Lily Collins

We all have bad habits. Whether it’s impulsively buying things we don’t need off of Ebay (guilty) or biting our nails off to extinction. My worst bad habit, is pulling out my eyebrows or eyelashes when I get stressed out/thinking, and it became quite a big problem.

The best eyebrows known to man
Portrait of Belgian-born American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) ina white long-sleeved dress, mid 1950s. (Photo by /Getty Images)

I’ve always idolised big eyebrows and strived to achieve them. I wanted eyebrows as perfect as models like Audrey Hepburn, Cara delevingne or Anais Gallagher. So to achieve this I started plucking them to shape them when I started secondary school. At the time I thought I knew what I was doing. I did not know what I was doing. When I look back now, I just shouldn’t have touched them at all, it would’ve been better for everyone to be honest. I’m still cringing when I look back a old photos of myself…

So, I was in the middle of a large Film Studies assessment, it was just a mock assessment but still a difficult one all the same. It was an hour long and we were already half an hour in. Everyone sat around me had written up so much already and I had no idea how to even start my answer. So I began to pull out my eyebrows as I was thinking, and I couldn’t stop. I remember pulling out like 7 at once and then thinking ‘Oh sweet Jesus’.

Eventually, I got the assessment done, but when I looked down at the paper I had been writing on, there was just bits of hair scattered and I knew what I’d done. I tried checking my eyebrows on snapchat but my camera quality is shit so I just waited. Luckily, I’d already filled my eyebrows in that day, so it was mostly covered by the pencil and wax, but I could still notice a patch. I could even feel the spot of where I’d pulled them out.

I got home after the lesson and took all my makeup off to see the damage I had done.

Now bearing in mind, I already have big eyebrows for a small face. Like they are the first noticeable feature that I have. I am quite proud of them too. As soon as I had taken my makeup off I immediately saw the big fuck-off bald patch. I had gotten rid of almost the entire arch of my left brow. Years passed as I stared into the mirror for ages with my jaw dropped.

I didn’t even feel like crying, because at this point all you can do is laugh it off as I completely deserved this and have no one else to blame but myself. My younger sister, Roisin, had my life for the next hours before helping me find solutions to this problem with my mum. The advice I got (after they finished laughing) was just ‘don’t pluck them, and they’ll grow.’ To me, that didn’t feel like enough at all.

There had to be some sort of supplement or SOMETHING. I was so desperate. I just wanted them back. For the next month I massaged coconut oil into my eyebrows and drank gallons of water to try and see some sort of change at all. I must have gone on every beauty website known to man. I was on every beauty blog and every beauty vlogger and even tried to find books on eyebrows.

My impatience was rising until I finally decided to go cold turkey with the tweezers. I didn’t touch my eyebrows for months, not even stroking them when I was focusing. I didn’t dare touch them. To even things out, I even left the good one alone, just to give them both a break and to see what happens. I filled them in of course, but I didn’t dare do anything else or remove any to fuel the fire. I just simply let them grow for months on end. And eventually, I could see small changes.

My absolute saviour: Eyelure Brow Palette

The first few weeks of this were a living hell. The hairs didn’t grow back in the right place. In fact, they were sprouting closer to my actual eyeball than they were to my eyebrows. And of course when you’re breaking a habit the first few days are the hardest. At points I was tempted to physically bury my tweezers so I wouldn’t think about plucking my eyebrows. I was strict though. I continued drinking water and massaging oil into them. Now I can’t actually confirm that this physically helps, maybe it does? But to me in the end maybe it’s just got a placebo effect as I was desperate.

I stopped plucking them in January and have not plucked them since and it’s been a massive improvement. After a while you just forget about them and then they take their own time. The problem I encountered was the more they grew back, the more difficult it was to fill them in as I couldn’t find their shape so I had to go to college with shoddy eyebrows. Not even the best concealer could cover the stray hairs. There was even a day when we were shooting a film and you could see on camera how disgustingly out of place they were. But honestly, I just didn’t care anymore. I was just relieved they were finally growing back.

To conclude the eyebrows story…

To conclude, if you want your eyebrows to grow back after a major disaster, just don’t pluck them. Don’t touch them. Don’t even think about touching them and after a while you just forget. If anything, I wish I had never even touched my eyebrows to begin with ever, as it would’ve just made my life so much easier.

Now, I can understand how this advice won’t apply to people with darker hair as it’s much more of a task to tame (I salute you). But if you are going to shape your brows, try not to disturb their natural shape and for god’s sake make sure you know what you’re doing. And if you’re like me and trying to break the habit, find something else to draw your attention too. Play with your hair, whistle or click your fingers. I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s 100X better than ripping your eyebrows out.

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