Q. What’s a safe way to enhance my lashes?

A: To enhance your lashes, you’ll need the following tools: eyeliner brush, dark eye shadow or liner, mascara and an eyelash brush. Shape recommends: Using an eyeliner brush and dark shadow, apply both as close as you can to the upper lashes; then apply mascara to the top lashes only; and finish up by separating the hairs with your lash brush.

Q: If they’re illegal, why are eyelash dye products available for purchase online?

A: Eyelash and eyebrow dye products are only illegal in America, so the products you’re seeing are most likely being sold from outside the U.S. It’s uncertain why these products and treatments aren’t outlawed in other countries, because they clearly present dangerous complications.

Q: I’ve seen several medical spas offer eyebrow and lash tinting; isn’t it safe to get tinting done at these kinds of places, because they’re a medical facility?

A: Whether it’s a medical spa or beauty salon that offers these treatments, using eyelash and eyebrow dye is still prohibited by the FDA.

by team
Many of us view eyebrow and eyelash tinting as we see hair color and facial bleach: another option in a vast arsenal of beauty treatments to enhance our looks. But what many women might be shocked to learn is that these treatments are actually illegal and dangerous.

How tinting works

Even though eyebrow and lash tinting is against the law, many beauty salons still offer these services. One look online and at your local yellow pages will yield a myriad of results. Here’s what you can expect during the treatment: With a shield (some salons use cotton), the cosmetologist protects the area around the eye as well as the eye itself. From there, the technician applies the dye to the lashes or brows; after a 10-minute wait, the dye is wiped off, with the new color remaining. Each treatment lasts about four to six weeks. The average cost of these treatments ranges from $10 to $30.

Why the danger?

The FDA prohibits the use of eyebrow and eyelash tinting at home and in beauty salons and other facilities. Specifically, according to the organization, :"There are no color additives approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows." In fact, these dyes use the same ingredients as hair coloring products, which means chemicals like ammonia and peroxide get dangerously close to your eyes.

When an eyelash or eyebrow dye gets too close for comfort and in contact with your eye, it can cause inflammation, swelling, infection or worse, blindness. Individuals with sensitive skin and those who wear contact lenses are particularly vulnerable to severe reactions, according to Shape magazine.

It was as early as the 1930’s when these complications were reported, after women began using the now infamous eyelash dye Lash Lure and noticed a variety of side effects. Though some only experienced irritation, others actually went blind and one woman died. With the passing of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in 1938, Lash Lure was one of the first products seized by the FDA.

Should you try it?

It’s tempting to try out eyebrow and lash tinting, especially when you consider the potential benefits of beautiful, full lashes and brows. Plus, with so many salons offering tinting treatments, one wonders, "What’s the harm?"

Well, no matter how great your co-worker’s lashes look after her treatment, this doesn’t change the fact that the FDA prohibits the use of eyelash and eyebrow dyes and complications are possible.

If you decide to have this treatment, at least do your homework. Make sure your technician is licensed and uses proper equipment for applying the dye and protecting your eyes. Ask for before and after photos of clients who’ve had the same treatment.

As the Beauty Brains — a reputable blog maintained by cosmetic chemists — concludes, "The reality is, every credible source on this topic says that the risk is not worth the reward."

See also:

The Beauty of Natural Lashes


"The information provided on is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. If you have a medical question or concern regarding any news item or article on this news magazine, please consult your physician..."