A question I hear often is, “How long does it take for eyebrows to grow back?” Everything is relative, but I think lots of folks would agree that hair seems to grow very slowly, especially when you’re trying to get it to grow. It’s natural to want to make your eyebrows grow back faster, especially if you have a big day coming up or if you’re trying to recover from overplucking, thinning, or loss because of disease, disorder, or medication.
For those like myself who want to make eyebrows grow back, it helps to have the facts about eyebrow hair growth. It gives me a sense of control to know what’s normal and what’s reasonable to expect. Keeping the facts in mind also helps me be a little more accepting of nature’s timetable.
Even though I take steps daily to make my eyebrows grow, it’s sometimes hard to stick with my routine when I look in the mirror and don’t notice any change from the day before. That’s when I have to step back and remember that eyebrows, like any other hair on the human body, have a natural growth cycle.
If I asked a barber or hair stylist how to make my scalp hair grow faster, that professional would no doubt tell me that hair grows about a half an inch a month and the best thing to do for my hair would be to keep it well conditioned, get regular trims, and wait for my hair to eventually grow out. Ugh. That may be true, but it’s not the news I want to hear.
Well, it turns out that there are a few things that can realistically be done to make eyebrow hair grow back faster, but they rely on an understanding of eyebrow hair growth, and that’s what I hope to share in this post.
Eyebrow hair growth is a cycle of three (or four, depending on the expert) stages. There’s the anagen stage, when hair is actively growing; the catagen stage when hair is transitioning from growth to rest, and the telogen stage when hair is resting. Some experts include a fourth stage, the exogen stage, which is characterized by shedding. After an eyebrow hair goes through all stages in the cycle, the process begins again. Let’s take a closer look.
Anagen is the active growth phase of a hair. Cells in the root of the hair multiply and continue to add length to the hair shaft. The length of this phase determines the length of the eyebrow hair. For eyebrows, the anagen phase lasts between four to seven months (whereas for scalp hair the anagen phase lasts between two and seven or more years). If you’re trying to grow your eyebrows back, it’s important to trigger and prolong the anagen stage with the appropriate treatments. By triggering the anagen stage (for example, by using Latisse), you’re getting hairs in the final phase of the cycle to start growing now rather than continuing to rest. In effect, this allows you to make your eyebrows grow faster. By prolonging the anagen stage, you’re allowing the hairs to grow longer before going into dormancy.
Try to avoid the things that shorten the anagen stage, such as “stress, hormone imbalance, medications, poor diet, sudden weight loss, aging and even over-styling” [their words]. Also surgery, pregnancy.
Try to do the things that lengthen the anagen stage: good health, etc. Plus latisse and minoxidil, I think.
The catagen stage is a transitional phase in the eyebrow hair growth cycle when a hair separates from its blood supply and from the cells that generate new hair. This is a period of regression. Growth stops, and the hair follicle shrinks. Some eyebrow hairs will shed at this time. Many others will stay attached to the skin but are no longer growing. For eyebrows, the catagen stage usually lasts for three to four weeks.
During the telogen stage of the eyebrow hair growth cycle, which lasts for about three months for eyebrows, a hair rests or sheds. If the hair sheds, you’ll see a white “bulb” where the hair detached from the skin. If the hair remains attached, the dermal papilla (the part of the hair follicle that contains blood vessels to nourish growing hair) is dormant. While in the telogen stage, the eyebrow hair is inactive and does not grow. This phase lasts for about two to four months for scalp hair, but for body and facial hair, the telogen phase is a lot longer–nine months for eyebrows. At any given time, a certain percentage of hairs are at rest.
If hair stays in the telogen phase too long (as happens when a person has an underactive thyroid gland), or starts the telogen phase too early, the strand will be thinner.
To prevent this from happening, keep your skin healthy with a great cleansing and nourishing regimen. And, manage stress, avoid smoking and environmental toxins, and get plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and adaptogens–if not from your diet, then through supplements.
The telogen phase ends when the hair follicle starts the anagen (growing) stage again, and the new, growing hair pushes out the old hair.
Some researchers and doctors describe a fourth stage characterized by shedding, They believe that shedding should be included in a distinct, separately controlled stage. The exogen phase can be understood as an extension of the resting begun in the telogen phase.
How Does This Help?
Knowing about the eyebrow hair growth cycle has been empowering for me. I find that now I can answer questions I used to ask myself, like, “How fast do eyebrows grow back?” (Answer: It depends on whether the root was pulled out and, if so, what phase of growth the hair was in.)
For me, understanding the cycle reassures me that it’s possible to make eyebrows grow back with the right support and strategy. This helps me to continue with my routine even when I’m not seeing much improvement.
What about you? Does knowing about the way your eyebrows grow give you any ideas about how to get the brows of your dreams? Leave a quick note in the Comments section to let me know!