Your eyebrows are one of the most defining features of your face. Men and women both rely on their eyebrows to provide additional contrast, expression, and personality. But, naturally thick, beautiful, expressive eyebrows aren’t a gift given to everyone.
Not only can your eyebrows be naturally lackluster, but it’s easy to damage your eyebrows. Whether it was a DIY accident, a run-in with a fire, an over-aggressive set of tweezers, or just too much stress, it’s possible to change the shape and character of your eyebrows.
Fortunately, no matter the cause of thin off-kilter eyebrows, you have some options. In this article, we’ll cover eyebrow growth cycles, options to directly encourage additional growth, and lifestyle options that will help your eyebrows grow in thicker and fuller.
- Do You Need to Pay Attention to Your Eyebrows?
- The Growth Cycle of Eyebrows
- Treatments to Help Your Eyebrows Fill in and Grow Thicker
- Lifestyle Options
Do You Need to Pay Attention to Your Eyebrows?
First, let’s address a common misconception about brows. While women (mostly) are on top of their brow game, men often ignore their eyebrows because they think they’re less important than other forms of facial hair or their hairstyle.
Gentlemen. Your eyebrows matter. Even the best beard and most stylish haircuts will look a little off if your eyebrows aren’t working with your face. Worse, people (including yourself) probably won’t be able to tell what is off, just that you don’t look as healthy or attractive as you should.
While most people won’t inspect your eyebrows to see if they’re up to specific standards (unless they’re hanging down over your eyes), your eyebrows do impact how every other feature on your face looks.
What Should Your Eyebrows Look Like?
This is often the first question we get asked talking about eyebrows. If you aren’t used to eyebrow care and grooming it can seem like eyebrows are eyebrows. Unfortunately, it’s not an easy question to answer.
That’s because the shape and thickness of your ideal eyebrows depends on the shape and size of your face as well as personal taste.
But there are some general rules you can use as a starting point.
Not Too Straight, Not Too Arched
For one thing, the shape of your eyebrows is one of the most emotive parts of your face. Very straight eyebrows tend to look serious, brooding, and even angry.
Overly straight eyebrows are one of the most common things men deal with in their natural eyebrows. While plucking or trimming isn’t a must and may even be difficult if your eyebrows aren’t very thick, adding a little curve can help make you appear more open and friendly.
Tread carefully, very little curve and shaping is needed.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, overly curved eyebrows, which are especially common if your eyebrows are thin or thinning, can make you appear permanently surprised or anxious.
Plucking and shaping isn’t the answer for thin and overly curved eyebrows. Instead, encouraging more eyebrow growth will help the shape fill in and become less dramatic.
Length isn’t Always a Good Thing
This isn’t very common, but some eyebrows grow in too long. If your eyebrows dominate your face or stick out from your forehead far enough to curve or hang downward, you may want to trim your eyebrows.
This is not plucking or shaving your eyebrows entirely since both will remove hair without addressing the length issue. Also, shaving your eyebrows can cause them to grow back in a different shape, color, texture, and length.
Simply trim off the excess length with a pair of scissors. Make sure to use a mirror so you can check the length and make sure the trimming is even.
Too Thin, Patchy, Uneven
The most common problem with eyebrows, especially since thicker eyebrows are fashionable right now, are eyebrows that grow in thin and patchy. You may also notice that your eyebrows have thick areas and thin areas, or that your eyebrows don’t seem to match.
Almost everyone will deal with thin patchy eyebrow growth at some point. Maybe you were taking care of your eyebrows and got them plucked when thin eyebrows were more fashionable a few years ago. Maybe your eyebrows have always been thin. Maybe you’re going through a stressful period and your eyebrows just aren’t growing the way they used to.
Whatever the cause, thin eyebrows can be an incredibly frustrating problem. Makeup and other filling techniques take time, can be expensive, and can potentially clog your pores and hair follicles, making the problem worse.
Plus, how many people want to carefully powder or pencil their eyebrows every morning?
Encouraging growth can seem difficult. Some men even resort to applying Rogaine on their eyebrows like they would a bald patch, even though Rogaine is not proven to work on facial hair.
But, as thicker eyebrows have come into fashion and more and more people have looked for solutions to their permanently thin eyebrows, there have been more and more solutions discovered.
Many of these solutions can be done at home with ingredients and treatments you likely already have. Others consist of serum and other therapies that also encourage growth and may be more effective if you have especially thin eyebrows.
First, though, let’s talk growth cycle.
The Growth Cycle of Eyebrows
Like all the hair on your body, your eyebrows have a set and predictable growth cycle. If you ever started a fire with gasoline, you’re probably familiar with this growth cycle since you had to wait for your eyebrows (and maybe your eyelashes) to grow back.
Most people’s eyebrows run on a 4-month cycle. For 3 months in the cycle your eyebrow hair follicles are actively growing hair. This is very slow growth for most people, which is why the individual hairs never get more than a couple centimeters long.
The last month of the growth phase is a resting phase. The follicles hold on to the hair until right before they’re ready to start growing hair again.
It’s not like your eyebrow follicles are in the same part of the cycle at the same time. They’re usually in very different places in the cycle so that individual hair growth and shedding isn’t noticeable.
However, if you shave your eyebrows, or have had an experiment with fire go wrong, you’ll probably notice that it takes a while for your eyebrows to grow back in. For most people, your eyebrows won’t return fully to normal for 2-4 months after something damages them because of that growth cycle.
2-4 months on most of your hair follicles will have returned to their normal growth cycle.
However, some eyebrow treatments can encourage faster and fuller growth in the meantime. Some of these treatments can also help more hair follicles grow, creating thicker and fuller eyebrows.
Treatments to Help Your Eyebrows Fill in and Grow Thicker
We’re going to start with at-home treatments for eyebrow growth and then move to other options like supplements, serums, and more.
But one last thing before we get into the possible treatments for thin eyebrows and ways to encourage eyebrow growth. If your eyebrows fall out suddenly, especially if you have any other symptoms that appear at the same time, it’s important to go to a doctor right away.
Eyebrow loss can be a sign of several health conditions ranging from unconcerning to very serious.
If your doctor rules out the more serious causes of eyebrow loss, it may be time to see a dermatologist to make sure it isn’t being caused by a skin condition.
That said, if you’re just looking for thicker and fuller eyebrow growth, these solutions are for you.
This tried and true home-remedy for all things hair-related really does live up to its reputation. If you have thin eyebrows, one of the best things you can do to improve growth is to apply castor oil for a few minutes a couple of times a week.
One thing you should be aware of before you buy a bottle of castor oil from the shampoo section of your local grocery store, it can be irritating for some people’s skin. Even more than just irritating sensitive skin, castor oil is actively irritating and should only be applied briefly and may need to be diluted.
If you know you have sensitive skin, we’d recommend skipping this one.
Apply with a cotton ball or q-tip. You only want a small amount of the oil, but try to make sure it makes it through to your skin, not just onto your eyebrow hairs themselves. Leave the oil on for 10-20 minutes, or however long comfortable, and wash off with makeup remover or facial cleanser.
This treatment can show results in as little as 2 weeks and can be applied up to 3 times a week.
This treatment sounds weird but is highly effective. The sulfurous components of onions (the things that give onions that potent tear-jerking scent) are really good for your hair and also help stimulate circulation.
If you know anything about hair growth and hair follicles, you know how important strong circulation surrounding your hair follicles can be.
Onion juice is also chock full of vitamins helpful for hair growth and strength. Applying on your skin gives your eyebrows immediate access and can also help make sure those vitamins are available for your hair follicles.
The easiest way to get onion juice is to make it at home. You need an onion, a blender, and a wire mesh or some other way to strain out the chunks. Since onions are about 80% water, all you have to do is blend them up, strain the results, and use a cotton ball to apply the juice.
We don’t recommend using a whole onion since you’ll likely never need that much juice. A couple of slices, up to a quarter of the onion, should be plenty.
Leave the juice on your eyebrows for 10-20 minutes, or however long you can stand it. Rinse with water and one other thing, lemon juice. The lemon juice will help remove any lingering onion molecules, and will also help eliminate the scent.
A cotton ball soaked in lemon juice will do the trick. But lemons are another good treatment all their own.
Another treatment you should avoid if you have sensitive skin, lemons work similarly to onion juice. They are full of important vitamins for skin and hair health, particularly ascorbic acid (vitamin c), which is critical for collagen production.
Lemons may also make your skin tingle or burn slightly. That’s normal. But, if it becomes uncomfortable you should wash off the lemon and lemon juice and stop using it.
The easiest way to apply lemon is to apply a slice of lemon directly to your eyebrows. Rub it in, and remove the slice of lemon. Leave the juice and pulp on your eyebrows for up to an hour, and then wash off.
We recommend using this option at night since your eyebrow will lighten if exposed to sunlight for up to 2 hours after applying lemon juice.
One option, if you have sensitive skin, is to grate lemon peel into coconut oil. Mix the two (you’ll need to heat the coconut oil to make it liquid) and leave it for 1-2 weeks before starting to apply.
The coconut oil is also beneficial (and can be used as a treatment on its own!) and will help reduce the irritation from the lemon, while still carrying the vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial.
Most natural oils that you can use as a skin or hair treatment will also be beneficial and encourage eyebrow growth applied to your eyebrows. We recommend coconut and jojoba oils because they are both very similar to your natural skin and hair oils, and have a higher depth of penetration into your skin.
But, there are many options, including but not limited to:
The last all-natural treatment we’re going to mention is milk. Milk is good for your skin and hair and can be applied using the same methods we’ve already discussed.
The big advantage of milk is that it not only contains a lot of important nutrients but also has a lot of the fats and proteins your hair and skin need. This is a good treatment if you have eyebrow hair that is just thin and wispy in addition to encouraging more hair growth and thicker eyebrows.
Soak a cotton ball in milk and rub it over your eyebrows for a few minutes. Wash out the residue 10 minutes to an hour later.
This treatment, and the oil treatments, can also be applied right before bed and washed out the next morning.
While eyebrows aren’t specifically mentioned by most supplements, any supplement that benefits your hair will also benefit your eyebrows.
Hair skin and nails formulations are the most common supplements people take to improve their hair growth and thickness, but a generic multivitamin can also be helpful. In fact, a multivitamin may be more helpful since they are more nutritionally complete, and many vitamins need other vitamins for proper absorption.
Other supplements you can take for improved eyebrow growth include:
One treatment option is not to cause eyebrow hair growth, but to mask the appearance of thin eyebrows. Since this treatment doesn’t improve hair growth at all, we won’t go into it much.
Microblading involves creating dozens to hundreds of micro-abrasions in your skin with a specialty tool that also inserts a small amount of pigment at the same time. The layering of these abrasions mimics the look of natural eyebrows and lasts for several months.
Microblading is essentially tattooing, but without going deep enough to cause permanent pigmentation of your skin. It lasts for months at a time but needs to be re-done, which allows you to adjust and change the shape and character of your eyebrows to fit your face and fashion.
However, microblading can prevent your eyebrows from growing in naturally, and shouldn’t be used in combination with most other treatments that do encourage eyebrow growth.
One last thing before we get to serums, hair transplants are available if you have particularly sparse eyebrow growth, or have lost your eyebrows. Some things that cause your eyebrows to fall out, particularly if there is also scarring, can prevent them from growing back.
These can be auto-immune disorders, in rare cases chemotherapy, chronic high stress, and even accidents like burning off your eyebrows even without visible skin damage.
Depending on the cause, and whether you have to complete an ongoing treatment, hair transplants from other hair follicles may be an option.
Since your hair follicles are told what kind of hair to grow by surrounding cells and hormones, other types of hair will grow like eyebrows after being transplanted on to your eyebrows.
However, this is considered a pretty extreme treatment, has mixed results and is considered an elective procedure. That means that your insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of treatment. It may also be difficult to find a dermatologist or doctor willing and able to perform the transplant.
As you might expect, both microblading and transplants have a healing period after the procedure and require some aftercare to prevent scarring and help the skin and hair follicles heal well.
Generally, avoid touching the area, apply moisturizers, and your doctor may recommend or prescribe other topical treatments to improve healing.
One of the most common treatments, and the one that can be found in almost any beauty store, are eyebrow serums. Serums all vary in ingredients and quality but essentially work by applying nutrients, vitamins, and growth and circulation stimulating ingredients.
We’ve already mentioned Rogaine, or minoxidil, once in this article. It’s not a proven treatment for hair growth anywhere but the top of your head.
However, Rogaine can cause unwanted hair growth on your forehead, eyebrows, and even the tops of your ears as a side effect of normal use. So, it makes some sense that people with thin eyebrows apply the treatment as a way of encouraging hair growth.
As a side note, Rogaine has also been used to encourage facial hair growth, although it has not been studied or proven for that purpose.
While we can’t recommend this treatment, since it isn’t proven, it’s worth noting that people have used it.
Back to Serums
The kinds of serums you’re going to find in a store are not FDA approved treatments. They may be FDA cleared, which is a middle ground classification that means the product is safe, but likely hasn’t been tested for effectiveness.
However, many people see good results from serums, and there are a wide variety of serums designed to address many different problems.
Almost all of these serums will be applied with a mascara brush, and many are designed to boost both eyebrows and eyelashes. If you want a quick option, the Pronexa Hairgenics Lavish Lash serum is a dermatologist certified option that has a high rate of customer satisfaction.
Of course, topical treatments, transplants, serums, and other treatments aren’t your only option. There are three main lifestyle habits you can use to boost eyebrow growth and also improve your hair growth and health overall.
Massage Your Eyebrows
This sounds a little weird, but lightly massaging your eyebrows will improve circulation and improve growth over time.
We recommend wearing gloves designed for facial massage to prevent the transfer of oils and germs between your face and your hands.
While you’re at it, go ahead and massage your whole face. It’s relaxing, it will improve the health and appearance of your skin, reduce wrinkles, and improve eyebrow growth.
Don’t have facial gloves, or don’t like them? Wash your hands first with warm water and a mild soap or astringent.
Your eyebrows are reliant on nutrients, circulation, and hydration. Make sure you’re getting plenty of water in your day to day diet. If you currently drink a lot of sugary drinks, caffeinated drinks, or other not-water beverages, try to switch out one glass a day for a glass of plain water.
You can also add a splash of lemon or vinegar if you need a little flavor.
The last thing is to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet that provides a lot of nutrients and vitamins. These diets should include lots of fruits and vegetables, lean unprocessed meats, whole grains, and healthy sources of fat like avocados, olive oil, and fatty fish.
- Do You Need to Pay Attention to Your Eyebrows?
- The Growth Cycle of Eyebrows
- Treatments to Help Your Eyebrows Fill in and Grow Thicker
- Lifestyle Options