3.1 Understanding your canvas | The face

The face is usually the first thing we notice when meeting other people, and we tend to make instant judgements (whether right or wrong) on the temperament and personality of a person based on facial expressions and the characteristics of their face. Throughout human evolution, we used facial recognition for survival purposes to know whom we could trust and whom we couldn’t. As a brow artist, you have an extremely important job to do because eyebrows can completely change the look of a person as they are a prominent feature of the face.

There has been extensive research conducted in the area of facial aesthetics, and professions such as cosmetic surgeons and facial recognition experts also use this research as part of their roles. In terms of facial recognition, studies have shown that people are more likely to identify a face without eyes rather than a face without eyebrows. Let’s test this for ourselves. Check out the images below. Can you identify these celebrities?

Now, if we just remove the eyes instead, can you identify these celebrities?

Research has shown that we are more likely to be able to identify peoples faces when their eyes are missing than when their eyebrows are missing. A study conducted by MIT found that when celebrities lacked eyes, research participants could recognise them nearly 60% versus 46% per cent of the time when the eyebrows were removed. What can we, as brow artists, learn from this study? Our eyebrows are crucial to our identity! In this lesson, we are going to learn all about our canvas – the face, the eyes and of course, the eyebrows.

The face

Our faces are the first thing people will usually notice in interactions, and our unique characteristics enable us to distinguish between different people – unless you are an identical twin, then that can be a bit tricky! The anatomy of the face is usually separated into three parts – upper, middle, and lower. As a brow artist, you will spend the majority of your time in the upper portion of the face as you will be working with the forehead, eyes, and brows. If you also offer a light makeup application for your clients to finish your services, you will also work with the middle of the face (the nose, cheeks, and ears) and the lower portion of the face (lips, the jawline and chin). The entire face is covered by skin superficially, while the deeper anatomy contains muscles, fat pads, nerves, vessels, and of course, bones!

A critical factor to consider with the skin on the face is that the skin around the eyes is up to ten times thinner than the rest of the face. This is why different products are used in the eye area (e.g. eye creams and concealer) versus the rest of the face (e.g. foundation and standard moisturiser). In addition to these differences, there are also differences in skin between men and women. Women tend to produce less oil as they age in comparison to men, which can cause a lack of hydration and dryness. In addition to this, common differences include:

  • Men usually have thicker skin due to increased testosterone
  • Men have a higher collagen density, and women tend to start losing collagen quickly once they reach menopause
  • Men have more oil glands or sebaceous glands than women, which means they are more prone to acne
  • Due to regular face shaving, men may have more sensitive skin that is prone to irritation
  • Signs of ageing appear later in male skin, but changes occur more quickly once they start

You might be thinking, how does any of this relate to brown enhancements? Correct skin preparation is essential! As you will learn, later on, prepping your base is key to ensuring you do not damage your clients’ skin. Knowing the differences in skin depending on the region, gender and age of the client will help you to select suitable products. There are different precautions you will need to take, especially when selecting wax products and techniques for clients with sensitive, dry and/or mature skin to prevent skin damage.

If you are interested in learning more about the differences between male and female skin, access the resources linked:

The layers of the skin

The skin across different parts of our body changes; some surfaces can have thin layers, thick layers and another part can be hairy. Regardless of which part of the body, our skin is divided into three layers called the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutis.

The table below outlines each skin layer in more detail:

Skin layerOverviewMain roles
EpidermisThe epidermis is the outermost layer of skin and provides a waterproof barrier. The epidermis is subdivided into five layers:
1. Stratum corneum
2. Stratum lucidum
3. Stratum granulosum
4. Stratum spinosum
5. Stratum germinativum (basal layer)
– Makes new skin cells
– Creates our skin tone
– Protects the body
DermisThe dermis is the second layer and is beneath the epidermis. The dermis contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The dermis is further split into two layers:
1. Papillary region
2. Reticular region
– Makes sweat and oil
– Provides sensations and blood to the skin
– Grows hair
Subcutis (subcutaneous or hypodermis)The subcutis is a deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) that is not technically skin as it is made of fat and connective tissue.– Attaches dermis to the body
– Controls body temperature
– Stores fat
– Cushions the internal organs against shocks
– Separates the skin from underlying muscles

To put this into perspective, the graphic below shows each of the three skin layers on the right, and on the left, you can see the five layers of the epidermis:

As a brow artist, you are working predominantly with the client’s epidermis and the dermis. When removing hair using strip wax, a thin layer of the epidermis is also removed. In terms of involvement with the dermis, hair follicles that you will be removing are set at an angle into the dermis, with the germinal matrix (the bulb) sitting deep down, just above or in the hypodermis. See the image below for a visual representation:

We will look at the anatomy of the eyebrow and more about hair follicles later in this module. For now, for your own understanding, the table below outlines each layer of the epidermis in more detail:

Epidermis layerOverview
1. Stratum corneumThe stratum corneum is also known as the surface/horny layer and is the outermost layer of the epidermis. This layer is made up of many microscopic parts, including the microbiome, the acid mantle, the lipid barrier, and layers of dead skin cells. This layer is made up of 10 to 30 thin layers which continually shed dead skin cells. Complete cell turnover occurs every 28 to 30 days in young adults, while the same process takes 45 to 50 days in elderly adults.
2. Stratum lucidumStratum Lucidum is a translucent layer and lies directly underneath the corneum but is not present all the time. This layer is found only on the palms of the hands, fingertips, and the soles of the feet.
3. Stratum granulosumStratum Granulosum is also known as the granular layer and lies underneath the lucidum. Skin cells break down in this layer, and keratin is impregnated into the cells. There is a process known as ‘keratinisation’ whereby cells begin to lose their structure and eventually dies.
4. Stratum spinosumStratum Spinosum is also known as the prickle cell layer or squamous cell layer and lies under the Granulosum. This layer rapidly divides as keratin is pushed into them, making their cells tough and waterproof. This is the thickest layer of the epidermis. This layer gives the skin strength as well as flexibility.
5. Stratum germinativum (basal layer)Stratum Germinativum, also known as the basal layer, is the innermost layer of the epidermis. This is where the skins most important cells, called keratinocytes, are formed before moving up to the surface of the epidermis.
This is a living layer that receives its blood supply from the dermis. It produces new cells which reproduce by mitosis (each cell divides into two), which are pushed up through the overlying layers of the epidermis where they eventually lose their nuclei and die, which aids in continually repairing the skin. Melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are found in this layer, and they are responsible for our skin colour and help protect us from UV.

If you would like to learn more about the layers of the skin and layers of the epidermis, you may like to access the resources linked:

Skin types

Another important factor that will impact brow services is the pH levels of your client’s skin. Put simply; pH is a measurement figure expressing the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. You may have seen pH scales before:

As you can see on the scale, a battery is very acidic, and solutions such as bleach are alkaline, with water being neutral. In terms of the pH level of our skin, it is said that the optimal level is between 4.5 and 5.5 for women. All of us have something known as the ‘acid mantle’ layer of the skin, and this essentially describes how acidic our skin is.

Key phrase | Acid mantle: Your acid mantle is a balanced microflora ecosystem made up of sebum (an oily, waxy substance produced by your body’s sebaceous glands), fatty acids, lactic acid, amino acids and sweat, which keeps out viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes. It’s essentially a thin, protective film that covers your skin and is also slightly acidic with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 (which is why it’s called the acid mantle).

Dermatologists suggest that oily skin will usually have a pH range from 4 to 5.2, with dry skin having a pH above 5.5. Now, you won’t be doing any dermatological tests to determine your client’s pH level, but it is important to know what to look out for because you will need to use different products depending on the client’s skin. As a starting point, see you can determine the pH level of your own skin. The table below outlines what you can look out for to determine whether or not your acid mantle is too acidic or too alkaline:

Acid mantle might be too acidic because:Acid mantle might be too alkaline because:
– You rarely need to use moisturiser
– Your skin is reactive and sensitive to products
– Your skin is oily and prone to blackheads, pimples and acne
– Your skin often feels irritated or red
– Your skin looks greasy
– You wake up with an oily face
– Your skin feels tight and dry after cleansing
– You need to apply moisturiser throughout the day because your skin gets too dry
– You sometimes get dry or rough patches or flaky bits on your skin
– Your skin looks dull and in the morning shows more lines and wrinkles
– Your skin rarely appears plump and dewy

So, if you tend to have oilier skin, your acid mantle may be too acidic, and if your skin is dry or flaky, your skin may be too alkaline. Our pH levels also change continually based on what we eat, how much sleep we get, our stress levels and the environment we live in. Other factors which can impact our skin pH include, but are not limited to:

  • Change in seasons, with different humidity levels and pollution
  • Ingredients in cosmetics, detergents, antibacterial soaps and gels
  • Sebum, skin moisture and sweat
  • Overexposure to the sun
  • Too frequent washing of your skin or skincare routine is too harsh

When trying to determine a clients pH levels on face value, it is useful to think about the four common skin types: normal, oily, dry and combination. The table below outlines each of these in more detail:

Skin typeOverviewWhat to look for
NormalA normal skin type is where the skin is well balanced and healthy. This means that it is neither oily nor dry, and normal skin will usually have balanced sebum and good blood circulation. – Fine pores
– Good blood circulation
– Soft and smooth texture
– No blemishes
– No sensitivities
OilyAn oily skin type is where there are higher levels of sebum production. Clients with this skin type will likely have a glossy shine to the skin, visible pores and may be prone to acne breakouts.– Enlarged and clearly visible pores
– Blackhead and whiteheads
– A glossy shine
– Acne
DryA dry skin type is where there is not enough sebum produced in contrast to the ‘normal’ skin type. Usually, dry skin will lack the lipids needed to retain moisture. This skin type can feel tight, rough, flaky and may look dull.– Mild scaling or flakiness in patches
– A rough and blotchy appearance
– A feeling of tightness
– Possible itchiness
– Sensitivities
CombinationAs the name suggests, a combination skin type is a mix of skin types. If your client has an oily T-zone but dry cheeks, this will indicate a combination skin type.– An oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose)
– Enlarged pores in this area, perhaps with some impurities
– Normal to dry cheeks

In addition to the four skin types above, we also need to consider sensitive skin and mature age skin. A client with a sensitive skin type will usually be prone to inflammation and reactions to certain products. Clients with sensitive skin may have strong reactions to chemicals, dyes and fragrances, so you will need to be very careful with the sorts of products you use.

As we get older, our skin begins to change, and it will usually become thinner, lack hydration, and we will begin to form wrinkles. The aging process happens to all of us, and it will usually start from age 35 onwards, although premature aging can occur depending on a person’s overall health, wellbeing, level of sun exposure and genetics.

Over time, our skin loses its elasticity and collagen, which can cause our eyebrow hair follicles to become brittle and fall out. Some of our follicles may also stop producing hair at all, which is why mature clients may present with sparse, patchy, or receding brows. Fortunately, these days, there are many options available to us to retain a fuller brow look when we get older – without the need for using mouse skins as wigs! Key signs of mature age skin include, but are not limited to:

ThinningA common sign of ageing is the thinning of the skin. This occurs when the basal cell layer of the epidermis slows its rate of cell production and thins the epidermis. In addition to the skin thinning, our blood vessel walls also thin when we age, so mature clients might also notice that they bruise more easily.
DrynessOur sebaceous glands produce less oil as we age, and women experience more of a decrease in comparison to men. Women gradually produce less oil beginning after menopause which can make it challenging to keep the skin hydrated. This can result in dry spots on their skin, often on their lower legs, elbows, and lower arms. Dry skin patches feel rough and scaly.
WrinklesWrinkles occur due to reduced elastin and collagen and the thinning of the skin. This means that parts of the face that move frequently (like the eyes, mouth and forehead) are especially prone to lines and wrinkles.
Age Spots and Skin TagsAge spots are caused by pigment cells (melanocytes) which increase in number and cluster in certain areas. These ‘clusters’ form what is known as age or liver spots. Areas that have been exposed to the sun, such as the backs of the hands, are particularly prone to age spots. Skin tags are small; usually, flesh-coloured growths of skin that have a raised surface and are often found on the eyelids, neck, and body folds such as the armpit, chest, and groin. They become common as people age, especially for women.

To put this into perspective, let’s look at the layers of the skin again with the age-related changes happening in the epidermis and dermis. The figure below outlines these changes:

As you can see, aging skin will usually be thinner, dryer, have paler skin and fewer active follicles, meaning sparser eyebrow hairs. With the right techniques and products, as brow artists, we can be instrumental in making our mature clients feel youthful again through correct brow enhancement techniques.

If you are interested in learning more about skin types, access the resources linked:

Once you have a better understanding of your client’s skin type, you can then make some assumptions about the pH levels you are working with. If you remember from earlier, clients who have oily skin will usually be more acidic, and clients with dry skin will tend to be more alkaline! In addition to your client’s natural pH levels, you also need to consider the pH levels of your products. Any products with pH values above 7 should be avoided as they can cause undesirable reactions – remember this, especially if you are applying makeup to complete your services. You will learn more about matching selecting wax products and selecting the right waxing technique for skin types later in this module.

Face shapes

Now that we have covered some differences you might expect with your clients in terms of their skin; we must now look at the different face shapes you will work with. Identifying face shapes is extremely important when working on a client because we want to be able to create symmetry to make their face as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Faces come in a variety of shapes, lengths, and sizes. Commonly, face shapes can be categorised into an oval, circle, oblong, heart/inverted triangle and pear/triangle. The diagram below shows each shape:

Some face shapes will be super obvious because you will actually be able to easily imagine a perfect circle, a heart or an oval. For example, check out the celebrities below:

To identify a face shape, imagine there is a rectangle around the entire face and check the following four measurements:

#1 Measure across the forehead level with the brows

#2 Measure across the face from cheekbone to cheekbone

#3 Measure across the chin/jawline

#4 Measure from the centre of your hairline to the tip of your chin

When you are starting out, it can sometimes help to actually use a ruler or tape measure and make a note of each of the measurements to determine which parts of your face are smallest, largest or the same. With these measurements, you can then begin looking at each of the common features for each face shape. For example, people who have a round face will have similar measurements for their cheekbone measurement (#3) and their face length (#4), as do their forehead (#1) and jawline (#4). For an overview of common measurements for each face type, review the table below:

Face ShapeMeasurementsCommon Features
  • Cheekbones and face length have a similar measurement, wider at the cheeks
  • The angle of the jaw is soft and much less defined
  • A round appearance with no sharp angles
  • Full cheeks
  • Rounded chin
  • Equal length and width

  • All measurements are fairly similar
  • The angle of the jaw is sharp rather than rounded
  • Prominent jawline
  • Angular features
  • Wide forehead

  • Forehead, cheekbones and jawline are in perfect proportion
  • Eyes are evenly spaced
  • Balanced features
  • High cheekbones
  • Narrow chin

  • The forehead measures greater than the cheekbones and jawline
  • The chin is pointed
  • Broad forehead
  • Pointed, narrow chin
  • High cheekbones

  • Face length is the greatest measurement
  • Often appears oval however is more elongated
  • The face has a higher forehead and narrow chin
  • Long, slender face
  • Long nose and high cheekbones
  • Tall forehead

  • Face length measures the largest
  • In descending order of size cheekbones, forehead, and smallest is the jawline
  • The chin is usually pointed
  • Narrow, parallel eyes
  • Broad, full cheeks
  • Narrow jawline

Did you know: An oval face shows the earliest signs of ageing around the eye and cheek area. Creasing occurs around the eyes called crow’s feet, and upper eyelid hooding can occur. Round faces tend to age very well compared to other face shapes due to the fact they store a lot of fat in the cheek area.

We will learn more about which brow shapes suit different face shapes in the next lesson when we look at brow shaping more in-depth, but for now, try and remember the differences.

If you would like to learn more about face shapes, access the resources linked:

The eyes

In addition to face shapes, the size, shape, and direction of our eyes will have an impact on the sorts of brow shapes that will look most aesthetically pleasing. For example, a round eyebrow shape may not be the best option for clients with prominent and hooded eye shapes as this may accentuate these characteristics rather than being complementary. For clients with wide-set eyes, you can play with proportions so that they start further in, drawing everything into the centre. When we start to look at the wide range of eye shapes you will work with; you will need to consider three distinct categories – physical shape, dimension and anatomy. The diagram below provides a good visual representation of these categories:

All of us will have features from the categories above. You may have a client who has small, almond and downturned eyes, and then your next client might have average almond eyes, which are hooded! The first distinction will always be between round and almond:

As you can see from the comparison above, round eyes tend more circular, and the height in the centre is larger, whereas almond eyes have a more distinct taper on each end – much like the shape of almonds! Oval shaped eyes are somewhere in the middle of round and almond. From there, we can determine the size of the eyes. If your clients’ eyes are a similar size to their mouth and nose, then they are average; if they are smaller or bigger than the mouth and nose, then they can be categorised as small or big.

Did you know: The famous Leonardo da Vinci subject in the Mona Lisa painting has no eyebrows? Some claim the subject’s lack of eyebrows is representative of the high-class fashion of the time. Others insist her lack of eyebrows are proof that Mona Lisa is an unfinished masterpiece or, they have faded over the years!

Once you have determined the physical shape and the dimension, the next step is to look closer at the anatomy of each eye shape. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.


A person with wide-set eyes will have a space between their eyes that is more than the width of their eyeball.


As the name suggests, deep-set eyes are set deeper into the skill and will usually make the brown bone appear more prominent.


In contrast to wide-set eyes, a person with close-set eyes will have a smaller gap between their eyes, usually a smaller width than their eyeball.


Protruding eyes project outward in the eye socket area and are usually larger and round in shape.


Hooded eyes are where the eyelid appears smaller, and there is usually an extra layer of skin that is over the crease. The skin may droop down and give the appearance that there is no visible eyelid.


On the surface, monolid eyes are flat and will have little to no crease. These types of lids are common amongst Asian clients.


Downturned eyes can be determined by a slight drop in the outer corners.


Upturned eyes can be determined by a natural lift in the outer corners.

The eye shapes explained are very broad categories, and you and your clients may have features of a few!

If you are interested in learning more about eye shapes and types, read the articles linked:

The eyebrows

Now that we have covered skin types, face shapes and eye shapes, we can now delve deeper into your artist zone – the eyebrows! Aside from framing our face, our eyebrows have an important role to play as they keep our eyes clean and clear from liquid, such as sweat or rain. An arched brow doesn’t just mean our brows are on #fleek; it also helps to divert liquid around the eyes to the side of our face. As touched on earlier, our eyebrows also have a social function as they are a key indicator of our emotions. As an example, check out the images below:

As you can see, with natural changes of the angle and position of our eyebrows, we are giving visual clues to our emotional state. Of course, the changes shown are also being combined with facial and mouth movements, but it is good to think about because if you permanently raise the arch of a clients brow too much, you could make them appear permanently surprised! Similarly, if you angle the brows too harshly toward the centre of the face, your client could appear angry. Before we complete this lesson, we will look at the anatomy of the brow and the histology of hair.

Anatomy of the eyebrow

Did you know that technically, the eyebrow is considered part of the scalp? The skin of our eyebrows marks the transition between the thicker skin of our foreheads and the thinner skin of our eyelids. To simplify the anatomy of the eyebrow, think of three anatomic parts: head, body, and tail. This is visually shown below:

The anatomical term for eyebrows is supercilia (Latin). If we strip back the anatomy back to our skull, our eyebrows are formed by the superciliary ridge (also referred to as the brow ridge or supraorbital notch) of the frontal bone. A visual representation of this is shown below:

The supraorbital notch varies between ethnic groups and is usually more prominent in males and less prominent in females. The lateral brow (the tail part of the eyebrow) does not have the support of the supraorbital notch and is supported by fascial attachments to the temporalis fascia (a muscle). In addition to the temporalis, there are more muscles that control the eyebrow position, and our expressions are known as eyebrow depressors (downward movement) or eyebrow elevators (upward movement). Definitions of four common muscles are provided:

Frontalis (Elevator)Put simply, the frontalis muscle elevates the eyebrows, which is especially when looking up.
Orbicularis oculi (Depressor)The orbicularis oculi muscle closes the eyelids and draws the eyebrows towards the eyes.
Corrugator supercilii (Depressor)This muscle draws the eyebrow downward, producing the vertical wrinkles of the forehead – this muscle helps us to frown slightly or signal we are confused!
Procerus (Depressor)Like the Corrugator supercilii, the procerus helps to pull the skin between the eyebrows downwards, useful for when we are really angry!

A visual representation of these muscles is shown below:

Ok, so this has been a bit of a scientific overload, and you may be thinking, how does this relate to the brow enhancements you will be doing? Firstly, the anatomy of the eyebrow differs from person to person, and there are many variances depending on a person’s age, gender, and ethnicity. In principle, this helps to demystify why we are all born with naturally different eyebrows to one another. Secondly, a basic knowledge of how our brow muscles works helps to explain changes as we age. One common change that occurs is brow ptosis.

Key phrase | Brow ptosis: Brow ptosis usually occurs when the frontalis muscle (in charge of elevating the eyebrow) becomes damaged or simply worn out from age.

As defined above, brow ptosis can occur when the muscle is damaged or due to age. When you are doing brows for mature clients, you may notice sagging brows or overhanging eyelids. The only way to correct these issues is through surgeries. An example of a brow ptosis repair is below:

Of course, you won’t be performing surgery, Botox, or brow lifts on anyone and can only work with the brows your client has! However, understanding all of the anatomical features of the eyebrow can be super useful when educating your clients and to better understand the changes to expect as part of the aging process. There are also other non-surgical options to help prevent signs of aging, such as skincare and facial massage techniques, so do some of your own research if you are interested in anti-aging options.

If you would like to learn more about the anatomy of the eyebrow, access the resources linked:

Hair histology

If you own a dog that is lucky enough to spend time inside your home, you will no doubt be aware of its tendency to shed its coat, especially in spring and autumn, in preparation for the cooler and warmer months. Many people will be surprised to discover that humans shed their hair in an almost identical fashion.

Did you know… The average person has about 250 hairs per eyebrow. They vary in length, thickness, and direction. You might have noticed that the hair closest to our noses point upward while they start to point outward once they reach the arch.

Regardless of where hair grows on the body, all hairs follow the same ever-repeating cycle. The only difference when compared with the hair on other parts of the body is the length of the various stages of this cycle. The eyebrow hair growth cycle consists of three phases – Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. It is important to note that the phases are not synchronised, and some hairs stay in phases longer than others. If the phases were synchronised, we would be without eyebrows every 7 or so weeks! Check out the following image, which visually represents the hair growth cycle:

Anagen phase

The anagen phase is also known as the growing phase, where the cells in the root quickly divide. During this time, the hair will continue to form via cell division in the hair root and result in the hair shaft (the visible component of the hair) extending further and further out of the hair follicle. Eyebrow hair grows much shorter than scalp hair, and on average, eyebrows grow roughly 1mm every 6 days or 0.14 mm to 0.16 mm per day. Eyebrow and eyelash hair has a relatively short anagen phase of approximately 30 to 45 days, whereas the anagen phase of scalp hair is approximately 3 to 7 years. This time difference in the anagen phase is why our eyelash and eyebrow hairs are shorter than our scalp hair.

Categen phase

The catagen phase is the transition phase which lasts approximately 2 to 3 weeks. During this phase, the hair separates from the blood supply and cells that generate new hair. Following the anagen phase, the hair ceases to grow, and the hair follicle shrinks in size and moves toward the surface of the skin. In this phase, some of the hairs will shed, and fallout and others will simply stop growing.

Telogen phase

The telogen phase is the resting and shedding phase which usually lasts 3 to 4 months. As the name suggests, during this phase, the eyebrow hairs are simply resting within the hair follicle and not actively growing. During the latter stage of the telogen phase (sometimes referred to as a fourth exogen phase), the new hair has already begun to develop at the base of the hair follicle and will eventually push (or shed) the old hair out of the follicle. As you can therefore see, there is an overlap of the late telogen and early anagen phase.

Hair growth patterns

In addition to growth cycles, eyebrows also have different growth patterns. There isn’t really a set direction for brows to grow, and many of us will have hairs that grow in different directions. The direction of hair growth for eyebrows can be broadly categorised into four types:

  • Horizontal growth
  • Downward growth
  • Upward growth
  • Multi-directional growth

The growth direction is in each name – eyebrow hairs will either angle up, down, to the side or have a combination! The images below show some examples of the different growth patterns:



There isn’t much that can be done in terms of changing the angle of how our hair grows, although some people suggest brushing eyebrows daily in the same direction you want the hair to grow. In addition to variances in brow growth patterns, the timeframes for each of the growth cycle phases will vary depending on the research you reference and will also change depending on the person. If you have a client who has overplucked their eyebrows or has shaved them off and wants to grow them back quickly, here are a few tips you can recommend:

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Take vitamin supplements – B vitamins and vitamins A, B, C, and D have also been linked to hair growth
  • Brush brows with a spoolie or brow comb daily as brushing the brows stimulates blood flow to the area, which can stimulate growth
  • Try applying oil of your choice to the brows as part of your night-time routine because it can create a barrier that locks in moisture and can increase circulation, which stimulates growth
  • Although not scientifically proven to help, brow serums promote growth, so it could be worth a go!
  • Put the tweezers, wax and thread down!
  • Be patient

In addition to a client overplucking or shaving their eyebrows off, there is a range of other factors which can affect hair growth, which include but are not limited to:

  • Aging
  • Alopecia
  • Chemotherapy
  • Drugs and chemicals
  • Exposure to sunlight
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Menopause
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Pregnancy and child-birth
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Thyroid disease
  • Trauma, such as cuts, burns, and other damage to your eyebrow hair follicles

This list is not exhaustive, and for many of the above factors, there isn’t much that you can do for your client in terms of instant hair growth unless they opt to try a synthetic eyebrow wig, but you may be able to assist them with being able to shape and create gorgeous eyebrows using makeup products. Clients who have minimal or patchy eyebrow hairs can be a little more complex to work with but have faith in the process and your skills as the outcome can really help your client to feel beautiful and confident.

Did you know… Some scientists believe our body hair (including eyebrows) grows faster in summer. Why? Apparently, the increase in temperature enhances blood circulation to our hair follicles. In winter, they take it slower.

If you would like to learn more about hair growth phases and hair loss causes, access the resources linked:

Now that we understand the hair growth cycle and factors that can impact hair growth let’s finish this lesson off by looking at the types of hair we have. There are three types of hair on the human body – lanugo, vellus and terminal. Let’s take a look at each:

Hair typeOverview
LanugoLanugo hair is the hair that we have when we are born and develops when we are in the womb. This hair is only present for a small part of our lives as it sheds soon after birth. The purpose of this hair is to protect babies skin from amniotic fluids.
VellusVellus hair is the light, short, fine hair that is found all over the surface of our bodies. The thickness, colour and pigment of Vellus hair differ from person to person. The purpose of vellus hair is to protect our skin and to help keep our bodies warm.
TerminalTerminal hair is the hair that grows on our scalp, arms, legs, pubic region, lashes and brows. Terminal hair is longer, thicker, and darker than vellus and tends to be coarser. Some vellus hairs turn into terminal hairs during puberty.

Did you know… Many of us have one wonky brow, and it turns out a cowlick could be to blame. Similar to the ones on our heads, they’re more likely to happen if we have wavy or curly hair – but they can also happen to straight-haired people.

When remembering the types of hair, think of vellus as the sort of ‘peach fuzz’ we have all over our face and terminal as our eyebrow hairs. The table below outlines key differences between vellus and terminal hair types to help you remember:

– Short and fine hair covering most of the body and barely noticeable
– Hair follicle occurs less deeply
– It can be up to 2mm in length
– Develops in childhood
– Permits thermal regulation
– Thick, strong and pigmented hair found in specific areas of the body
– Hair follicle occurs deeply
– It can be up to a metre long, with the world’s longest hair recorded being over 5.5m long!
– Develops in childhood and after puberty
– To protect the skin and parts of the body, e.g. eyebrows help protect the eyes.
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