It wasn’t until month three of DIYing my brows at home that I discovered a full-blown bald spot. Instead of the beautifully shaped arches that my eyebrow artist in New York had crafted for me back in the pre-pandemic days, there was a a bare patch that nearly made me scream into my magnifying mirror. But apparently, I’m not alone. According to Azi Sacks, a brow expert at Hawthorne Studio, there are a few very common brow mistakes—all of which I was making—that leave people with the same sparse-looking results.
“The health of a brow is all about the products you use on them or near them,” she says. “Healthy brows have a shiny texture and are also soft and moisturized, which makes them easier to be brushed and tamed. The goal is to keep your brows dense, not patchy or shattered.” Below, Sacks reveals the three things that are messing with the health of your brows, plus what we should all be doing to avoid them.
1. Using heavy products
When you’ve got brows that are naturally thin and sparse, it can be tempting to fill them in with heavy, waxy products to make them look fuller. But according to Sacks, that actually makes things worse. “These types of products shatter the brow hair and create shedding causing holes and patches to increase,” she says, adding that “soap brows” and professional brow lamination are two of the worst offenders.
For a more gentle product lineup, Sacks suggests using a brow powder (instead of a pencil) like Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo ($28) with a small, fluffy brush to fill in your brows, then applying Rosebud Salve ($7) with a spoolie, which will help hold your brows in place. “Do this gradually so the hair does not get greasy,” she says. “This is a nice trick because [the salve is] rich in emollients so it’s also hydrating the brow hairs while styling.”
You probably know that over-exfoliating can have negative effects on your skin, but it also isn’t great for your eyebrows. “When clients scrub at the brows to remove their makeup using soap, it causes the brow hair to break,” says Sacks. “In general, scrubbing or abrasive exfoliating near or on the brow is hurtful to its density.” And even if you’re using a gentle chemical exfoliant on the rest of your face (like a glycolic acid serum), you’ll want to be sure to keep it far away from your brows.
3. Going hard with the scissors
Trimming away at unruly eyebrow hairs can feel like a less risky fix than plucking them, but doing it incorrectly can mess with the entire shape of your brow. “Trimming the brow at home can create a patchy illusion throughout the brows,” says Sacks, adding that you should really leave brow trimming to the pros. If you do need to do a little snipping, be sure to use a proper pair of eyebrow scissors (which will give you more control) and trim hairs one at a time instead of going in for massive chunks. If you make a mistake, Sacks recommends using cold-pressed organic castor, coconut, or almond oil on your brows at night to help stimulate regrowth.
Need more help styling your brows at home? Check out the video below to follow along with a pro-grade tutorial.
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