As a woman whose natural eyebrows could be best described as translucent, I understand the magical powers of eyebrows better than most. The first time I had them tinted, I experienced a revelation. Suddenly, the world was a much brighter place. My makeup looked better. My face—who knew it had such symmetrical proportions? I kid (sort of), but in all seriousness, tinted brows can be majorly transformative. Even if you don’t have super-blonde brows like me, brow tinting can help your brows look fuller and draw attention to your perfectly-framed eyes.
Many eyebrow dyes contain chemicals, though, and if you’re moving towards a cleaner beauty routine, you’re probably looking to darken your eyebrows in a more natural way. That’s why we tapped beauty expert Savannah St. Jean and celebrity esthetician Jimena Garcia for answers on how to make eyebrows darker.
Read below for our tips on how to darken your eyebrows naturally.
Brows in need of a little more definition? St. Jean recommends brow henna as an option. “Brow henna is a type of non-oxidative tint that temporarily tints the skin under the brows as well as the actual brow hairs to give a fuller look,” she explains. “The henna paste is meticulously painted on to the brow area and left to tint the hairs and the skin underneath it.” The length of time that the results will last will depend on your skin type. “Dry skin will have longer lasting results than oily skin, but the tint on the skin will generally last one week while the tint on the brow hairs will last approximately two weeks,” notes St. Jean.
The beauty of brow henna (beyond the thickening results, of course) is that it can be done at home or in a professional setting. One major drawback of using henna? According to Garcia, it takes roughly an hour to set in, which is why most technicians don’t use henna on clients. However, if you’re going the at-home route and are catching up on your latest Netflix binge, that hour may fly by.
While upkeep may be more frequent due to fading color, henna is the best option if you are looking for a 100% natural way to darken your eyebrows, as even vegetable-based dyes contain some chemicals, Garcia explains.
Avoid over-cleansing around the eyebrow area to keep henna from fading too fast.
If you’re looking for a quick, DIY solution to darkening your brows, you may already have one sitting in your kitchen. “You can mix a few tablespoons of very finely ground coffee with a small amount of honey or oil to create a paste,” explains St. Jean. “With precision, apply the paste to your brows and allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes in order to have enough time to tint the brow area before rinsing.” While many tout this method as being a natural fix, St. Jean says it’s temporary and won’t last nearly as long as an oxidative brow tint or henna.
Castor Oil and Eyeshadow
Castor oil is a well-loved oil in the beauty community—mostly for its purported brow- and lash-strengthening properties. Although there’s no hard evidence proving that castor oil promotes hair growth, many still swear by it. Garcia offered up this tip: You can create a conditioning brow tint by mixing castor oil with an eyeshadow color that’s a few shades darker than your brow hair. Use a spoolie to apply and ta-da! You’ve got yourself your very own customized, all-natural Boy Brow. “Castor oil can also be used to moisturize, if you find that your brow area is dry,” says St. Jean.
Not ready to commit to a dye? Brush up on your brow penciling skills by going the makeup route—you can play around with different hues to find one you like and it washes off at the end of the day. “If you have lighter brows (brown to blonde) use a pencil one to two shades darker than your natural hair color,” explains St. Jean. “If you have dark brows (dark brown to black) use a color that matches your hair color.” If you have a warm skin tone, she recommends reaching for an ash- or cool-toned brow pencil to offset the warmth in your skin. But if you have any natural red hues in your brows, St. Jean says to go for a neutral-toned pencil for a more natural look and easy blend.
Though using an eyeshadow to darken your eyebrows won’t have the same longevity as a brow pencil, it offers soft, natural-looking results. “Choose a color the same way you would with a brow pencil (one to two shades darker for lighter brow hairs and the same shade if you have darker brows),” says St. Jean. “Using a small angled brush, sweep the eyeshadow on the areas that need a little definition.”