For a stretch back in middle school, my self-esteem was the pits. What with the braces, the glasses, the acne… it wasn’t a pretty picture. So my mom, bless her heart, made a concerted effort to help me feel better about myself. She treated me to Glamour Shots (where I despised every photo and stormed out), invited me to join her at Curves gym, and took me to get my eyebrows shaped when I was 13.
The woman at the salon said I had “good” brows, and after she plucked them into a more refined shape, I sorta thought that was settled. This is my eyebrow shape. Done!
Until a few weeks ago, when I got a rude awakening. A commenter, who shall remain anonymous, remarked that she couldn’t trust beauty advice from someone with “sperm eyebrows.” At first I was shocked, then I was pissed, and finally I was just plain embarrassed (the three stages of brow grief?).
Because she was right. Admittedly, I hadn’t given my brows much thought over the years. I had just maintained the shape that was bestowed upon me in my teens. Compared to some cautionary examples of brow abuse, I didn’t think my brows were that bad.
Plus, my brows have never had much of an arch, and my hairs are wiry and dirty-blond and grow really long, so I figured my default brow was just the best I could do. I know that big, bold brows are popular, and I think they look great, but I assumed that was one trend I simply couldn’t pull off, like a pixie cut or nude lipstick or twerking.
But that harsh comment--and a few similar ones that followed in its stead--really opened my eyes. My brows looked weak, outdated and unnatural. In short, I had been in brow denial, and I needed professional help.
So I called Kristie Streicher, a brow expert with salons in LA and New York whom I’d interviewed a few years ago. She’s known for her signature “feathered” brow, and works with celebrities and models on the reg.
She talked me off a ledge and assured me that my brows weren’t too far gone. “Excessive waxing, tweezing or threading can damage the follicle, causing it to become dormant,” Kristie says. “Sometimes it can take up to a year to grow back. In extreme cases, it may never grow back.”
How your brows respond to abuse is pure genetics, she says: “Depending on your heritage and background, some people have dense, thick hair that can be super-tenacious and endure all the waxing and tweezing one can take, and others can over-tweeze once and never have the same regrowth again.”
In my case, Kristie prescribed a year-long regrowth plan. “Let your eyebrows fill in, which means no tweezing or trimming for at least three to four weeks to start,” she says. “Then, I recommend to either just pull random hairs or stragglers yourself or find someone you trust that just tweezes to clean them up every four to six weeks thereafter.”
She explains that this allows you to see the natural growth pattern and shape of your brows, and it also helps hairs get on the same growth cycle, which means less tweezing altogether.
“When hairs are taken out at once, they will all grow in at once, putting them on one growth cycle rather than several,” Kristie explains. “It takes six to eight months and sometimes even a year for every hair on the eyebrow to completely grow in, so be patient.”
To speed the process, she recommends GrandeBROW, a serum that promotes the growth of thicker, fuller brows. “It’s really great,” she says.
As far as my specific brow shape, she said it’s quite common.
“The arch is in the beginning of the eyebrow instead of the outer portion,” Kristie explains. “There is an abrupt lift in the brow directly above the inner portion of the eye. This lift should be on the outer portion, towards the end, which creates an opening and lifting effect on the eye and brow. When the arch or lift is placed too far in, this can create a ‘surprised’ look.”
She even made this diagram for me to follow, illustrating where my arch should be and where I need to fill in.
So, with that roadmap in hand, I’m setting aside the tweezers, picking up a tube of GrandeBROW and embarking on my brow regrowth journey. It’ll be a long and unkempt road, but I think I can go the distance. I’ll be checking in periodically to share my progress, so stay tuned!
Am I the only one who ever needed a brow wakeup call? Has anyone ever criticized your brows? Or has your brow game always been spot on? Let me know!