As mood-altering and face-defining as a red lip can be, brows have a similar power to completely transform a face. But if you’ve been experiencing the forever struggle of sparse arches or you’ve found yourself in recovery mode from a grooming mishap, all is not lost! The good news is that you can get them growing.
Ahead, two experts share what you should and shouldn’t do to help make your arch enemies your most powerful face-framing ally.
Get to the Root of the Matter
Brow expert Giselle Soto says that internal factors like poor nutrition, alopecia, aging, hormones, and stress can be equally as responsible as more obvious reasons for sparse brows, like overtweezing, which can cause the hair follicle to actually become inactive, and clogged pores from makeup and creams, which stops the hair follicle from opening up and inhibits growth.
It’ll take some time to figure out just what is holding you back from your best brows. Soto says that if you’ve always had thin brows, there a chance that they won’t grow in any more than the current state they are in. However, once you get to the problem, it’s worth making a few adjustments to your diet and grooming routine to see if you notice any changes.
Give It Time
Compared with the rest of the hair on our bodies, brows tend to need a bit more time and coaxing to sprout—so try to be patient. “Unfortunately, you can’t stimulate hair to grow any faster than your body naturally would. Eating a clean diet does increase your chances, however eyebrow hair growth takes time,” says Soto.
If you’ve had a brow mishap, it can typically take six to eight weeks for your brows to fully grow back in. While everyone has different skin regeneration timing, this is the minimum amount of time you’ll need to see a difference in this particular area.
Try a Serum
It’s going to be a labor of love, but Soto says that if you’re willing to put in the time, the best way to get your arches growing is to commit to a brow serum. You can either mix one up yourself using equal parts castor, vitamin E and argan oils (1 teaspoon of each), or layering castor, rosemary, or lavender essential oil onto them everyday.
“Massage the oil into your eyebrows for two to three minutes before bed, leave it on overnight, and wash it off the next morning,” Soto explains. If you prefer a store-bought treatment, look for ingredients like peptides, keratin, and biotin, which all help stimulate and boost and rebuild the hairs and follicles.
Be Careful When Shaping
Whether you’re a waxing devotee or prefer threading to tweezing, both Soto and Jaimineey Patel, head of training at Blink Brow Bar London, agree that the way you shape affects how your brows grow. “Waxing causes the brow hair to grow back at the slowest rate compared with all the other shaping methods,” says Soto, who notes that sugaring also has a similar growth effect as waxing. If you prefer threading or shaving, the hair will grow back quicker, but keep it mind that it will also fill in with a spiky edge, which will impact how it looks and how your fill-in (with products) turns out.
Patel says that overplucking is a major factor in poor hair growth. She recommends avoiding tweezing altogether but says that if you can’t resist, make sure you are removing only the hairs that are outside of your brow shape.
Mind Your Skin Care
Many exfoliants and peel-off mask are extremely harsh on the eyebrow region, which will cause hair to fall out. Patel also adds that any stringent products like alcohol-based face treatments can be dehydrating to the skin and should be avoided around the brow area. It can strip the natural moisture that your brows need to flourish.
Camouflage the Patches
While you wait out the six weeks before new hairs fill in, use a soft powder and highlighter to hide the skimpy spots. “The contrast between the light highlighter and dark brow powder will camouflage the sparse areas,” says Soto.
Patel recommends a brow gel enriched with mini microfibers to coat tiny baby brow hairs and give the illusion of thicker, fuller brows, or a brow pen or pencil with a fine, nimble tip that you can use to gently draw upward strokes through the brow to resemble brow hairs. When you’re ready to get growing, or at least look like you are, give one of these brow boosters a go:
Blink Brow Bar London Brow Build Gel
Tiny little microfibers within a tinted gel base stick to sparse spots to make it look like your brows are a lot fuller and thicker than they really are.
$28 at Net-a-Porter
While it’s not a brow growth formula, this nourishing conditioner that has peptides, lipids, biotin and green tea extract, does for compromised brows what skin-care serums do for stressed-out skin.
$110 at Revitalash
Benefit Brow Contour Pro
Click each of the four sides on this elementary-school throwback pen to either fill, shape, highlight or define.
$34 at Benefit Cosmetics
BrowFood Velvet 3D Brow Glide
Fill and go with a formula that’s a liquid pomade, thickening gel, styling wax, and conditioner all in one. It’s really pigmented so it’ll look like your brows are tinted, and once you swipe it on, it stays put for the day.
$24 at Lashfood
Joah Brow Down to Me Precision Brow Pencil
Use super-fine tip to re-create the look of natural brow hairs and then the spoolie end to brush any strays into place.
$9 at CVS