Where Did My Eyebrows Go?

November 1, 2023

How hormones affect your eyelashes and eyebrows, and what you can do about it. 

How is it that my mother was right about so many things? From having “weather ESP” to knowing which boyfriend wasn’t worth the tears, my mother always knew. And when it came to all things beauty-related, she had the right ideas there, too. At the time, I thought her advice was basic and boring.  

Born with Brooke Shields-like eyebrows (read VERY full), all I wanted was a thinner brow. My mother told me that when she was in her twenties, she over-tweezed and her eyebrows never grew back the same way. Fast forward to her fifties, and her brows were barely there. It was the one bit of makeup she would never leave the house without.  

As the years went on (and I didn’t heed my mother’s “basic” advice), I overplucked my own eyebrows, and they never grew back to the same shape and thickness. I also noticed that as I entered my forties, my eyebrows were thinning — first at the “tail” and then all over. It seemed that keeping up with some of the eyebrow trends over the years had finally caught up with me. 

Or was there more to it than that? I looked to the experts for answers.  

Is it possible to “over-tweeze” your brows?  

If you pluck your eyebrows too much (like every day) you could damage the hair, so it won’t grow back. Most dermatologists agree that plucking daily could seriously “traumatize” your eyebrows, and even lead to scarring, which then prevents hair from regrowing.  

Why do eyebrows and eyelashes (and hair on your head) begin thinning in your 30s?  

As we age, it’s not just the hair on our heads that may begin thinning. The same applies to our eyebrows. Some amount of thinning hair is normal as your hormones naturally decline when you get older. But regardless of age, if you have a sudden loss of eyebrows or eyelashes, get your hormones checked. You want to make sure there is no underlying health condition, like a thyroid disorder, that might cause your eyebrows to suddenly get thinner or fall out. 

What are my options for regrowing eyebrows?  

If you truly want to regrow your eyebrows, serums — both over-the-counter and prescription —may help you see new hair growth over time. Typically, it takes 2-3 months to see a difference. The active ingredient in prescription eyebrow serum is often latanoprost, while the active ingredient in over-the-counter serums is usually minoxidil. Prescription serums will likely be stronger than most over-the-counter options.

What are the options for “redesigning” eyebrows? 

If you’re unable to regrow your eyebrows, or you simply want a more instantaneous fix, you can always go for a brow redesign. There are many ways to make your eyebrows appear fuller. Some take daily effort, while others are more long-lasting.  

  • Stop tweezing.
    Eyebrow experts and health professionals agree: PUT THE TWEEZER DOWN. If you want your eyebrows to have a chance at recovery and regrowth, resist the urge to pull out the magnifying mirror and pluck away.
  • Microblading.
    Microblading is a semi-permanent cosmetic procedure that makes your eyebrows appear thicker and become the shape you desire. It’s like a temporary tattoo for your eyebrows. Microblading uses mini strokes of pigment to simulate the little hairs in your eyebrows. The procedure could be painful; there is some downtime and restrictions to daily activities; and it requires maintenance as the pigment fades after a year or so, depending on your skin type.
  • Powder brows.
    Like microblading, powder brows are a semi-permanent approach to fuller, more shapely eyebrows. Powder brows may last 12-18 months, and the major difference between this technique and microblading is that with powder brows, your brows will have less of an appearance of individual hairs. This technique is a different way to apply pigment to your skin, and is a personal preference over microblading, when it comes to the desired outcome. You’ll experience similar types of discomfort and downtime after the process as microblading.
  • Brow tinting.
    Eyebrow tinting is another semi-permanent way to get the desired fullness and shape of your eyebrows. But it doesn’t involve any kind of tattoo-like application, as is the case with microblading and powder brows. And brow tinting is much more semi-permanent, as in 3-6 weeks. It’s similar to getting your hair colored, only it’s the hair on your brows that gets the color. Some of the pigment also sinks into your skin, but that fades rather quickly, leaving you with a few weeks of fabulous brows without the daily use of pencils and gels.
  • Pencils, pens, and gels. 
    By the time we’re in our thirties (or much sooner if you weren’t fortunate enough to be born with a perfectly shaped brow line), most of us have experimented with eyebrow pencils, gels, or other DIY brow shaping applications. This is the easiest, most convenient way to get the eyebrows we wish we had. But, as I’m sure you’re also well aware, the inconvenience is that we have to apply the pencil, pen, and/or gel every single day. And it isn’t always waterproof, either.

Whichever method of eyebrow enhancement you prefer is a personal choice. Do what works best for you and your lifestyle. And it’s probably safe to say, we can all benefit from my mother’s “basic” advice to stop over-tweezing.

Linda Williams