Strong Eyebrows Are Still Everything

Six months ago we picked up the New York Times and there it was, staring back at us from the front of the Thursday Styles section—another story about eyebrows. Big, bold, beautiful brows. We raised ours at each other—limpy, sparse, in need of some TLC—and decided it was finally time to take action. We wanted them bigger, thicker, and more full of life.

And we are not alone. A quick search for “#eyebrows” on Instagram yields more than 2.6 million hits. Just “#brows”? Over one million. There are 300,000+ video tutorials on YouTube to help guide you through shaping and filling in your brows and countless other posts on beauty and fashion blogs dedicated to enhancing your brows.

But why?

The no-makeup makeup look is everywhere—and it doesn’t work without a strong brow (and flawless skin, but that’s another story.) “The brows frame not only the eyes, but the face as well,” says makeup artist Cindy Rodriguez. "An overly arched brow can make you look either angry or surprised all day. And an overly filled-in, dark brow can make you look cranky. Brows are important. You want a strong brow not an overbearing brow.“

Strong, not too arched or too dark. Got it.

If you have the patience, Sania Vucetaj, owner of Sania’s Brow Bar in NYC, says to step away from the mirror, put down the tweezers, and keep all moisturizers, oils, and creams away from your eyebrows. She’s been helping beauty editors and celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker maintain, preserve and enhance their brows for 25 years.

"All the lotions are stunting your hair’s growth. Wash your face, fill in your brows with a pencil, then… apply serum, moisturizer, makeup, whatever you please,” Vucetaj says. “Creating that visual barrier around your brows is important so nothing gets in them. Let them breathe so they can grow.”

She suggests letting a professional shape the arch by tweezing them every six to eight weeks. While you wait for them to grow in, you can use either a pencil, or shadow with an angled brush, to fill in the sparse spots. On that plan, you should be closer to your dream brows in about six months.

But not everyone can wait that long.

We got the itch to try another route after reading a post on The Local Rose about lengthening and strengthening brows (and lashes!) with castor oil. Shiva Rose suggests using a clean mascara wand to simply swipe some oil through your brows at bedtime. “I noticed results after two weeks of use,” she wrote on her blog. “My eyebrows seem shiny, happy and fuller and my lashes seem stronger and thicker.”

Happy brows. Who wouldn’t want that? (Bonus: once you buy a bottle of castor oil there are endless other uses for it.)

If oiling up doesn’t sound appealing or you’re still looking for faster results, there’s always eyebrow tinting. Ten minutes and $30 at Browhaus in Soho left us with darker brows that not only matched our hair color, but better framed our faces. They use a vegetable-based dye for 100% safety, and the process neither hurts nor smells.

There are endless ways to bigger, bolder brows, but whatever path you choose it’s best to keep it looking as natural as possible. “I love the no-makeup look because it embraces our natural beauty,” Rodriguez says. “You want people to say you look beautiful, not your makeup.”