How to Strategically Grow Out Your Eyebrows

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Photo: Corbis

Countless beauty tutorials tell you how to perfectly pencil in your eyebrows, but what if you want Cara Delevingne brows the natural way? Growing out your brows requires patience and care, not unlike growing an Instagram-worthy succulent. As Kristie Streicher, eyebrow expert and co-owner of Los Angeles's STRIIIKE salon (whose clients include Michelle Williams and Gwyneth Paltrow), explains, growing out your brows is all about knowing when to put down the tweezers. Along with Dr. Patricia Wexler, Streicher gives her tips on brow growth below. Here’s how to rehab your brows without, as Streicher puts it, “having to move to a remote island for six months."

Stop tweezing completely for 15 weeks. Yes. Completely. Just stop. If you really want your brows to grow and you've been overtweezing, you need to play the long game. This seems crazy, but think of it as an excuse to be very, very lazy. 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. Leave them alone and pomade them with a brow gel. You can try the Mary Kay Brow Gel or Surratt Beauty Expressioniste Brow Pomade. If you are especially self-conscious about stray hairs, you can also try covering them with concealer, which is a trick that won't impact the growth.

Week 16 is when the training really begins. This is when you'll start to see brow hair actually growing closer to your brows, 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 Dr. 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. Streicher says a number of different brow serums work to promote hair growth, but she recommends the GrandeLash Eyelash and Eyebrow Extender. But, she explains, "The key to using any growth serum is to be diligent and use it every day (or night) for at least six weeks. I encourage you to find an old photo of yourself in your teens to see what your natural brows looked like 'pre-tweezing/shaping' to give you an idea of your maximum growth potential."