My eyebrows au naturale definitely aren’t what I consider perfect yet, but I’m getting pretty damn close. Here’s how to grow eyebrows back out after years of torture at the hands of brow trends.
Less — nay, nothing — is more when it comes to brow makeup
I began my eyebrow regrowth journey as soon as New York City salons began to open up in the spring of 2020, and that’s when I met brow artist Azi Sacks, who made some game-changing recommendations right off the bat. (She was the first eyebrow professional I’d ever entrusted with my sacred arches, by the way.) The first was that I should not pluck, wax, shave, dermaplane, or do any type of hair removal around my eyebrows. They’re words you’d expect to hear from someone who does eyebrows to pay the rent, but she was on the money when she said that I couldn’t grow my eyebrows out if I was constantly fussing over out-of-place hairs.
She also advised avoiding any heavy-weight eyebrow gels that dry down stiff. I hated hearing that because those are my favorite types of eyebrow gels, but she had a point. As cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson once noted to Allure, many gels of that nature contain alcohol as a primary ingredient. “That in itself may cause drying,” he explained. And, as Sacks previously told me, “when brow hair is overly dried out, it shatters.” Sacks also recommended straying from eyebrow pomades, waxes, and pencils; according to her and Robinson, the pull of their waxy textures can tug at brow hairs and sometimes pull them out entirely.
It was a big sacrifice to make, giving up most of the eyebrow products I’d used religiously for so long, but I saw immediate results once I tucked them away in my not-to-be-used drawer. More hairs sprouted up over time, and those hairs were thicker than I’d expected, too.
So what products can you use when you’re on a strict growth regimen? Plenty of things! Two of Sacks’s, and therefore, my, personal favorites are Kosas Air Brow and MAC Eye Shadow in Charcoal Brown, applied with light strokes. Now that I’ve gotten close to my desired fullness, I rarely use any pigmented products in my eyebrows — most of the time, I just brush a little Vaseline through them to meld them into place without drying them out.
Rosemary oil (like, a lot of it) is your friend
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but rosemary oil has been clinically proven to support new hair growth at a similar rate to minoxidil (i.e. Rogaine or Nioxin). “It works as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and most importantly, microcirculation enhancer,” cosmetic chemist Ginger King previously explained to Allure. “An antioxidant is a must for all hair-care to preserve integrity; microcirculation will help to reenergize the scalp for better growth.”