I was 14, standing in front of the mirror in the girls bathroom after school with Holly and Tabitha- sisters whom I considered to be very pretty. My own reflection of braces and acne had brought me to a very dark place. I hoped that somehow, if I shaped my thick, dark brows, I might have a chance at pretty. I removed several rows of hair with borrowed tweezers. Tabitha leaned in “No. Not enough. Take more off.” So I kept going, removing all but a suggestion of brows. And I kept it up, obsessively removing each new hair. By the time I was 15, my best friend, Matthew teased me at the lunch table, “You only have a single row of hairs!”
And so it went. Fueled by low self-esteem and a propensity toward obsessive-compulsive disorder, I kept removing my brows until they were so damaged I had no choice but to live a life with 90’s skinny brows.
In the past several months, I made a commitment to personal brow acceptance. As a result, I’ve managed to eek out two lines of hair, without any bald spots. So if my story sounds familiar, read on for tips on how to recover, physically and emotionally, from years of over tweezing.
Manage your expectations. You’re not going to get Cara Delevingne or Megan Fox brows- just let it go. What you can achieve is two brows that are all your own.
First, and this is very important- only groom your brows when they are filled in with makeup. This will allow you to be more conservative when shaping, since you can see where you want hairs to grow. In the top photo below, it’s difficult to determine which, if any, hairs need to be removed or retained. In the bottom photo, you can see that everything falls within the brow, so nothing needs to be removed.
Put down the tweezers. For at least 4 weeks, if a new hair sprouts up even remotely close to the existing hair line, let it grow in. It may seem out of place at first, but once a few neighbors sprout up, it will blend in. Only remove a hair if it is 1/4″ or more outside the brow. Don’t worry if the new hairs grow in a funny direction- the can either be trained or trimmed to follow your shape.
Make adjustments to the shape. To grow fuller brows, you’ll have to allow the natural shape to fill in. For me, this meant moving the arch inward and lowering it a bit. If you need to, look at childhood pictures to give you a little guidance on what your natural shape looks like.
Let the individual hairs grow longer. Conventional brow wisdom says to comb all the hair up and trim. When you have scrawny brows, this can remove much needed volume. Basically, you’re going to have a brow comb-over, which will mask bald spots. When trimming, only remove the really out of place or curled ones. As the hairs grow longer, they will weave together, creating a stronger line.
After about 6 weeks, you should start seeing some improvements, longer to get really noticeable results. It’s hard at first, but you have to have an end goal in mind. In my case, the goal was to cut down on the amount of time I spent filling my brows. Now that I have more hair and a more natural shape, it takes much less time to apply my brow makeup.
Be patient! It takes about 8 weeks for a hair to regrow once it’s been removed. Any time you want to remove a hair, ask yourself- do I want to wait 2 months for this hair to come back? If you’re not sure, let it grow! In the long run, it’s only a few months of trouble for a lifetime of fuller brows.