Granted, this isn’t the most pressing issue of 2020. But as a 39 year old woman, I find myself staring in the mirror day after day and asking myself this question. As I dig deep to find my normal get up and go, just where on earth did my eyebrows get up and go?
It’s an issue helped greatly by hat season, yet also exacerbated by mask season. All that focus on the eye area is less than ideal. But, of course social distancing, working from home and ones social life hanging in tatters means that now is the ideal time to have an eyebrow identity crisis.
You and me got a whole lot of history
I never imagined a day I’d be googling ‘how to encourage facial hair’, given my demographic as a dark haired woman who has never struggled in that department.
Of course as I entered my teens in the mid nineties, a good pair of tweezers became my best friend and I have been pruning and plucking my untamely monobrow ever since.
Several pairs of emergency tweezers have been purchased on weekends away and holidays, and I could rarely pass by the bathroom mirror without indulging the satisfying removal of a newly emerging follicle.
But almost overnight, something changed. Thinning, patches and a general dissapearance of my eyebrow slugs, almost perfectly timed with the rise in fashion of the kardashian-esque big brows. Isn’t it ironic.
Why do eyebrows fall out?
My research tells me there are several reasons I’ve become follicularly challenged of late, so here are some of the front running causes.
Sob. There seems to be an undeniable correlation with the entering of my fortieth year and the absence of my eyebrows. Having scrutinised the evidence, the event occurred within days of my 39th birthday, supporting the hypothesis that it’s ageing causing the hair loss. Something perhaps I was aware of, but I didn’t think granny eyebrows would happen in a Kevin and Perry style overnight transformation…
I’m pretty au fait with hormonal hair loss, given the extreme thinning of hair I experienced after all of my pregnancies. The sudden crash of progesterone can play havoc with some metabolic pathways causing that telltale fishing of handfuls of hair out of the bath that scarred many of us for life. Having recovered eventually from Telogen Effluvium since giving up my baby making days, I didn’t expect to see it again…
Ensuring the baby making days are over has also involved messing with my hormones – namely in the form of the Mirena coil for five years, which was removed this summer. Another suspicious candidate for a shift in hair production.
The aforementioned obsession with physically dragging each unruly hair from it’s root has been shown to cause damage to follicles long term. It’s a no brainer really – how much can a bunch of cells take without giving up altogether…
Healthy glossy hair and nails can be attributed to a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals and eyebrows are no different.
The big 5 to target are Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin B7 (Biotin), Vitamin C and Iron. IT figures that a nutrient rich, balanced diet packed with fresh fruit and veg is the nirvana state of optimum hair growth – something which perhaps my working from home diet has been lacking of late.
Much like other forms of hair loss, eyebrow hair loss can be linked to stress. And whilst not always obvious, stress can take it’s toll underneath the surface more than you may ever realise. And, after all the spring of 2020 was when I decided I could break free from medicating for anxiety, having felt so much better for so very long.
And then…I mean, 2020, stressful much?
The brow recovery project
So anyway, here we are. Clinging on to every precious remaining strand and furiously searching the net for tried and tested solutions… which, in no particular order are…
Like all keratinous body parts, hair requires a good healthy balance of all sorts of vitamins and minerals. I’ve been piling on the fruit and veg, adequate protein and calcium, as well as topping up with a host of supplements. In particular those B7 vitamins, Vitamin D, Iron and Vitamin A.
A good A-Z should have you covered…
Desperate times call for desperate measures and I’ve invested the best part of forty quid on 3ml of a brow serum. Applying morning and night I’m thinking of it as a one off investment experiment and will be reporting back on the benefits…
Realising my 3ml isn’t far from done after just a few weeks, I realise the serum approach could get fairly costly, so have stocked up on some organic Castor oil, a natural tried and tested approach to encouraging hair growth at a more affordable ml/£ rate.
Alongside the castor oil, it’s worth noting coconut oil is also a reported stimulator of hair growth – something I will bear in mind when whipping up a coconut curry. (Can you ever have too oily brows?).
Clearly with stress as a factor, upping the anti on some self care practices; meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga and exercise will only do good. What is there to lose?
Step away from the tweezers
Breaking the habit of a lifetime, I have refrained from plucking in any shape or form for a couple of weeks and plan to stick with it as long as possible. I’m thinking of it as starting over and reconnecting with my natural form – whatever that may be… and am going to see how long I can stick having hair over half my forehead, apart from the place I want it to grow. But hey, if ever there was a time to do that scary thing, it’s the winter of 2020.
Once I have some healthy base I can begin to reshape and nurture what I will never take for granted again.
Permanent make up
I’m definitely not ready for anyone to come near my face with a tattoo gun just yet, eek, but it’s something I’m not ruling out long term. With microblading and permanent make up options being readily accessible it’s going to be something I might consider in the future if all of the above doesn’t pan out… I’m scoping out the landscape or should that be browscape and coming around to the idea that it might be the way towards brow goals if the natural approaches fail.
Ultimately, all of this has made me stop and question why this matters so much to me. How important are eyebrows anyway, and will anyone love me less if I don’t have any?
The answer is no, and for those moments I want to fill the gaps there is always a trusty brow pencil – an entirely new concept to me, but one I’m mastering with my new found practice for those rare nights out.
Maybe, just maybe my eyebrows will return as quickly as they departed. But one things for sure, and that is that if they don’t and that’s the worst thing 2020 throws at me, I’ve really gotten away lightly.