This is the one you’ve been waiting for Voyeurs, the secret to my awesome brows…

I pick up a lot of compliments on my brows and with the hell I’ve put them through over the years they deserve every goddamn nice word they get.  I was a motherplucker in the 90’s, I didn’t go to quite the same extreme as Kate moss or Pamela Anderson but I definitely veered into apostrophe territory and for some reason they ended up way shorter overall than they should have been.

Now if you know anything about the laws of hair then you will know this:  The hair you want never grows, and the hair you don’t want grows at a rate of knots unless you intervene.  Ergo, the hair on my head is never as long as I would like, my eyebrows never grew back on their own, and my bush sprouts like wildfire.  In terms of growing back lost eyebrow hair, they definitely need an assist.

The arrival of Cara Delevingne on the modelling scene sparked a whole new trend for brows and changed the beauty industry completely.  With her thick, grown in brows that blew the “Facial Measuring” rules out the water, suddenly a new brow shape was king and with that trend came a new division of the beauty marketplace.

Close crop of Cara Delevingne's face with messy brows and pink lips

Brow gels, palettes, powders, waxes and serums flooded the shelves and overnight, brows became big business.  Next came the brow growth products from serums to ‘stickers’, there was a whole new range of products aimed at 90’s motherpluckers like me, claiming to be able to grow your brows back to their former glory.

Up until a few years ago my brows were thin and kinda looked ‘stuck on’, my efforts to grow them in over the years had been futile.  For every small amount of growth I’d get, some trigger happy Beauty Therapist would wax or tweeze it back off despite my protesting.  When you’ve waxed, tweezed and plucked for so long, you’ll know that any brow regrowth you’re lucky to see is different than it was before, it’s not uniform, the colour is different and the hair is more translucent due to damage to the follicles.  I spent a small fortune on RapidBrow, from the makers of the hugely successful Rapid Lash which claimed to grow back and also darken brows with regular use, in as little as three months.  Eighteen months down the line my brows showed no difference and at £37 for a tube that lasts a month, it’s a hefty investment to get nothing back from.

Pixie Tenenbaum at Centerparcs wearing a hat and braids pulling a face

So I did a little research, and there’s some science behind all of this so take a seat and settle in.  Why should you listen to me?  because I grew back the most awesome pair of brows from pretty much nothing.  Ready?  Here comes the science:

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH RAPIDLASH & RAPIDBROW?

If you used the product from the beginning then you’ll know that it used to be pretty effective.  Not any more.  Why so?  Well, RapidLash used to contain an active ingredient called isopropyl cloprostenate.  It’s an ingredient which has some molecular similarities to a medical active ingredient called bimatoprost.  Why am I telling you this?  Bimatoprost is an ingredient used in medication for the treatment of glaucoma, after extensive medical trials it was discovered that one of the side effects of its use in an eye drop formula was that it caused eyelashes to grow longer and darker in participants.  Something cosmeceutical manufacturer Allergan jumped on and harnessed in a product developed for the US aesthetics market called Latisse.

Still with me?  Allergan successfully brought a case against the makers of RapidLash outlining the similarities between the molecular makeup and performance of the two ingredients and used the years and years of patient trials as evidence which detailed benefits, side effects and potential risk factors.  RapidLash put forward a limited defence which contained no actual human research, all of their testing is, or had at the time, been done on animals.  Case closed.  RapidLash were ordered to remove isopropyl cloprostenate from all products in their line up.  However, and here’s the rub for any of you still using RapidLash, despite still being marketed in the same way, RapidLash and RapidBrow are little more than expensive conditioners and serums.  Ouch.  Still think shelling out £41 is a good investment for a product with no active ingredient?  Then consider this, RapidBrow came so much after the original RapidLash product that it never actually contained any active ingredient at all.

MIND BLOWN! SO WHAT DO I USE INSTEAD?

Well remember that potentially active ingredient Bimatoprost i told you about?  It’s available in a product in the UK designed to grow lashes, but because of it’s medical licensing and cosmeceutical benefits, it must be prescribed by an aesthetic doctor or nurse.  It’s not something you can just go ahead an buy on the web, but then nor do you need to be diagnosed with a medical condition to get it.  Let me explain…

Lumigan is a product that’s been crafted for the UK aesthetics market and it comes in two different formats.  The first is an eye drop bottle, the second is as individual eye droppers in a pack which lasts 2-3 months depending on how you use it.  The intention and the way it’s marketed is for growing eyelashes and it works, my lashes were ravaged by my addiction to lash extensions and I was at one point left with none at all.  Lumigan helped me grow them back quickly, however it’s also suitable for brow growth too.  I use it on both my lashes and brows – obviously this means I get through more of it in a shorter space of time but trust me, it’s worth it.  Apply with the brushes which come with it, leave to dry et voila.  Well, not quite et voila but it doesn’t take long to see results.

PIXIE TENENBAUM BEFORE & AFTER

SOLD! HOW CAN I GET IT?

You need to book a consultation with an aesthetic doctor or an aesthetic nurse with a prescribers license.  Once they’ve checked you over for any contra-indications and given you the lowdown on how to administer the product, you’re good to go.  You’ll find it marketed as Eyelash Growth Serum and the formulation and dose are the same whether you’re purchasing the product to use on brows or lashes.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

That’s a good question.  Depending on which aesthetic practitioner you choose (not all of them will prescribe Lumigan as one of their products), and whether you opt for the 0.1mg/ml or 0.3mg/ml strength,  it ranges from £40 – £120 and a lot of this is to do with the name of the practitioner, or the repackaging the clinic has done to make the product look prettier.   My advice?  If you’re serious about growing back your brows, find and buy the 0.3mg/ml product if you’re starting out & the 0.1mg/ml version for maintenance, at the cheapest provider.  You’re not buying expertise with the product, you’ll administer it yourself at home and throw the packaging away.  If you’re talking filler, wrinkle relaxing or any other type of aesthetic procedure which requires an injection then always choose expertise over cost but in this case, cost is king.

I get the stronger product from Dr Lucy Skin Clinic in Morpeth & Whitley Bay at a cost of £40, and the maintenance product from  Novellus Aesthetics in Newcastle where it retails for £65 and if it’s in stock, is dispensed the same day.

WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?

Paint it sparingly on to your brows, or the parts around the existing brow shape where you want the hair to grow and leave it to dry before putting on moisturiser or makeup.  It’s that simple.  Using it for your lashes?  A very small amount along the lash line, any more is just waste.

HOW LONG BEFORE I LOOK LIKE CARA?

I saw a big difference to my brows within three months but everybody is different.  Trials for Latisse in the US reported participants seeing results to their lashes in as little as 4 weeks.  Persevere, it’s something that’s been proven to work and we all know that brows are big business that require commitment!

To complement your new brows, you’re going to need some products to keep them in check, look out for my Best Brow Products post so you can tame your face framers and be the envy of everyone you know…

Pixie xo

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