Whether you went overboard with tweezers or caved in to the bleached eyebrows trend, learning how to grow eyebrows back is no easy feat. We've all been there: what started out as a little upkeep quickly spiraled into an over-plucked mess. Or you finally took the plunge and bleached your brows after being influenced by Kim Kardashian and Lizzo—and immediately regretted it. Whatever the case, your eyebrows are now left sparse and brittle and you need all the help you can get.
Luckily, there are a few important things you can do to help bring your brows back from grave. All it takes it some good practices and a few products. That being said, you are growing hair from your body, so don't expect results overnight and let nature do its thing.
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“Patience is key,” says Sania Vucetaj, brow expert and founder of Sania's Brow Bar in New York City. “The brow regrowth journey can take up to a year so be patient.” Vucetaj, who has worked on the famous brows of Sarah Jessica Parker and Rihanna, says the most common mistake is using a magnifying mirror, which can lead to over-plucking.
Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics Global Brow Expert, says regrowth depends on your body. “Hair on your brows is like the hair on your head: it grows in a cycle,” he says. “Depending on how healthy your hair follicles in your brows are, it can take a full 12 to 16 weeks to see the fullest potential in your hair growth.”
Ready to get your brows in top shape? Ahead, Vucetaj and Bailey share their best tips on how to grow eyebrows back.
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What causes eyebrow hair loss?
There are multitude of possible reasons why your eyebrows are thinning. Most commonly it's over-plucking hair, but there are a few less obvious culprits.
“Brow hair, like the hair on your head, changes density over time,” says Bailey. “This can be caused by so many reasons, from hormonal shifts to diet and nutrition. However, the most common reason people’s brows thin throughout the years is due to improper hair removal. You can damage the derma vessel that supports the hair follicle. Once you do that, brows will struggle to grow back over time.”
Both Bailey and Vucetaj advise getting your eyebrows shaped by a professional. If you must pluck, be aware that each hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel that keeps it healthy and allows it to grow back when the hair is removed. Once that vessel is ruptured, the hair never returns.
“To tweeze properly, you must hold the skin taut with one finger and then tweeze the hair in the direction it is growing,” says Bailey. “Typically, that direction is upward or toward the temple, rather than straight out. As tempting as it may be to grab multiple hairs, go for one brow hair at a time. This will help ensure you don’t grab the wrong one and end up with a patch or a hole."
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What should I avoid while growing my brows?
Another big no-no? Getting skin care products on your eyebrows. “To grow back your brows and also preserve them, it is crucial you avoid getting any oils or creams on the brow area," says Vucetaj. "Moisturizers, sunscreens, foundation, and face wash can clog the hair follicle and not only prevent regrowth, but also cause shedding. These creams are great for the skin but be conscious to avoid them on the brows.”
Lastly, some brow products and trends can actually do more harm than good. “Brow pomades are overly waxy and again clog the follicle. Gels are usually very sticky and hairs can get stuck to the mascara wand and fall out,” say Vucetaj. Treatments like bleaching and lamination are also strongly advised against. “Bleach damages the hairs and causes them to fall out. Lamination is essentially a perm for the brows and this process is way too harsh for delicate brow hairs. Many clients have experienced hair loss and also a drastic change to the texture of their brow hairs after lamination.”
Is there anything I can do to help growth?
There are a few things you can do to help promote growth. “Since every hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel, stimulating blood flow to the brow area can help encourage healthy hair growth,” says Bailey. “For a homeopathic fix, try giving your brow bone a micro massage with your fingertips by gently using the finger tips to tap over each brow for about 30 seconds.”
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If you want a more active approach, try adding a topical product to your routine that includes ingredients known to promote healthy hair growth such as keratin and soy proteins, like BROWVO! Conditioning Eyebrow Primer. "Make it a part of your nightly skin routine, applying it before bed so it works its magic while you sleep," says Bailey. “The applicator tip is made up of small nodules that can be used to massage the brow area, encouraging blood flow to the derma vessel which can help promote hair growth.”
More than anything, let your body lead the charge. “Allow your brow hair follicles to breathe,” says Vucetaj. “The better you are about making sure that you do not clog that area, the better the results will be with growth. Less is more when it comes to your brows.”
You may be tempted to poke and prod at new hairs. Let them be, even if they look a little funny at first. “You don't want to be tempted to tweeze the new growth,” Vucetaj says. “Make sure to avoid tweezing no more than every two to three weeks at least so that you give yourself time for hairs to grow in."
What products should I use for sparse spots?
As your eyebrows reach the awkward growing out stage, you'll need to fill in sparse spots. Both Bailey and Vucetaj recommend using eyebrow pencils for the most healthy and natural-looking fix. “The key is creating evenly spaced, hair-like strokes throughout the brow,” says Bailey. “A micro-lining pencil like Precisely, My Brow Pencil is a sparse brow’s best friend. The ultra-fine tip allows you to create hair-like strokes for natural-looking fullness. And don’t forget to leave spaces between each stroke—the pops of flesh make the flicks look like real hair.”
Vucetaj recommends using her follicle-friendly pencils to help camouflage new growth and create the illusion of fuller brows. “Our Sania's Brow Bar Angled Mechanical Brow Pencil comes in three universal shades: light, medium, and dark,” she says. “The texture was carefully designed to be a cross between a pencil and powder so you get a very natural look. The angle makes it easy to apply. Use the pencil to outline the brow and then blend with the spooley on the opposite end.”
Ariana Yaptangco is the senior beauty editor at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @arianayap.