How To Actually Grow Eyebrows Back: Topicals, Tips & More
It happens to the best of us. You tell yourself you're simply cleaning up a few stray hairs under your brow line. Only, minutes later a quick beauty grooming task turns into an "oops" moment. And now you're left with brows so thin that they would rival Mae West's. Dread fills your stomach as you wonder if those thin lines over your eyes are permanent.
Besides stocking up on brow products to recreate your now-missing brows, is there anything else you can do to get your eyebrows back?
First: Do eyebrows grow back?
It might not be what you want to hear, but the answer is it depends. If you've had a momentary lapse in beauty judgment and gone pluck-happy with your eyebrows or been the victim of an overly aggressive waxer, there's a pretty good chance that those lost hairs will come back given time.
However, as board-certified surgeon William Yates, M.D.—an American Board of Hair Restoration Surgery hair expert and the founder of the haircare brand Dr. Yates MD Hair + Science—notes that "eyebrows that have endured chronic overplucking...may not respond to normal regrowth."
But sometimes other underlying factors can also affect how long it takes for your brows to grow back. Specifically, Rachel Lee Lozina, an esthetician and the founder of Blue Water Spa & Boutique, notes that some women may experience even slower regrowth phases as "hair growth cycles can slow dramatically after menopause."
Causes of brow loss.
There are multiple reasons you may be losing hairs:
- One of the most obvious causes of brow loss is human error. Whether you pluck, thread, wax, or sugar, manually removing too much hair from your brows can lead to brow loss. And as we mentioned earlier, if done too often, that hair loss can be permanent.
- Sometimes underlying health conditions can also cause hair loss. For example, trichotillomania is a mental health condition that manifests with hair pulling—which can include the eyebrows.
- Similarly, alopecia can also strike, causing hair loss that in some cases may be permanent.
- If you've ever had a scar on the skin under your eyebrows, you can be left with bald patches as the hair follicles located throughout the scar tissue have been permanently damaged.
- Finally, hair loss with age is very common. This can be true of any area of the body, brows included.
How long does it take eyebrows to grow back?
As with the rest of the hair on your body, your eyebrows have growth cycles. So, don't expect to see those missing hairs pop up instantly a few days after plucking. Yates notes that "eyebrows have a three- to four-month growth cycle, so you need to wait at least two to three months to see if they will regrow after you stop plucking them."
4 ways to help your brows flourish and grow.
This might not be the news you want to hear, but just like when you want to grow out a questionable haircut (bad bangs anyone?), only time will correct your crimes against brows. Thankfully, there are tips to help encourage brow growth or to aid in thickening your brows that don't include a brow pencil or brow soap. Some are topical products you can manage at home, while more sophisticated solutions may require a trip to a dermatologist or trained esthetician:
Topical growth serums
If you're not ready to head to your dermatologist to bring your wimpy brows back to life, consider investing in a good topical growth serum. "I swear by formulations that contain peptides that stimulate hair growth. These products can also slightly darken brow hair for a fuller, more striking look," notes Lee Lozina.
Your standard brow serums usually contain peptides1. The research on these is young—as it's a newer area of beauty—but anecdotally people swear by their ability to foster healthy hair. Regardless, amino acid peptides contain good-for-skin and hair ingredients, so even if they can't spur regrowth according to scientific data (at this time), they can at least encourage the hairs you do have to be their healthiest—which might create a fuller-appearing brow.
Additionally, antioxidants can help the hair follicle with free radicals. See hair ages with free radicals and oxidative stress2. And since hair thins as it ages, you can potentially keep the strands healthier with antioxidants. If you already have an antioxidant serum in your skin care arsenal, you can just make sure you cover the brows with it as well.
Check your diet
Unsurprisingly, getting better hair anywhere on your body isn't limited to topical remedies. According to Anna Phillips, the founder and CIO of The Lash Lounge, "Make sure you're getting enough protein in your diet. Brow hairs are made of mostly protein, and they need protein to grow." Similarly, healthy hair needs essential vitamins like A, B's like biotin, C, and D and nutrients like zinc and iron to thrive. Incorporate foods rich in these nutrients to boost hair growth.
If it's been months and your brows haven't returned to their former glory, Yates recommends that "PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injections might encourage regrowth or an eyebrow-hair transplantation could be an option."
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. In the last few years, dermatologists and doctors have started utilizing it in various means and modalities to ease issues from skin concerns and joint pain to hair loss. PRP works by separating your red and white blood cells from the platelets, which contain growth factors; these platelets are in charge of recovery and regeneration.
As board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., says, "PRP is an all-natural option because it uses growth factors derived from your own blood. The growth factors act like fertilizer for your skin cells and hair follicles to help them behave to the best of their ability." Note, you'll need to go to either a physician or a trained esthetician for this as you can't perform PRP at home.
Castor oil to thicken and regrow brows
Anyone who's ever spent time in an eyebrow threader's chair knows that if you have thin brows your threader will recommend you use castor oil. While the scientific research supporting the link between castor oil and hair growth is thin, anecdotal evidence of this natural oil being used for centuries as a hair healer is strong. Even Natalie Aguilar, an LA-based dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician, notes that many of her clients swear by castor oil.
In most cases, brow loss comes down to human error. So, think before you pluck! But if you occasionally get carried away with your tweezers, patience and a good brow product are the best solutions as you wait for your brows to come back.
Dorian Smith-Garcia is a diverse writer across beauty, fashion, travel, parenting, consumer goods, and tech. She has written for Inverse, Healthline Parenthood, The Confused Millennial, XONecole, Glowsly, and The Drive along with a variety of other publications. She is a bridal and beauty expert/influencer and the creative director behind The Anti Bridezilla. When Dorian's not writing she's collecting stamps in her passport, learning new languages, or spending time with her husband and daughter.