“Don’t worry about me, worry about your eyebrows.” – Instagram Wisdom
I have been obsessed with a full brow since I was 5 years old. Really.
While visiting my grandparents – when I was 5 – I was running through the house and sailed headlong into my grandmother’s buffet server. While the blow did not break the skin, it did leave an impressive goose egg on my left eyebrow. We later learned I killed the hair follicles where I’d hit the piece of furniture, leaving me with an inch-long section of missing eyebrow. My interest in brow-filling products runs deep.
I’m not the only one who struggles with thinning, sparse or nonexistent brows. Aside from injury, there are many causes of this vexing problem – here a few from the top of the list:
Our hormone production changes as we age and our natural prostaglandin production decreases. Prostaglandin is the very hormone that tells your eyelashes and eyebrows to grow. Less prostaglandin equals fewer brows and lashes.
Pluck, pluck, pluck. Eventually plucking your brows sends a signal to the hair follicles not to grow back.
Chemo affects not only the hair on your head, but can affect hair on other parts of your body, including your eyebrows.
When your thyroid is out of whack you experience many symptoms and one of those is – you guessed it – hair loss. In some cases even your eyebrows.
The good news is there are lots of options to address the brow problem. Here are four options listed in order of difficulty – and permanence – for producing a natural looking brow:
I initially turned my nose up at the idea of a brow pencil. I have seen way too many ladies who have plucked their eyebrows to oblivion, then penciled them back in very neat, uniform lines. I learned, however, that the eyebrow pencil is a quick and easy tool to use once you get the hang of creating a natural looking brow.
In my case, the patch of brow that I’m missing actually does have a few hairs remaining, which I use as a guide when using the pencil. I start with short strokes that mimic the length of my natural brow hairs. My favorite pencil is the Clinique Brow Keeper ($18 – Dillard’s), which includes a brush at one end. After I finish with the pencil I use the brush to comb through my natural brow and blend the lines a bit.
Researching this article was the first time I tried eyebrow gel, and my verdict is two thumbs up. Benefit Ka-Brow! ($24 – Ulta) is a cream-gel brow color that comes in a small pot with a tiny brush that is concealed in the lid. I was skeptical at first; I have tried eyebrow powders with tiny brushes in the past and had a hard time making the powder look natural. The gel formula is pretty great – it applies smoothly and with much greater precision than a powder, and it’s long lasting to boot.
If you have very little to no natural brow, the Benefit Bigger & Bolder Brows ($34 – Ulta) kit may be a good solution for you. In addition to the Ka-Brow! gel, this kit includes shaping stencils, among other goodies, which allow you to create a uniform brow when you don’t have an existing brow line to follow. It took quite a bit of practice, and a steady hand, to hold the stencils in place while applying the brow gel, but the results were nice, even arches. There is a wide array of brow stencils on the market; I would recommend trying several to find the best one for you if you think stencils are your best strategy.
One of my friends recently had her eyebrows microbladed and was very happy with the results. What is microblading, you ask? Basically it’s a semipermanent tattoo for your eyebrows. Unlike body tattoos which are injected deep into the dermis, microblading is done with tiny needles that inject ink much more superficially. Two sessions are generally required and the results last up to two years. Expect to pay between $400-1000 based on the microblading aesthetician’s experience.
Platelet Rich Plasma Injections
What could be better than re-growing your own eyebrows? Platelet Rich Plasma injections – or PRP – can be used to stimulate hair growth. A patient’s blood is drawn, then processed through a centrifuge and re-injected into the site where hair growth is desired. A number of dermatologists and doctors have begun using PRP therapy for eyebrows. I spoke to Cherry Hill Med Spa’s Alicia Nolte who has had PRP injections along her hairline with great results. She agreed that PRP can be effective for eyebrow re-growth and said that Cherry Hill can provide consultation and services if you are interested in this option.
TIP: When choosing a brow color don’t go for an exact match to your hair color – this often yields brows that are too dark and harsh looking. My hair is dark brown and the color that looks most natural on me is a fairly light taupe. I like to visit a professional in situations like this – Merle Norman or Dillard’s are great options – to help guide me. If you’d rather be more autonomous both Ulta and Sephora have testers of all their cosmetics available to try out before you take the plunge.