6 Easy Ways to Color Grey Eyebrows
As a 55-year-old, I'm lucky my hair is not too grey. However, my eyebrows are a different matter—they are about 50% grey, and make me feel old. I've been searching the cosmetic counter and the internet for the best way to cover up grey eyebrows. Over the past ten years, I've tried all of the following techniques.
6 Ways to Cover Grey Eyebrows
- Using an eyebrow pencil or eye shadow
- Using cosmetics
- Using temporary dye
- Dying at hairstylist
- Dying eyebrows yourself
Plucking out the grey can work if you have plenty of eyebrows to lose. Try that when you first start seeing grey hairs. Keep it up until you don't have enough left after plucking.
2. Using an Eyebrow Pencil or Eye Shadow
You can cover the grey with a pencil or shadow. Also, you can pluck all the hairs out and draw in eyebrows to look as dramatic as you want (this is less popular now than in the '50s, but why not start a trend?)
3. Using Cosmetics
Several cosmetic products can cover over the grey (see below for my review of the best types). I keep more than one on hand, depending on how dramatic I want my eyebrows to be that day.
4. Using Temporary Dye
My favorite technique for a long time was to use a temporary root dye product. I've found that it works great on eyebrows and covers for the full day unless you go swimming. I also like the brush on the dye because it helps my eyebrows to line up better.
5. Dying at Hairstylist
If you dye your hair, you can ask your stylist to dye your eyebrows too. However, be warned that grey eyebrows sometimes reappear in between hair-dying sessions.
6. Dying Eyebrows Yourself
Even though all the home dye products tell you "not for use on eyebrows," you can do this yourself. However, you have to be careful not to get it in your eyes. Also, there is sometimes a problem in dying the skin or getting the wrong color. One common suggestion is to use Vaseline around the eye and then to go a couple of shades lighter than your hair and don't leave the dye on as long, at least, the first time.
Check out my table below for the advantages and disadvantages of each of these methods. I will give more detail below on how to do each of them.
My Secret Brow Coloring Stash
Gets rid of grey.
Sometimes it will remove non-grey hairs. Also, doesn't work well if you have too much grey, and can make eyebrows "splotchy."
You already have this. Also, waterproof mascara lasts when swimming.
Tends to clump and be thick, can also smudge on skin.
Creates a dramatic look. You can change your eyebrow shape this way.
Pencils can be a bit sharp and irritating to skin, tends to color the skin and now eyebrow hair.
Eye shadow pencil
It's easy to use and quick.
Can rub off, not as good if there is a lot of grey.
Lasts longer than other methods.
Can clump hair, makes hairs thicker, mistakes harder to erase.
Temporary "root" cover dye
It's easy, quick and simple. Also, this lasts all day and looks natural.
Have to re-apply daily or if it gets washed off. Not waterproof.
Eyebrow and lash dye
This lasts the longest and looks natural.
Doesn't last as long as hair color. Sometimes stains skin. Trickier to apply. May cost the most.
1. Plucking Out the Grey!
When I first saw grey hairs, I just plucked them out. The problem? I often plucked out dark ones too.That was frustrating, and became impractical as I got older and there simply weren't many dark hairs left! However, if you just have a few white ones, this is easy. Here are my tips:
- Use good tweezers: This technique worked better when I found very pointed tweezers that helped me to grab just the hair I wanted to pluck.
- Pick out the worst offenders: Even though I am no longer plucking out most of the grey hairs, I do find that it helps if I pluck out the white hairs that are very prominent and stand out. Or, maybe that just makes me feel better!
2. Eye Brow Pencil
When I had too many white hairs to pluck, my mother suggested using a soft eye shadow pencil.
- Eye shadow vs. eyebrow pencil: Of course, there are products called "eyebrow pencils" which you can also try. However, I find many of these tend to be aimed at coloring the skin behind the hairs. Using eye shadow pencil colors the hairs by coating them with an oily powder. It works a lot better than I expected.
- Eyeliner: For a really dramatic look, you can try a liquid eyeliner. That doesn't fit my style, but that might be a good technique especially for a night out.
- Quick and easy: I have tried different brands, but the one below from NYX works the very best. In fact, I found it sort of miraculous how it can make my white hairs disappear when you brush it across. Since I usually use brown eyeshadow, I can just brush it on as a shadow too. Even though my eyebrow hairs are black, I used a medium brown and it worked fine. Black probably would have colored the skin too dark.
When I began getting even more white hairs after I turned 50, I was starting to get desperate. So I turned to another easy solution using something I already had in my make-up box: mascara.
- Try it: This is a super easy fix since you probably already have mascara you can use. Also, it is easy to wash it off and try again if you don't like how it looks. To do it, just brush the mascara across the eyebrow before or after doing your lashes.
- Waterproof: If you use waterproof mascara it does last when you are swimming, unlike the temporary dye.
- Thick eyebrows: The only problem is a tendency to smudge a bit on the skin around the eyebrow, especially if the mascara is new. Also, it does tend to get a bit clumpy if you have thick eyebrow hairs like I do.
- Quick fix: Even so, I used this method for about a year while hunting for something else. Moreover, I still use this often as a quick fix as I'm heading out the door, or in-between dying my brows.
4. Black Nail Polish!
Maybe not one of my most inspired ideas, but the sight of black nail polish in the store got me thinking. This one may sound crazy, but it actually does work. I used this method for several months before moving on to dying. You have to find a nail polish that closely matches your eyebrow color, but that isn't hard to do since there are a lot of brown and black polishes out there.
- How to use nail polish: You also have to have a pretty steady hand and wear your reading glasses (if you need them, like me!) because mess-ups are harder to take care of than with the other methods. New polish works best since it is thinner and doesn't clump up. Just stroke the nail polish across the most annoying white hairs first, then fill in as needed. Remember that you don't have to get every hair colored for it to work.
- Combine methods: You can combine this approach with one of the other ones. Color the worst hairs with nail polish and then brush over with something else in the morning.
- Waterproof: Since nail polish is waterproof, this is the best one to last when swimming or even in the heat when sweating can make other makeup wear off.
- Lasts a few days: I was hoping that using nail polish would last several weeks, but, unfortunately, it only lasts a few days to a week. The biggest disadvantage is that it can get on too thick if you aren't careful and can clump the hairs together. However, with this method, you can wake up in the morning and be ready to go!
5. Temporary Dye
I love ! After about five years of using other techniques, I finally found a temporary root dye that comes in a mascara-like container. See below for the link. It is not labeled for eyebrows, but it works great. Here are the advantages: temporary dye
- Easy to use: This dye can be brushed on just like mascara and lasts the whole day if you don't get it wet. Wash your face or go into the pool and it is gone, but if you don't get it wet you have brows all day.
- Looks natural: The best part about this product is that it is much thinner than mascara and nail polish, so your eyebrows look more natural. If I'm careful not to touch them when I wash my face, it will last overnight.
- Good for touch-ups: After I started using a permanent product, I still have found that I need this temporary dye for touching up and also to add a little fullness of color.
- A brush helps to shape: I also use the ending brush to just go over my brows and make them look good before heading out for my day.
Unfortunately, it isn't easy to find this product. I first found it at Walmart, but when I couldn't get it there anymore, I found it on Amazon. I've included the link so you can see what it looks like. Lots of reviews say it doesn't work well to cover roots and I actually can't imagine using it for that since it does tend to make the hairs thicker. However, it does work great on eyebrows. It lasts as long as any mascara, so it is a pretty good deal for about $6.00.
P.S. Don't worry that it isn't labeled for facial use. I've found out that companies doing facial dye have trouble marketing it to consumers without having liability problems (I suppose some people might slip and poke their eyes and if that's you then you shouldn't be trying to do this yourself anyway!).
6. Permanent Dye
After about a year of using the temporary dye, I finally decided to take the plunge and move to permanent dye after hearing from one of my students that this worked for her. While I still use the other techniques in between treatments, I now use permanent dye about once a month. If you have your hair colored at a salon, they may do your eyebrows at the same time. Otherwise, you can easily do this yourself at home.
How does it work? Great! It actually takes only 5-10 minutes, and if you don't think it is dark enough or you missed some parts, you can do it again (I'm going to do mine a bit more tomorrow). There are several types, but I will give you the steps of the one I've been using:
- Step one: Wash your eyebrows with soap and water and dry them carefully. Mix up the dye and the oxidant in a bowl. I just do about a pea-sized ball of the dye and about the same amount of oxidant which seems to work great.
- Step two: Use the brush included in the kit or a Q-tip to put the dye on the hairs. I brush lightly back and forth to get both sides. Be careful not to touch your skin, though. I just brush above the root line. The instructions say to cover around the brow with vaseline and that might help, but I'm too lazy to do that and generally don't have a problem.
- Step three: Wait about 5 minutes and then wash your brows with soap and water. That's it! Sometimes I still see some gray and then I brush those again with more dye.
- Step four: If you get some dye on your skin, you can use stain remover (you have to buy this separately) to take the stain off. Use a Q-tip soaked in the stain remover. I had stain remover left over from my previous dye and I use that. However, I should say that it smells suspiciously like diluted Clorox. Of course, you don't want to get Clorox in your eye so be sure you don't soak the stain remover until it is dripping off, just a little bit works. It was actually a lot easier to do stain removal than I imagined, and I think that you probably can wash it off with soap and a little scrubbing too.
- Which color to choose? My eyebrow hairs are (were!) black, but I got the brown dye, and it looks fine. I decided brown might help me avoid making my eyebrows look too dark, and it does.
- Comparison with the professional salon: I've never had my brows done professionally, but from what I understand from my research, they do something pretty similar to what you can do at home. If you get your hair colored regularly, you might as well have them do your brows too. However, I can't imagine going in for a treatment I can do at home in 5-10 minutes.
This is the Dye I Use
Pros and Cons
Advantages: Dying will last the longest, and you don't have to worry about water or whether you put your make-up on before you head out the door. If you dye your eyebrows along with your hair, then it doesn't cost anything more since you can probably use the same dye. I used my first dye kit (now no longer available) for about 18 months and my Reflectol kit is lasting even longer. The tutorial video below shows you how to do it. She uses "Just for Men" which basically works the same as the Reflectol, but doesn't last quite as long in my experience. My kit came with an eyebrow brush that works great.
Disadvantages to Dye: The biggest disadvantage I've heard about is that you do tend to dye the skin too. This what kept me from trying this for so long. I could just picture two big black patches over my eyes! However, when I actually tried it, I found that it wasn't at all hard to keep the dye on the hairs. Also, if I did get the dye on my skin, it was easy to get off.
Another disadvantage is that eyebrow dye doesn't last as long a hair dye, probably because the eyebrow hairs are so short and any white "root" growing in shows up pretty easily. That means that if you have it done along with your hair you may have to do some touching up in-between treatments using some of the other techniques. Or you could just touch up with a home dye kit. In fact, once you try it at home, I suspect you won't worry about having it done professionally.
Update on turning 58 1/2!
I'm getting a bit older, and my eyebrows are getting greyer. Still, I've been using the same Refectocil Permanent Dye kit now for almost 2 years, and I still have at least half of the tube left. One thing I did start doing differently over the past 6 months is to leave the dye on a lot longer, about an hour or so. This actually does "dye" the skin behind my eyebrow hairs a bit which acts like putting on brow pencil to fill them out. Better yet, this seems to make it last a lot longer. However, while I do a treatment, it does make me look pretty scary to my family, and I once forgot to wash it off before leaving the house!
Do you color your eyebrows?
What Tips Can You Share?
Do you have another tip? Unfortunately, I'm probably not going to have my eyebrows turn back to black, so I'd love to hear if you have any other ideas. Leave a comment to share!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Can eyebrows be dyed with men's mustache products?
I believe the men's mustache products probably also work for eyebrows. The reason I've chosen to use the product I've listed is that you don't have to mix any more than you need. My tube and bottle of active solution have lasted over 2 years.Helpful 22
Do you think using "A Touch of Grey" will make eyebrows fall out?
I have had excellent success with Refectocil dye and have never tried "A Touch of Grey" so I can't say for sure, but I don't think eyebrows falling out would be a big problem unless you were sensitive to the dye. However, if you are concerned, I would have to say that I've had no problems with the Refectocil dye and the kit I have now is only 1/3 used and I've had it for 3 years, so in the end, it is pretty cheap.Helpful 9
What eye shadow pencil are you using? I don’t like the skinny eyebrow pencil, but need to cover over the gray hairs and fill in the brow area also.
I've used a variety of eye shadow pencils. The key is to look for one that is soft and big, not hard and skinny. Most of the major brands in my grocery store carry these in the eye shadow section. Then you need to find one that matches your eyebrows. Although my brows are black, I find a dark brown works well.Helpful 1