Eyebrow and Lash Tinting Is Low-Key Becoming Illegal

Tinting has been a godsend for those of us with spotty or blonde brows and lashes. In fact, if you’ve got barely visible brows like me, you might have thought eyebrow tinting was too good to be true.

Turns out, all this time, it was.

Regulators are slowly squeezing brow and lash tinting out of the salon world, and a ban might not be far off, Refinery 29 reports.

In California, it’s illegal for licensed professionals “to have eyebrow or lash tint in their possession or in a salon,” Refinery 29 says, “and to administer tint on or anywhere near the eyes.” It’s also not supposed to be taught in Cali cosmetology schools, either.

Luckily, everyone in California is high so they can’t even tell whether or not your brows are on fleek. But in the rest of the country, where we are considerably more clear-eyed, the end might be near for eyebrow and lash tints. And it’s all because of the FDA, which has not approved any of the dyes used for tinting.

As Refinery points out, you don’t hear of people having health issues from brow or lash tinting very often. Or, like, ever. So they asked the FDA what the problem is, and the FDA came back with a pretty nonsensical answer, referring to something that happened almost 100 years ago as grounds for banning this practice:

“In a famous case in 1933, a woman who used eyelash dye became blind in both eyes after suffering weeks of intense pain. This, and related eye injuries, influenced the decision by Congress to include in the [Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic] Act these provisions specifically addressing this safety concern. More recently [there were reports of] a 30-year-old woman with…severe contact dermatitis of her eyelids, conjunctivitis, and significant swelling of the periorbital regions after tinting her eyelashes and eyebrow with permanent eyelash dye.”

I’m pretty sure the chemicals used for tinting have gotten a little teeny bit better since the freaking Great Depression, but okay FDA, whatever you say.

There is one definite red flag, though: most dyes use an ingredient called coal tar, which is just as sketchy as its name suggests: coal tar can theoretically cause blindness. But apparently, it’s basically impossible to formulate these dyes without it.

Hopefully the geniuses who formulate our favorite beauty treatments will come up with a way to remedy this soon. Take it from me, a person with bona fide albino brows: tinting is REALLY important to some people.

Gimme More Beauty

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