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Cosmetic companies market pencils, gels, and other products that can help make your eyebrows look thicker. But is there a way to grow thicker eyebrows without relying on makeup?

Whether you have hair loss or just naturally thin brows, there are numerous home remedies you can try if you want thicker eyebrows. See what the research has to say.

Coconut oil has been increasing in popularity as both a cooking oil and a dietary supplement. It’s also touted as beneficial to the hair and skin when used topically.

While the oil has been studied extensively for general health concerns, such as weight loss and dementia, there’s no widespread scientific data backing up the use of coconut oil to increase hair thickness.

Still, the buzz about coconut oil for hair health continues in the natural health market.

To use it: Simply warm up a small amount of oil in your hands and massage it into the eyebrow area. You can leave the oil on overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Like coconut oil, tea tree oil purportedly stimulates eyebrow growth and thickness by creating a moisturizing barrier for cellular and follicular health.

Historically used for cuts and other injuries, tea tree oil is a skin treatment. It’s available in numerous over-the-counter products, but you can also find tea tree oil extracts to apply directly to your eyebrows.

While tea tree oil may be lauded as an alternative treatment for growing thicker eyebrows, there aren’t any scientific studies that back up these claims.

As the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) reports, few studies have been conducted with humans. Of these, the only promising outcomes for tea tree oil include treatments for acne and fungal infections.

To use it: Apply daily to your brows and leave on overnight.

While research suggests there are health benefits, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before you begin using essential oils and be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. Always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil and dilute any essential oil with a carrier oil so it doesn’t burn your skin.

Lavender oil is perhaps best known for its calming effects. When applied topically, it’s also thought to combat hair loss.

In terms of scientific studies, lavender seems to show promise only in treating stress. While not generally considered harmful as a hair loss treatment, no quality studies back up the effectiveness of this usage.

To use it: Massage lavender extracts into the brow area daily for a relaxing ritual. You should also test the oil on another part of your skin, as it can cause rashes in some people.

Saw palmetto is a supplement that’s sometimes used to treat hair loss.

Some people eat the berries, while others use extracts, capsules, or tea. These forms are taken daily as oral supplements. Saw palmetto usually isn’t applied topically.

While saw palmetto has been studied extensively for prostate problems and urinary tract infections, the NCCIH notes that few studies exist for other uses. This means that research about the safety and effectiveness for eyebrow hair growth is limited.

In some cases, achieving thicker eyebrows may simply be dependent on proper grooming techniques. Be sure to follow these tips:

  • Avoid overplucking your brows.
  • Always remove unwanted hairs in dull lighting only. Working in bright lighting tends to lead to overplucking.
  • Avoid pressing too hard on the area with brow pencils.
  • Brush your eyebrows with an eyebrow brush or spoolie daily.

After several weeks, good grooming habits will likely pay off. If you still aren’t seeing results, talk with a dermatologist about more intense interventions.

Surgical grafting may be used in cases of significant hair loss or follicle damage. This method is recommended for cases of trauma or widespread hair loss.

When people under stress utter tongue-in-cheek statements, like “I think I’m going to lose my hair,” they may be onto something.

A 2021 study of mice suggested that the stress hormone corticosterone can affect hair growth.

“Hair loss associated with stress has often been considered a bit of a ‘check engine light,'” notes Erum N. Ilyas, MD, MBE, FAAD, a board certified dermatologist and the founder and CEO of AmberNoon.

Ilyas says stress can lead to a condition called telogen effluvium, which changes the hair growth cycle. Though often thought of as a cause for scalp hair loss, Ilyas notes eyebrows and eyelashes can be affected.

Trichotillomania, or a tendency to pull hair, including when stressed, can also affect the brows.

Finding ways to de-stress can help reduce eyebrow hair loss. For instance, meditation may help.

A 2021 study of more than 300 individuals indicated that engaging in meditation-based mental health training may lower the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in hair.

Eyebrow madarosis is a condition that involves a lack of growth or loss of eyebrow hair. Bimatoprost, a medication initially approved by the FDA for eyelash regrowth, may help.

A 2018 case study of a 60-year-old woman with the condition suggested that daily use of a bimatoprost 0.03 percent solution may help people achieve sustained hair growth.

There was only one participant, and Ilyas says the evidence on eyebrow regrowth is still anecdotal. The product is not approved for eyebrow hair growth or regrowth.

You can find olive oil in products aimed at hydrating your locks. But can it help with hair growth, particularly around the eyebrows?

A 2015 study of mice indicated that applying ingredients derived from olive trees could trigger hair growth.

Ilyas says there’s little data to support topical use of olive oil to grow eyebrow hair.

“Although [it’s] difficult to say if olive oil would stimulate hair growth due to the lack of studies confirming this, at the very least, it may coat the hairs to give them the appearance of more girth and thickness,” she says.

An eyebrow massage may not only feel good, but there’s also a chance it could naturally stimulate growth.

A 2016 study of nine men suggested scalp massages could increase hair thickness.

The study was small, only included men, and focused on scalp hair growth. There’s no similar data to support massage to stimulate eyebrow hair growth, but it doesn’t hurt to try it in moderation.

“It’s not unreasonable to try gentle massage to assist in circulation to this area,” Ilyas says. However, “I would caution against excess friction or rubbing in this area.”

First, finding the underlying cause of bald spots can help you work towards a solution. Reasons for eyebrow hair loss may include:

Your primary care physician can help diagnose the issue through an examination or bloodwork. They can also refer you to a specialist, like an endocrinologist, dermatologist, or allergist.

It’s not always possible to naturally fix bald spots, though.

People undergoing chemotherapy, for example, may need to use cosmetic solutions. People with thyroid issues may need medication at the direction of their doctor.

Ilyas says other solutions to achieve a fuller-looking brow include:

More questions? We’ve got you covered below.

Does castor oil grow eyebrows?

Currently, no peer-reviewed studies support the use of castor oil to support eyebrow hair growth.

However, studies from 2012 and 2015 indicated that the chemical compound ricinoleic acid, which makes up almost 90 percent of castor oil, could help with hair loss.

Is it possible to grow thicker eyebrows?

It depends. If your thin brows result from grooming or a medical issue manageable with medication, the hair can grow back thicker. But it’s not always possible to grow thicker brows if yours are naturally thin.

“The volume of hair follicles we have is determined at birth, and we can’t really add more actual hair follicles,” Ilyas says. “It’s possible for the quality of hair that develops from each follicle to vary over time in terms of how thin or thick the hair may be.”

This is influenced by internal and external factors, such as:

  • hormones
  • age
  • medications
  • underlying health conditions
  • friction
  • rubbing
  • grooming
  • picking

How long do eyebrows take to grow back?

There’s no hard-and-fast answer for this question, either. Ilyas says that doctors have historically warned people not to shave their eyebrows because they wouldn’t grow back.

Ilyas notes that shaved eyebrows can grow back by 6 months.

Ilyas has noticed the same. She notes that other factors can also affect the amount of time it takes for eyebrow hair to grow back, such as:

  • age
  • medications
  • scarring

While most of these remedies aren’t considered harmful, the jury’s still out on their effectiveness.

Overall, there’s little evidence to support home remedies as treatments for thin eyebrows. As the NCCIH explains, most studies of this nature have been limited, with many of them not including human subjects.

Another consideration is understanding the cause of thinning eyebrows. Some people have naturally thin eyebrows.

If you notice sudden thinning of your eyebrows, however, it could indicate an underlying medical condition that may require treatment. Consider seeing a doctor if you notice sudden hair loss or rashes around your eyebrows.