Australian bride left looking 'like an alien' after suffering allergic reaction to brow tint

Australian bride left looking 'like an alien' after suffering allergic reaction to brow tint
Photo credit: @tcleggett / Tamika Cleggett / TikTok / Screengrabs

A bride-to-be feared she would lose her eyesight and resemble "an alien" after suffering a horrific allergic reaction to a tint on her eyebrows, just months before her wedding. 

Tamika Cleggett, a 30-year-old from Perth, worried she would look like "Frankenstein's monster" as she walked down the aisle after the reaction caused such severe swelling, she was left blind for 24 hours.

Cleggett, who suffered the extreme reaction in April 2016, is now speaking out about her ordeal to encourage everyone to seek a patch test before undergoing new treatments - and be vocal about any allergies ahead of a procedure. 

In a video shared to TikTok, Cleggett revealed the severity of her reaction with a series of photos, captioning the clip: "#AllergicReaction #GoneWrong #Fail."

In the video, which has since been viewed more than 258,000 times, Cleggett said the beautician had applied a tint to her eyebrows - seemingly by accident - despite her only requesting a wax and to have her hairs coloured with a pencil.

Speaking to Kennedy News and Media, Cleggett said she was aware of her allergy, but didn't think to mention it to the beautician as she hadn't requested that specific service - which she said was performed without her knowledge.  

"They tinted my eyebrows without my permission. I didn't think to mention that I was allergic to tint as I'd asked for just a brow wax and a bit of pencil," she told the news service.

"It was definitely the most painful thing I'd ever experienced. It was an itchy reaction at first... and then I had a burning sensation. It blistered quite badly, almost like a burn, then scabbed.

"I was worried I would walk down the aisle looking like an alien... I wasn't in a good place mentally, obviously with my wedding and the unknown of if I'd be able to see again or have any scarring. It was daunting."

Her reaction only worsened over the following four days, with Cleggett eventually hospitalised for a further 48 hours. The build-up of fluid in the area became so severe, her eyes "completely sealed", she said, rendering her blind for about a day and "deforming" her face.

Overall, Cleggett's recovery took four weeks, three of which she had to take off work. Thankfully, the incident did not impact her wedding, which was held four months later. 

Now six years after the ordeal, Cleggett told Kennedy News and Media she finally felt ready to open up about the traumatic experience, in a bid to raise awareness about allergies to common treatments and products. 

"Especially for young teens who are wanting to use more make-up or hair dye... I suppose [I wanted] to spread awareness that some people can have allergies. I didn't know until I had a tattoo [henna] and then my eyelashes done," she said.

In 2017, a young Australian woman also documented her experience after suffering a severe reaction to eyebrow tint. Tylah Jae Durie, then 16, posted on Facebook about the "unexplainable pain" she endured after tinting her eyelashes and eyebrows with an at-home kit, with doctors saying she could have been left permanently blind if she hadn't sought treatment in time. 

In her post, Durie said that according to her doctors, she suffered "a very unusual but severe" reaction to paraphenylenediamine (PPD) - the chemical substance used in dyes and ink for henna tattoos.