There’s a reason I’m a health and fitness writer—not a beauty editor.
I’m all for treating every inch of your body well (which includes taking care of your skin and face), and I have a slight obsession with face masks and essential oils. But when it comes to mastering the latest strobing techniques or painting on Kylie-like lips, I have zero interest. Wearing noticeable makeup leaves me feeling self-conscious, so my usual beauty routine is a little more understated.
But there’s one glam-girl feature that I covet whole-heartedly: The full brow.
Like many 12-year-old girls with excessive body hair, I plucked my own set of face caterpillars into oblivion one painful night, using a pair of tweezers stolen from my dad’s Swiss army knife. In 2000, nothing went better with glitter eyeshadow than skinny brows. I’m not rocking pencil-thin arches anymore, but I know that based off the amount of hair covering the rest of my body that my brows still don’t grow to their original, full potential. My goal is to grow them so thick that people will be able to tell I’m raising my eyebrows from half a mile away.
And I’m clearly not the only one. Powerful, prescription-only hair growth stimulators like Latisse have gained popularity over recent years, and you’ll find dozens of other over-the-counter “thicker brow” solutions in every drugstores. But slathering chemicals near my delicate eyelids isn’t a risk I’m willing to take. After doing some quick internet searching, I found a natural solution that I already had in my cabinet—castor oil.
Extracted from castor beans, castor oil might be best known for its laxative effects, but it has tons of different uses. Some natural beauty buffs love it as an oil facial cleanser, as it’s thick and honey-like in consistency, with skin-nourishing vitamin E and omega-9 fatty acids. Others swear by it as a natural aid to encourage hair growth.
In particular, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that massaging a little castor oil into your eyebrows can help them grow. (Go ahead, google it. I’ll wait.) And there is some science behind the claims: castor oil contains tocotrienols, antioxidants that belong to the vitamin E family and can have a seriously make hair grow faster. Now, does it actually work?
I dabbed about a dime-sized amount of castor oil on my brows nightly for two weeks (the internet suggests doing this for at least four to five months, which is how long it typically takes for brow hair to fully grow in). It was gluey, and a bit challenging to rinse out in the morning, but it did seem make my eyebrows look more glossy and full through the middle, although I didn’t notice new growth below my brow line. And because I wasn’t always able to fully wash the oil out, it acted like a natural taming gel. Win-win!
If you can commit to oiling your brows nightly for a few months, odds are good you’ll be pleased with the results. Can’t wait that long for Cara Delevingne-inspired arches? Fake it ’til you make it with an all-natural brow powder.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho