Sparse, thin eyebrows are an instant ager. But, full, well-groomed eyebrows can frame your face and make you look years younger. Getting brows that look perfect can be difficult if yours are sparse due to overplucking, an underlying medical issue or the aging process. “Our hairs (even those in our eyebrows) are programmed to go through cycles throughout our lifetime,” says New York hair restoration specialist Carlos K. Wesley, MD. “Every time our hair goes through a growth cycle, it comes back in a little bit thinner. Sometimes the color fades, too.” Luckily, you don’t have to settle for patchy brows. These fixes can help you achieve the look you want.
If the cause is a medical condition, a brow stencil can create a more uniform look.
According to Washington, D.C. dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, if your eyebrow hair is falling out, it may be a symptom of an underlying disorder. “Thinning brows can be a sign of a condition like eczema, alopecia or an underactive thyroid, all of which can cause you to lose your hair.” An easy way to transform thin, out-of-shape brows is with a stencil kit, like Eylure Brow Stencils ($6), which includes four different arch shapes to help you define and fill in sparse brows.
If the cause is overplucking, revive sparse areas with a brow serum.
Overplucking is a common grooming mistake, but it’s also one of the biggest reasons for hair loss in the eyebrows. “Eventually, the plucked hair grows back in, but after a while, the growth rate shortens a bit with each cycle,” says Dr. Wesley. “The areas that have been overplucked come back shorter and thinner, leading to long-term thinning.” Try a brow serum like BrowFood Phyto-Medic Eyebrow Enhancer ($88), which contains powerful organic herb extracts that activate the brow follicle for thicker brows.
If the cause is a poor diet, thicken existing hairs with a fiber gel.
A diet lacking in vitamins A, B, D or E, or an iron deficiency, can be the culprit for your sparse eyebrows. In addition to adopting a well-balanced diet, a key step to getting fuller brows is to thicken the individual hairs. For a quick fix, fake better brows in an instant with Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel ($24), which contains tiny microfibers (you can’t see them when the product is on) that adhere to your natural hair to mimic the look of better brows.
If the cause is age-related, try microblading for a long-lasting fix.
As you age, you may notice a change in the density of your brows. Although the hairs may still be growing, they may appear thin and faded in color. A technique called microblading uses fine, hair-like strokes to deposit semipermanent pigment into the skin. “Microblading is the most natural-looking way to make your eyebrows look like they have more hair,” says brow expert Nadia Afanaseva of Eye Design New York. “You can create any shape or arch you want, and your new brows can last anywhere from one to three years.”
If the cause is genetic, eyebrow restoration can boost hair growth.
Hereditary hair loss can shorten the time that hair spends growing, causing the follicles to shrink. An eyebrow transplant permanently restores growing hair by using healthy follicles from a donor site on your scalp and transplanting them to an area where brow hair is weak. “On this patient, I removed hair from the scalp and placed individual hairs into incisions made in the brow,” says Philadelphia hair restoration specialist Thomas Griffin, MD. “Once the grafts heal, it grows like normal hair.”