Last week, beauty vlogger Farah Dukhai posted an Instagram video that’s anything but ordinary. In the clip, she takes an onion and – instead of using it for a quick recipe – rubs the vegetable on her brows. But… why?
“GROW EYEBROWS FAST!” reads the Insta caption. “Onion juice has sulphur which speeds up the growth of hair and makes it thicker,” she claims. Dukhai then adds instructions for anyone who wants to mimic her brow-care routine: “Massage onion juice on brows for 5 mins, let it dry completely, wash off with cold water or a mild cleanser. Do this everyday … careful not to get this in ur eyes!”
Since we don’t want anyone putting onions near their eyes (ouch!) for no reason at all, we decided to investigate. Based on our research, we weren’t able to find one person who proved that onions equal eyebrow growth. Yes, many websites promoted this “natural remedy,” but there weren’t any specific studies related to how onions affect our eyebrows.
On the other hand, onions have been proven to help your non-brow hair grow. “Sulfur is important in hair; however, applying onion juice does not mean that the sulfur is incorporated into the hair strand,” dermatologist Dr. Kavita Mariwalla told Allure. “Rather, the sulfur acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.”
Specifically, onion juice was used on women who cope with alopecia areata: an autoimmune skin disease that leads to sudden hair loss. During the 2002 study, 23 patients were instructed to apply onion juice two times every day, for two months. Another group (which consisted of 15 participants) did the same with tap water. “Re-growth of terminal coarse hairs started after two weeks of treatment with crude onion juice,” wrote the researchers. “At four weeks, hair re-growth was seen in 17 patients (73.9%), and, at six weeks, the hair re-growth was observed in 20 patients (86.9%) and was significantly higher among males (93.7%) compared to females (71.4%).”
Overall, the experiment demonstrated that onion juice promoted hair-growth more than tap water. This means that it can be an effective treatment for alopecia areata – but not for eyebrow growth.
“The reason the onion juice worked on these women is because some of the alopecia was a result of seborrheic dermatitis that was causing inflammation on the scalp, and sulfur in the onion juice is anti and can lessen that,” Mariwalla explains. “I don’t want people to think that putting onion juice on every day is going to suddenly give them luscious, thick brows.”
Even so, if you want to give the onion juice a try, Mariwalla recommends that you squeeze some onion juice onto a Q-tip and use that for application. Leave it on for 15 minutes and then wash it off. Most importantly, make sure that it doesn’t get it your eyes because optometrist Nicole Sangani reports that eye-onion juice contact can cause tearing, burning, and inflammation.
Ultimately, putting onion juice on your eyebrows isn’t bad for you, but it also isn’t guaranteed to promote brow hair growth.