The Big Tweezy

By Anna Sachse

Posted August 13, 2009 in Mind Body Spirit

I often get compliments on my eyebrows, which do seem to enhance my natural features with graceful arches and the perfect width, length and thickness. 


This is all completely artificial. Left to their own devices, my eyebrows would quickly bloom and merge into one giant line of hair, kind of like a caterpillar on steroids, from temple to temple a.k.a. a “unibrow.” 


Some degree of unibrow is actually pretty common to both women and men, whether it be a bushy band or just a few stray hairs. Women are more likely than men to try and rein in this follicular fiasco, but these days more and more men are starting to take an interest in good grooming. Of course, the shape of our eyebrows isn’t an indicator of our true worth as a human being, but messy, overgrown brows can make you look silly and unkempt, or even affect your facial expressions. 


That said, over-trimming them in an effort to minimize them can end up looking equally ridiculous.


Here’s a look at a few methods of eyebrow hair removal that should help you avoid looking like either Andy Rooney or Gwen Stefani circa 2000:


Shaving: Bad idea. It’s too easy to shave off way too much, way too quickly, the stubble makes it obvious you shaved, and the hairs grow back in a few days.


Tweezing: Using tweezers to pluck individual hairs out by the root. It can hurt, but people tend to get used to it, and the results can last a couple weeks or more. Just be careful not to over-tweeze. Works well as maintenance alongside other methods.


Waxing: Warm wax is applied to patches of unwanted hair; then a piece of cloth is pressed into the wax and used to rip out numerous hairs at once. This method is faster but offers less control than tweezing, plus you can burn yourself. There are at-home kits, but consider leaving it to the professionals. It should cost you around $8 to $15 per visit, and the results can last two weeks or more. This is what I did for years and I was very happy with it. 


Threading: Originating in India, this depilation technique uses a twisted cotton thread to quickly pull out a line of hair. It is more precise than waxing, but faster than tweezing. This technique is more unusual in the U.S., so I’d suggest seeking out an expert. The cost is similar to waxing.


Laser or Light-based treatment: A laser targets individual hairs to remove them and possibly slow re-growth or even permanently kill the hair. But I recommend avoiding this technique. It’s uncomfortable and expensive. But, more importantly, the certification process to conduct this sort of treatment is way too lax, and you run the risk of getting burned and ending up with permanent scarring.


Electrolysis: A licensed electrologist inserts a hair-thin metal probe into a hair follicle and zaps the root with electricity. Electrolysis is a bit pricey ($60/hour and up) and will involve multiple treatments (because new hairs beneath the surface will continue to appear for a few months to a year), but it is the only method that can eventually provide permanent results if the electrologist is good (do your research!). It is painful, but tolerable. This is what I am doing now, and I think it’s 100 percent worth it.


NOTE: Everyone’s face is different, which means no four eyebrows should necessarily look alike. If you want to groom your own, I’d recommend that you first visit a professional and have them done at least once, and then take a couple of close-up pictures of your face and use them as a blueprint. Just don’t go to whoever takes care of Marilyn Manson.


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