This Popular Salon Treatment Might Soon Be Illegal

As someone with very light blond eyelashes, I decided to have them dyed a couple years ago, and it wasn't pretty. My eyes watered (they're watering just thinking about it) the whole time, and as a result, the dye was hardly able to take effect. I was so focused on the possibility of waking up with perfectly dark lashes that I didn't even think about the chemicals that might be lurking in the dye, and therefore in my eyes. But, of course this is something the FDA has thought about, and if specific action is taken, it could mean the end of lash and brow tinting in the U.S.

The important thing to note here is that no dyes for lash and brow tinting have ever been approved by the FDA, and in California, it's illegal for any licensed professional to have brow or lash tint in their possession or in a salon, and to administer the tint on or anywhere near the eyes. The FDA has said, "Don’t dye eyelashes and eyebrows. No color additives are approved by FDA for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes and eyebrows. Permanent eyelash and eyebrow tints and dyes have been known to cause serious eye injuries."

You May Also Like: Put Down the Glue, Magnetic Lashes Are Here

In a statement issued to Refinery29 by the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, "the FDA has informed the Board that, currently, the additives used in lash/brow tints are not approved for use around the eye area," and went on to state that "unless it's been approved by the FDA, the California Code of Regulations doesn't allow any education on the treatment in schools."

The additives in question here are potentially dangerous coal-tar dyes that the FDA says are often formulated in dyes made overseas and then shipped to the U.S. According to an FDA statement: "The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Health Hazard evaluation Board, evaluated the medical evidence related to a consumer injury along with scientific literature for coal-tar dyes. Based on the review, the products listed in the attachment represented an acute, severe hazard to health with the possibility of permanent injury; i.e., impaired sight, including blindness."

Rumor has it that unless a manufacturer creates a dye that the FDA can regulate, other states might catch on soon and ban tinting there as well. 

5 Comments
  • Laurie
    Posted on

    I have been having this done for over twenty years and doing this service for my clients for just as long. Never had an issue, just great dark lashes and brows. I have a friend that owns a salon in California and she told me that the state board comes in frequently and looks through all of the drawers specifically searching for lash tint. If they find any evidence they will issue a large fine and the state makes money. She has been in business for over 40 years and not one employee or customer during all that time had a negative issue with tinting.

  • Katherine
    Posted on

    I've been tinting mine for over 20 years with no issues. I've also done many many clients and do a patch test to make sure there aren't allergies. No issues at all!

  • Kristy
    Posted on

    Everything is banned in California

  • master esty
    Posted on

    Eye lash tinting is safe and legal in many states except California where I believe water is listed on Prop 65 (eye roll btw). We use vegetable dyes not coal tar. I tint my own lashes every 3 weeks.

  • Peta
    Posted on

    Eyelash tint from the UK is organic and specifically formulated to be safe for use. I do not believe it is so in the US. I have done this in my salon for literally over 30 years with absolutely no negative effects. If a person has "touchy" eyes, they will water and then this treatment is not recommended for them since it will be uncomfortable. But there is absolutely no evidence of this particular type of tint damaging the eyes.

From around the web