Ladies, we are entering a new age of eyebrow anxiety, and Kim Kardashian is partly to blame. But it's not just her -- it's models like Cara Delevingne who are making women go to extreme lengths for darker, heavier eyebrows. I'm talking eyebrow transplants -- thousands of dollars to implant hairs from the nape of your neck onto your face. According to an article in Harper's Bazaar, eyebrow transplants are all the rage now. But come on, that's crazy, right? They cost between $4,000 to $10,000 and take hours. Is that really the best option for transforming your eyebrows?
We talked with New York City eyebrow stylist/guru Joey Healy to get the scoop on this cosmetic surgery trend and to find out how we ordinary mortals can get bolder brows without blowing 10 grand.
The good news? You can dramatically transform your eyebrows! And we're not missing out on anything with the transplants. Healy says the hairs on the nape of your neck are very different from the ones in your brow -- they grow much faster, for starters. And they have a different texture. He says the hair transplant would probably be helpful in extreme cases, like for burn victims who can't grow hair there at all. But if you just want a fuller brow? "There are more practical solutions."
Even women like me, who have blah, sparse, shapeless brows, can get Natalie Portman's seriously bold look (I can't even remember what happens in the Thor movies because I spent the whole time plotting how to get those eyebrows). The key is to use a combination of methods. But there's one thing everyone who wants to change their brows should start with: "Hands off," Healy says.
1. Your first step is to let your eyebrows grow in for four to six weeks. No plucking, not even the strays. You want to let everything grow in so you can see what the possibilities are and what you have to work with. You may be surprised to see more hair than you thought you had.
2. Meanwhile, for instant gratification, Healy recommends applying a brow powder with a stiff brush to fill in your gaps. He says it will look better than a pencil; plus, there are great options now that are forgiving (you can wipe them off if you make a mistake) and are waterproof.
3. You can also try a brow serum, clear gel you apply day and night. "Peptides in the serum generate hair growth," Healy says. At $125 his Brow Renovation Serum is pricey, but it's still a whole lot cheaper than a transplant.
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4. Once you've grown out your brows, you can start shaping -- carefully. If you can see a specialist at a salon, that's great, though Healy doesn't recommend waxing or threading because they make growing back hair harder and because tweezing gives you more control over details.
5. Another option is eyebrow hair dyeing, which Healy recommends getting done at a salon instead of at home. A professional will get everything, even the little baby hairs, and can dye more safely. We're talking about your face, after all. So if you have thin, pale eyebrows, you might want to try dyeing and then some powder to fill in the spaces between, for example. It's the combination of the two that will truly transform your eyebrows in a way that looks authentic, even in daylight.
"For some women," Healy says, transforming your eyebrows "is more of a journey." It takes some time, some patience, some experimenting. So great, maybe Natalie Portman's eyebrows are a reality for me after all. I just have to take it slow.
Whose eyebrows do you envy?
Image via Leland Bobbe/Corbis