Behold the Success of My Eyebrow Wonder Drug

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Photo: Keystone/Getty Images

The story I’m about to tell you is a little like that scene from Mean Girls when they cut to a bunch of thirsty peasants from the high school who say things like, “I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip-flops, so I bought army pants and flip-flops." Ready? I saw on Instagram that Lena Dunham started using RevitaBrow for her patchy eyebrows, so I started using RevitaBrow for my patchy eyebrows.

Before you get corporate-skeptical on me, the deal-maker here is that her Instagram post wasn’t sponsored — it was motivated by her trying the product IRL and then sincerely getting excited when she saw results. “What you see are basically all new hairs from my pupil outward,” Dunham wrote, alongside a photo of her newly full eyebrow. “I don't even care if I find out this product has impregnated me with a devil baby because that is how happy I am to wake up with some semblance of eyebrows #notsponsored #itsamiracle.”

Learning how to groom in the '90s and early '00s, I had a lot of rough eyebrow looks. Equipped with a set of tweezers and a general sense of which hairs I felt were “pertinent to the brow” versus “random,” I’d get really close up to my bathroom mirror and take my best shot. The result was often ultrathin — I’d come at them from both the bottom and top and leave the narrowest strip of hair remaining. So the brow renaissance we’ve had online these past few years has been a godsend for my face. I’ve grown mine out, started from scratch, and no longer look like a curious Muppet.

That said, “grown out” at 27 looks a lot different from the way it did at 13. Things were much patchier than I remembered. Part of this, I was convinced, was due to an anxiety behavior I’d picked up over the years: In college I dated a guy who had permanently fried a patch of hair near his forehead in a fratty charcoal-grill accident, and when he was nervous or focused on reading, he’d absentmindedly run his fingers over it. And even though it was one of those stress-relief behaviors (like knuckle-cracking) that drove me nuts when we were together, I soon developed a matching hair-tic of my own: Whenever I really needed to focus, I’d slowly run my index finger over my left eyebrow. Nothing beyond that, just a gentle touch like when you’re smoothing out a comforter, guiding all the hairs into position. The eyebrow-touch stayed with me long after the relationship ended, and eventually that left brow started to grow in unevenly.

Before. Photo: Christine Friar

It might not sound like a big problem, but the irregular growth definitely raised the stakes of my tweezing game. When fewer hairs are growing in and you’re grooming the brow into an ultrathin line, one wrong pull can leave a bald spot that takes months to (hopefully) grow back. For the most part, I worked around the issue and filled in with pencil if anything egregious took place. If I’d really done damage, I’d go on a tweezing fast for a couple of weeks and not touch anything until I felt better about the shape. It was a delicate system.

The day Lena posted her Instagram, I’d just accidentally overtweezed my sparse left eyebrow and rendered it borderline nonexistent past my pupil. The caption on her photo read like a letter from a sister in the trenches. I switched tabs and ordered a bottle right then.

RevitaBrow’s packaging refers to it as an “eyebrow conditioner,” and it has a few key ingredients: calendula extract (to enhance shine), biotin (to encourage hair growth), and wheat protein plus biotinyl tripeptide-1 (to condition and thicken). The application process is very similar to what you experience with a lip gloss. There’s a little sponge-tipped wand that you use to apply the conditioner to your face before bed, and it goes on scentless and cool (kind of like aloe vera). The directions aren’t too descriptive amounts-wise, so I treated it like a lotion and put on enough to feel it sitting there, but not so much that it didn’t absorb and feel dry within a minute or two.

I worked it into my bedtime routine, and after about eight weeks of nightly application, my brows were approaching peak fullness in a way I hadn’t seen since middle school. Plus, there was a bonus side effect I hadn’t anticipated: Like those bad-tasting polishes they make to help kids stop biting their nails, the sensation of having a lotion-y brow actually deterred me from nervously touching it during the day. The anxiety over fucking up my brow ecosystem overruled my general day-to-day anxiety!

After! Photo: Christine Friar

Now that I’m three months out, my brows are fuller than I can remember them being in my adult life. I’m regularly leaving the house without any brow pencil on — something I haven’t done in about four years — and feeling very proud of these little hairs my face has made. So I wanted to pay the recommendation forward. RevitaBrow. It rules.