A unibrow refers to long eyebrows that connect together. It’s also called a monobrow. There’s no known cause for this phenomenon.
While the unibrow is making a comeback, preferences may vary. Just as some people want thin or thick eyebrows, tastes for the unibrow can differ. If you’re not sold on your unibrow, there are several ways you can remove it. Here are all the different options as well as the safety and risk factors that go along with each.
You may already pluck hairs around your eyebrows to shape them, so you might consider plucking your unibrow, too. Plucking is the least expensive form of hair removal. All you need are tweezers to get the job done. While the process can take a while, you also have the most control over which hairs to pull. Here are some tweezing tips:
- work your way through your unibrow one hair at a time
- gently stretch your skin taut and grip the bottom of the hair (near the root)
- pull each hair out firmly in one swift motion
- pull in the same direction the hair is growing (this helps prevent breaking and decreases discomfort)
- apply a soothing lotion to the area after you’re done plucking
According to the Nemours Foundation, results last anywhere from three to eight weeks. If your hair tends to grow quickly, then you can expect shorter-term results.
Plucking can cause slight pain and irritation after you’ve pulled the hairs. You can prevent further irritation by sterilizing your tweezers before and after each use.
Depilatory creams work by melting your hair away with strong chemicals. Simply apply and rinse off, as directed.
The Nemours Foundation reports that results last up to two weeks at a time. While such products are effective, they can cause serious irritation if not used correctly.
Before you apply a depilatory cream, test it on another area of your body to see if any irritation develops. This will help ensure that the product is safe before you use it on your face. To be safe, use a cream that’s designed specifically for your face only.
Stop using the product if you develop any rashes, or if you start feeling burning sensations. Depilatory creams aren’t recommended for people with sensitive skin.
Waxing consists of applying wax to unwanted hair and adding a tape-like strip of cloth on top. You then remove the piece of cloth quickly (think of removing a stubborn Band-Aid). The unwanted hair sticks to the underside of the strip. While hot wax is the more traditional method, room temperature wax works, too.
Waxing isn’t recommended if you’re taking a prescription acne medication, such as Accutane, or if you have:
- irritated skin
- sensitive skin
- warts or moles in the area
- a sunburn
If you’re not comfortable waxing your unibrow yourself, consider going to a salon instead. Unlike depilatories, waxing pulls hair from underneath the skin’s surface, so the results may last longer.
Shaving is a preferred at-home hair removal method for legs and pubic hair. This same method may be used for unibrow removal, but there are some extra tips to consider.
If you’re using a traditional blade with an eyebrow razor, make sure you prep your skin first. It’s best to shave any body hair after getting your skin wet, so shave your unibrow after showering. Apply shaving gel or cream to the area before shaving to prevent nicks and irritation. You’ll also want to shave in the area of hair growth to prevent ingrown hairs. Be sure to follow up with lotion to soothe the area.
You may find it less messy to use an electric razor. These types of razors often come with attachments for small areas of your face, too.
No matter which type of razor you use, know that you’ll have to repeat the process within a couple of days to keep the area between your eyebrows smooth. Also, shaving doesn’t offer as much control over which hairs you want to remove compared to other methods, such as plucking.
Electrolysis is a hair removal method that may be used by a dermatologist, licensed esthetician, or licensed electrologist, depending on the state you’re receiving these services. The individual performing the service must be a licensed electrologist to legally use these methods.
During electrolysis, fine needles are used with strong electric currents to kill hair roots. Within a few days of the procedure, the unwanted hair falls out. The idea here is that the hair won’t grow back, but you’ll likely need a few initial treatments to make sure your unibrow is fully removed.
Electrolysis is preferable if you don’t want to keep removing unibrow hair at home. The downside is that this procedure is expensive and not covered by insurance. It’s also time consuming, as each session can take several hours. Scarring and infection are possible from this procedure, especially if you don’t see a licensed professional.
Laser hair removal is another technique performed by licensed professionals only. It should be performed by well-trained laser technicians under the direction and guidance of a healthcare provider. The process works by directing laser light beams at the unibrow area to prevent future hair growth. Results are supposed to be permanent, but in reality, the procedure decreases the rate of hair growth. As with electrolysis, you may need a few initial follow-up sessions.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, laser hair removal works best for people who have both light skin and dark hair. Scars and rashes may develop post-treatment. There can also be other side effects and risks. You can reduce any swelling or redness post-treatment with cold packs.
Like electrolysis, laser hair removal for unibrows isn’t covered by insurance.
While threading has gained popularity in recent years, this form of hair removal is actually based on an ancient practice. It works with the help of a threading tool. You loop the hairs you want to remove around this tool, and then pluck them out.
The concept of threading is like waxing and plucking — it removes hair below the skin’s surface. Threading results also last a similar amount of time (between one and two months). The downside is that threading can be tricky to maneuver if you’ve never done it before. It may also cause skin irritation.
While the unibrow has gotten a bad reputation in the last few decades, it also seems to be making a comeback. Aside from aesthetics, there are also some cultural considerations in support of the unibrow. According to the New York Times, unibrows may be regarded as symbols of good luck. They may also signify fertility in some cultures, as well as strength in men.
Making the decision to get rid of a unibrow shouldn’t be sudden. Aside from the multiple hair removal methods to consider, you’ll also need to be prepared if you don’t like the results, or want to grow some of the hair back. An eyebrow pencil is good to have handy — whether you want to emphasize your eyebrows or draw them back in.
It’s also helpful to talk to a dermatologist about your eyebrows. They can make recommendations for the best methods for your skin and hair type to reduce the risk of side effects at home. Better yet, they may be able to remove unwanted hair for you.