A couple of months after losing my hair, I actually became quite fond of the bald look. Losing my hair forced me to appreciate my face more. It was all I had left at the time, so I decided to play it up and focus on the positive. My makeup obsession took on new value. It helped me find confidence during this awkward and uncomfortable time. I also found that I was one of the lucky few with a perfectly shaped head. It’s one of those things that you never know you have until you have to find out, unless of course you’re Britney and decide to buzz your head on a whim. In the last few months of my treatment, I really started to own the bald head. I actually loved the clean shaven bald look so much, I continued shaving the stubble right up until the end of my treatment. I felt pretty badass. As much as I loved the bald, I was anxious to grow my hair back and now I am in that awkward stage of hair growth where I look more cancer-y than I did during chemo. Now, I am awaiting the next stage — the pixie cut — where I hope it will look a little more purposeful and a little less cancer-esque.
A cancer survivor must have made this. It is perfect!
Before I lost my hair, everyone tried to make me feel better by joking about the hair loss that would occur EVERYWHERE on my body. This is supposed to be the bright side of the chemo hair loss. Not only would I lose my head hair, but my armpits, legs and that dreaded bikini line would be hair-free as well. Though this was an exciting perk, I must say these words did nothing to ease my anxiety about the impending hair loss. It was only later, after I made it through the emotional hair loss experience, that I came to appreciate the body hair loss. Bad hair days were a thing of the past, my morning routine was a breeze and my razors began collecting dust in the back of my cabinets. Despite the excitement about my body hair loss, I did not want to stay bald forever. I missed my long hair and the styling options hair afforded me. I was counting down the days until the end of treatment, when I would begin operation hair growth.
The day my chemo ended I began taking Biotin pills. Biotin is known to supplement hair, and nail growth. I have been using the Sports Research Biotin pills from Amazon and have had great results. My hair is coming in strong and it’s soft like baby hairs. I secretly wished the body hair would never return, but no such luck. Where there is one hair, there are many.
So here I am a month and a half after treatment and it seems my head hairs are right on track. So, you can imagine my surprise when I look up from washing my face earlier this week and find that only a few eyebrow hairs remained!!!! “No, this can’t be happening”, I whined to my husband and girlfriends. I already made it through my hair loss period. I was brave, I was confident, I was patient. This is operation hair growth time. In a state of panic, I rushed to google. I remembered reading about eyebrow and eyelash hair loss, but I thought I was in the clear having made it to the end of my treatment without losing those vital face hairs. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Goodbye eyebrows, hello ET. As my new gynecologist jokingly told me, bad juju is the only reasonable explanation. There is no other logical way to explain my misfortune. How else do I get cancer at 27 with no family history of pre-menopausal breast cancer and no genetic mutations. How else do you explain the all the uncommon medical complications I have experienced at each stage of my treatment. At this point, I should expect nothing less than a side effect snowstorm. So, all I can say is BRING IT ON!
After scouring the all knowing Google, I found that it is actually quite common for eyebrows and eyelashes to fall out after treatment. At least I know I am not alone in this struggle. My next step was to find some kind of magic “steroid” for my brow hairs.
Now, a little background on my brows. Over the past 3 years, I was working on growing out my eyebrows. Years of over plucking had left them sparse and mangled. Oh how I longed for thick dark brows! I had tried a few growth enhancing products unsuccessfully, and decided I would have to master the art of filling in and sculpting my brows with makeup, while I waited for the hairs to grow back. Little by little my brows did grow back, and my makeup skills improved as well. It was a lot of trial and error, but my the time I lost my hair to chemo, I felt pretty comfortable with my brow game. Strong brows helped me feel much more confident rocking the bald head.
After all I have been through, my patience is in short supply. So, I went looking for something to speed up my brow growth this time around. After reading tons and tons of reviews, I ordered a product called RevitaLash/Revitabrow from Nordstrom. A few other products that got great reviews were: Latisse, Lumigan (generic Latisse) and NeuBrow. Revitabrow was the easiest for me to get my hands on and it didn’t require a prescription. The reviews claimed that the product helped brows grow faster, darker and fuller. I was sold! With Nordstrom’s wonderful return policy, I knew I could return it and try something else if this first product didn’t work well. So now, I am anxiously waiting for it to arrive and I will be sure to keep you all posted on the results.
In the meantime while I wait for my brows to grow, I will continue my go-to brow routine. You can find some of my everyday makeup tips in my Look Good Feel Better:Makeup post. Over the last few months I have switched things up a bit and started using some new products. One of my favorite new products, is the Brow Definer Pencil by Anastasia Beverly Hills. It is pure magic for those of us with thin, sparse brows. The product description claims the pencil is long lasting and smudge proof. I can attest to both of these claims. I wore this pencil into surgery two weeks ago and two days later my brows still looks flawless. I have never had such great results with any other product and I have tried every brow product under the sun.
For those of you who are new to brow products and techniques, I suggest you watch some of the YouTube tutorials from my brow idols I have linked below. I watched hundreds of videos and tried tons of products until I found what worked for me. The process take a lot of trial and error. I had to figure out what looked best on my face and how to recreate that look daily, which is harder than it may seem. I suggest you try a few different types of products (pencil, powder, pomade, or gel) in order to figure out what works well for you. With practice you will be able to achieve the flawless natural brow look that is so in right now.
My Favorite Eyebrow Products
Brow Definer Pencil:Anastasia Beverly Hills (Taupe) – Smudge-proof and long lasting. The larger angled tip is a little more difficult to use and does not work well for thin hair-like strokes. This pencil is better for shading in sparse areas and creating definition.
Brow Whiz:Anastasia Beverly Hills (Soft Brown or Medium Brown) – Fine tip, perfect for detailing and adding hair-like strokes. Unfortunately this pencil is not smudge proof so you have to be careful. To make this pencil longer lasting you can use it in combination with a eye primer or makeup setting spray.
Dipbrow:Anastasia Beverly Hills (Taupe and Soft Brown) – Smudge-free, waterproof pomade that performs as an all-in-one brow product. A little goes a long way, so be sure to use a light hand and thin strokes. You will also need a very fine angled edge brush to accurately apply this pomade. I have linked my two favorite brushes below. This pomade is more difficult to get a hang of than a pencil or powder, but once you get used to it the results can be amazing.
Micro Brow Pencil:NYX (Taupe)- This brow pencil is a close twin to the Brow Whiz, and it’s half the cost. It is available at Ulta and some shades are available from Target.com.The fine tip is great for detailing and making the brows appear more natural. Make sure to test the colors in person as they appear quite different online.
High Brow: Benefit (Linen Pink): This pencil is perfect for sculpting out bottom edge of your brow and highlighting the brow bone. Sometimes I like to add a shimmer on top of this highlighter. You can use any highlighter or shimmery eyeshadow.
Concealer: Glo Minerals (Beige)- I love this concealer for sculpting out my arch and smoothing the edges of my brows. with a fine tipped brush you can careful clean up any stray marks. If you don’t want to buy this one, any long lasting creamy concealer will work.
With the pomade and other eyebrow powders you will need a stiff angled brush for application. These two brushes are my favorites.
My Eyebrow Idols (YouTube)