Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Tint: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

By Emily M.| Last updated on April 10, 2024
allergic reaction to eyebrow tint
⏱️ 4 min read

Eyebrow tint is one of the most popular ways of enhancing their shape and color. Up to a couple of weeks, you don’t need brow makeup and your morning makeup routine is shorter.

But even though this is a pretty safe treatment, since it is basically dyeing your eyebrows, an allergic reaction to eyebrow tint is possible and can happen.

So, let’s discuss the symptoms of an allergic reaction to eyebrow tint, how to prevent it, and how to treat it.

Why Does Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Tint Happen?

Eyebrow tint, just like almost every hair tint, contains a substance known as phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is a chemical substance that is generally harmless to most clients, but, according to the NHS, it is a known allergen and irritant.

Plus, as reveals, darker shades of hair dye products contain higher concentrations of PPD than lighter shades. And most brow dyes are deep browns, so – dark.

Therefore, an eyebrow tint can cause allergic reactions in some people.

The symptoms can go from a pretty mild reaction to a very serious allergic reaction in a short time and may take some time to treat.

How Do I Know If I’m Allergic to Eyebrow Tint?

If you’ve had a reaction to henna brows, black henna tattoos, or hair dye in the past, it’s very likely you are allergic to eyebrow tint.

But if you haven’t tried any of these before, and you are not sure whether you will develop an allergic reaction to eyebrow tint, a patch test will show.

So, ask your eyebrow technician for a patch test or, if you are DIY-ing eyebrow tinting, get a patch test to check beforehand.

Can Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Tint Be Prevented?

Of course. It is advisable to do a patch test before the treatment.

The patch test is done with a minimal amount of a substance you want to test and usually just behind a person’s ear on the inside of your elbow and waiting for 24-48 hours to see if you have any reaction.

If there’s a reaction, it’s not safe to use that eyebrow tint on the brows.

Since the allergic reaction to eyebrow tint is pretty rare, people usually assume they are not allergic to eyebrow tint, and just skip the patch test.

But especially if you have sensitive skin and some allergies, it is very important to check whether you are allergic to eyebrow tint before the treatment.

If you have had a reaction to hair dye or black henna tattoos in the past, you may be more likely to develop an allergy to PPD.

What Are the Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Tint?

It’s very easy to recognize an allergic reaction to eyebrow tint. It’s basically contact dermatitis.

Eyebrow tinting usually doesn’t cause any sensations other than a very slight tingling as the dye is drying on the skin, especially after it’s wiped off, so if you feel itchiness and a burning sensation, you are developing an allergic reaction and you need to react fast.

Here are some usual symptoms of allergic reactions to eyebrow tint:

  • Itching or burning sensation around the eyebrows
  • Swelling and/or redness around the eyebrows
  • Rash around the eyebrows
  • Watery or puffy eyes

And some even more severe reactions:

  • Blistering or peeling of the skin around the eyebrows
  • Swelling that spreads on the face or neck
  • Difficulty breathing or a feeling of tightness in the chest

If you’re curious to know more about other risks of brow tinting, here’s a guide through Eyebrow Tinting Gone Wrong.

How to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Eyebrow Tint?

If the reaction occurs during the treatment, while you are waiting for the product to work, this means that the eyebrow tint must immediately be removed from the eyebrows.

If the allergic reaction to eyebrow tint occurs after some time (usually in the first 24 hours), you will need something to relieve the discomfort.

With mild reactions, such as itching and swelling as well as redness and minor burning, some antihistamines may be sufficient allergic reaction to eyebrow tint remedy. You can contact your eyebrow technician or consult the pharmacist in the drugstore for a recommendation.

In immediate cases while the reaction is still mild, there are several steps that you can take to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction:

  • Rinse the treated area immediately and thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  • Clean the treated area gently with mild soap.
  • Apply a solution of potassium permanganate.

If the reaction is anywhere near severe, you need to seek medical help immediately. If you experience difficulty breathing and other severe reactions listed above, contact your doctor right away.

You might need to use a topical corticosteroid skin cream to relieve itching and inflammation.


Allergic reactions need to be diagnosed by a medical professional, and only they can prescribe an allergic reaction to eyebrow tint remedy.

Brow technicians who are not medical professionals must direct their clients to seek medical help, and should refrain from prescribing treatment.

What Are the Alternatives?

If the patch test shows you are likely to have an allergic reaction to brow tint, there are some other options you can try. You can ask your eyebrow technician if they use a PPD-free eyebrow tint.

However, bear in mind that you need to patch-test that product as well, because even though it’s the most common cause of brow tint allergy, it may not be the only one.

Extra Note If You’re Also Getting Brow Lamination

Brow tints are very often done in combination with eyebrow lamination, and if this is the case, the chance of an allergic reaction is even higher. Brow lamination is done with perming and fixing chemicals, and exposure to extra products means more possibility of a reaction.

So, all the products need to be patch tested, not just the brow tint.

Cover image source: Freepik



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