Eyebrows have become a bit of a national obsession and currently, the more defined, the better. Unfortunately, a lot of us lived through the '90s (or middle school), when over plucked, pencil-thin brows were all the rage—and some of us just have conditions inhibiting hair growth. Either way, a lot of us are wondering how (or if) we could possibly get eyebrows that even Cara Develingne would envy. Often, we turn to the Internet, and suddenly we're rubbing our brows with everything in our kitchen cabinets, from onion juice to egg yolks.
To save you and your brows from all the trauma you might be putting yourself through in an effort to get your dream eyebrows, we talked to Dr. Eric Daniels, Chief Medical Officer of Puregraft, to set the record straight on eyebrow-growing myths and to find out what it really takes to get your eyebrows looking like the '90s never happened.
First and foremost, it's time to close the pantry doors. The honey mask, curry leaf paste and other home remedies you're slathering on your face probably aren't doing anything for your eyebrows— except making them sticky and smelly.
"There's not one [home remedy] that has been shown in any kind of rigorous study to have any benefit to regrowing eyebrows," says Daniels. "There is one caveat, though—oils."
Daniels says although oils don't directly cause hair growth, they may eliminate a condition that was stunting growth in the first place through moisturization.
"It's not necessarily because of the oils promoting eyebrow growth; it's about the oils fixing the underlining skin condition which then allows the eyebrows to regrow," Daniels explains.
The most simple methods Daniels suggested are easily achievable for most of us, and often overlooked in our day-to-day lives. He says maintaining proper nutrition, getting enough sleep, and taking supplements can help keep eyebrows (and everything else) healthy.
Though Daniels debunked the scientific validity behind most at-home concoctions, he says there is hope for those who are seeking a natural remedy—procyanidin, found in apple seed extract, has shown promise as "an agent that can help drive the hair cycle and promote growth" in initial studies.
Exfoliation is another commonly circulated suggestion for facilitating hair growth, and Daniels says the idea isn't as far fetched as some other eyebrow growing myths. However, the exfoliating you're doing at home probably isn't going to cut it.
"The idea behind the myth is that if you rub hard enough you'll wake up those follicles," he explains. "That's not an idea without merit, but one of the more rigorous ways to do that is by microneedling."
Daniels says the idea behind microneedling is to "wake up hair follicles and reach them more deeply" by using tiny needles to poke holes in the skin. Some professionals are also pairing microneedling with topical agents like Rogaine to further facilitate hair growth. Unfortunately, there still isn't a guarantee this method will work, as Daniels says these types of approaches currently yield mixed results.
While Daniels explains that products like Rogaine can help stimulate growth for your eyebrows just like they can for hair on your head, he cautions against trusting serums or solutions that lack scientific backing, suggesting that with most products you'll find at the mall, there is "more marketing effort behind them than anything else."
So, nothing you whip up in your kitchen will help you get the brows you're dreaming about, and microneedling, though promising, still has mixed results. Is that it? Are you stuck with eyebrows reminiscent of Pamela Anderson's circa 1990 forever? Not so, according to Daniels, who has been working on a new method that involves the use of fat and regenerative cells to promote hair growth.
According to Daniels, hair follicles sit in fat "like a blade of grass in soil," and studies have shown that fat may be instrumental to hair growth. "Our whole approach is that if we basically lay down some new soil, then we can re-stimulate those hairs that have been quiescent or sleeping," Daniels says.
The procedure involves removing a small amount of fat from a different part of the body through liposuction. From there, the fat is purified, regenerative cells are isolated, and the two are recombined and injected into the areas where hair growth is desired.
The results are promising: The companies behind the study have just completed their phase two trials and are further testing the method after seeing successful hair growth with their initial patients.
If getting fat removed from an undesirable location and making progress toward amazing brows sounds like something reserved for the Kardashians of the world, worry not. Daniels says the treatment will be available to the general public, hopefully within the next two or three years.
If needles aren't your thing, and over the counter hair solutions have failed you, don't worry. You can still have beautiful brows—you might just have to spend a little time learning how to fill them in. And there are always new studies cropping up that focus on the facilitation of eyebrow hair growth. Au naturel or not, you can find a way to rock the full, beautiful brows you were born with.