Eyebrow trends have come and gone, but full brows seem to be here to stay. For some of us, naturally endowed with luscious brows, this is great — all you need is a little tweezing. But if you’re not blessed with naturally thick brows, dealing with sparse brows can be a real challenge.
There are many factors that contribute to thin brows: genetics, nutritional deficiencies, thyroid issues, and probably most notably over-tweezing or plucking. “Over-shaping the brows, especially for an extended period of time, can really damage the hair follicle,” explains brow expert and founder Joey Healy. “In some cases, it’s repairable. In other cases, for some people, it’s a little more difficult, depending on their original hair quality and how long they over-plucked.”
“Ultimately, there is no instant fix for thin brows,” says Nilam Holmes, brow expert and founder of Eyebrow Queen. “However, with a little patience, the right products or procedures, you can achieve thicker brows.”Eyebrow growth serums can be a great way to thicken things up (like Eyebrow Queen’s Brow Serum, which contains biotin to help strengthen the brows and lauryl lysine to hydrate, or Brow Renovation Serum, a hormone-free serum packed with peptides and vitamins). But there are also plenty of things you can do naturally to grow fuller brows. We asked the experts for the step-by-step.
“The main cause of thin brows is overplucking,” says Holmes. So seriously: Step. Away. “The skin around your eyebrows is extremely delicate, so you have to be careful when you tweeze. If you pluck your eyebrow hair every day, you could be damaging or causing scarring your brow area, resulting in a lack of hair growth,” Holmes explains.
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Take care of your mental health.
“Stress is a big factor too,” says Healy. “When we’re stressed, it spikes our levels of the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc on our skin and our hair.” If you think stress might be to blame for thinning hair (in your brows or otherwise), evaluate your lifestyle and the things that are making you the most stressed. Can you eliminate some of them? If that’s not possible, try to balance it out by adding more moments of Zen (think: walks in nature, yoga, or five minutes of meditation, all of which are proven to reduce stress.)
Reevaluate your skincare routine.
It’s logical that how you treat your skin would also affect your brows. Scrubbing your brows too hard when washing off your makeup — especially if you’re using waterproof brow products that require some muscle to remove — can cause you to lose those precious brow hairs, says Healy. “Your brows aren’t rooted as firmly,” he explains. Using a rotary cleansing brush on your brow hairs can cause the same issue. So try gentle cleansing balms instead.
Healy also recommends looking at your ingredient labels. Products containing “a high concentration of acids like AHA or BHA,” can also be problematic for optimal brow health, he says.
Massage your brows.
While scrubbing your brows is a no-no, some stimulation is actually a good thing for your full brow goals. “Good circulation is important for stimulating hair growth,” says Holmes. That means things like exercise, which promotes better circulation can help with hair growth overall, says Healy. For brows specifically, Holmes recommends using a soft bristle eyebrow brush to “gently exfoliate the brow area and promote growth” by increasing blood flow.
Get help from a professional.
Holmes recommends two options: brow tinting or a PRP treatment.
Tinting creates the look of more volume through the application of a semi-permanent color. “Especially if you darken fine hairs, the illusion of a thicker brow is created by brow tints, which contributes to the overall shape and volume,” Holmes says.
The second option is a ‘platelet-rich plasma’ treatment, which is performed by a dermatologist and uses your own blood to stimulate hair growth. Here’s how it works: A dermatologist extracts a small amount of blood and puts it through a process to separate the platelets. “These platelets are then put into a brow serum and then injected in the eyebrow area to stimulate growth,” Holmes explains. Over the course of three or four months, the platelet injection works like fertilizer for your follicles, encouraging more hair growth. One caveat: success varies from person to person, based on the levels of platelets in your blood, so talk to your dermatologist about your options.
Finally, remind yourself that you’re not going to get full Instagram-worthy brows overnight — it’s a journey. In the meantime, fake it with a good brow pencil and prioritize overall health, says Healy. “Even getting 8-hours of sleep at night is good for all things beauty: skin, under-eye bags, and hair, including brow growth,” he says. “They call it beauty sleep for a reason.”
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