Nowadays, sultry brows and lashes are in high demand! With so many consumers eager to hop on the ‘brows and lashes on fleek’ bandwagon, the FDA has finally chimed in due to the rise of reported reactions from consumers. Our eyes are the most fragile part of our entire bodies, leaving them most susceptible to sensitivities, allergies or reactions that may potentially cause serious harm. It should be common sense that using unapproved FDA chemicals so close to our delicate eyes is a no-no! This takes the ‘beauty is pain’ concept to a whole new level.

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I offer brow and lash tinting and am licensed to do so. I personally love the transformation tinting allows me to achieve on my clients. When doing any type of tinting service, i take precautions, never leave a client unattended and constantly check in with them during the service. I am very well aware that there is no FDA approved dye for brows and lashes, but I do use a popular brand that is commonly used in the beauty world for such purpose. Tinting is one of those services where the client accepts the risks and entrusts a reputable establishment to perform the service. Some consider it to be the ‘lesser of two evils’ vs. having a consumer go rogue and do their own brow and lash tinting.

California officially banned brow and lash tinting in mid 2015. California law only permits the use of FDA approved brow and lash tint products. Beauty establishments in California cannot legally perform tinting services since there are no products that currently meet FDA standards. Massachusetts had a similar ban in 2001, but it overturned in 2016, only allowing use of products specifically designed for brow and lash tinting. As someone in the industry who performs many tinting services, I wonder how will this impact the beauty world for professionals and consumers?

To clarify some things, the FDA doesn’t actually forbid professionals from tinting, but they definitely don’t approve of it. They leave the decision to each state and the local government boards decide what is permissible under which license. As far as we know, to this day, California is the only state that decided to do away with tinting altogether. The possibility of more states following suit is a major concern to me, for the reasons that, A.) clients will opt to do tinting themselves with high risk for self harm, plus encouraging a ‘black market’ and B.) professionals licensed to do so will lose revenue. After many years of cosmetology experience with no serious incidents, one can get a little lax and neglect the safety of a client because ‘what are the odds’ of an adverse reaction? I think this lax attitude is what’s raising the FDA’s eyebrows (no pun intended). The way us professionals can alleviate some of the concern and hopefully avoid a potential ban, is by simply educating our clients of the risks associated with tinting. In doing so, consumers can make an informed decision.

Per the FDA, permanent eyebrow and eyelash dyes and tints have been known to cause serious eye injuries, including blindness. Since there are no standards for such products, they continue to be risky because allergic reactions, sensitivities and/or infections are still a possibility. Even experienced brow and lash tint clients who’ve never had a major problem (except for a minor sting in the eyes) can also overlook how risky tinting can be. Its time we take things a little more seriously… after all, your safety should be top priority!