Taming, growing, shaping and tinting eyebrows have become such a worldwide phenomenon over recent years, it would be hard to step into a cosmetic store without seeing eyebrow kits, eyebrow tints, eyebrow pencils and even stencils! So just where do we draw the line?
The answer to that is different to each and every one of us. But this guide is to help find out what will suit you, how to shape even the most unruly brows and how to keep your eyebrows healthy in the process. So, sit back and relax, we have a lot of ground to cover.
How to Tell if your Eyebrows are Healthy
We are all fighting the same battle: Age! In our teens and early twenties its is so common for eyebrows to be thick and full and even unruly. If only we saw this as a blessing at the time and not a hinderance, we may have just left them alone. The truth is, fashion trends come and go, makeup and grooming tools change and improve over time so we are basically all fighting a trial and error system where we can only see the real effects of damage once it has been done!
Eyebrows tend to thin out over time, they may become sparse or even patchy and they start to lack the lustre and shine they once had. It isn’t noticeable overnight, just like you can’t fix it overnight, but due to the drying out of follicles, we will all mostly face this eventually. So, it is really important to start looking after your eyebrow health now and know how to groom them properly with care and you can reap the benefits of full and beautiful eyebrows for years to come.
Thinning eyebrows that have occurred quite quickly can be a sign of something simple like a vitamin deficiency. It is no secret that a good diet and improved cosmetic care can not only make you feel good in yourself but you may also notice the additional shine to your hair and the clarity in your skin.
Getting the right vitamins and nutrients into your body will see improved hair growth results and the good news is… this includes your eyebrows.
Improving Eyebrow Health
Diet is key to good health in general. Zinc and iron are responsible for helping hair follicles grow, so as I mentioned earlier this can help slow down the effect of ageing follicles (for more on and this means eyebrows will continue to grow healthily. So where do you find iron and zinc? Well there are always supplements you can take but in reality, you shouldn’t have to with a varied diet of vegetables, nuts and seeds. Spinach is a fantastic source of iron which is the fuel your body needs to aid in growth and repair. This can be incorporated into many meals and salads and is inexpensive and tasty! So surely it is worth a go!
follicles see our Ultimate Gudie which talks about growth cycles.
Nuts contain so many vitamins and the right fatty acids and as such an easy snack it is a quick way to fix an ongoing problem of lack-lustre hair or slow growth. Seeds high in Omega 3 and Vitamin E contain zinc like many other sources such as fish. But it at least gives a few different options and you may find more nutrients in a handful of seeds than in a fillet of salmon. These a vital for hair growth and your eyebrows will definitely thank you for it.
Aside from diet, there are other ways to look after your eyebrows. The thinning nature isn’t only caused by ageing or lack of a nutritious diet, it can be from over-grooming or lack of care when grooming, so learning how to repair years of over-tweezing or wearing oily makeup or over-cleansing will be a task that doesn’t fix itself instantly but in the long-run, the results will have you overwhelmed. You’ll be asking yourself what took you so long to realise that a little TLC was all they needed.
So, before you get the professionals in, see what damage control you can do yourself. There are serums on the market that have soothing effects, skin healing properties and even added growth stimulants to wake up the follicles and encourage the new eyebrow hairs to grow in faster. The trick is to find the right serum to do an all-round job so you can not only see the results but feel the results too. Natural plant and root extracts are known for their antioxidant properties, clearing blemishes and for soothing. Which is perfect for skin under the eyebrows that have been plucked one too many times or even irritated skin from too much sun exposure. Many plant extracts have been used for many years in different cultures for growth stimulation and repairing qualities, so to find the balance between what science can do and what nature can do in one little serum… well you may have struck gold!
One great example of this type of serum is Xbrow Eyebrow Conditioner. It does all of the above and feels great on the skin, and very importantly is perfume free. This is just another irritant that if a serum contains it, it will only add to the unhealthy dramas your eyebrows can really afford to live without!
Now, the great thing about a serum for eyebrow repair is it targets the skin and the follicles beneath the skin, so it’s a really convenient way to have the benefits of moisturised skin AND thicker and fuller eyebrows all at once. As I said earlier, we are in a time of trial and error when it comes to passing phases of eyebrow trends, but as we advance further in the field of cosmetics and skin and body health, eyebrow health should never be a passing trend as it is so easy these days to do something about.
Of course, there are various natural remedies for improving overall eyebrow health or even targeting weak spots such as red or sore skin and so many people swear by these uses that it could be handy to know if you need some instant relief from tweezing or are happy to start a routine with something natural.
Aloe Vera is the most common plant used for its soothing qualities. It is perfect for when you just need a simple go with the tweezers. But when thinking about long term health results, it will take a bit more than aloe vera to bring your eyebrows back to life.
Coconut oil is a great all-rounder and is easy to purchase from any supermarket or health store as it can be used in so many ways from cooking to moisturising. Health benefits from coconut oil include giving energy and making it easier to burn fat, but as a skin or hair conditioning agent it is perfect to protect from breakage, add shine and promote a healthy fight against dryness, and infection. It is a natural stimulant of the hair follicles so if used on eyebrows it gets really deep under the skin and should breathe new life into them to see additional growth spurts that you never saw before. It is also rich in all of those vitamins and nutrients we talked about earlier so it’s a handy thing to have around if you haven’t bought your latest round of eyebrow serums.
Eyebrow Repair for the Tweezer Generation
Not everyone escaped the late 1990s and early 2000s unscathed, I’m always jealous of the ones that did. It was a great time, that’s for sure, but our eyebrows took a bit of a beating back then and some still haven’t quite recovered. Of course, tweezers are still our friend today, but are used more to groom and polish rather than follow a trend of stick thin arches. So here are some tips for beating that vast patch of skin where our thicker eyebrows once proudly stood:
- Prepare the skin – This is vital! Firstly, you want to rid all fear of discomfort before tweezing, threading or waxing the eyebrows by removing the element of pain. You also want to make sure the individual eyebrow hairs are primed and ready to come out or it could cause damage to the follicle and the skin surrounding it. A gentle exfoliation would be a good place to start but perhaps prepare by doing this the day before a wax rather than just before as the skin will be tender. No harsh scrubs should be used, but warm water on a face cloth would be enough to do the trick. Warm water helps to open the follicles a little so the hair will be removed a lot easier. Steam from a shower can also help to open the follicles making for an easier and less painful tweeze, so try this straight after a shower and you’ll definitely be thanklful!
- Have hair to grab – Waxing and tweezing requires a little patience. Eyebrow hair can’t be too short when trying to remove it or two things could happen. Either the wax won’t take to the hair or the tweezers will be too close to the skin and will nick it in the process. Ouch!
- Aftercare, aftercare, aftercare! – Keep the skin free of makeup and cleansers straight after tweezing, and for at least 24 hours after threading or waxing the eyebrows. This includes self-tanning products and perfumed moisturisers. Sunbeds and sunbathing after a wax? Probably best not to venture out there too fast as the skin will be tender and at higher risk of burning.
- Keep the area cool and moisturised – Aloe Vera as I talked about earlier, is great for burns and swelling and has cooling properties that have the power to relieve pain instantly. As tempting as it would be to cake this onto eyebrows that have been freshly waxed or tweezed , it is best to wait until the next day as the pores will be wide open and ready for blocking, you still need the skin to breathe so using any cooling gels or moisturisers should be used sparsely to keep the skin in good condition.
- For long term fixes recruit your best eyebrow serum – While all of the above is great for the short-term, you won’t know the true damage of the long-term until the time comes. You may see your eyebrow hairs starting not to grow back in, which is fantastic if you like to have less eyebrow hair, but when the day comes for growing them out, you may find this won’t happen. Eyebrow serums are not miracle workers but they are as close to it as you can get, so it doesn’t hurt to keep using a serum to encourage growth and keep the follicles alive and healthy, so when the day comes where bushy eyebrows are calling, your eyebrows are able to answer.
- Have patience – Whether it’s a serum, a root or plant extract, a moisturiser, they can only do so much work at once to help fix years of damage or even temporary grooming. It can take months or even a few years to fully grow back a lovely set of eyebrows to look like they once did, so keeping up with your routine during that time is essential to keep them growing and glowing. There will be grooming in between that’s for sure but keep it small and sweet and you can reap the benefits for years to come.
Taming and Shaping Eyebrows
Eyebrow care needn’t be all doom and gloom, it has to have positive benefits for you as a person and not just the added health benefits. Eyebrows are a permanent fixture on the very front of your face, so it is important that you feel good about them and not just about their healthy structure. Eyebrow shaping has been around for a long time and I’ll go back to what I said originally about trial and error, we have been trying and failing for decades to get it right. But now, with technicians able to give you a tidy and symmetrical brow with such ease by threading, waxing, tinting and even microblading them, there are plenty of options to help your confidence skyrocket through your own personalised set of brows.
So first thing’s first, figure out what shaped eyebrow you have and what matches your face shape. While this might seem a little overkill for someone who just wants neat and tidy eyebrows, it is important to know what suits your face as it will flatter your features and end up giving you a more natural look in the long run.
For example, those with rounder shaped faces tend to suit more arched brows with a little angle in them, this helps to elongate the face and not make it look even more round. A rectangular face shape will be better suited to straighter eyebrows but generally kept a little further apart to give the illusion of a wider face and take focus away from longer features. A heart shaped face tends to draw emphasis to the narrow chin, so eyebrows can be used really cleverly with a soft arch to bring focus to this area of the face and it is really flattering!
The bottom line when it comes to eyebrow shapes is not to get too hung up on them. Unless you are shaving your eyebrows off completely and starting to draw them back on from scratch – Which I do not advise at all – then you can’t really change the brow shape you were born with without clever work from a technician and a whole lot of patience. If you are just looking to tidy them up, tame them a bit and bring a little colour to them, the best thing to do is find the line or natural curve of your eyebrow and go with that. Stray hairs can be plucked easily enough so you are still left with the bulk of the shape you had to begin with without tampering with your precious follicles too much!
If you started with sparse eyebrows but still have a few unruly hairs that you don’t want, it is still fine to get rid of these, just don’t over do it! With sparse eyebrows you will need a good eyebrow brush and use it to carefully brush the hairs upward, if they are wide but sparse, you can trim the tips that are now above the top of the brow line to create a beautifully contoured shape. This would be the base you need to work with before reaching for the eyebrow pencil. This also works for sparse and thin eyebrows as it gives you a little more room to play with when creating your brow shape.
Using an Eyebrow Pencil
Many different people will tell you different rules about what colour you should go for when choosing your eyebrow pencil. Some say a shade lighter than your hair colour, some say go for the same shade, but I think most importantly you should reach for a tone that compliments your natural hair colour and skin tone.
If you are a natural red head, eyebrow pencils to match your specific tone may be harder to find, opting for a dark brown shade will take any element of natural away, so the best thing to do is to match the tone. Red as a warm tone needs warmer auburns and golden browns to compliment the brows.
If you have ashy or icy tones or darker blonde colours, then going for warmer auburn for your eyebrow pencil will just not work against the skin tones or the hair. So it is best in this instance to find an eyebrow pencil that matches or is a little darker but with a greyer hue to your hair. Personally, I love the Madonna-esque look from her Material Girl days with a bleached blonde mop of hair and thick and dark eyebrows that really complimented her eyes, but I suppose those times have come and gone and the natural look is here to stay.
So, you’ve chosen a pencil and you want to create a shape that will last all day and compliment your face, so now what? Well you have to remember that eyebrows contain oil, so does the skin, so you want to make sure that what you are using won’t slide down your face all before the work day is even through. Using a lightweight powder before applying makeup to the eyebrows helps to absorb excess moisture and gives a sturdy base for your pencil to stay on.
The idea when applying pencil to the eyebrows is not to colour in one big block in the shape of an eyebrow, it is to fill out uneven spots or sparse gaps, so the best way to do it is with small and delicate brush strokes that mimic the shape of an eyebrow hair. You can use an angled brush with eyebrow colour powder to create lines at the top and bottom of the brow. Again, nothing too harsh, but just enough to create an even shape. Avoid colouring in clean lines toward the nose or edge of the face, brows should naturally trail off and colour usually gets lighter toward the inner edges so use this as a template for your desired style.
Eyebrow brushes should be delicate and not too bristly or anything that can cause loss of hairs in the eyebrows but they are fantastic for evening out the work you have just done. So run the eyebrow brush upward to get rid of any unwanted loose powder, to separate hairs that may have stuck together when using a pencil and finish your eyebrows off with a really natural look. Just the application of colour alone can be enough to add drama to your look, so you don’t need to go overboard.
Setting eyebrows is important as it will fix the powder and pencil into place and it means you can go on about your day worry free, knowing your eyebrows look fantastic!
The important thing is to remember to cleanse properly at the end of each day. Makeup tends to be very oily and our skin and hair already contain natural oils. In excess it can be the cause of unhealthy eyebrows that may fall out more often than usual or just slow down growth patterns by not letting your brows breathe!
So, we’ve talked about how to keep your eyebrows healthy, we’ve talked about how to fix unruly eyebrows and we’ve talked about keeping them in check. If you follow this you will be sure to have the eyebrows your face has always deserved and you’ll wonder why you ignored them for so long. And now maybe, just maybe, you’ll know exactly where to draw the line!