There’s plenty you can do to update the look of your eyebrows, and it’s not uncommon to want to shave them — partially or entirely — and start fresh.
But before you take a blade to your brows, you might have a few burning questions: Will they grow back? Will they look the same? How can you safely shave this sensitive area?
We’re here to help. You’ll find answers to your questions below, plus tips to safely experiment with eyebrow shaving.
Safety first, of course. So how safe is shaving your brows, really?
Brow expert, brand founder, and self-proclaimed brow king Joey Healy says it’s safe, as long as you do it with care and use the right tools and products.
He does caution, though, that it’s a choice you’ll want to be pretty positive about first.
“You really should consider why you would shave your brow entirely, since it’s a radical move. It’ll definitely change your entire look, so it’s not something to take lightly,” he says. “They will grow back, but it will take time.”
Alison Angold, a beauty and massage therapist, agrees eyebrow shaving is generally safe.
Angold points out, though, that the area of skin underneath the brow is more sensitive than other areas we usually shave, since it’s thinner and lies directly on the brow bone.
This means there’s an increased risk of nicks, cuts, and bleeding.
She also notes there are several other effective options for hair removal, like tweezing or waxing, preferably done by a professional.
“The eyebrow is a small area,” she says. “Shaving here is harder, so you’ll need to be precise.”
When you shave anything, Healy explains, you’re not removing the hair from the root. Instead, you’re cutting the hair at the surface where it breaks through the skin.
“You’ll see stubble very quickly, because you’re not removing the hair in its entirety,” he says.
Angold also says regrowth will appear coarse and “stubble-like.” Hairs are likely to be spiky and grow directly out of the skin, instead of laying flat, which may cause an unnatural look.
Does shaving really lead to thicker, faster regrowth?
Shaving alone doesn’t make your hair grow back any faster or thicker.
Regrown or “new” hair can appear darker, though. This is largely because this new hair hasn’t been revealed to the sun, soaps, and other chemicals, any of which can lighten hair.
Unshaven hair also has a finer, blunter tip. So, when you experience hair regrowth, you usually see the coarser base instead of the softer, thinner part that returns with time — that is, of course, if you allow it to grow that far out before removing it.
Another myth we must bust: Shaving your brows means they won’t grow back at all. Healy says this has no basis in fact.
“You’re not damaging the hair follicle,” Healy explains. “(Your brows) may look weird for some time, but they will grow back.”
Shaving your brows carries some risk of scarring, but only if you nick your skin.
You could also notice some irritation, just like you might when shaving in any other area.
“If you’re not careful, you can really hurt yourself because it’s your eye area, which is hypersensitive. You can cut yourself and experience some razor burn,” Healy says.
For the most part, though, there’s no need to worry about hyperpigmentation or scarring. The more carefully and precisely you perform, the better you can avoid any nicks.
Reaching for a regular old razor? You’ll probably want to put that back — for this job, you’ll need an eyebrow-specific blade.
Angold explains that regular razors are often too large. Plus, “you won’t be able to achieve a good shape, and you risk removing hairs you don’t want to remove.”
So, ditch the 5-blade razors you use on places like your legs or armpits. You’ll need something more precise, like a small single blade intended for eyebrows.
Healy recommends a straight, serrated blade, explaining that, when the serration isn’t fine enough, it can be rough enough to cut you. A blade with no serration at all, he notes, can be too sharp, like the straight blades used for medical dermaplaning.
Healy recommends his Grooming Dermablade Trio, which is collapsible and can be used multiple times. Just clean it with rubbing alcohol between uses.
Tempted to slather on some shaving cream? This isn’t strictly necessary, but if you feel more comfortable using some type of lubricating agent, opt for one you know is gentle on your skin.
Only apply it on the hair you want to remove, since overloading on cream can make it difficult to see where you’re shaving.
“Most people like to do their brows with short, downward strokes on clean, dry skin.” Healy says.
Try these tips for success:
- Hold your eyebrow skin taut by pulling it up gently toward your forehead. You’ll want to use your non-dominant hand to hold your skin and your dominant hand to shave.
- It might help to cover up any hairs you want to keep with petroleum jelly. This can help keep you from accidentally shaving them off, too.
- Using your brow-specific blade, gently swipe at the hairs in the direction of growth.
- Skip any textured areas, like blemishes or moles.
- To help lower your chances of razor burn, avoid shaving over the same area too many times.
- Gently wash your face to remove shaved hairs and any shaving cream or lubricant.
After shaving, you might notice some redness and irritation.
Angold recommends a topical gel, like aloe vera or witch hazel. This can help:
- calm your skin
- prevent redness
- promote healing
Even if your skin doesn’t look red, it never hurts to apply a soothing gel or ointment after shaving. In short: Aftercare is always helpful.
Hair regrowth rates can vary a lot from person to person. Generally speaking, though, you’ll notice faster regrowth after shaving your brows than you would after removing hair from the root by waxing or plucking.
However, regrowth here is also determined by your personal hair growth rate.
You can expect to see stubble within a couple of days. According to Healy, if you shaved off your brows entirely, it may take up to 6 weeks until you see them back to where they might have been before.
He also notes that removing peach fuzz around the brow won’t bring out stubble.
“That peach fuzz is not going to grow back blunt or stubby, because it really is just that: a fuzz. It’s not attached to a sebaceous gland.”
Results from removing that kind of peach fuzz, or vellus hair, usually last between 6 and 8 weeks.
Shaving your brows can be a quick way to do some clean-up work.
Healy says his clients commonly shave the peach fuzz around their brows — including the dead center, the temple, and the forehead.
People who shave their brows may do it simply because it’s fun to change things up. This can also help clear the canvas, so to speak, if you like to draw or fill in your brows with makeup.
“We have some clients who are drag performers or are in theater, and they just want to shave off their entire eyebrows, so they can redraw them for a performance,” Healy says.
Online trends — especially on TikTok — also seem to cause an uptick in brow shaving.
Healy mentions an early 2020 TikTok trend, the fox eye, where people shaved off the last half of their brow and redrew it to give the brow a more lifted look.
Shaving your eyebrows does come with some potential downsides. Healy offers a few to consider:
- Regrowth will feel a little stubby and blunt.
- Since brows help prevent dust, debris, and sweat from entering your eyes, shaving them off completely can make it easier for these materials to come into contact with your eyes.
- You run the risk of nicking or cutting sensitive skin in your brow area.
- When shaving to tidy the look of your brows or add a stylish element, you might overwork one side and end up with uneven eyebrows.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that, if you don’t like the result after shaving, you can’t make instant changes like you can with brow makeup. Instead, you’ll have to exercise patience and wait for the hair to grow back.
Whether you choose to tweeze, thread, microblade, or completely shave your eyebrows, just be sure to experiment with care. When it comes to shaving, opt for an eyebrow-specific razor blade and use a gentle touch.
Keep in mind that, while stubble will return within a few days, it can take several weeks for your brow to regain its original form.
Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.