There are a lot of things to miss about the early 2000s: *NSYNC was still together, Paris and Nicole were just living the simple life, and Mary Kate and Ashley weren't being sued. However, 2000s beauty trends are not a thing to mourn. Chunky highlights, frosted tips and tacky lips are among the looks we're happy to leave behind. But the worst offender of them all is undoubtedly over-plucked brows. As anyone who has lived through the '00s knows, teensie, tiny brows were a must for any middle or high school teen queen.
Thankfully, we now live in a time when bold brows are not only deemed desirable but also sexy. For those of us who spent the past decade trying to sweet talk our brows into not coming back, it seems like we're now trying to sweet talk them into growing out. For anyone who's suffered from over-plucking, had a bad wax, or simply fell victim to idolizing Laguna Beach, Cara Delevingne brows are still possible to achieve. Behold — the beginner's guide to growing out your brows:
The waiting game
The first thing to know about brows is they will grow back. For the most part.
Waxing the brow is the most efficient and lasting way to remove hair, however, it can have negative effects. "If you remove the same hairs for a long period of time, you damage the hair follicle, which can slow down or stop growth," explains Jessica Bartley, brow master at Boom Boom Brow Bar in NYC. "But usually this takes more than once to have a lasting effect." So don't lose hope if you've only had one slip-up.
To avoid damage to the hair follicle, opt for tweezing, says Cheryl Renella, brow guru and founder of Channing's Studio & Spa in Chicago. Tweezing lets you be more precise and doesn't have as lasting effects should you find your brow a bit thinner than desired.
Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes to a bad brow job. In fact, the best asset you might have is time. Although there's no hard-and-fast rule to how long it takes for brow hairs to grow back (everyone is different), Renella explains it can take six to eight weeks to see growth, depending on your age and severity of the situation. But some products on the market can help speed up the process. "I always recommend RevitaBrow to my clients," she says. "This natural product has amino acids, peptides and biotin that encourages the follicle to produce hair. Using the eyebrow conditioner daily results in faster growing eyebrows."
Fill it in
In the mean time, filling in your brows can be a quick solution to fake full brows. But if the idea of filling in brows brings images of old women with drawn-on, cartoon brows to mind, think again. Filling in brows does NOT equal drawing on brows. In fact, while waiting for brows to grow, there will often times be bald spots or patches in the brow that actually require filling in.
To fill in any blank space, Umbreen Sheikh, Owner and CEO of Wink Brow Bar in NYC suggests finding a good brow powder and filling the the spot with light, feathery strokes. "Brow powders are best to not make your brows look overdone or fake when you have sparse or thinned brows," she says. "I prefer this over any other type of product, as it ensures the natural, yet bold look that is so popular now."
Another popular process for filling in brows comes via a color wand. Renella suggests applying a pomade with an angled brush — using long smooth strokes to mimic the direction and length of the brows — then finishing with a swish of a color wand.
"These wands can be used alone for a subtle look or combined with the pomade to add dimension to your brows," she explains. Finally, she suggests finishing off brows with a clear mascara as it's a perfect solution for adding definition and attitude to your brows without adding color.
Helpful tip: The least natural (and sadly, most common) tool for filling in brows is a pencil. Unless used properly, pencils can make brows look fake. Try to avoid these if possible!
Color is another thing to keep in mind when crafting the brows of your dreams. "You want to match the darkest part of your natural brow in color depth and tone," says Bartley. Now how does that translate into non-brow expert terms? Think one to two shades lighter than your hair color to avoid brows looking out of place or overdrawn.
"If your brow color is cooler or more ash based, you want something with more of a taupe or grey undertone," says Bartley. "While if you are more strawberry blonde or red, you need a warmer color to ensure a seamless fill in." Dark-haired individuals should also abide by the one-to-two shades darker rules, adds Renella.
If you're really concerned with finding the right brow color, a brow expert will be able to tint your brow to the correct shade and guide you into choosing the proper color tool to use.
Get into shape
The next thing to know about growing out your brows is shape matters. Having full brows means nothing if they're not the right shape for you. Brows should enhance and complement your features, explains Renella. She explains those with long face shapes should choose wide square brows that will soften and widen the face; those with round face shapes should go with a high arch that helps elongate and soften the face; those with a square face can sport a dramatic brow that complements their features; heart-shaped faces should keep their brows no more than one inch apart to lengthen the face; and finally, those with diamond face shapes should keep brows rounded at the front and tapered at the end.
Ultimately, brow shape is very personal and can vary based on personal preferences as well. It's best to see a brow expert first to help decide which shape you should try.
Keep it up
Bottom line: When growing out brows, leave them alone for a while. Sheikh says simply foregoing tweezing or waxing and only brushing back brows with a spoolie or clean mascara wand with brow gel is a great way of keeping new brow growth tame during the hairy grow-out period.
And once hairs have (finally!) returned, all our experts advise letting a professional take it from there. "It can be a long hard road to reach your perfect brow shape, so listen to your brow specialist and don't tweeze between shaping and try and get in for a shape up once a month," says Bartley.
And if you must groom at home, Sheikh cautions, avoid touching the ends of the brow. "Ends get thinner as we get older and accidentally removing these will make your brow look short," she says. "Anything further than that should be left to a pro!"