Women have been manicuring their eyebrows for thousands of years, utilising whatever tools were available to them at the time. For the Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, it was the application of kohl or soot, to blacken and define their brows. In the 17th century – the age of the wig – mouse fur was applied to the brow to achieve a more distinctive frame for the face. More recently, plucking and waxing have been the preferred method for keeping a bushy brow under control, during periods of fashion for pencil-thin brows
But what if illness, medical treatments, or years of over-plucking have left you with damaged follicles, and brow hair that will no longer grow? Or what if, like Anna Pursglove from the Daily Mail, you were simply born with sparsely growing hair on your brow? You could tattoo a brow in place of the hair that is now gone, but they are notorious for looking, well … like tattoos. And if the tattooist gets it the slightest bit wrong – a millimetre too high, or a fraction unbalanced – your face will look weird for life.
Perhaps the best long-term solution to a deteriorating brow is an eyebrow transplant, using follicular unit extraction (FUE). This is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that involves a few hours at a hair transplant clinic, performed under a local anaesthetic. You and your surgeon will discuss the ideal brow shape for your face, which will then be delineated to provide a guide for your surgeon during the procedure. Usually, hair is removed, follicle-by-follicle, from a donor site behind the ear (easy to conceal the very small area, post-surgery), and then it is placed in the brow area.
Once the procedure is complete, it is advisable to avoid any sort of strenuous activity or stress that will cause you to sweat for a few weeks, due to a slight risk of infection. You will be advised about what to do in the first few weeks after the surgery to care for your new brow, but it won’t be long before the area has healed and the growth process will kick in.
Because of the growth pattern of hair follicles, which go through dormant and rest cycles, as well as growth, your brow transplant – which may look luscious to begin with – may shed soon afterwards. Don’t be alarmed – this is perfectly normal, and within a year, your eyebrows will have become established and your greatest problem will be to keep it trimmed to maintain the desired appearance.