows are if you can't see them, so please, color with care.
Like I said, there is a rare chance any of these side effects will occur, but it's always a good idea to know what you're getting yourself. As beautiful as a tinted brow might be, safety should be your number one concern.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle