How to Stop Overplucking Your Eyebrows So You Don't Permanently Reduce Hair Growth
Despite what you may have heard, you can't fix split ends, and antiperspirants don't cause cancer. In Myth Busters, we debunk common beauty misconceptions and set the record straight.
The saying history repeats itself proves to be true when it comes to beauty trends. Remember thin eyebrows? While having pencil-thin, rounded eyebrows are widely associated with the '90s, they were popular during the '70s thanks to celebrities such as Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand. Fast forward to the '80s, and thick, slightly unkempt eyebrows were all the rage à la Brooke Shields. Nowadays, thicker-looking brows are back.
However, if you followed the eyebrow trend of the '90s, your eyebrows may have permanently changed from overplucking and incorrectly shaping your eyebrows. Unfortunately, the rumor about overplucking causing less hair growth is partly true. But don't worry! There are ways that you can make your brows appear thick and full if that's the goal. Ahead, we tapped professional eyebrow experts to learn more about overplucking, including why it can cause less hair growth, how to stop it, and how to make your brows look thicker in the meantime.
Can overplucking your eyebrows permanently stop hair growth?
In short, yes. Pulling out hair can cause damage to the area underneath the hair follicle and potentially halt hair growth for good. "Each hair is connected to a tiny blood vessel—aka derma vessel—that keeps it healthy and allows it to grow back when the hair is removed," explains Jared Bailey, Benefit Cosmetics global brow expert. "Once that vessel is ruptured, however, the hair never returns."
The most common cause for ruptured vessels is incorrectly removing the hair. "To correctly tweeze your eyebrows, you must hold the skin taut with one finger and then tweeze the hair in the direction it's growing, rather than straight out," says Bailey. "It's really important to work with mother nature on this one!"
Joey Healy, a New York City-based eyebrow expert and founder of Joey Healy Eyebrow Studio, says how often you remove your eyebrow hairs and the method you choose can also play a role. "Repeatedly removing the hair follicle the wrong way can cause damage over time and cause some people to struggle with hair growth," he says. "If you are getting them waxed every other week, you're going to struggle with this." Additionally, repeatedly shaping your eyebrows in a way they don't naturally form can harm the hair follicles or vessels, potentially decreasing the chances of the hairs growing back altogether.
How can you prevent overplucking?
Bailey says that the key to prevent plucking one too many hairs is all about using the right tools, good lighting, and going slow. "When it comes to tweezers, find a pair with a tight closure, as brow hairs can have a light coat of oil on them and tend to be a little slippery,'' he says. He also mentions that you should say no to all magnifying mirrors. "Brows bring balance and proportion to your face and eyes, so it's important you use a mirror where you can see both of them at once."
Good lighting is also very important. "Always use natural lighting. If possible, take a mirror that you can prop up and tweeze near a window with even, natural lighting on your face," says Bailey.
And finally, say no to overplucking. "As tempting as it may be to grab multiple hairs, go for one brow hair at a time. This will help ensure you don't grab the wrong one and end up with a patch or hole."
How can you hide sparse hairs and make brows look thicker?
"Apply color in your brows, whether that be powder or pencil," says Healy. "If your brow shape is overworked, sometimes pencil is the best option as it allows you to put down some new line work, create a new perimeter, and play with the shape of the brow."
Brow powders are another great option. "Powder is a little bit softer, which is good if your brow hair is patchy or doesn't have a lot of density," says Healy. Tinted gel can also be helpful as it grabs all of the tiny hairs, including some of the new growth that's not so dense, and can add a lot of texture to the brows." Bailey recommends the Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ because the tiny microfibers adhere to the hair to make them look thicker without smudging or smearing.
What are tips for making eyebrow hairs grow back?
"Don't touch them for two to four months," suggests Healy. While it may seem a little scary, it's necessary to give the brows time and space to grow and heal from previous damage. If you need to clean up your brows during that time, visit a professional and avoid harsh waxing or threading.
Applying a serum, such as the Joey Healy Brow Renovation Serum, can also help facilitate growth. "If you use it twice a day for six weeks and once a day after that, you will see more growth. You just have to be consistent with it," he says.
Another piece of advice: "If one brow is coming along faster than the other, don't get so obsessed with symmetry that you modify the thick brow to look like the other brow," says Healy. "You want to work on getting that thin brow fuller."
So, yes, it is possible to restore your brows with a little bit of time, patience, and professional help. Rest assured that by following these tips you can get your brows to a fuller and thicker-looking state. "Don't give up hope on your brows," concludes Healy.