The Unexpected Reasons Behind Slow (and Nonexistent) Brow Growth

Leah Faye Cooper
Thinning brows

Photo: ImaxTree

It’s a common dilemma: You’ve groomed your eyebrows with the best of intentions, going to highly-recommended waxers and threaders, and mastering the art of at-home tweezing. Yet, whenever you want a fuller look, your brows seemingly refuse to grow. What gives? According NYC-based brow specialist Sania Vucetaj and dermatologist Dr. Natasha Sandy, the reasoning could be unexpected. The two shared with us common causes of slow or stunted brow growth, and tips for how to make eyebrows grow. Take note.

Your brows could be suffocating under beauty products 
“We use moisturizer, then we use foundation, and we use more and more [products] as we get older,” Vucetaj says. The result, she adds, is clogged follicles that can inhibit brow growth. “You have to let your hair follicles breathe so the hair can come through.” Her advice is to avoid the brows altogether when applying moisturizes and other products—a tip she says has yielded great results for her clients.

It could be dandruff
“Something very common that people don’t even consider is seborrheic dermatitis, which is dandruff,” Dr. Sandy says. “People think dandruff is just over the scalp, but you can actually get it over your eyebrows too, and the inflammation that naturally accompanies it can cause hair loss.” Luckily, this is fairly simple to address. Dr. Sandy suggests using a bit of dandruff shampoo on the brows, and names drugstore staple Head & Shoulders as one that works well.  

You may have alopecia areata
“Alopecia areata is when people get a sudden, random bald patch,” Dr. Sandy says. “It can can be caused by a number of things, including stress, anemia and over-plucking.” Your doctor can create a treatment plan, which, Dr. Sandy say, may include a series of Kenalog injections. “It’s a steroid that helps stimulate hair growth an inhibit inflammation” she says.

You’re not being patient
“It can take up to a year or longer for brows to grow back in,” Vucetaj says. That’s not what anyone dying for thicker brows wants to hear, but Vucetaj says resisting the urge to pluck while they grow in is crucial. “Fill them in with pencil to gather up the new growth,” she says. “You’ll start to see how good they can look and it’ll push you to have patience.”

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