How to Stop Over Plucking

Step away from the mirror and give your over-plucked brows a well-deserved rest.
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Whether it was during junior high, high school, college or well into adulthood -- everyone's done it. A blast of enthusiasm, a few extra minutes in the mirror with the tweezers, and suddenly you've plucked your eyebrows into oblivion. As anyone who's over plucked knows, your eyebrows are key for framing your face and altering them can change your entire look. Once you've started plucking, it can be difficult to leave your brows alone -- but be strong! Within a few weeks, you'll see regrowth and you can begin to rebuild your arches -- and your look -- from scratch.

Put. Down. The. Tweezers. And don't pick them up again, at least until you see some significant regrowth -- which could take around three weeks. Over plucking can lead to sparse eyebrows that may not grow back evenly.

Toss out your magnifying mirror. At the very least, don't use it to tweeze your brows. Seeing your eyebrows super magnified -- and not in proportion with the rest of your face -- can lead you to pluck out more hair than you should. If you can't see a tiny stray hair in your regular mirror, don't worry about it.

Determine your perfect brow shape with a slim makeup brush or a pencil to measure where your brows should begin and end. Place the brush against the side of your nose with the tip of the brush pointed to the ceiling. Line up the brush with the corner of your tear duct up to your eyebrow. The point where it hits the eyebrow is where your brows should begin. With the brush still touching your nose, tilt the brush until it is over the outside corner of your eye up to your brow. This is where your brow should end.

Use your spoolie brush or clean mascara wand to brush your eyebrow hairs up and out. This will help you to see bald spots or patches more clearly.

Use brow powder to fill in your eyebrows. Choose a powder just one shade darker than your hair and a small, stiff eyebrow brush to lightly stroke the powder in the direction of your hair growth. Use small strokes and work slowly for natural-looking brows. Set your brows with a little clear mascara.

Apply a brow-enhancing serum to sparse eyebrows to help them grow back healthy and thick. You may also consider using a hair-growth product on your eyebrows to help them along -- but talk to your physician first. While these products haven't been tested for hair growth on brows, some makeup artists swear by them to encourage growth.

Wait at least a couple of weeks, then check the status of your brows. You should see some regrowth. Fill in the patchy areas with powder as your brow shape begins to return.

Tweeze only the hairs that fall outside of your brow shape after you've applied your brow powder. Pluck just one hair at a time and stand back from the mirror to check your work after every pluck. Tiny adjustments to your brows can make a big difference to their shape -- and to your look.

Consider ditching DIY brow maintenance altogether and find a trusted salon that specializes in waxing, tweezing and/or threading. Leaving your brows in a professional's hands will help prevent you from over plucking at home -- plus, who doesn't like a trip to the salon?

  • Take care when using cosmetics, tools or other products near your eye. Discontinue if your skin becomes irritated.
  • Follow the natural arch of your brow as you pluck. Trying to create a higher or lower arch -- or an arch in a different part of your eyebrow -- can throw off the natural balance of your eyes.

Lindsey Robinson Sanchez, from Bessemer, Ala., has written for the "Troy Messenger," "The Alabama Baptist" and "The Gainesville Times," where her work was featured on the AP wire. She has a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida. She writes style, beauty, fitness, travel and culture.