It's a story as old as time itself. You were a tween once—it didn't even have to be during the '90s—and (almost) all tweens are compelled, for some reason or another, to over-tweeze their eyebrows. It's a rookie mistake, like wearing foundation on your lips and thinking it looks like nude lipstick. Or buying a pack of cheap spray tans on Groupon.
But unlike the latter two (both wash off, thank God—and can be done well with proper coaching), brows have a nasty habit of staying dormant after that first youthful siege. “A girlfriend of mine over-plucked her brows once when she was 14 and they never grew in after that,” Kristie Streicher, chief proponent of the Feathered Brow look (as seen on the Olsens) and co-owner of Striiike in Beverly Hills, said in a recent phone conversation on this topic. The saying might go “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me'...but when it comes to brows, tweeze too much the first time and you might be stuck for life.
To better understand that, a quick review of the hair's growth cycle is in order. There's the anagen phase (active growing), the catagen phase (growth stops), and the telogen phase (the hair is at rest). Then the hair falls out, and a new one grows in its place. When you rip out one of your hairs, it disrupts this growth cycle. Repeatedly ripping out hairs in a certain area can stunt the growth cycle semi-permanently, or even cause a condition called traction alopecia, a type of semi-permanent hair loss, making it even harder to regrow overplucked brows.
So the best thing to do for brows that need to grow is to stop plucking. Completely. Then enlist help. Clinical trials show Latisse can aid in eyebrow growth just as well as it stimulates lash growth. Lena Dunham swears by RevitaBrow. We've been hearing cries of castor oil—apply on lashes and brows (sparingly, unless you're looking for a breakout) and hair might sprout back. But as promising as all the testimonials are, none of it's guaranteed.
So we turn to you, community of eyebrow-havers. Have you had success growing your brows back? What worked? We'll get through this together.
Anais Mali photographed by Tom Newton.