beauty for one

How to Strategically Grow Out Your Eyebrows

Photo: Corbis

If you’ve always dreamed of having a set of brows that are naturally full without the aid of brow products, now’s a good time to embark on your growing-out journey. Growing out your eyebrows requires patience and care, not unlike growing an Instagram-worthy succulent. With normal life on hold and all brow appointments postponed indefinitely, there’s no time like the present to power through the awkward phase.

We turned to Kristie Streicher, co-owner of Los Angeles’s STRIIIKE salon, brow king Joey Healy to coach us through the painstaking process of growing your brows to their fullest potential.

Stop tweezing completely for 15 weeks.

Yes. Completely. Just stop. No at-home waxing attempts, either. If you really want your brows to grow, you need to play the long game. “You want to be truly hands-off with your eyebrows; doing maintenance doesn’t necessarily help them grow in any better,” says Healy. The good news is that you should be pretty used to keeping your hands off your face at this point.

Don’t worry, you probably won’t start growing caterpillars atop your eyelids. “I’ll tell clients not to touch their brows and they think it’s going to be this brick of hair, or this massive Bert unibrow, but that just doesn’t happen,” Healy assures.

Brows grow in a roughly three- to four-month cycle. The first is the anagen phase, which determines the length of hair. The catagen phase is when the follicle starts to advance toward the skin, and in the telogen phase, hair falls out and new hair grows from it. Growing out your brows means not cutting short time spent in the telogen phase — which means you need to wait it out. As Streicher explains, “Trust the process. When new hair is left alone and not tweezed, it will then start to grow closer to the brow line.”

Your brows will look really weird at first.

Streicher says that if you see brow hairs sticking straight out or growing in the wrong direction, it could be a result of tweezing or waxing. Healy says to prepare yourself for noticing a new variety of hair lengths, since the brow hairs you never allowed to reach their full maturation are now getting there. Embrace all the newcomers and accomplished graduates, and again, leave them alone. If you’re still self-conscious about stray hairs despite social-distancing, you can tame them with a brow gel or brow pomade, cover them with concealer, or just hit that secret filter on Zoom. None of those options will impact the growth.

Week 16 is when the training really begins.

This is when you’ll start to see stray hairs growing around — but not quite at — your brows. Still, leave those alone. It is only at the end of the 16th week that Streicher even begins to tweeze the hairs closest to the eyelid or lash line. Streicher claims, “The gentle stimulation of tweezing close, but not too close, to the brow line can promote growth along the actual brow line.”

Your brow hairs will start to fully come in somewhere between four and six months.

Some might come in earlier. You will start to see new hair growth on your brows around the arch or the ends. Streicher advises, “The new hair growth will be short and may still grow in at different angles or in the wrong direction. But over time, the new hair WILL grow in the correct direction.” She adds that it may take up to 12 months for your brow hair to fully pad out.

Look for brow products with prostaglandin.

Prostaglandin is a hormonelike substance that can stimulate hair growth. According to dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler, both Rogaine and Latisse are safe to use on the brows. “Latisse works by increasing the number of hairs, the thickness of each hair, the pigmentation and length. Essentially, by increasing the anagen phase, and affecting the prostaglandin receptors. Rogaine increases the number of follicles in the anagen phase and increases the numbers of miniature hairs present (making the hair look thicker).”

Be diligent about using your brow serum.

There are a number of more-accessible brow serums out there, but according to Healy, the ones simply made of moisturizers and vitamins don’t make your brows grow; they just condition them. If you’re going to spend money on a product, he recommends looking for peptide-driven serums (we’ve listed some below), because peptides encourage hair growth and healthy hair follicle activity. Regardless of which serum ends up in your cart, it must be used regularly, otherwise you may as well coat your brows with conditioner. “The key to using any growth serum is to be diligent and use it every day (or night) for at least six weeks,” says Streicher.

Manage your expectations.

One of the reasons Cara Delevingne has Cara Delevingne brows is because she’s Cara Delevingne. “I have some clients that need to come in every three weeks, I have some clients that don’t need to come in more than once every three months because they just don’t have as robust eye growth. A lot of it is genetics that determines these things,” says Healy.

So when will you know that you’ve done everything you could? “Since the full cycle of growth is typically three to four months, you’ll know if you’ve let your brows grow out untouched for a couple of months, and you’ve used a serum religiously for six months. That’s when you know that you’re sort of at a limit,” Healy says. “I encourage you to find an old photo of yourself in your teens to see what your natural brows looked like pre-tweezing to give you an idea of your maximum growth potential,” Streicher adds. If things ultimately don’t end up as hairy as you’d like, don’t fret. “From there, we can go to other places like powders, tinted gels, pomade, and pencil to build them up more,” says Healy.

The Best Products to Help “Grow” Your Brows

Like many experts in the world of brows, Streicher recommends this award-winning brow serum, which, like its lash counterpart, is known for thickening your hair if you use it regularly.

Healy’s formula was designed with over-tweezed and over-worked brows in mind. This peptide-driven serum is also infused with skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and white tea to keep brows and the surrounding area smooth and soothed.

If you’ve been experiencing more serious brow thinning or brow hair-loss, this brow serum features the brand’s proprietary Phyto-Medic Complex. It’s a natural alternative to the hormonelike prostaglandin found in prescriptions, which can have irritating effects for some users.

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

If you’re looking to grow your KUSH fam, Milk Makeup’s peptide blend is accompanied by plant-derived goodness like aloe, quinoa, and their signature hemp-derived, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory cannabis sativa seed oil to keep your brows nice and nourished while they sprout.

This article was originally published March 4, 2015. It has been updated throughout. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

How to Strategically Grow Out Your Eyebrows