Brows evolved, in essence, to keep your eyes safe – they create a protective arch that stops rain, sweat, and all the rest from getting at you. So they’re basically just there to help you see better.
But these days, eyebrows are a big deal: jobs like ‘Global Brow Expert’ are a real thing, and men and women across the world spend 100s of millions of dollars every year trying to figure out how to get thicker eyebrows.
This makes sense:
Your eyebrows shape a large part of the immediate impression people get from you, as well as being an important way of reading your face – just think of how expressive the Rock’s eyebrows are!
A study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that eyebrows are actually as (or more) important for facial recognition than eyes – even if we don’t realize it.
From Cara Delavigne to Chris Pratt, full, thick, full eyebrows have become the ideal in today’s grooming game. And that makes things tough: the growth cycle of eyebrows is 4 months, so you can’t always just grow your eyebrows fast.
Whether you’ve been tweezering too often and decided you want to fix your thin brows, you’ve got naturally patchy brow growth that you’re sick of, or you just want to give your eyebrows a little extra weight, there’s hope for us all.
In this post, we’re going to lay out the scientific evidence in support of the different brow growth strategies – we’re not just going to show you how to get thicker eyebrows. We’re going to explain why it works and help you understand all the options available.
There are tons of eyebrow serums on the market nowadays, and that can make choosing between them difficult. But the reality is, most of them feature very similar ingredients, and achieve similar results:
They contain peptides (to promote healthier hair follicles and a foundation for healthier hair growth); vitamins like biotin and panthenol; amino acids (the building blocks of protein, which hair is made of); and oils that soften the brow hair and keep it from falling out.
On top of these ingredients, which do strengthen and condition your hairs to give the appearance of thicker, fuller brows, most serums add a formula specifically to promote hair growth.
These formulas are often developed by specific companies and patented. So to avoid confusion, we’ve narrowed it down to what we feel is the very best serums for growing thicker eyebrows for men and women.
But we haven’t stopped there:
Serums are far from the only scientifically verified way of getting thicker eyebrows, and we’re going to dive deep into several other strategies that might be right for you.
We’re also going to give you some important advice about how you should approach your brow building journey – general principles you need to keep in mind before you go spending top dollar on a serum or getting a hair transplant!
8 Effective ways to grow thicker eyebrows
Nanoxidil first came onto the scent in 2011; it was presented by Divine Skin Inc. as an alternative to minoxidil for treating hair loss.
While it is very similar to minoxidil chemically, the differences are key: Nanoxidil’s molecular weight is lower, which leads to better penetration and absorption.
Nanoxidil has fewer known side-effects (Minoxidil can cause unwanted hair growth and skin irritation, among other things) and can treat all areas of hair, whereas minoxidil is really only used on the scalp.
The science of Nanoxidil
The fancy term for chemicals like Minoxidil and Nanoxidil is ‘potassium channel opener’ – they widen blood vessels and improve blood flow to the scalp. This, in turn, allows more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to get to the hair follicles, helping make them healthier.
The result is that thinner hair sheds and is replaced by thicker, fuller hair.
While Nanoxidil is yet to gain FDA approval, it has been scientifically tested: studies have demonstrated; that using Nanoxidil to treat hair loss can achieve up to a 28.6% increase in hair growth in just three months.
DS Laboratories claim that trials have shown 93% of people using Nanoxidil saw a decrease in hair loss, and according to a 2009 KoreMed study, treatment with Nanoxidil (5 %) showed significantly higher hair regrowth rate compared with other groups.
What makes Spectral.Brow so effective?
Nanoxidil, as should be clear now, is an absolutely brilliant ingredient that promotes hair growth – a great way to grow sparse eyebrows thicker. But on its own, Nanoxidil would just be making your brows grow, and Spectral. Brow does more than that.
It contains several extra ingredients which help
- Lysophosphatidic Acid
A water-soluble phospholipid, which helps moisturize your brow and promote healthier hair to grow.
- Piroctone Olamine
A compound sometimes used in the treatment of fungal infections; in Spectral.Brow, it helps promote thicker hair growth and maintain the health and cleanliness of the hair.
- Copper Peptides
Three amino acids linked, which help rejuvenate and repair damage, as well as strengthening existing hair.
An anti-inflammatory agent which promotes biochemical processes like energy transfer and signal transduction. It basically fights against patchiness in your brows by regulating the expression of growth factors in dermal papilla cells.
Vitamin A: it helps normalize the oil glands and hair follicles.
- Azelaic Acid
An antibacterial acid that helps clear the skin and promotes keratin production.
- Hyaluronic Acid
Helps fight against dry scalp and hair.
The combination of these numerous ingredients helps promote faster, effective brow growth that will not only make your brows thicker but healthier, cleaner, and easier to shape and groom.
How to use Spectral.Brow
You apply Spectral.Brow twice a day: morning and evening. You trace the brush slowly across your brow, before letting it dry for a few minutes in your brow. Finally, once it’s dry, you can just get on with your day!
2. Use natural Oils
There are serums – like Province Apothecary’s Full Brow Serum – which consist almost exclusively of natural oils and plant extracts, making super effective
But to grow thicker eyebrows naturally and at very little cost, directly applying a natural oil of your choice is a great approach.
This method will require a regular application and can take several months to start producing results.
Many men and women swear by natural oils as the very best way to approach eyebrow growth, especially those particularly concerned with nature.
While there are absolutely tons of oils people claim help grow eyebrows thicker, we’ve narrowed it down to the very best and most popular options for you:
Castor oil comes from the beans of castor trees; it is filled with rich proteins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and vitamins, all of which help nourish the hair follicles.
Castor oil helps improve blood circulation around your hair follicles, which creates a cleaner, healthier environment for hair to grow naturally.
While there are no official studies on the effect of castor oil on hair growth, its largest chemical compound ricinoleic acid has been shown to aid balding men to regrow their hair.
All you need to do is apply a small amount of the oil to your eyebrow roots each day; massage it gently in, then leave it for about half an hour before wiping it and washing your face as normal.
Most people start to see results around 2 months in.
There are some considerations here: some people are allergic to castor oil, so you’ll need to do a patch test if you suspect you may be. And there is no guarantee it will produce thicker eyebrows for everyone.
It is, however, a hugely popular way to grow thicker eyebrows naturally: our pick for a good quality bottle is Sky Organics.
Olive oil is a brilliant choice – not just because it is a natural way to promote hair growth, but because you’ve likely already got some lying around the house!
Olive oil is full of vitamins A, E, and K; each of these vitamins is amazing for hair growth. It also contains linoleic acid (polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid), which is vital for hair skin regeneration and hair growth.
Applying olive oil to your brows – much as described above with castor oil, but left for a few hours rather than 30 minutes – unquestionably promote healthier hair as well as encouraging it to grow.
It also tends to produce results quicker than castor oil – often in a matter of weeks!
As with castor oil, it’s very important to clean your skin thoroughly after using olive oil – otherwise, your skin is liable to get very oily indeed.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E is incredibly important for hair growth: It is rich in a natural antioxidant called tocotrienol, which assists with maintaining existing hair growth, as well as reducing the oxidative stress which causes follicle cells to break down and improving blood circulation.
Once again, all you’re going to do is gently massage a small amount of the oil into your brows. However, this time, you’ll need to leave the oil in overnight.
The best vitamin E oil for eyebrows comes straight in from PURA D’OR.
3. Change Your Diet
Diet, as with so many things in grooming and life generally, is an underappreciated aspect of hair growth.
If you aren’t getting the vitamins and nutrients – both micro and macro – that your body needs, it’s unlikely your body will repay you by growing luscious, thick eyebrows.
Of particular importance for follicle growth are zinc, iron, and protein.
Helps your red blood cells carry oxygen around the body – which includes your hair! You can get it from a healthy batch of green veggies, lean cuts of meat and fish, or a good glass of milk.
Keratin is a structural protein crucial to the makeup of an awful lot of your hair follicles (as well as your nails.)
Eating plenty of protein is generally important for health (think eggs, meat, nuts), but it is also especially important to keep a proper supply of Keratin to help grow your eyebrows!
Plays a major role in hair tissue and growth repair (alongside its side Hussle helping protein folding and gene expression!)
Beyond these, there are a host of vitamins and minerals you need to be making sure you get enough of:
Vitamin A (sweet potatoes, carrots) helps produce sebum, the body’s natural oil, which promotes healthier, faster hair growth.
Vitamin E (almonds, spinach) boosts the roots of the hair, creating darker, thicker eyebrows.
Omega-3 fatty acids (avocado, salmon) is an anti-inflammatory,
And finally, perhaps the most important vitamin for growing your eyebrows is biotin, which you can find in red meat, eggs, nuts, and much more…
4. Take Biotin Supplements right now
Some people have issues with changing their diet – maybe you have challenging constraints and don’t have the time or facilities for eating well all the time, or maybe you just have trouble stomaching certain healthy foods.
Well, fear not!
One of the great benefits of living in 2020 is the existence of wide-ranging, safe, and affordable supplements for virtually every kind of dietary problem, meaning you can find pills to manage all of the nutritional challenges your hair growth faces you with.
You need to remember to be consistent with supplements, and it’s important that you don’t simply rely on them to provide your body with everything it needs and revert to eating McD’s three times a day.
It’s actually best to take supplements with a meal to help your body fully absorb them naturally.
So what is Biotin?
Biotin is often known as Vitamin H – as in, Vitamin Hair. That’s how important it is for hair growth. It’s regularly used in eyebrow growth serums, and Biotin deficiency is often linked to hair loss.
It is water-soluble, so it won’t stick around in your body if it’s unneeded or unwelcome. And it helps metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and protein into energy, making it an all-round important vitamin to have in your body at all times!
One of the key proteins in hair is Keratin, which is composed of amino acids. Biotin helps produce protein more efficiently, meaning it strengthens the hair shafts, improves hair texture, and stops your hair from thinning.
You can get a multi-vitamin, which will contain a bunch of other good vitamins for hair growth – like vitamin E and iron – but this 5000mcg bottle of pure Biotin from Sports Research is great value and will help promote eyebrow growth brilliantly.
5. Drop all that stress
The good news is that there are a plethora of stress-reducing activities – such as exercise, meditation, or even just taking needed breaks during a busy day. You’ll be more productive, clear-headed, and less frazzled.
The World Health Organization has termed stress the ‘health epidemic of the 21st Century’ (though, of course, it’s got a competitor or two currently!)
We work non-stop, are sleeping less than we should, and are so overstimulated that even the good times are often stress-like today.
So cutting down on stress is probably a good idea anyway.
High levels of cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone) are known to contribute to almost innumerable diseases and ailments, in part because it weakens the immune system and in part because it actively overloads the body’s flight-response.
Inevitably then, your hair is also likely to suffer seriously if you’re under too much stress. It restricts the flow of vitamins to your hair follicles and causes some people to actually lose their hair!
The problem with stress is trying to ‘destress’ can itself be very stressful – especially if it isn’t going well! But there are many great ways of getting your stress to pipe down:
Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, so you could sign-up to the gym, join a sports team, or start a jogging habit. Equally, meditation is a well-trodden path for the stress alleviator, and there are tons of free apps available to get you to start.
If neither of those is your bag, simply turning off your phone and spending some quality time with friends and family is often enough to keep the cortisol at bay. And that will have a great knock-on effect, improving the growth of your eyebrows.
6. Dye your brows, so they look fuller
For some, simply growing their eyebrows so that they’re thicker is only half the battle – they still need to make sure their brows are actually visible!
Very light, fine hair can be beautiful, but for eyebrows, it’s often a liability. Your eyebrows could be as full and thick as you like, but if nobody can seem them, it’s all for nothing.
While it’s great if you can grow thicker eyebrows, as with so many questions of grooming, the perception is as important as the reality. And dyeing your eyebrows may just be the best way to deal with your thin, light eyebrows and get them looking like Colin Farrell’s.
You’ll need to ensure the dye matches your other hair and complexion – though that’s not to say they have to be exactly the same!
You’ll need to be careful not to assume thin brows will look super thick just because they’re darker. But dyeing is a very effective method, particularly in conjunction with other strategies on this list.
Dye generally lasts 3-8 weeks, and is rarely very expensive – another reason it’s a great supplementary strategy!
Whilst you can get a professional to dye your brows – and it can be a really pleasant, relaxing thing to do! – but you’re just as well off getting a home-dyeing kit like this Comb-in Colour for men from Just For Men.
7. Eyebrow transplants – no, really!
As strange as it sounds, there is an ultimate solution to sparse eyebrows, and it’s surprisingly common these days!
The process is very similar to the traditional hair plant – a cosmetic surgeon creates a hair graft from your own hair (they generally take the hair from behind your ears (a surprisingly large repository!)) and implants it onto your brow area. This makes it look very natural.
How long does it take?
While the actual process is fairly stress-free and straightforward (taking roughly 2-3 hours), it’s important to note that you’ll have some prep beforehand.
You may be in recovery for a fair few weeks, during which you’ll likely have the alarming experience of seeing your transplanted hairs fall out (don’t worry – it’s normal!)
How much does it cost?
Generally, between $3,000-6,000. But there is huge room to maneuver, and the very best surgeons will charge considerably more than that!
Will I be satisfied?
Scientific research has been done into the psychological impact of cosmetic surgery on patients, and it’s generally been found that people who undergo surgery are satisfied with their results and finish off happier than they started.
It’s important to manage your expectations:
If you go into an eyebrow transplant expecting more than an improvement to your eyebrow thickness and shape, you may end up pretty disappointed. And given the cost (both time and financial), that would be a massive bummer.
The flip side of this, however, is that as long as you go in with eyes open, eyebrow transplants are an incredible thing – a permanent fix for your eyebrow anguish. Though some may prefer a less permanent solution…
Microblading essentially gives you a semi-permanent tattoo underneath your eyebrows, which helps reshape them and create an appearance of thickness.
It obviously won’t help you grow your eyebrows in reality, but if you’re struggling to get them to pop naturally, microblading might be for you.
It’s a very fast and efficient way of improving the thickness of your brows – rather than having to fill them in every day, you’ve got a semi-permanent underlayer, which does the same job of thickening your brows as an eyebrow pencil but with greater convenience.
How Microblading works
Instead of a tattoo gun, micro blades utilize tiny, fine-point needles to scratch the epidermis (the outer tissue of your skin) and deposit pigment underneath it.
Because the needles are so small, microblading can be incredibly precise, allowing you to shape the brows exactly as you wish and achieve an amazing level of symmetry.
Microbladers generally use feathery, lash-like strokes to ensure the pigment really blends with your actual brows.
You’ll generally need to take a consultation before undergoing the full operation and then have a follow-up session 6-8 weeks later. Once on, the tattoo lasts between 12 and 18 months.
Before the actual tattooing, you’ll need to avoid doing anything to your eyebrows in the days leading up to the procedure (like tanning or plucking) and steer clear of alcohol (!) and caffeine(!!!) for at least 24 hours prior.
There is usually a numbing agent used during the actual tattooing, which means any discomfort during the process is rare, and during the consultation, you’ll be able to talk through exactly what you’re trying to achieve with your brows.
How to know if microblading is right for you
Microblading is a costly procedure, and of course, you can’t go back on it if you suddenly decide it isn’t for you! So if you’ve got any reservations about the procedure, we’d suggest you take that as a sign.
For women (and increasingly men) who enjoy indulging themselves, there’s clear value in microblading, so it’s definitely worth taking a consultation if you’re intrigued by the idea and think it might be for you.
Listen to people who’ve had the treatment: there are plenty of reviews, articles, and videos out there of people very honestly appraising their experiences.
While we’re not going to share any specific one here (we don’t want to bias you!), it’s all just a Google away!
The most important thing is just not to rush into anything – this is 18 months of your life you’ll have to live with the decision.
It’s also important to note that some people may be allergic to certain pigments, and you need to be aware and cautious during your consultation.
While the risk of infection has been demonstrated below, you do need to ensure you go to a fully qualified expert and are vigilant in checking their credentials in preparation.
4 Important tips before you start growing eyebrows
As we’ve seen, there are a number of ways to help your eyebrows grow nice and thick. But simply reading about a particular method and liking the sound of it is not enough. There are five important things you should do before getting at it:
1. Stay clean and healthy
A through-line across most of the methods we’ve discussed is the importance of health and cleanliness:
Having the right vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in your body, sleeping and living a healthy lifestyle, and keeping your face (particularly the brows!) clean to promote growth and healthy-looking hair.
It’s therefore important that, regardless of how you approach trying to grow your brows, you are being as healthy as possible, staying as clean as possible, and not thinking in too binary a fashion.
It will probably end up being a combination of the methods we’ve listed here, which will end up producing results for you.
By the same token, it’s important to note that some of these methods are mutually exclusive – if you’re using Spectral.Brow, you’re unlikely to get any benefit from also applying castor oil separately!
2. Do your research
We’ve included as much scientific and biological information as possible, and only included methods which we believe to be genuinely effective.
But nobody knows your hair or body as well as you, and it’s important that you fully read up on the method you choose so that you have a full understanding and can make an informed decision.
The internet is full of useful reviews, scientific analysis, and product information that will be absolutely essential to you if you’re looking to find a microblading expert, learn to cook more eyebrow-inducing meals, or whatever else it will be.
3. Always be cautious
Many of these methods are extreme – particularly hair transplants! And therefore, it’s very important that before taking such measures, you think very seriously about the cost, risks, and implications of the method.
Depending on the method, you might need to bear in mind potential allergies or side-effects. You also don’t want to throw money away on methods you’re not actually doing to follow through with.
If you’re going to change your diet, for example, it’s important that you’re cautious and steady – changing everything overnight is only likely to lead to a relapse.
4. But be willing to experiment
Because the majority of clinical trials that demonstrate the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and the like are based on statistical significance – it isn’t that every person in a trial exhibits a certain effect, it’s that enough people do.
So your hair may simply not respond to a particular method – and that’s okay!
The absolute most important thing is that you stay motivated, and you are willing to keep trying and experimenting.
If growth serum doesn’t work for you, you can change your diet; if your diet doesn’t have the desired effect, you can start using natural oils.
So that brings us to the end.
We’d love to know what you think – which method has worked best for you? Did we miss an important technique you think people would like to know about? And how do you feel about your eyebrow thickness in general?
Let us know in the comments below.