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For those with light hair and fair complexions, the eyebrows and eyelashes are an area that often require make up in order to darken the hair and help make other features like eyes stand out. Instead of spending time applying make up everyday however, the process of tinting allows you to hold color in the eyelashes and eyebrows for weeks. Because this area is close to the eyes and involves sensitive skin, there are several contra-actions and contra-indications associated with tinting that you should be aware of.

Allergic Reactions

One of the most common contra-actions to the chemicals used to tint your eyebrow or eyelash hair is swelling of the area due to an allergic reaction. Severe allergic reactions can actually cause the eyes to swell shut, especially with eyelash tinting. There is usually no permanent damage, but this can be temporarily disabling for many. Before applying the eyebrow or eyelash tinting chemicals, you should do a patch test on your skin and leave it on for 24 hours to see if there is any allergic reaction.

Eye Irritation

Another common side effect of eyebrow or eyelash tinting is eye irritations. This usually occurs when the tinting dye enters the eye itself. Once again, the risk is greater with eyelash tinting than with eyebrow tinting because the dye is much closer to the eye. The dye must sit on the lashes for 15 to 20 minutes to make the stain, so it is best to make sure the recipient is positioned in a way that minimizes movement and disturbances. Many specialists use vegetable dyes instead of chemical ones to lessen irritation, but they usually do not last as long.

Pre-exisiting conditions

Before any tinting is applied to eyelashes or eyebrows, the recipient should be checked for pre-existing conditions that could potentially disqualify them for treatment due to severe contra-actions. Conjunctivitis and other infections of the eye should be checked for as well as other eye disorders that make the eye more sensitive to external substances. The skin around the eye and eyebrow should also be checked for cuts, scrapes and bruises because damaged skin could react unfavorably to the tint, due to its heightened sensitivity.


Although usually not indicative of anything dangerous, erythema is another common contra-action of tinting. Defined as a reddening of the skin due to skin injury or inflammation, erythema is an irritation of the skin that often follows tinting treatments and can last for several days. Patients should be advised of this possible contra-action before they are given eyebrow or eyelash tinting.