Growing Out Your Brows: A Survival Guide

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I was fourteen when I tried my hand at plucking my eyebrows for the first time. It was the ’90s, so thin brows were the thing, a trend at least in part sparked by my celebrity idol at the time, Drew Barrymore, with her silent-movie-star thin arches. After some tweezer-induced tears and sneezes, I emerged with thinner, arched brows. I consider that a major moment in the beauty section of my life timeline.

In the years that followed, I moved on to waxing, which was fine until one traumatizing experience with my then-regular waxer, in which my brows ended up super abnormally thin—and one, crookedly arched. If I raised that brow, it looked square-edged, like an untouched staple. It was horrifying! It took six months to grow them in to a point where they didn’t look freakish. The next few years I enjoyed how my brows looked for the most part, and eventually, threading became my go-to form of maintenance.

Then one day, I decided I wanted thicker brows. Maybe it was the fact that I was seeing more and more celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Lily Collins, and Camilla Belle sporting them gorgeously. So, a few months ago, I decided to grow these babies out. I really didn’t think it was going to be that hard…but it was!

It’s funny, when you think about it, eyebrows are basically just two lines of fur hanging out on our foreheads. What’s the big deal, right? But they can really help define your face. Any sort of brow change, subtle or not, can bring out your eyes, make you look younger or older, or even make you look like you’re perpetually pissed off! If you feel like you’ve overwaxed or overplucked to the point of no return, fear not! We’re here—with advice from our resident maestro of brows Anastasia—to help guide you through the very scary terrain of growing out your brows.

Stop seeing your waxer (for awhile)

First things first: cancel all of your regular brow maintenance appointments. Tell your threader or waxer that your brows are going on vacation, so it’ll be a while before you’re back. One upside to this already is that you’ll save money.

Be patient

Next comes the hardest part: the actual grow-out. The first week or two you’ll be fine, but then you’ll start to think that your face looks like someone’s forgotten lawn. With rogue brow hairs growing like weeds, the urge to grab your Tweezerman will take over. Do everything in your power to resist the temptation. It will be worth it. And don’t worry—even though you’ll feel like the hairiest-faced person alive, it’s unlikely anyone else will notice a thing.

Concealers and pencils are your friends

After a few more weeks, you will feel like the Yeti. Anastasia suggests filling in your brows with powder and a good quality pencil, like Brow Wiz. “After you have the right shape, you can hide stray hairs that fall outside of it with a good quality concealer until you’re ready to commit to a full shaping,” she says.

Thinning happens to brows, too

Once my brows started growing out, I noticed they weren’t coming back as thick as they were before. My fantasies of having my full, eighth-grade brows back were crushed. I knew that the hair on our heads becomes thinner with age, but what about our eyebrow hair? Anastasia confirmed my fears: “As we age, many of us start to lose some of our brow hair. Also, if you sleep on one side of your face or another, the pillow can actually rub brow hairs away.” (After hearing that, I made a note to create some sort of pillow fort that would prevent me from sleeping on my side.) If you’re experiencing thinness, Anastasia recommends using a serum like Brow Enhancing Serum Advanced to encourage growth.

Finishing touches

Because everyone’s hair grows at different speeds, the amount of time it takes to grow out brows varies from person to person. I waited four months to visit my threader for some minor cleanup. It was quite a reunion. I explained my disappearance for the past few months, she promised to be gentle. She only threaded a few stray hairs as I wasn’t ready to try to shape them, just in case they had a bit more to grow. Afterwards, I started using a brow kit to fill in the thinned-out areas. These kits are your BFF in this brow-growing journey; we love Anastasia Bold and Beautiful.

After a total of five months, my brows are back! I returned to my threader with cautious instructions for nice healthy arches. Now they’re much fuller, with the shape I always dreamed of! If I can survive this long and laborious journey, so can you!