Several years ago, I had in both my professional and personal lives what would charitably be described as a “rough patch,” and what would more accurately be described as “an extended period of freaking out in which at any given point I was approximately two seconds away from committing hara-kiri with a plastic knife.” During this time, the stress affected my health in several unpleasant (and unglamorous) ways. One of these was that I lost some of my hair. It came back (I think), but I found out more about women’s hair loss than I ever wanted to know.
It turns out that while there are some things about how hair works that are fairly firmly nailed down, there are other aspects of hair growth/hair loss that remain more mysterious than Bjork’s fashion choices or why hot dogs come in packs of ten but buns only come in packs of eight. This is particularly true for female hair loss — since more men lose their hair than women (and since male hair loss is perceived — by men — to be a greater problem than female hair loss), most of the research money is going to solving the problems of men’s hair loss. I could make some other comments about gender disparity in the amount of attention, funding, and insurance support given to the various health problems and concerns of men vs. women (insurance coverage of little blue pills vs. birth control pills, for example), but that makes me upset, which leads to stress, which leads to hair loss — maybe. There’s still disagreement about whether chronic stress actually causes hair loss, with Science on the one side saying, “we really can’t find much to support this” and A Whole Lot Of Anecdotal Evidence on the other side saying, “do you see my head? It is clearly less hairy than it was last month, so get on the freaking ball.”
Anyway, this is not a hair loss post per se, but hair loss in women sometimes includes eyebrows and eyelashes. We also routinely inflict injury on brows and lashes ourselves in pursuit of glamour, which causes additional problems. We pluck, we wax, we curl, we dye (correction: we have our hairdressers dye, because at-home eyebrow tinting is a no-no) — and then we expect to be able to have Jean Harlow’s brows one season and Brooke Shields’ the next.
Billion Dollar Brows Brow Boost is a product that claims to “strengthen and condition thin, over-tweezed, undernourished eyebrows.” They stop a bit short of claiming that it regrows hair, telling us instead that it is a “unique blend of proteins and vitamins designed to condition, repair, and restore thin eyebrows.” BDB says that the product will not restore hair to permanently damaged follicles, but that if the follicle is just dormant, then it can be encouraged to get started producing hair again — and this includes the brows of people who have lost theirs due to chemotherapy. According to the BDB website, eyebrow hair grows more slowly than any other hair on the body; they say that on average it takes 64 days for an eyebrow hair to grow back after having been plucked, and that at any given time only 10% of the hairs in your eyebrows are in an active growth phase (compared to the hair on your scalp, of which 90% is in a growth phase at any given moment).
I have only ever had my brows waxed once in my life, and it was at a very nice spa, which is what made it all the more surprising that I left looking rather more like Jean Harlow than I had expected when I arrived. The esthetician thought that removing about 80% of my brows “opened up my face” nicely. This was several years ago, and I don’t think they’ve ever really returned to their original fullness. Since then I’ve never plucked them to thin them out, only to remove hairs that are far outside where I would want my brows ever to be, all the while desperately chanting eyebrow growth mantras that might have come out of a Judy Blume novel. Eventually they filled in enough to actually look like eyebrows again, at which point I thought maybe I’d better just learn to love them, since they are the only part of my body that is reliably thin.
I ended up with a tube of BDB Brow Boost as a free gift with an unrelated purchase from an online skincare site, so there was no financial risk involved in trying it. I had no real hopes for it doing anything for my brows. After my experience with scalp hair loss, I’m a skeptic about anything that implies it will regrow hair, and I cynically attributed the success other people had reported to following BDB’s directions not to tweeze. But I gave it a go, and once again, I’ll be damned if the stuff didn’t actually do some good.
The first time I applied it, there was some noticeable stinging that almost made me wash it off right then in a fit of panic. That went away within a few minutes and it’s never happened again. The product is a whitish gel that dries clear. It comes in a container like a lip gloss (with a sponge-tip wand applicator), is easy to apply, and dries quickly. If you over-apply, it flakes and feels crusty but otherwise doesn’t seem to do any damage; they recommend that you use it at night. You are supposed to apply it once a day for at least 30 days; I was relatively non-compliant on this because I kept forgetting, but I probably used it on average 4x/week, and it’s been about 10-12 weeks since I started.
I should have taken before/after pictures, but I didn’t, so I can’t give you photo evidence. The difference is not astonishing, and I don’t know how many other people besides me would notice, but my brows are definitely fuller. The hairs also seem a tiny bit longer. I might have written the whole thing off as wishful thinking had I not seen new hairs growing in places that had long been plucked (they were places where I didn’t really want eyebrow hair, but the point is that they were places in which no hair had grown for a long time but which were now sprouting new little hairs).
Will I buy another tube when mine runs out (which is imminent)? Tough call. In a week or so I’m going to start testing Lash Allure, which may be used on brows as well as lashes, so it may be a better option. Brow Boost is significantly cheaper, but I’ll wait until I’ve seen Lash Allure’s performance before deciding.
Billion Dollar Brows Brow Boost: $19.95
Provenance: gift with unrelated purchase
Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): good
Purchase again? Yes, unless something else proves better.
(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Let us know in the comments!)