Valerie Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: My brows are turning white. I can't afford to have them dyed regularly. What else can I do?

A: You can be very, very careful about dyeing your brows at home. The major risks, says Heidi Waldorf, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, are contact dermatitis and eye irritation. To avoid the first, apply the dye to a small area on the back of your neck or on your inner upper arm. If after two days you have no rash, you don't have to worry about an allergic reaction. To avoid irritation, apply a thin coating of a bland ophthalmic ointment (like Refresh P.M.) on both upper and lower eyelids as close to your lashes as possible and extending about two inches; also keep a couple of bottles of sterile eye irrigating solution (like Bausch & Lomb Advanced Eye Relief Eye Wash) within reach, says Marguerite McDonald, MD, clinical professor of ophthalmology at NYU School of Medicine. If dye gets into your eye, irrigate it with the entire bottle; use a second one if the burning continues, she says.

Bottom line: If you dye your brows at home, do it safely. And if only random hairs are turning white, don't start dyeing yet. Instead, with a brow brush and brow powder a shade lighter than your haircolor, fill in your brows with short, light strokes to cover the white, says eyebrow expert Sania Vucetaj, owner of Sania's Brow Bar in New York City.

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