Thinning Brows and What to do About Them
Brows can become thinner over time due to many reasons like
age, hormonal changes, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, illnesses
such as autoimmune diseases, thyroid imbalances, nutrition deficiencies,
uncontrolled habitual pulling called trichotillomania, overzealous tweezing, waxing
or threading and some side effects from medications.
Also, since there are no approved prescription strength eyebrow serums on the market, the products available are more strengthening and conditioning serums which contain ingredients like caster oil, keratin and peptides/amino acids, which act like a hair conditioner to add plumpness, gloss and strength to brow hairs already in existence. Serums must be used religiously, and you should see signs of improvements within a few months rather than overnight.
For the best serums, ingredients to look out for would be biotin (vit B7) panthenol, keratin and hyaluronic acid. Other ingredients for conditioning brow hairs include caster oil, rosemary oil and arginine which is said to strengthen the hair follicle.
Tinting brows is a great way of helping the brows to appear fuller and thicker. There are 2 types of tints available in salon. An oxidised tint – which is made up of a tube of colour and is mixed with hydrogen peroxide and applied to the brows and left for up to 15-20 mins to process. Patch testing for this tint is crucial as the ingredients are known allergens. This type of tint enters the hair shaft and the colour is locked in and lasts anytime from 4-6 weeks and comes is a variety of colours and shades that can be mixed to achieve the perfect colour for your client. This type of tint – when applied to the skin – giving a make-up look, only stains the skin for a short amount of time.
A non-oxidised tint like Salon System Marvelbrow tint – which is peroxide and ppd free (so better for sensitive clients and those that have reacted to an oxidised patch test) is much better at staining the skin as lasts much longer – between 5-7 days on the skin and up to 4 weeks on the hair. This type of tint isn't mixed together but is a 2-step application. The tint is applied first (colourless gel) and is allowed to absorb into the hair and skin – after this, the developer gel which is a silver nitrate solution (also colourless) is then applied on top, in small sections at a time – when the silver nitrate solution touches the tinted area, a chemical reaction occurs, resulting in a stain of either black or brown depending on the colour used. As the tint is just plant based, you are more restricted with colours.
An alternative is brow powder, which is a fabulous quick fix solution if your brows are naturally gappy and need filling in, or if you have scars where the hair refuses to regrow. Also it's good for extending a short brow or enhancing the arch. Available in many shades – you can be as artistic as you like – using one colour or more, creating a block brow or ombre look. Mineral powders have great staying power with quality pigments that need no touching up throughout the day, and a little goes a long way, meaning they last and last….
Brow laminations like the RefectoCil Brow Lamination Kit and Salon System Lash & Brow Lift System are a brilliant treatment to have if your clients have thin or unruly brows. It can transform these into full fluffy brows within a short period of time that would then just need a daily brush and setting. This relaxing treatment entails the brows to be cleansed and put through a chemical process where the therapist ‘sets' the brows in place – manoeuvring each hair giving maximum coverage, covering, and disguising any scar tissue or natural gaps to achieve a really full fluffy result. This will last up to 4 weeks and will need a conditioning serum applied daily.
This treatment is also great for taming coarse, thick, and unruly brows and as a pre-treatment if your client's brows are particularly resistant to tint - like redheads and greys, as it opens up the cuticle of the hair better allowing the tint to penetrate.
Semi-permanent brows are also a serious contender if you want a wake-up make-up look. Techniques have become more sophisticated over time and results more natural if this is what you prefer. Skilled brow technicians are master artists and finding a good one that suits your requirements is most important as once you've gone down this route – there's no going back. In the UK as this is an unregulated industry – make sure you do your due diligent homework and go with someone you trust.
After treatment, the brows can fade over time and top ups are recommended and if your natural brow hairs are lighter than the semi-permanent pigment – you will still need these tinting – so this option is not totally commitment free. There's also the cost, down time and pain to consider, although numbing creams are used to help with this. Again, there are options when it comes to semi-permanent brows whether you opt for microblading where tiny cuts are made into the skin then pigment is rubbed into the wounds – or whether you opt for a traditional tattoo brow where a needle is used. Both have their own pros and cons, and a full consultation to discuss medical history etc should be done prior to treatment and the brow artist, based on your consultation, will recommend the treatment that suits you best. My advice would be – have your consultation and treatment on a separate day, so you have some thinking time in between before committing.
Finally, there should be an eleventh commandment of ‘though shalt not remove any brow hairs at home!' If your client's own tweezers – tell them to only use these in the event of getting splinters and nothing else! They are investing in having their brows professionally treated and getting brows into the correct shape can take a long time to then have the client undo all that work at home! When clients have a brow– it's a commitment that includes homecare, so that would include using a recommended serum and leaving them alone until their next appointment – however tempting it might be.
Brows are such an important part of the face. They frame the eyes, balance out proportions and can even make you look younger – more awake – if you get them right. When results are long lasting like semi-permanent make-up or aesthetics – stay away from fashion and trends– leave that to clothes, handbags, shoes etc as what's in fashion one day is out the next!