So you’ve recently been a bit overzealous with your eyebrow plucking — with less than stellar results. Or maybe you’re a child of the ‘90s whose look is — shall we say — unintentionally retro. Our message to you: Don’t panic. There’s hope for overplucked eyebrows.
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“While it depends on many factors, including the tweezers you use, how often you pluck and how traumatic it is for your hair, you won’t be stuck with thin eyebrows forever,” says dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal, MD. “Most of the time, they grow back.”
3 reasons your eyebrow growth is stunted
Since the skin around the eyebrows is thin and delicate, says Dr. Khetarpal, it’s easily traumatized. “I tell my patients to get rid of their magnifying mirror because using one means you’re constantly looking at it, plucking and traumatizing those hairs.”
Other factors that affect eyebrow growth include:
- How often you pluck: Do you pluck your brows once every few weeks — or every day? “It’s about how traumatized the hair gets. If you pluck your eyebrow hair every day, you’re doing damage, maybe even causing scarring. Then, the hairs won’t grow back.”
- Your age: Thinning hair isn’t just a scalp problem. “As we get older, we lose some amount of hair — including eyebrow hairs.”
- Underlying health conditions: Because thyroid function affects both your skin and the hair on your head, a thyroid condition can lead to brow thinning. Anemia (a common blood disorder) or deficiencies in iron, vitamin D, biotin or zinc can also slow or stop hair growth.
How to grow eyebrows back
To make your face more eyebrow “friendly,” Dr. Khetarpal recommends making these five changes to your eyebrow regimen:
1. Chuck that magnifying mirror
Treat your eyebrows like a relationship that needs repair: Give them the space and time they need. “But if you’re looking in the magnifying mirror every day, obsessing after each hair, your eyebrows will never get the chance to recover,” warns Dr. Khetarpal.
2. Choose the right tweezers
Just say no to tweezers that have a wider, flat end — that’s like using a lawnmower to remove one blade of grass. Instead, choose tweezers with an angled end so you can pull in the direction of your hair growth.
“You can be more precise,” notes Dr. Khetarpal. “Also, avoid tweezers with rubber grips on the end. The rubber creates more friction, which causes more trauma to the hair when you pull it out.”
3. Pluck your brows fresh out of the shower
Skin tends to be softer and more delicate right after a shower. The result? Brow hairs slide right out with minimal effort.
4. Pay attention to your diet
Eating a well-balanced diet can supercharge eyebrow growth. And if you aren’t getting needed nutrients from food, try taking a supplement or two. Of course, talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement regimen.
“A multivitamin can be helpful,” explains Dr. Khetarpal. “Getting enough iron is important, too. So if you eat red meat fewer than two or three times a week, an iron supplement may be a good idea. And if you don’t regularly eat fish and shellfish, omega-3 supplements have also been shown to be helpful.”
Dr. Khetarpal also recommends taking between three to five milligrams of biotin every day. “That’s a large dose, but since biotin is water-soluble, your body takes what it needs and gets rid of the rest through urine.”
5. Take a chance on an eyebrow growth serum or other topical product
Bimatoprost (brand name Latisse®) is a prescription topical used to lengthen and thicken eyelashes. “It’s been shown to help brows, too,” says Dr. Khetarpal.
If you prefer the over-the-counter route, try 2% or 5% minoxidil (brand name Rogaine®). While it’s meant for hair growth on the scalp, it can also stimulate hair growth on thin eyebrows.
But Dr. Khetarpal says there are two cautions for Rogaine use:
- Feel the burn: It may cause a burning sensation if you get it in your eyes.
- Unwanted hair: Rogaine has a field effect, meaning even if you just put it on your eyebrows, it’s not uncommon for hair to grow elsewhere on the face.
How long does it take for eyebrows to grow back?
When it comes to eyebrow regrowth, patience is key. “Give it at least two to three months to see hair growth. The hair growth cycle for eyebrows is between three and four months, so you need enough time for the hair to respond to your changes,” recommends Dr. Khetarpal.
If you still don’t see the results you want after four months, see a dermatologist. They have many non-DIY options you can try, including:
- Prescription supplements and topical medications.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections.
- Eyebrow hair transplants.