So *This* Is Why Your Eyebrow Growth Serum Isn't Working

The road to fuller brows is more difficult than you think — here’s why.

by Jessica DeFino
Originally Published: 
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Model street style and makeup and brow close up photo

Are you Brooke Shields, Zendaya, or Cara Delevingne? No? Then chances are, you’re always experimenting with the best eyebrow growth serums to give your brows a little boost. And I say “always experimenting” because there are so, so many brow products on the market — a Sephora search for “brows” turns up 154 search results, and that’s just one site — and yet, so few of them seem to work as quickly as you'd want. According to dermatologists, that’s because just two ingredients are proven to promote brow growth… and neither of them are in the drugstore.

“The only two medications with evidence to support eyebrow regrowth are topical minoxidil, also known as Rogaine, and topical bimatoprost, known as Latisse,” Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist and hair expert, tells TZR. While Rogaine is traditionally used to treat male pattern baldness, Dr. Robinson says it can be helpful for brows, too — and plenty of YouTube beauty vloggers swear by this method. “It functions to improve blood supply to the hair follicles, thereby helping regrowth,” Dr. Aanand Geria, a dermatologist with Geria Dermatology in New Jersey, tells TZR.

When used as intended — i.e., on the scalp — Rogaine should be applied daily; however, the brand doesn’t endorse the product for brows, so there’s not really a standard protocol to follow. (If the internet is to be trusted, using it every night for at least a month seems to work — but proceed with caution.)

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Latisse, on the other hand, “was initially approved in 2008 for eyelash use, but now has favorable evidence for use on eyebrows,” Dr. Robinson says. “We believe that its active ingredient bimatoprost works by shifting resting hairs into the hair growth phase and prolonging the length of the growth phase, thereby resulting in more visible hairs.” The only downside to the once-nightly treatment? Latisse is prescription-based.

There is one over-the-counter treatment that features an ingredient related to to bimatoprost, though. The isopropyl cloprostenate in Rodan + Fields Enhancements Lash Boost (which, again, is intended for use on lashes and hasn’t been tested on brows) works similarly to Latisse.

“There is no evidence that [other] brow growth serums help with regrowth,” Dr. Robinson tells TZR — but that doesn’t mean traditional OTC formulas aren’t worth a try. The dermatologist compares popular serums like Grande Cosmetics GrandeBROW and Vegamour VegaBROW to conditioners, just like the kind you apply to the hair on your scalp. “They can improve the quality, structure, and texture of your hair — and may even give the appearance of fuller hairs — but they do not alter the number of hairs that you have or cause hair to grow where there is none,” she explains. “That being said, they can still be useful for creating a healthy environment for growing hair.” Which, really, is half the battle in the quest for better brows.

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“A few ingredients have theoretical benefit,” Dr. Geria agrees, “including amino acids (like arginine) and peptides (like ricinoleic acid), which are the building blocks of hair, as well as vitamins like biotin.” All of these are gentle enough to be used every day, or as often as recommended by the brand, without risk. Dr. Geria also notes there is one popular ingredient you can probably skip, and that’s keratin. “Keratin is unlikely to be of any benefit, because it is simply too large to be absorbed into the skin,” he says.

For a well-rounded approach to bushier, bolder brows, why not add an ingestible beauty supplement to the mix? “Definitely look for vitamins and minerals such as biotin, zinc, and selenium, which can promote hair growth,” Dr. Geria tells TZR. HUM Nutrition Hair Sweet Hair Vegan Gummies Length & Strength Supplement features biotin and zinc (and has about 200 near-perfect reviews), while Klorane KERATINcaps Hair & Nails Dietary Supplement includes all three of Dr. Geria’s top picks.

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That being said, if your brows aren’t growing, there could be a deeper reason — one that calls for more than just a brow growth serum. “If you’re losing hair only at the tail of the eyebrow, you should see your dermatologist to check for hypothyroidism,” Dr. Geria says, while Dr. Robinson adds that loss of eyebrow hairs can be related to certain autoimmune conditions. “If your eyebrow loss is rapid, associated with other symptoms, or is of concern to you, then it may be time to seek input from a board-certified dermatologist,” she says.

But if your bald brows are just a result of aging, over-plucking in your youth, or naturally thin arches, feel free to experiment on your own. Ahead, the eyebrow growth serums — or rather, “conditioners” — that dermatologists recommend.

We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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