Hardships of Trichotillomania: Not Having Eyebrows Is Actually Quite Tough


Despite the fact that I have pulled out my eyelashes for the past 18 years of my life (I am 21), I have found that my eyebrow pulling has physically affected the most. Maybe it a case of having adjusted to my long-term struggle with my eyelashes, compared to still having to adapt to my 5 year struggle with eyebrows. Either way, I have found that eyelash-pulling has been far, far easier to cover up than eyebrow hair loss, which is one of the main reasons why I see it as my main nemesis. It is so swiftly glossed over by most people who have never suffered from hair loss, and while I usually focus on the ignorance surrounding the emotional impact of hair loss, today the physical effects get their time in the limelight.






Eyebrows Frame Your Face

Since the aptly-named 'power brows' have been a huge beauty trend, the idea that eyebrows are of critical importance to your face is one that is still plastered over the media. Beauty journalist and bloggers alike are quick to harp on about how those two bits of fuzz above your eyes are sooo key to how you look; your face isn't complete without a pair of perfectly groomed brows. So, when we get disheartened about our lack of eyebrows, are we told that it is 'only hair' and it 'doesn't matter'? It seems a bit contradictory to say 'OMG BROWS ARE SO IMPORTANT' and then completely backtrack to make us feel better. I think I speak for most hair loss sufferers when I say that your face does look incredibly different without eyebrows. They do frame your face. I look in the mirror without my brows drawn on, and with no hair there whatsoever, I do agree that I look...a bit strange. I'm not saying it's 'bad' to not have eyebrows, but it does alter your appearance. This was reaffirmed during that weird trend of picturing celebrities without their eyebrows- it totally changed the way they look. So it may 'only' be hair, but that bit of hair does change the way you look.


Therefore, Filling Them In Is Important

With the beauty industry exploding with countless different brow products, all aimed at helping you to fill in your brows like a pro, this area of make-up is quite difficult to avoid. I am personally grateful for this beauty trend, as it means the fact that I have to draw on my eyebrows will typically go unnoticed; it isn't seen as weird because everyone is doing it and big brows are trendy! Whether you choose powder, tints, wax or pencil, not having eyebrows will call for this 'filling in process'. This is fine if you have eyebrows already there, but if you don't...


How The Hell Do You Fill In Brows That Don't Exist?!

This is the part which causes me most grief, and that I think is most misunderstood by others. I don't think people actually understand how bloody difficult it is to draw over something that isn't even there in the first place. Most may take five minutes maximum in the morning to quickly spruce up their brows and a few pencil strokes to fill them out, and then ask how it takes you so long to do it. Well, if you have eyebrows, you have a shape (however vague) to work with; it's like having a picture of a two zebras, and the only work you have to do it draw on a couple of stripes to complete the image. If you suffer from hair loss, you need to draw those zebra outlines, making sure that 1) they look like zebras in the first place, 2) both zebras are drawn fairly evenly to start with on the vaguely correct part of the paper, and 3) you include the final detail of the stripes to make them seem like the natural, finished product. So yes, it's a lot more work than if you had brows to start with, and it takes a helluva lot of time in the morning. If you suddenly lost your eyebrows, would you know where to start in drawing them on from scratch? It's much more difficult than you could ever imagine.


When They Don't Go Right First Time

It's all well and good having an image in your mind of what you want your brows to look like, but when it comes to drawing them on, it doesn't always go too smoothly. My mornings usually start off drawing one eyebrow on and thinking 'YES! It looks fairly natural. I think I can pass these off as my own...today is going to be a good day!'. Then I start attempting to draw it's sister on, trying the best I can to mirror the other one to make them look similar/natural/not massively weird. And this is usually where it goes wrong. It's either got too much of an arch, it's wonky, it's thicker, got more of a tail, is just a generally different shape and I'm left thinking, how could I draw on two eyebrows that look so dissimilar?! So you get the make-up remover out and start again. A lot of work, time and effort goes into not only drawing brows on from scratch, but getting them to look even and natural. It's not an easy job, and I'm lucky if it goes right first time!



Do you suffer from hair loss and don't have brows? Do you relate to the brow struggles too? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 


Pretty and Polished


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12 comments

  1. I love reading your posts about trichotillomania - it's so brave of you to share and deeply fascinating. It must be so hard having to draw your eyebrows on from scratch, but yours always look great! I would be really interested to hear how your trich started, as it's something so few people have heard about and I just can't imagine how it starts to surface. Anyway, thank you for sharing :) x

    Laura at Lola and Behold

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoy reading them as I enjoy writing them! I don't know how it started as I was only 3, therefore too young to remember anything. My parents say it was the stress of my little brother arriving but I am not convinced by this theory. I've come to terms with the thought that I will never know! For many, it is stress, especially during teenage years that triggers it, although every case is different. Hope this helps! Will write a post on it if you're interested? Xx

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  2. Listen - eyebrows are sisters, not twins. And some days they are distant cousins.
    If they decide they want to be cousins that day - I just go with it. Drawing on my eyebrows gets easier as long as I don't change my routine. My issue is forgetting I've drawn my eyebrows on and wiping off half an eyebrow. And Rain. I hate rain.

    xo Jenn | Hello Wench

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    1. Yes very true, although I do get too obsessed with trying to get them to look even as I think that will make it seem less noticeable...but maybe not! Thanks for your comment! X

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  3. I literally feel for you hun this must be so hard, I would get them tattooed maybe but I dunno they might go wrong hahah! After my nan got cancer her eyebrows never grew back but she just does a light pencil but I never really thought about how it must feel etc until now xxxx

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    1. Thanks Jess, I have thought about getting them tattooed but like you said, it could easily go wrong/ look rubbish and it is so expensive as well! Xxx

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  4. I know exactly how you feel! Like you my hair pulling started with my eyelashes and then moved on to my eyebrows. Whereas I can cover my lack of eyelashes with falsies and clever make up techniques, loss of eyebrows is hard to disguise.

    What I tend to do is draw in my eyebrows slightly thinner than my natural shape.I draw out an outline using MAC's self propelling brow pencil. Once I get the an outline I go over my drawn in eyebrows with Anastasia Beverly Hills' brow pomade to make it waterproof. I then go over with a matching eyeshadow/ brow powder to make it matte. Finally i neaten up with concealer. My biggest tip is to shade lightly at the beginning of the eyebrow and gradually darken towards the ends.

    This might sound like a lot of work but unfortunately it is not easy being a trichotillomania sufferer.

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, some really fab advice here! Eyebrows are definitely more tricky than lashes to cover up. The only issue is that I don't know what my natural shape is...is there any technique you use to find it?

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  5. I found this post very interesting to read, I can relate to some extent. I do not suffer with trichotillomania, but I do have next to no natural brow tint. It actually does become more of a struggle than most people would think, I mean for one, I've spent so much money on brow products! This was such a great post Sophie :) x

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    1. Thanks Gabriella. I know, I dread to think how much I have spent on brow products alone! xx

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  6. Yeah this exactly my life for the past 4 years. Everything about drawing on brows from scratch is the bloody worst. Finding the right colour, making sure that the amount of product on both are the same. I feel the struggle gal! The worst part is, sometimes you have to do this more than once a day. I've thankfully grown out my brows now and it's great, but my lashes are gone :( one day ey! Great post as always Sophie :) Gweni xxxx

    www.gbeauty.co.uk

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    1. Congrats on the brow front! We're the opposite...my lashes are growing through but my brows are non-existent :( Yes, one day we won't have the struggle of drawing on brows / covering eyelash gaps. Thanks Gweni xxxx

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