For such small features, eyebrows get a lot of attention. So much, in fact, that they’ve generated a $109 million industry. How you’re shaping, filling, plucking, waxing, threading, laminating, tinting, microblading — it all adds up. It’s no wonder then that sparse brows (especially in the era of almost unnaturally bold brows) can make you feel particularly annoyed, even vulnerable. Whether you’ve just over waxed or have an underlying health issue going on, waiting for your brows to grow back can be maddening.
So, how long does it take eyebrows to grow back? And is there anything you can do to speed up the process? Here’s everything you need to know.
Getting your eyebrows to grow back
Like everything about your body, the eyebrow regrowth process is personal — it can be affected by everything from diet to age — but as a standard rule, growing your brows back typically takes three to four months, says Joey Healy, eyebrow expert and founder of the Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio in New York.
During this time, your brows will go through a cycle of active growth, a resting phase, and then a natural shedding process. While that’s all happening, it’s key to leave them alone, says Healy. “If you have overworked your brows consider being hands-off for three to four months before going in for a professional reshaping,” he says.
A brow serum can help speed regrowth along. “With serums, you always want to avoid parabens and prostaglandins which are hormones,” Healy explains. “What you want to look for is peptides.” Peptides are the building blocks for proteins — which are the building blocks for hair. In hair regrowth products, peptides can help stimulate hair follicles.
Healy recommends taking a hair supplement like Nutrafol in addition to using a topical serum for the fastest results, and “I also encourage people to comb through their brows using a product like the Joey Healy Duo Brow Brush, which is just a simple spoolie,” he says. “It increases circulation to the brow hairs while also increasing blood flow. Combing through the brows is a great DIY for people who don’t want to use a serum or take supplements.”
Why are your eyebrows so sparse?
The best way to grow full, luscious brows is to make sure they don’t get sparse in the first place. Getting overzealous with the tweezers or committing the cardinal sin of over-waxing can cause permanent damage, Healy says. “Everyone is different in that some brow hairs are a little more resilient than others. But if you have repeatedly done this (over-plucking or -waxing), chances are your brows won’t come back. And if they do, they could come back in a fine or short texture,” he explains. “Repeated removal is more likely to cause this permanent loss.”
But sparse or patchy eyebrows can also be the result of underlying health conditions or medical treatments: chemotherapy, poor diet (you need zinc and iron for good brow health), trichotillomania (the body-focused repetitive behavior that causes you to pull out hair), thyroid issues, even stress. “Stress is a huge reason [for sparse brows] because when you are stressed out, your cortisol levels are high, which can cause you to lose your hair,” Healy says.
If your brows are suddenly sparse and you haven’t been plucking, tweezing, or threading, check in with your doctor.
What to do while you’re waiting for regrowth
While you’re waiting for your brows to grow back, semi-permanent solutions like microblading or brow lamination can be tempting. But Healy advises being patient. “With brow lamination, you’re putting chemicals on your brows, which the brow hairs do not appreciate. If you want strong and healthy hair, you do not want to put chemicals on your brows,” he says.
Instead, he recommends upping your brow makeup game. Think: powders, pencils, pomades, tinted eyebrow gels, or a combination of all of the above. “It can be frustrating while waiting for regrowth, but the instant gratification lies in understanding the makeup,” Healy says. “Cosmetics are also good to disguise patchy-ness as brows regrow.” If you’ve lost a significant amount of brow (or lost your brow hair entirely), regrowth isn’t always uniform. “Sometimes one will regrow faster than the other, and sometimes one area will come in quickly while another area will lag,” Healy says. “This causes that patchy look, but cosmetics can help fix this.”
Plus, going the brow filler route as you wait for regrowth offers you more flexibility for your brow style. “You’re not going to be married to something like the tattoo pigmentation of microblading,” Healy says — say, in case the bold bushy brow falls out of fashion.
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