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6 Easy Ways to Color Grey Eyebrows

Updated on September 21, 2017
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VirginiaLynne is a 50-something mom of 5 who seeks creative ways to stay healthy and look her best. She loves sharing her tips and ideas.

Caught on camera! My grey eyebrow hairs are sticking out!
Caught on camera! My grey eyebrow hairs are sticking out! | Source

6 Ways to Cover Grey

As a 57-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:

  1. Plucking: 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: 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: Despite the fact that 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

Source

Comparing Techniques

Technique
Advantages
Disadvantages
Plucking
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."
Mascara
You already have this. Also, waterproof mascara lasts when swimming.
Tends to clump and be thick, can also smudge on skin.
Eyebrow pencil
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.
Nail polish
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.
My experiences with trying different techniques of coloring my eyebrows.

Plucking

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!

Eye Shadow Pencil

Source

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.

The Eye Shadow Pencil I Use

1 NYX JUMBO EYE PENCIL JEP602 Dark Brown + Free Earring Gift
1 NYX JUMBO EYE PENCIL JEP602 Dark Brown + Free Earring Gift

After trying many brands, I've found that this one from NYX works the very best. See above for my commentary.

 

Mascara

 I find the brush kind works best and a partly used one is better because it doesn't clump as much.
I find the brush kind works best and a partly used one is better because it doesn't clump as much. | Source

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.

Nail Polish

OK, I get an A for creativity, but maybe a C for application. Be careful not to get it on your skin!
OK, I get an A for creativity, but maybe a C for application. Be careful not to get it on your skin! | Source

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!

Temporary Root Dye

Source

I love temporary dye! 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:

  • 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!).

The Temporary Eyebrow Dye I Use

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Comparison with 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.

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.

Eyebrow Poll

Do you color your eyebrows?

See results
A recent photo of me with newly dyed eyebrows!
A recent photo of me with newly dyed eyebrows! | Source

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!

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    • profile image

      Ellen 3 weeks ago

      I understand believing that your eyebrows were black, but given your coloring, they never were really black. A lot of people with hair that looks black is actually a very, very dark brown, and you could only tell the difference if they were to put on black dye, and then you would see how artificial it looked. The only people who actually have black hair and eye brows seem to be some -- but not all, by any means -- Latinos, some Native Americans, Inuit, and Asians. Otherwise, I would say you just never had a truly black hair on your head. Or anywhere else. Just a color that in makeup is called "brownish black".

    • profile image

      CeCe 3 months ago

      I use men's beard and mustache dye. It works perfectly but only lasts two weeks or so. Just use a little and put it on with a tooth pick.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 3 months ago from United States

      Hi Kathybev! What a great idea to use sharpies. They come in a lot of colors and I bet they would last a while. Cheap too! I'm going to give that a try and add it to my list of ideas!

    • profile image

      kathybev 3 months ago

      Black Sharpies have been working wonders for years. It's fun to color in those silver eyebrow hairs with a Sharpie and it lasts a few days. It's very quick and easy to do.

      I starting using Sharpies when my hair started turning gray to just color those stray strands. After I began dying my hair, I used them to touch up between colorings. Finally, when I decided to grow out my gray hair, I used black, brown and silver Sharpies to blend my darkly dyed hair until it was fully gray. Silver Sharpies color over dark hair really well.

      Now that I am seeing little silver hairs pop up in my brows, a quick swipe with a black Sharpie is all I need.

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      Jillian 3 months ago

      Thank you for tips

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 6 months ago from United States

      Hi Linda! Thanks for the tip. That could be a good idea for other people with light eyebrows.

    • profile image

      Linda 6 months ago

      I found this by mistake. I have dyed blond hair and blondish brown eyebrows. I use my liquid concealer make up lightly across my brow lashes for a quick fix.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 7 months ago from United States

      Hi, Emily! I agree that waterproof mascara is the best once-a-day solution for me too. I tend to get lazy and not dye as often as I should and so I use the mascara to touch-up. One other nice part about the mascara is that it lets me brush my brows in the right direction and tends to keep them that way. However, my daughter gave me a "brow mascara" recently and I do like the fact that the brush is smaller and really does work better on my eyebrows. I need to add that brand to my review. I don't know of a gun metal mascara but I bet there is one out there because of the trend in new hair colors.

    • profile image

      Emily 7 months ago

      My left eyebrow is turning gray at a rapid pace and my right has very little. My brows are black and I use a waterproof mascara in brown/black. I have tried the brow mascara but find they don't last all day like and eyelash mascara. I have been looking for a gun metal colour for mascara as my hair is naturally gray now and I wear that shade for eyeliner. It is a lighter shade then black. I took the plunge a few years ago and let my hair grow out and love it. I wished I had of done this years ago, but I am not liking the gray eyebrows.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      Hi Vicki--I'd suggest that you might want to try using a light colored mascara. That will thicken them and also should keep them more in place. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Vicki Spatz 8 months ago

      I have grey, very thin unruly (especially on the left brow). I have been using grandelashmd brow (light) I'm very pale. However I can't get the unruly ones to stay down. I want to go get them professionally done but I'm afraid of them looking like catipillers (spelling?)! I am 58 but even if I were younger I hate that weird look. What should I do?

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 8 months ago from United States

      I love this idea! I may give it a try.

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      another guy 8 months ago

      As a guy that has a full head of dark brown hair, but mostly grey eyebrows that make me look 10 years older, I took to using a simple magic marker to give me back my bold eyebrows! It works pretty well! A friend asked if I got a haircut, and I said no. He wanted to know why I looked younger, and I said: It's the eyebrows. Then he noticed! He has somewhat lighter hair so he started doing the same with a dark brown marker and he definitely looks at least 5 years younger. It's worth a try! Usually lasts a day or so. I just added it to my shower routine, bringing the marker and a decent pair of reading glasses in to the bathroom.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 19 months ago from United States

      Thanks ms! The more ideas the better! The dye that I have linked in this hub is actually working even better than the dye I originally got. I generally actually leave it on (just a small brush on) until I take a shower. It lasts at least 3-4 weeks.

    • profile image

      ms 19 months ago

      I have great eyebrows ((I think!) but prematurely grey. I use a waterproof eye brow (actually I'm using a lip pencil) found one that's a really natural auburn. Instead of spending money on the ones with gel, I fill a tiny bottle with hairspray, spritz just a little on my finger and dab on brows. Perfection and lasts and lasts. Dying them when I dye my hair goes away in a couple of days. Just FYI!

    • profile image

      A guy 21 months ago

      Yah some guys don't like grey hair either. Roux Fancy Ful colour styling mousse . In a blue 6 oz. aerosol can. Washes out, but quick. Also covers mysterious grey patches that show up in your hair.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 3 years ago

      I had never heard or thought of using nail polish on eye brow. I don't have grey yet but will keep it in mind for when it does show up. Great hub!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 3 years ago from United States

      Mary--I had not thought about men. This would have helped my dad since he had nice black hair but found his facial hair got grey early. Great tip!

    • profile image

      Mary tirpack 3 years ago

      Use just for men for beards and mustach, it works better on the stubborn grey eyebrows

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 3 years ago from United States

      Hi Jo--I actually had written the letters wrong (they had worn off the label). When I looked it up on Amazon, I realized the brand is NYX. I've put a link to the shade I use, but you can find other colors on Amazon too.

    • profile image

      Jo 3 years ago

      Hi, thanks for the help with grey eyebrows! I can't find the NYT eyeshadow pencil anywhere. I also tried NYC and NYX. Can you help?

    • amiebutchko profile image

      Amie Butchko 3 years ago from Warwick, NY

      GREAT hub with surprising info and a wonderful video. I will certainly benefit from your expertise!

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      Lori Colbo 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great topic Virginia. Your topics are versatile. I decided a three years ago to stop coloring my hair. I always hate the process. It's messy and time consuming whether you do it at home or in the parlor. I found myself going longer and longer between colorings simply because I hated doing it. As a 50 something my hair grew grayer. I found all of a sudden people saying, "Oh you highlighted your hair. It's so beautiful." Or "Oh, I love the shade of gray you're using." That clinched it. I am now a proud, gray haired woman. And with four boys and 13 grands, I earned every one of them.

      The eyebrows are another matter altogether. They are about 75 to 80 % gray and with being a fair skinned woman, you can't see them except for the scanty dark ones. I have always hated plucking. It's too time consuming and frustrating because like you, I end up plucking out the colored ones. I am just not good at doing it and it takes me forever. Now there are just too many to pluck. My eyesight is too poor to see them anyway and if you put glasses on, well, just adds to the challenge. So I like your ideas.

    • profile image

      Gabby Stevens 4 years ago

      Very interesting and helpful. I feel like I am always messing with my eyebrows and they look a different color everyday so this should for help me out!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image
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      Virginia Kearney 4 years ago from United States

      Isabel--thanks for telling your story. I have a couple of friends with that skin condition. I did not know that it can also affect hair. I am glad to hear that the salon dye works well. I may have to try that, especially in the summer. I found that when it was very hot and I was outside or in the pool a lot it was hard to keep up with my eyebrow color!

    • profile image

      Isabel Hernandez 4 years ago

      Although I am only 18, I have a skin condition that takes away the pigment of my skin called vitiligo. In addition to the pigment, it makes my eyebrows, and a few eye lashes, white. Of course, being a teenager who is supposed to be in her prime, this condition makes putting on makeup a little more tedious than it used to be. Thankfully I have dark enough hair that I simply use black eye shadow and an eyebrow brush to cover it up. However, it usually leaves my skin colored and my left eyebrow darker than my right. I found the easiest solution for me is to go to the salon and get my eyebrow dyed. It takes a while but it lasts for a long time and when I notice it wearing off, I simply apply eye shadow. The problem stated above about it staining your skin is not really a problem, at least not for me. The lady doing my eyebrows usually has something to take it off the skin. Although she cannot take off most of it, the stained skin usually wears off in a day or two. Also, if you have a steady enough hand, you can simply use regular mascara and gently swipe your eyebrow!