DIY Eyebrow Tinting

DIY Eyebrow Tinting with Refectocil
DIY Eyebrow Tinting with Refectocil, $22

We can’t all have luxurious brows. I don’t; in spite of my natural brunette hue my eyebrows are on the light side. Not blonde, but a mild enough shade that the sparseness at the tails doesn’t do me many favors; their slight hue makes it challenging to see when grooming. But I’m a problem solver by trade – so when I learned how easy DIY eyebrow tinting was I checked that off my list immediately.

Why DIY Eyebrow Tinting

Do you have your eyebrows tinted? I didn’t. I knew tinting is a service you can get in a salon; Benefit Brow Bars charge between $20-23 for it depending on the market. I hadn’t cared about it

It wasn’t until I was watching a tutorial on how to execute your own brow wax (thanks, pandemic) that it struck me to. As her first step, she used DIY eyebrow tinting to help guide her removal so she didn’t over- or under-remove. It’s quite clever, actually.


First and foremost: DO NOT use regular hair dye on your brows. Not from a box, not from Sally’s. This is too much power and responsibility for a non-professional. The safety of your eyes is not to be gambled for the sake of a few easier-seen strands.

That said, Refectocil ($12-25) is a product intended for this purpose. It is a thick, gentle colorant that is unlikely to get into your eyes and is only intended to be used for five minutes or so. I purchased a kit in my color that comes with everything you need for around $22. They have a range of colors, and you can always buy the individual tubes to mix a custom shade if you need to.

Procedure for DIY Eyebrow Tinting

Like many coloring processes or systems, you should start your DIY eyebrow tinting adventure by assembling your supplies in one place. A beauty mise en place, if you will. This means a small cup or dappen dish, a brush, spoolie, or cotton swab, your color, and your developer. My kit came with everything I needed, but you could but the color and developer separately if you want.

Best practices also say you should do a patch test to make sure your skin does not mutiny.

Mix your color and developer in the vessel you have selected. Refectocil calls for a 1:1 ratio. I found this a little challenging to execute flawlessly. since you’re working with such a small amount (it is for your eyebrows, after all), it is difficult to assess volume or weight well. Nonetheless, eyeball it and do your best.

Then, apply to your brows sparingly at first. My kit came with a small brush, but I used a cotton swab, combed through with a brow comb, and then did another later. I recommend going a bit softer on the application towards the center, and concentrate more towards the ends.

Then, wait five minutes. Remove with a cotton pad and neutral cleanser like micellar water. If you’ve selected a color close to your brows’ natural shade, this will not be a dramatic change. I ended up having to do it twice to get the visibility I wanted on the tails of my brows, but that’s okay with me because it was an overall investment of ten minutes.

Results and Longevity

For me, this did just what I needed to make my brows more visible in general AND to help me execute a DIY brow wax (more on that soon).

In terms of color, I found that by three weeks I needed to redo it. I did choose a very conservative shade, however. I know that salons that offer the service frequently custom mix shades for clients from multiple colors of product. I think, next time, I will order a darker shade to try on its own and/or cocktail with this one to see if it nets me longer-term results.

Happily, it also meant I could do a little less to my brows in the morning. 5-10 minutes once a month (during which I can do other things, too) to shave 30-60 seconds off each day? Yeah, I’ll take that trade.

The Bottom Line

Benefit suggests their tinting results last about 3-4 weeks. For the price of one brow tinting service from them, I have more than a year’s worth of product (probably more, for how little you need). You don’t need a special set of skills or tools. Is DIY eyebrow tinting worthwhile? You tell me.