The eyebrows aren’t an accident of evolution — they protect the eyes, convey expression, and frame the face in an aesthetically pleasing way. Just look at the recent trend in brow styles and enhancement products to see that people care about their eyebrows more than ever!
Men and women are taking their brows more seriously, but what can science teach us about the biology of brows and how they grow? More specifically, how long does it take for eyebrows to grow back once they’ve been plucked or fallen out on their own?
If you want to maximize the look and shape of your natural brows, this information can prove useful in your efforts. Eyebrow hair loss is not the end of the road — regrowth is possible!
Let’s find out the truth about how and why brows grow, set some realistic expectations for growth cycle timeframes, and reveal some insider tips that will take your brows to the next level with sustainable growth.
Everyone wants great brows, and even if it’s not a priority, you certainly don’t want to lose the brows you have! With that in mind, the basics of eyebrow growth are quite similar to how hair grows on the rest of our bodies and the scalp.
For starters, the eyebrow hair follicles are the foundational units of growth and set the stage for how these hairs are arranged and developed. The average person has hundreds of follicle units across each brow, with anywhere from one to five hairs contained in each unit.
Therefore, we might have anywhere from 500 to 1000 brow hairs on the browline at any given time, depending on genetics and the stages of growth.
We’ll detail each phase of brow growth in the timeline below, along with how long each brow takes to achieve its maximum development before starting over.
Like scalp hair and hair throughout the rest of the body, brow growth is primarily driven by genetics and can vary accordingly. While growth cycles generally follow the same pattern, genetic traits determine key outcomes like the thickness, length, color, shape, curvature, and direction of each brow hair, resulting in the complete picture of brow development.
On top of the cards we’re dealt via DNA, brow growth has a health and lifestyle component as well. A healthy body means healthy brows since many physiological systems work together to promote strong brow growth from a young age.
The endocrine system, for instance, regulates the growth and resting phases of brow hairs, which explains why hormonal changes during puberty often result in thicker, denser brows for both men and women. A thriving circulatory system helps transport oxygen and nutrients to the follicle cells across each brow, ensuring they have all the amino acids and oils required to sprout flourishing brow hairs consistently.
Don’t forget about nutrition, recovery, and immune function, which all promote brow growth. It’s not uncommon for autoimmune disorders to result in lost brow hairs, which suggests these systems are key to sustained brow growth over time.
Finally, environmental factors and grooming methods should not be overlooked in the quest for beautiful natural brows. How you care for your brows is essential in making them look their best, and this means balancing styling (tweezing, plucking, threading, waxing, and shaping) with other maintenance methods and plenty of patience.
There’s more to the eyebrow equation than meets the eye, so consider all these elements when looking to maximize your brow health and appearance and regrow thick brows.
We’ve got the basics of eyebrow growth figured out, but what can the average person expect eyebrows to grow back once they’ve been plucked? It’s a fair question, considering many people find their brow growth lacking after years of being too aggressive with tweezers and other treatments.
You shouldn’t fear, however, because the body has the power to heal and restore itself with the proper fuel and some patience. Here’s a look at the typical eyebrow hair growth cycle and what to expect regarding a timeline:
The primary growth phase of the brow is characterized by a flood of nutrient and oxygen-dense resources to the blood vessels of each follicle. This is the “building” stage of brow development in which all the necessary materials are gathered and allocated to generate growth from a blank slate.
Most anagen phases last from a month to six weeks before growth plateaus. Also, note that anagenic hair often grows under the surface behind an existing, fully grown hair; most of our brow hair is actually in the anagen phase at any given time.
Once the anagen phase is finished, the brow follicles enter the catagen, or transition phase, when the blood supply is cut off, and growth slows to a halt. This stage usually lasts from two to three weeks.
You won’t be able to detect the catagen phase because brows are still at their developmental peak and holding strong in the root. Behind the scenes, however, hairs are gearing up for the beginning of the end. If you can help it, never pluck hair in the catagen phase, as this will leave a space where no new anagenic hair has yet sprouted.
Also known as the resting phase, the telogen phase is the longest of the three, lasting up to 100 days at a time. The hair has grown to its full potential, plateaued for several weeks, and is beginning to phase out before it’s replaced by new hair starting from the anagen phase.
Catagen is not synonymous with shedding and shouldn’t be feared. Hair in the telogen phase can still look great and healthy before a newly sprouted hair emerges to take its place. This is another reason to exercise caution when plucking because the hair at rest can still serve an important purpose.
With these three phases in mind, it’s fair to expect brows to bounce back over the course of three to four months in most cases, allowing for these phases to run their course and the cycle to complete fully. In some instances, resilient brow hair can return between eight and 10 weeks, though it typically takes longer to see maximum growth and density across the entire brow.
These are just averages, of course, and some brows might take longer to recover from overplucking or other forms of damage to the follicle unit. In cases of trauma, adverse medicine reactions, or autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata, certain follicles might require extra inputs or alternative cosmetic treatments to return to form.
Since we see our eyebrows in the mirror daily, encouraging brow growth can feel like watching a pot boil. However, there are some practical tips you can implement to help accelerate growth and even leapfrog the process with certain medical interventions.
Let’s outline four tips that actually work to help brows grow back faster.
They say patience is a virtue, and this sage advice applies perfectly to your brow growth efforts. Considering the tedious cycle of anagen, catagen, and telogen, you’ll be waiting a while for the cycle to reset and develop the strongest brow hair possible.
This is especially true for patients with over plucked brows, who may have accidentally disrupted growth cycles in the grooming process. Now that you know better about the breakage from these hair removal choices, let nature run its course and try to wait longer before picking up the tweezers once again.
Whether castor oil combined with peppermint, tea tree oil with nourishing coconut oil, or other popular combinations, all-natural topical treatments can help brow growth in conjunction with massage and direct stimulation. These natural DIY eyebrow growth serums can help support healthy hair growth.
While you’re waiting for sparse brows to grow back over the course of months, these practices can support overworked follicles and give them some extra nutrient value. Meanwhile, be sure to intake a healthy variety of supplements, vitamins, minerals, biotin, and collagen peptides to support brow growth from within.
With treatments like microchanneling setting the bar for collagen induction therapy, patients are seeing great results for brow growth in shorter time frames. Microscopic punctures applied to the brow skin spark a flood of growth factors and enzymes, setting the stage for strong and sustained anagenic cycles.
These treatments require continued sessions, but only a few are needed per year to see results.
For patients in need of a total brow reboot, eyebrow transplant procedures are better than ever. This method takes real hair from a donor area of the scalp (the back of the head), and transplants follicle units to the brow with precise and technical accuracy.
The best surgeons make new brow hair look indistinguishable from existing hairs, working with the natural grain and shape of the brow for transformative outcomes.
Brow growth isn’t rocket science, but too many patients miss out on the basics. Now that you have realistic expectations for brow growth and some proven tips, it’s time to regain control of your brows! Reach out to Jae Pak, M.D. if you need an extra boost from microchanneling, transplants, and more.
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