Why Your Eyebrows Stop Growing

Heather Muir, Allure magazine

At Allure, we have the great privilege of working with the best experts in the beauty industry. But that doesn't mean they always agree. Case in point: During a recent brow grooming session, owner of Sania's Brow Bar, Sania Vucetaj carefully tweezed my brows into perfectly-shaped arches. She somehow has the ability to pluck brows, yet make them look even fuller-it boggles the mind. After she finished, she pointed out a small hairless patch in my right brow and told me to let the hair grow in. "I actually don't pluck there-my brows just don't grow in that spot," I told her. Vucetaj asked if I applied moisturizer there and to my brows in general. Yes, I do, and it's not by accident. I put eye cream on my brow bones (in hopes of warding off droopy skin) and smooth it over my brows to tame unruly hairs and give a little sheen. Vucetaj said this was the cause of my problems because the cream clogs the hair follicles and prevents them from growing. "Would you put cream along your hairline?" she asked. Well, ew, no, I wouldn't. Point made.

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The next day I ran Vucetaj's theory by dermatologist Ellen Marmur. She actually disagreed, saying that if you did indeed put moisturizer on your hairline, all you'd get were greasy roots-you wouldn't experience hair loss. Now, if you did this and saw pimples (folliculitis) you'd know you were having a reaction and yes, this might cause some temporary shedding but nothing permanent. The same goes for your brows, she explained. So if parts of your brows stop growing, what's to blame? Well, it could be the long-term consequences of plucking or waxing, since those techniques can scar the roots. But Marmur also advises women to get checked for iron deficiencies and/or thyroid problems (both natural reasons for hair loss), and even diet and stress can cause a change in your brows. "It's safe to use creams in that area-it's part of the upper eyelid, and you want to treat that area to prevent hooding," Marmur said.

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The verdict: I'll still see Sania for my brows because she's amazing, but I'll also still apply my eye cream in my usual way and blame my little bald brow patch on over-plucking in high school-nothing a little pencil can't fix.

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