I'm very familiar with the long, grueling process of growing eyebrows back. When I was a tween, it made perfect sense for me to shave my eyebrows off and paint them on in aggressive thick, straight lines or thin lines with a severe indent. For some reason, my mother let me carry on like this from the age of 12 until I was a senior in high school. Looking back at pictures of those eyebrows makes me hang my head in shame and question why my mother didn't reign in my horrible fashion choices. I'll admit, for a year I thought I was super cool and unique, but as the years went on the true reason that kept my eyebrows in liquid, black eyeliner was because I was too scared to grow them in. Eventually, my sister broke the truth to me: You will find love only if you start growing your eyebrows in.
Harsh, yes, but she was totally right (well, in theory). However, because I had been shaving my brows off for so many years, growing the hair back was a slow, grueling process. Eventually, the awkwardness of the eyebrow growing struggle subsided and I was able to have eyebrows again. Although love didn't find me at the first sign of eyebrow hair, I will say that my new brows allowed me to get the type of respect that my previous, clown-like ones were undeserving of.
Of course, the journey didn't end there. Wearing glasses means that I'm almost always screwing up my eyebrow shape during plucking. I'll get as close as I possibly can to the mirror, until the tweezers are touching the mirror, and I still can't see. That perfect arch can go to horrible disaster whith just one pluck.
It's not only my own screw-ups that have made me accustomed to the many emotions that growing out eyebrows bring — just like hairstyles change, so do eyebrow styles. At one point, thin eyebrows were everything and plucking and waxing was a constant part of grooming to keep your eyebrows from being bushily out of style. If you grew up in the late '70s, during the England Punk Movement, drawing brows on in comical shapes was all the rage. Now, thick brows are officially all the rage, so I'm faced with the task of growing fuller eyebrows yet again. Personally, I blame Bjork. It's been a long time coming, but I knew those bushy brows would become the next big craze.
Being no stranger to the task, I know what I'm up against: The emotions below make growing your eyebrows out one of the most epic beauty challenges of all time.
Stage 1: Denial and Rejection
During this phase, I like to pretend that I'm perfectly content with my own eyebrows. In fact I start to think of myself as a pioneer of great, stylish eyebrows. I start randomly bringing up eyebrows in conversation, pointing out that it's just soooooo funny how some people jump on any type of fad and how I'm just not like that. I live on a soapbox of denial while I jealously stare down all the bold brows around me.
Stage 2: The Not So Secret Start Of Eyebrow Growing
Eventually, I realize that I'm going to be happier and less snarky if I get what I want: fuller eyebrows. However, since I talked so much trash for no reason in the previous phase, I'm not about to admit to anyone what I'm doing. I'm going to start out just for a week and see how full my eyebrows can get and hope no one notices that my brow zone is slowly getting out of control.
Stage 3: The Cry for Help
After a disastrous week 1, I'm dangerously close to quitting and I need help. I need an eyebrow success story that will inspire me until the bitter end. During this phase, I start smearing different concoctions on my brows to help them grow faster. I am on a constant Google search to find someone who was able to grow their eyebrows to a new, fuller shape in just 5 days. (Spoiler: That doesn't happen. ever.)
Stage 4: The Comeback
My DIY eyebrow ointment has rejuvenated my confidence and it's time to get serious about growing in these brows. Typically this phase spirals out of a visit to my parents' town where the only people I'll see are my family or are over 75 years old and can't see my eyebrows anyways. The solitude gives me a surge of confidence to grow new brows and I suddenly become completely committed to getting the shape I want.
Stage 5: The My Eyebrows Look Like Crap, So I Might As Well Dress The Part
Of course, now that my eyebrows are starting to lack any shape and seem to grow in random patches, I've decided that I don't need to wear any makeup. There's no point in highlighting anything until my brows grow in. During this phase, I stop wearing pants and live in head scarves. I'm suddenly very afro-centric and say things like "Beauty can only be measured by one's integrity". It's also known as The Most Obnoxious Phase of Eyebrow Growing.
Stage 6: Elation
Months later, the results are showing huge promise. I'm so excited that I finally have the growth I need to make my new shape that I begin boasting to everyone that I have been growing my eyebrows out. Surely I will be envied by all my friends for my commitment to beauty and how humble I was during the growing process. Or, you know, the fact that I was growing my eyebrows out was obvious to anyone who came in contact with me during the past four months. After all, they were a wreck and none of my friends envy me — they just want me to finally shape them.
Stage 7: Shaping Anxiety
I've got the hair, I've got the will, but I don't have the confidence to even go NEAR them. What if I ruin everything with a shaky hand or a miscalculation, making the past several months a giant waste of time? Typically, this anxiety phase goes on for an embarrassingly long time. Yes, I could easily go to a salon and have them style it, but the only thing worse than me screwing up my eyebrows would be someone else. I'd have to take them to court for emotional damages, and that's just a drag.
Stage 8: The Unveiling
I've finally gotten up the courage to shape my eyebrows. I'm sober, I've got my contacts in, I've purchased a brand new magnifying mirror, and I'm going in for the kill. After I've finished, I take a step back and finally feel I've achieved the perfect eyebrow shape. I post my new eyebrows on Instagram, obvy, and wait for the comments to come in. Wait... why is everyone commenting on my new lipstick and NOT my new brows? A careful search of previous photos of me always gives me the same, cruel information: I've shaped my eyebrows in the exact same shape I had before.
Image: Michael Sandoval /Flickr; Giphy