Over-tweezed, skinny eyebrows of the 90’s are over. Thick brows are the biggest trend of the past few years, and it seems they’re not going out of fashion any time soon. There are few people out there lucky enough to naturally have lush, dense brows that look fresh off the runway. The rest of us have to use different makeup products to achieve this look, but no matter what we were born with, it’s possible for eyebrows to start thinning.
Fewer hairs that keep getting thinner and thinner, sparse patches, even hairless patches. If you notice your brows change, this is most likely a natural sign of ageing, but it can also indicate some other issue in your body. Don’t worry, there’s a way to fix it! We give you an overview of the possible causes of thinning brows and some practical tips and tricks on how to fix them.
The Causes of Thinning Eyebrows
Ageing – the most common cause
We all know ageing inevitably leads to loss of pigment in hair, but we don’t like to think about the possibility of losing the hair itself! Just like we can suffer scalp hairloss, hairs from anywhere on the face or body can start getting thinner and eventually falling out.
Hairloss caused by ageing affects both men and women, but it’s a very individual process that depends on genetics. Some people start showing signs of ageing on their hair at an early age; others may reach old-age with a full, vividly colored head of hair. Although inconvenient, thin brows caused by ageing are a part of the natural life cycle and are nothing to worry about.
Hormonal changes affect the whole body. It is well-known that pregnancy can either cause your hair to grow more quickly and fall out less, or go the other way round and cause significant hairloss. Eyebrow hairs are affected in much the same way. In the months following childbirth, hairloss can get even worse – the state is known as postpartum hair loss.
Estrogen levels drop during the menopause (and perimenopause, the period that covers a few years before the menopause starts). This is also a common cause of thin eyebrows.
Eyebrow hairloss and hairloss in general can be a symptom of both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). These issues are reflected on the brows through the loss of the so-called tail of the brow, the third of the arch closest to the ears.
If you notice this hairloss pattern, it might be a good idea to see a doctor. Your brows should go back to normal once the thyroid problems are treated.
Although conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and atopic dermatitis also known as eczema don’t affect the hair follicles themselves, they can cause inflammation of the skin around the brows. The skin becomes red, flaky and itchy.
The same can happen as an allergic reaction to different products.When we scratch the area, we cause mechanical damage to the hairs, which can cause them to break and fall out. Treating the underlaying condition or abolishing the questionable product will fix the problem.
Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its hair follicles, leading to loss of hair. There are several different types of alopecia, and some of them target eyebrow hairs. Unfortunately, alopecia is difficult to treat, but anti-inflammatory medication is known to help.
What we ingest affects our entire system. A balanced, diverse diet is a prerequisite of a healthy body. A deficiency in a number of nutrients can lead to loss of (eyebrow) hair. Iron deficiency is the most common culprit of hair thinning and loss in women. Anemia is an extreme case of iron deficiency, so people with anemia are more likely to suffer these symptoms. The case is the same with zinc levels.
If you suddenly stop getting a healty amount of protein, hairloss is likely to happen. This is common with sudden weightloss.
Some vitamins can cause hairloss if too much of it is stored. Vitamin A stimulates hair growth, which is desirable, but an excessive amount of it can cause hair to finish their growth prematurely and be ‘frozen’ in the resting phase, which can cause sparse patches.
The beauty trends of the 90’s might be catching up with you. Constant plucking and waxing is known to cause trauma to the hair follicle, making it literally die out in the skin. As the follicle is no longer active, hair stops growing. This is a permanent condition.
The same can happen with overly aggressive skin treatments and over exfoliation or rubbing your face too hard with a towel after washing it. This can cause exterior damage to the part of the hair that has grown out, but also damage the follicle over time.
The Fixes for Thinning Eyebrows
The first thought that comes to mind on how to fix thin eyebrows is makeup, of course. There’s a whole range of products that are used to achieve different effects.
- The most basic product used to fill in thin eyebrows is the pencil. The most important factor to keep in mind when choosing a brow product is picking the right shade so your brows don’t end up looking messy and uneven. You can use the pencil to fill in the sparse patches within the arch, but also to make the arch thicker. However, only the thinnest pencils can recreate the look of hairs, and even then, they tend to smudge into a block of color, which isn’t too flattering.
- A more natural looking option are eyebrow mascaras and fiber gels, which can cover sparse patches by elongating the remaining hairs. There are tricks professional makeup artists use to make the hair look denser, such as brushing them all upwards before applying any type of product that will dry and stiffen like a mascara does. They sometimes use multiple shades to give the brows texture.
- Gels or pomades are also very popular, because they are give more precision than pencils. Plus, you can draw out thin lines that resemble hairs.
- Powders create a sort of shade underneath the hairs, but they take a steady hand and a quality brush to make them work. The best option would be to combine gels with powders. That way, you get both definition and density.
It’s important to note, though, any product that is applied must be removed at some point, and adding layer upon layer of product will make you rub your brows hard in order to remove the makeup. As we’ve already mentioned, this can damage the hairs and make things worse.
If you decide to keep your arches thin, you can make the most of your arches by trimming the hairs instead of tweezing. If you’d like to try eyebrow thinning, try treading as a more precise alternative to plucking.
A more radical solution is permanent makeup. Permanent makeup artists have been especially creative in the brow department, so there is a number of different procedures that result in different brow looks. Sometimes called cosmetic tattooing, permanent makeup is a great solution for anyone looking to restore their brows that are sparse for whatever reason.
- The most popular treatment is definitely microblading, a treatment that gives the most natural looking results and works even if there are no hairs left at all. Because the results are so subtle, microblading is popular among men with thin eyebrows. A skilled artist will match the color, thickness and length of the strokes to the existing hairs, or create a brand new arch in proportion to the rest of the facial features.
- Alternative procedures are microshading and powder brows. The results of these treatments are powdery, almost fluffy looking brows. Ombre brows treatment is very similar but adds a gradually darker shade towards the tail of the brow, making it more 3-dimensional.
- For anyone looking for an edgier, more exotic look, feather brows and the latest breezy brows are worth looking into. Both treatments create an effortless look of oversized arches.
The reason so many people who are not satisfied with their eyebrows go for permanent makeup is the fact that the results are long lasting (up to 2 years, depending on the treatment), they can’t get ruined, and there is no need to reapply makeup every day.
In the long run, it can turn out to be a more economical solution, but the restoration of confidence that comes with the restoration of eyebrows is priceless.
There are many reasons eyebrow thinning can occur. Some of them can be prevented by taking care of your body, others are inevitable. Luckily, the beauty industry offers a whole range of options for eyebrow restoration.
Regular makeup works for most people, but permanent makeup offers more permanent solutions. There is a wide range of treatments to choose from and all of these are completely customizable, so a skilled artist can make it work for any age group, gender, or taste.
Cover image source: Freepik