I’ve suffered with trichotillomania for a few years, which has unfortunately left me with large bald patches throughout my eyebrows. If the odd hair does grow back, it's sparse and frayed at the ends. I would love to know if there are any products that I can use to help regrowth in this damaged area, or anything I can try to make it less noticeable?
We are a nation obsessed with eyebrows. Ever since Peaches Monroee uttered the immortal words "my eyebrows on fleek" in 2014, we’ve become fastidious about plucking, threading, shaping and tinting. Blame Cara Delevingne; hers is a set so iconic you could remove all her other facial features from a photo and still recognise her, a set so often copied that it birthed the ‘Scouse brow’. The memes are endless: "Don’t let anyone with bad eyebrows tell you anything about life", "Right brow: does yoga, goes to the farmer’s market. Left brow: turned up since 8am". There are more powders, pomades and pencils on the market than I could count. Blink even does a Brow Exfoliator! So many of these products are marketed for women who ostensibly have ‘sparse’ brows, but when you have a condition like yours, or indeed, something like alopecia, the offerings are laughable. It’s all well and good wanting to ‘boost’ or ‘thicken’ the brows, but what about when you don’t have much to work with in the first place?
Hair growth is a bit of a beauty bête noire. As I’ve covered before, there isn’t much that you can do to speed up your natural rate of hair growth, but you can at least make sure your brows are in good condition to grow. I know lots of women who swear by castor oil, including brow expert Suman Jalaf, but that’s anecdotal and results will always vary. There is a school of thought that the ricinoleic acid found in castor oil can increase production of something called prostaglandin, which spurs hair growth. However, more studies are needed to ascertain whether the results are actually that straightforward. “The results won’t be instant and will vary from person to person,” confirmed Suman. “Try a high-strength one like Pukka’s and use it every evening if you want a home remedy.” I’ve seen good results from using RapidLash in the past after having lash extensions, so I’m sure that their brow offering, RapidBrow is worth a punt. It’s rich in biotin and keratin, which are both essential for the growth of healthy hair and nails.
There is one thing I think you would really see the benefits of, but I’m aware it’s not cheap: microblading. “Microblading is a type of eyebrow architecture. It’s the next generation of brow tattooing,” explained Suman. “It’s all about creating the best shape for each face – a totally bespoke approach for each client. The process is very precise thanks to the tool I use. It’s effectively like a pen, with the nib being a sloped blade with little needles at the end – needles that don’t penetrate the skin but just delicately scratch the surface. The needle very softly lays featherweight strokes with a medical grade pigment on the skin, creating fine realistic and natural hair strokes.” I know what you’re thinking – ‘Eyebrow tattooing, really?!’ – but I can assure you microblading is nothing like the semi-permanent makeup of years gone by. The tiny pen used gives an unbelievably graduated, natural effect, rather than harsh, blocky colour. A handful of my friends have it done with Suman and the results are astounding. There’s no denying it’s expensive (Suman costs around £500, including top-ups), but the results last years. It wouldn’t tackle your issue with compulsive pulling, but you could at least rest assured that your brows will still look full.
“The effect of microblading will give the illusion of full brows – even if the issue with pulling out hair continues. I would, in any case, really suggest microblading for anyone suffering from hair loss. I deal with clients with issues like trichotillomania, alopecia, and cancer patients. Some clients aren’t even aware that they are pulling out their own hair,” added Suman. ”If microblading feels a little daunting, some clients come to me and I can tint their brows slightly differently. By leaving the tint on for longer, it tints the skin a little, giving the illusion of fuller brows while covering up patches.”
There are lots of products you can use at home in terms of makeup, too. Suman and I would both recommend Glossier Boy Brow, which gives a really natural, buildable finish. You can also invest in ‘brow fibres’, which cling on to your existing brow hairs and add density – Eyeko and Wunderbrow are both popular. I’d advise applying all of these with a very light hand, as blocky colour will only look bizarre and unnatural.
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