Alopecia and the loss of our eyebrows. One of the things we don’t often talk about when it comes to autoimmune hair loss. For those of us with alopecia areata, we remember that first bare spot on our heads. More often than not, it was a round spot the size of a coin that felt smooth, yet not like any other skin that was exposed to the elements. In the event that alopecia areata progresses to alopecia totalis or universalis, those of us who lose our eyelashes and/or eyebrows are now presented with a new reality of going out in public in this new way.
There are several options if we want the look of a brow. Do we draw them on or apply temporary tattoos? Do we pursue microblading, microshading or ombre brows? Another option is to wear a hat with the brim lowered to our brow level or a scarf that sits quite low? The other choice is going out into the world without any of these things. With alopecia, I always recommend doing what feels right to you. It’s completely your decision to try any, all or none of these options.
I’ve tried a few different products. I started with an eyebrow stencil and a type of shadow. This worked well for me at the time, but ended up being too much work for me as a young mom of kids who liked being with me, tugging on my shirt as I got ready for my day. I often ended up with eyebrows that weren’t symmetrical. One was often higher than the other. A friend once told me, “They’re sisters. Not twins.” Sage advice, but I knew I needed something that would work better for me. So I kept looking.
I briefly considered getting my eyebrows tattooed. I had seen several of my friends do this, and they were extremely happy with the results. Those who love them, absolutely love them – stating that it saves so much time every morning. I think there was a little bit of fear for me. What if the sisters, not twins things looked like a dark fuzzy sharpie on one side, and a zig-zag of Orion’s Belt on the other? Someone mentioned it’s not a buy one/get one type thing to consider. So true! Research and go with the best. Ask the alopecia community forums for suggestions and recommendations in the city or area where you live. Don’t take the decision or expense lightly, and ask when to expect a touch-up and if it’s included in the price.
Temporary tattoos are getting a lot of attention right now. They are gaining a lot of positive reviews from parents of young children who express wanting their brows. Several companies are in the forefront, one of which is My Two Brows. The company is founded by Jason Berndt who works to get the right sizes and shades to fit all face shapes. Jason also wanted to destigmitize wanting to wear eyebrows as a man, and he has a large male customer base who feels the same. From my experience, these are simple to apply. Factors like the type of skin you have (oily, dry, combination), the time of year it is and where you live, and if you use any product like moisturizer or sunscreen on your face affect how long they can last.
Eyebrow wigs are another option that are applied with adhesive. The same rule of eyebrow tattoos applies to these. They range in how long they last is based on our skin conditions, time of year and where you live, and product we wear. In the past, the ones I’ve seen have a little too much depth for what I was seeking. A more recent search has shown me there are ones that are human hair and sit almost flush to the face. I may have to give them a try.
For me, an eyebrow pencil and years of applying them is my go-to. I’ve tried a variety of eyebrow pencils, and much of them give me the same result. Some days, my eyebrows look like very close sisters, and others when they look like distant relatives. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing makeuup artist, Abby Wren. She shared techniques and products that make applying eyebrows much easier, with a twist of fun. Check out that episode here. I used to feel naked if I left the house without my eyebrows on. I’m not going to lie. Those days still do happen, but it’s usually in combination with me forgetting my earrings or wearing clothes for a job pouring concrete or house-building. Even when I do draw them on, I catch a glance of myself in a public mirror or when I return home and I notice that my left eyebrow has completely worn off, and I don’t know how long it’s been gone. These days, I’m more comfortable with that result.