If you could go back and give your 13-year old self some wise words of advice, what would they be? Perhaps not to pop your pimples? Or maybe to actually wear your retainer? Well, mine would be to put the darn tweezers down. At the time, skinny arches were the look du jour (I was a ‘90s kid, after all), and mine was the exact opposite of that. Now, of course, I regret over-plucking my brows into oblivion. Luckily, I’ve found a few products that have helped my severely damaged brows grow back, and I finally feel happy with the results.
To give a quick run-down on my eyebrow journey, the plucking began when my friend’s older brother told me I had a uni-brow when I was around 10 (who at the time I had a crush on, so needless to say, that one hit hard). Once I began to loathe my bushy arches, I got my hands on my mom’s tweezers and went to town on them for years. By continuing to pull out the hairs, many of the follicles were so badly damaged that they stopped growing hair at all. So, I began researching and researching about how to restore over-plucked brows, and I happened to come across a few products that I still use today. Below, find the three formulas that I swear by to help your brows finally fill out — and some of my makeup staples in case the process is taking longer than you would like.
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Without a doubt, the best product I’ve ever put on my brows is Latisse. Funny enough, I actually first heard about this product in an interview where Demi Lovato swore by the formula for their new bushy caterpillar-like arches. After I caught wind of their secret, I ordered a bottle myself (and another, and another). At this point, I’ve probably been using it on and off for the past four or five years. Because I only use a tiny amount every other night or so, a bottle, which costs $140, typically lasts me around three months. The (magical, in my opinion) active ingredient inside Latisse is bimatoprost, while the inactive ingredients include benzalkonium chloride, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, and dibasic, and citric acid.
Though this lash serum isn’t marketed for eyebrows (it’s actually made for lashes), my brow guru Azi Sacks confirms it’s safe to use elsewhere. “Typically anything that’s used on the eyelashes, which is right on the eyeball, is fine to use on the brow because when we sleep, our skin produces oil,” she explains. “As it produces oil, [the product] moves throughout the whole face and that whole designated area, so it’s gonna seep in.”
And according to Sacks, “Latisse brings good growth in the sense that the texture gets thicker, so it helps people with really fine brows build up a more coarse, fluffier texture.” But, she notes that the downside is once you stop using it, the brow hairs shed back out. I’ve found this to be somewhat true: I finished my bottle of Latisse in June 2021 and haven’t used it since, and while my brows aren’t quite as thick as before, they’re still in decent shape. (Above, a photo from May 2021 when I was still using it.)
“What I tell clients to do is if they’re going to use Latisse, coat it with castor oil at night— and create a relationship with the castor oil, and to not stay dependent on the Latisse,” Sacks recommends. Another negative here is you won’t be able to waltz into a store and grab this off the shelf — you’ll need to get a prescription from a dermatologist. My secret: Order it from Apostrophe, a website where you can get connected to dermatologists virtually.
Even though I’ve only been using RevitaBrow for about two weeks now, I can already see a noticeable difference in my brows. Made with ingredients like biotin, ginseng, swertia japonica, and green tea extract, this formula makes my arches look thicker and feel softer. As a note, this formula isn’t necessarily intended to prompt hair growth, but rather create a more full, strong-looking brow. I’ve been using it almost every night, and have barely felt the need to fill in my brows for virtual calls or when I leave my apartment. But like Latisse, once you stop using Revitabrow, those new hairs will be shed. Above, a photo from using RevitaBrow over the past few weeks.
I start implementing castor oil into my routine after Sacks sang its praises the first time I sat down in her chair a year ago. “It helps moisturize the existing hair, while also protecting and moisturizing the skin underneath the brow hair, which is really important — just like how you use conditioner in your hair and moisturizer on your face,” she explains. When there’s a lot of dryness, Sacks says it’s impossible to generate hair. “Hair cycles are every three weeks, so we shed eyebrow hair and eyelashes the same way — we just don’t see it.” And if you keep this area really hydrated, the expert says this results in quicker growth and the hair is more moisturized so it doesn’t snap and break.
To be honest, I don’t find castor oil to be as good for growth as Latisse and Revitabrow; however, I will say I find that my brows look more full and strong after applying it. This is especially good for those who use brow makeup or makeup remover (like myself), as brow strength is more important to prevent damage and thinning.
Because it’s a thick emollient that looks greasy, I’ll only use castor oil at night before bed — usually every other night. As noted above, Sacks suggests putting castor oil on top of a brow treatment like Latisse or Revitabrow as “the icing on the cake.” I’ve been reaching for Briogeo’s B. Well Organic + Cold-Pressed 100% Castor Oil, but, really any formula on the market will do the trick.
Products To Fill In Sparse Brows
Of course, I’ve leaned on brow makeup products to create a fuller brow, too. Sacks warned me during one of my visits about the risks of using a brow pencil (basically, it can pull out hairs), so since then, I’ve stuck to powder and gels. Right now, my routine includes Joey Healy’s Luxe Brow Powder applied with his Duo Brow Brush, as well as Chantecaille’s Full Brow Perfecting Gel or Glossier Boy Brow.
If you’re also still recovering from a past over-plucking frenzy, I can’t recommend my routine more. Just remember to be patient, and use makeup to help fill in the gaps.