We’ve all been there: you’re bopping along to Westlife (yup, I’ve just revealed my age) and enjoying your pigtails, when all of a sudden BAM, puberty hits and you’ve grown a uni-brow in the span of 5 minutes. And when that happens at the tender age of 12 (my personal hell), it will seem like the end of the world is nigh.
One big mistake I made was tweezing my face caterpillars on my own. Not knowing how to do it properly, I made the situation worse. At the time, my beautician called it “eyebrow trauma”, meaning I had gardened my bushy brow way too aggressively that it pretty much ruined my eyebrows for most of the summer. Luckily, school was out and I was able to hide my shame for most of my vacay.
Of course, as the years rolled by, I learned (thanks to many a copy of Elle and Cosmopolitan) how to shape, maintain, and even grow out, my eyebrows in a way that made it look well-manicured, not to mention avoiding looking like I had a pair of pencil mustaches on my eyes. Yes, it takes weeks, sometimes even months, for a brow mishap to correct itself, but just like caring for a houseplant, raising your eyebrows back to their on-fleek (am I using that right, millennials?) glory takes time, patience, and the right methods of care.
I’ve collected some frequently asked questions about eyebrow care and tried to answer them to the best of my abilities, and here’s what I’ve come up with:
Do Eyebrows Go Back?
Yes, eyebrows go back, but usually, it takes about four months. Of course, there are certain eyebrow-growing serums and conditioners you could use (some of them homemade, even) that could shave off a large chunk of time and bring the growth cycle down to eight months. On the flipside, major eyebrow trauma can take up to a year, or even more.
Just like the other types of hair your body has, your eyebrows go through a regular growth cycle: for the first four months, hair follicles in your brows are going to start growing out. After the four or so months, your hair will stop growing for another couple of months, and then those follicles will naturally die and fall off, giving room for new follicles to grow.
This all, of course, depends on the person and how much hair they’re naturally gifted with. In as much as it takes my friend Karen just two weeks to grow out any bangs-related nightmare she might have and it takes me about 2 months of agonizing regret, your brows will grow out in its own free time. Again, hair growth is entirely dependent on the person, just thank your lucky stars if you’re like Karen.
What Can Cause My Eyebrows to Shed?
There are, however, certain things that can disrupt the natural growth cycle of your hair: disease, sickness, malnutrition, even stress can all result in a thin eyebrow. That’s because stress releases certain hormones in your system that discourage hair growth, which means your brows will fall off without new follicles to replace them. Certain conditions and diseases, however, could also cause the same thing, and your thin brows might just be the least of your concerns (if you notice your brows thinning faster than usual, consult with your physician immediately).
Over-plucking (which can cause eyebrow trauma) can also cause hair follicles to cease their natural growth. That’s because the act of plucking itself can damage your skin, creating micro-tears in the cells. Over time, this causes microscopic scar tissue to form in your follicles, preventing any hair from growing out.
How Can I Grow Out My Brows Naturally?
But the best way to get healthy, shapely eyebrows? Diet and exercise. That’s right, getting your daily recommended dose of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and at least 30 minutes (well, maybe 20 is fine) of moderate exercise can go a very long way to helping you grow out a nice pair of brows (not to mention help you maintain beautifully shiny hair). It’s also a good way to keep your skin healthy, which, again, also contributes to healthy hair growth. It’s also pretty effective in giving you long eyelashes (even men benefit from this!).
You could also try taking Rogaine or Propecia, but be warned: those two (used interchangeably, sometimes) will make your eyebrows grow, as well as hair in other parts of your body, which means that, while you might grow out a pair of healthy brows, you might just grow out a mustache, too.
Some experts, however, suggest using all-natural remedies for thicker eyebrows like castor oil and coconut oil, with both substances containing just the right amount of fatty acids and cleansing properties that help stimulate growth in your hair follicles. Fish oil has also been noted for encouraging hair growth, thanks to the natural presence of omega-3. Omega-3 is a type of fatty acid that has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which experts think helps promote healthy blood flow to your follicles (an important aspect of healthy hair growth). Omega-3 also keeps your skin naturally moisturized, preventing dry and flaky skin (another suspect for hair loss).
Should I Go to a Salon for My Eyebrow Needs?
Absolutely. Like I said, I learned a lot from my beauty mags, but in general, it was my beautician that really got me through the worst of my brow crises (yes, it was more than once, unfortunately). Sure, during the grow-out phase of your brow’s hair growth cycle, you can do some plucking and grooming here and there, but if you suffer from eyebrow trauma, or if you really want to up your brow game and have them finessed to high heaven, always go to a professional.
Listen: brows grow back. So if you have a shaving mishap, or you over-pluck, or if you make a mistake (like humans are wont in doing), it’s not going to be the end of the world. Yes, I know that having unshapely brows feels like Armageddon, but I also want you to know that there is hope, that there are ways to grow them out, and that there are professionals out there who can guide you to the light. And always remember that time, patience, and a whole lot of TLC (both for your brows and your overall health) are all it takes for brows that are always on fleek.