Common Eyebrow Mistakes That Can Really Age You

Although eyebrows may not be the first thing you notice about another person's face, science tells us that the brows play a vital role in helping us to recognize each other. They are also instrumental tools to use for conveying our intentions and emotions to others. Beyond that, they add to our beauty and appeal (via Science Direct). Furthermore, our eyebrows have the capacity to make us look youthful or old, depending on how we trim, style, and groom them. 

There are many subtle nuances to understand about shaping your eyebrows. It's possible to make mistakes with your eyebrow grooming that can unnecessarily give the illusion that you're older than your actual age. Here's a rundown of possible ways you could be sabotaging your eyebrows and inadvertently making yourself look older. The good news is that these eyebrow mistakes all have solutions, so we've included suggestions for fixes to help you understand your options.

Too aggressive with plucking

In the 1990s, many people went overboard with tweezing their eyebrows to emulate trendsetting celebrities like Pamela Anderson. But now the skinny eyebrows trend has passed, and continuing with overplucking is an eyebrow mistake. According to aesthetic facial plastic and hair restoration surgeon Dr. Jason Champagne, skimpy brows can make you appear older. Dr. Champagne told Express, "Full eyebrows always give the impression of youth, and on the opposite end of that is a thin, over-tweezed brow that exposes the brow bone." Makeup artist Celine Russel explains another reason that overly aggressive eyebrow plucking can work against you. Russel told Southern Living, "As we age, the brows do not grow in as well. So if we over-pluck, that can become a problem." 

This eyebrow mistake has an obvious solution: Lay off your tweezers. We're not saying you should never pluck your eyebrows, but it's ideal if you can show extreme restraint when doing so. When you groom your eyebrows, it's fine to pluck out stray hairs that are growing in between your brows.

If you've already been too vigorous with tweezing, Russel offers a quick fix for the situation, saying, "I prefer to use a brow powder with light strokes as if I'm growing in the hair. Light-tinted brow gels are also an option." These products work because they can give the illusion of fuller eyebrows. Beyond that, it is sometimes possible to regrow eyebrows after years of over-tweezing.

Not getting sufficient nutrition

Over-tweezing isn't the only thing that can cause thin eyebrows. Nutrient deficiencies can cause both hair loss and thinning of eyebrow hairs. According to dermatologists at the Schweiger Dermatology Group, deficiencies of vitamins A, C, E, B-7, B-12, D, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and cysteine can cause hair loss, otherwise known as alopecia. In some cases, there's evidence linking these deficiencies to loss of eyebrow hair as well. The medical terminology describing this situation is eyebrow alopecia. We recommend getting help from a nutritionist if you suspect that nutritional deficiencies are causing your eyebrow loss.

According to a 2022 study in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, "Nutrient deficiency of zinc has been reported to cause eyebrow and eyelash alopecia." If you're female and age 19 or older, experts at the Department of Health and Human Services recommend consuming at least  8 mg of zinc every day. You can obtain this mineral by eating foods that contain bioavailable zinc, including beef, fish, seafood, eggs, and cheese. 

There's a supplement containing many of the above-mentioned nutrients that board-certified dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, M.D. suggests using for eyebrow regrowth. Downie observed that her patients enjoyed success with Nutrafol, which includes several nutrients.  Downie told Women's Health Mag, "There needs to be clinical studies to better assess if this is the case, but as Nutrafol has no side effects, I strongly recommend its use when my patients are interested." 

Too much dark, heavy makeup on your brows

Makeup can really give your eyebrows a boost, making them look thicker and more substantial. However, an unnatural level of intensity is what you want to avoid with your eyebrow styling. Makeup artist Jenna Treat told Daily Mail, "The trend for a heavily drawn-on brow is often ageing and can look too severe." Another key is to avoid piling on too many eyebrow products.

Instead, choose just a couple of carefully considered products that harmonize with your unique complexion and are not dramatically darker than your natural coloring. Your goal is to give your eyebrows enough definition to make them look pronounced but to also keep them natural looking. You can first layer or stipple a cream shadow onto the eyebrows and then smooth and highlight the eyebrows using brow gel. If you accidentally end up with too much gel on your eyebrows when you try this, you can gently wipe away the surplus with a spoolie brush.

There is no one-size-fits-all makeup approach that will work for every set of eyebrows, so it might take you some experimenting to find a workable routine. Celebrity makeup artist Ariane Poole explained to Sixty & Me that it's important to select eyebrow products that will work well for you as a unique individual. Poole suggests, "If you are someone who has been using a powder and you are not getting the results you want, check out balms or pencils."

Extending your eyebrow tails too far

Eyebrow tails are prone to thinning with age, and sparse tails can add years onto a person's appearance. "The tail of the brow is the part that sets off the arch, which makes eyes look youthful and sexy," Eliza Petrescu, owner of brow sculpting salon Eliza's Eyes, told Prevention. "Without it, eyes seem droopy and tired." When this part of the eyebrow starts to thin, many women compensate by using makeup to make the eyebrow tails appear fuller.

However, it can also be just as big a mistake to get too zealous with re-drawing thinning eyebrow tails, particularly if you extend them further than they should naturally go. Celebrity makeup artist Sarah Amelia Fogg told Express, "If you like the defined look, avoid adding any color to the end of your brow as overextending the tail can draw your face down and age you significantly."

Dr. Jason Champagne offers additional insights, telling Express, "In order to keep your eyes looking refreshed and awake, the tail of your brow (the part that tapers at the side of your face) should end at a height above that of the beginning of your brow (near your nose)." The most important takeaway: If you use makeup to fill in your eyebrow tails, be sure to keep them in the correct proportion and height to ensure you end up with the intended result of looking younger.

Overbleaching your eyebrows

Bleached eyebrows are a thing, but this is a trend you might want to pass on if you are concerned about looking as youthful as possible. According to research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology in 2017, people get the impression that women look younger when they have high levels of facial contrast. Aurélie Porcheron, one of the study's researchers, told Science Daily, "Facial contrast refers to how much the eyes, lips and eyebrows stand out in the face in terms of how light or dark they are or how colorful they are. The results also suggest that people could actively modify how old they look, by altering how much their facial features stand out, for example by darkening or coloring their features." 

Since bleaching your eyebrows decreases your level of facial contrast, it has the effect of making you appear older. If you've already bleached your eyebrows and you decide that it was a mistake you'd like to undo, there are several approaches you can take. If you have patience, you can wait for your eyebrows to regrow. In some areas, it's also possible to get your eyebrows tinted, but this depends on the local laws and service provider availability in your region. You also have the option to use makeup to increase the level of visual contrast between your skin and your eyebrows.

Tadpole eyebrows are a common mistake

Tadpole eyebrows are characterized by plumper portions of eyebrow hair close to the nose and thin tails at the outer corners. This shape resembles tadpoles, hence the label. Professional makeup artist Eliza Barlow explains to readers at Alleyelashes why this configuration is an eyebrow mistake that makes you look older. Barlow writes, "Though the intended effect is to shape and silhouette, tadpole eyebrows make faces look older and take away dimension and depth." Adding these lost characteristics back is the primary goal in the repair process.

Tadpole shaped eyebrows usually get that way because of eyebrow plucking errors. To fix this mistake, first, stop tweezing. Next, focus on restoring the natural shape of your brows. Barlow says, "It may be tempting to try for Angelina Jolie's brows or Kate Middleton's, but the truth is our brows are all unique ... by embracing your unique shape, you can get the best results." Visual gaps in your eyebrows can be minimized by using products such as brow liner. The makeup artist explains that eyebrow regrowth is likely to take about three months. If you experience sensitivity or soreness during the regrowth period, Barlow recommends moisturizing the eyebrow area with a dab of coconut oil. A spoolie brush is useful for applying the coconut oil and freshening up the look of your brows.

 If this fix doesn't work for you, be aware that there are multiple other ways to even out tadpole eyebrows.

Brows are unkempt and overgrown

Because full eyebrows signify youthfulness, it's tempting to let them grow naturally without any grooming. This, too, can be an eyebrow mistake that ages you. If you have dark hairs that grow in between your eyebrows, they can mistakenly be perceived as wrinkles.

Kristie Streicher, eyebrow expert at L.A.'s Warren-Tricomi Salon, explains another reason unkempt eyebrows are a mistake that ages you. Streicher told Prevention that excess rough, scraggly eyebrow hairs minimize the appearance of your eyes. This can be especially problematic if prominent eyebrow hairs grow in at your eyes' outer edges in a way that makes your eyelids appear saggy. 

To implement a fix, grab a spoolie, a pair of eyebrow scissors, your tweezers, and clear brow gel. Comb your eyebrow hairs into position with the spoolie. You can tweeze any hairs that are clearly misplaced; otherwise, use the eyebrow scissors to carefully trim a tiny bit off each hair that appears overgrown. It's ideal to evaluate and trim each hair individually. Although it's a tedious process, impatience can result in an abnormally severe trim line around the eyebrow that's best avoided. Use a light touch to apply the gel, which will preserve your brows' neatly groomed appearance. This fix tames your brows and removes the furrowed or saggy look, ensuring you don't give the impression you have more wrinkles than you really do.

Drawing unnaturally shaped semicircles for eyebrows

Eyebrow specialist Elke Von Freudenberg explains another way you might be dating yourself and also making yourself look older. Von Freudenberg tells SheFinds, "The half circle or 'surprised' eyebrow is also an old fad that can age you. This eyebrow gives a very rounded line or half circle from beginning to end and makes you look as if you're surprised or that you're raising your eyebrows."

If you've made the "surprised eyes" mistake, and tweezing or plucking was involved in creating the look, the most crucial step in the fix is letting your brows regrow. While you're waiting, you can use cosmetics to correct the look of your arches. Instead of drawing in perfect semicircles for eyebrows, re-create a softer and more natural arc. Fill in any sparse spots with color. Choose makeup colors that provide contrast but are only slightly darker than your skin tone. Avoid using any products that are strikingly darker than your complexion. If implemented correctly, this fix will replace the surprised look with a more natural, youthful-looking eyebrow arch.

Overplucking or Botox problems

Nobody's eyebrows are fully identical, which is why there's an oft-repeated mantra amongst eyebrow professionals. Eyebrows are sisters, not twins. However, in situations where plucking creates a noticeable disparity between the way your brows look, that can be an eyebrow mistake that ages you. According to Healthline, another culprit is Botox, which can unequally affect the facial muscles closest to your eyebrows, resulting in a lopsided look.

Research published in a 2018 journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery helps to explain why uneven eyebrows make you look older. The researchers divided their subjects' faces into upper, middle, and lower thirds and used 3D photogrammetry to scan, study, and analyze the amount of symmetry that was present in their faces. "We found a highly significant positive correlation between increasing age and facial asymmetry," the scholars wrote (via Science Daily). The eyebrow area was one of the spots on the face where the researchers noticed the most significant increase in asymmetry as the study subjects aged.

To fix uneven eyebrows, pick the brow that looks most natural and sculpt the other one to match it. Makeup artist Ariane Poole suggests using a white pencil to make markings on your brows, as a guideline for shaping. It's then easier to determine if there are any stray hairs that need to be plucked in order for you to achieve eyebrow symmetry (via Sixty & Me).

Unnaturally pointed shape is another eyebrow mistake

According to makeup artist Jenna Treat, unnaturally pointy eyebrows make you look older. Treat explains that some people sculpt overly pointy eyebrows by removing hairs only from underneath the eyebrows and never from above them. The makeup artist told Daily Mail, "The arch of your eyebrow should lie naturally over the brow bone, with the highest point about three-quarters of the way across from the top of your nose." If you pluck your eyebrows into a configuration that doesn't take these parameters into consideration, the likely result will be a look that ages you unnecessarily. 

Treat suggests eyebrow threading a select few hairs that sit above the brow as a possible quick fix for this mistake. This will diminish the pointed look and give your eyebrows a more natural appearance. The makeup artist highly recommends having a professional help you enact this tricky fix, but it is also possible to thread your eyebrows at home. After threading is complete, you can use cosmetics if you need to do any more eyebrow shaping while you wait for your natural arches to regrow. 

Not working with the natural arch of your brows

Tadpole eyebrows, semicircular eyebrows, and pointed arches are all variations of the same major eyebrow mistake: shaping your brows in an unnatural way that does not work with the intrinsic arches of your brows. Mistakes of this nature all tend to subtract depth and definition from your brow, which can have the undesired result of making you look older. 

Professional eyebrow artist Ursula Cervellone tells CosBeauty, "Keeping the natural curves of your brows is important, though your natural brow height and angle of the curve will determine the right shape." It would be a mistake to tweeze your brows into any unnatural shape that fights these proportions. If you do tweeze, resist the urge to force your brows into an exaggerated shape that you didn't have to start with. Understand that tweezing is best used as a means for refining the brows you have, rather than fighting nature. Cervellone points out another tip for ensuring your brows look natural, saying, "It's important to make sure that your brow is not the same thickness and boldness throughout the whole brow, rather it should have a nice gradual flow." 

If you've made this sort of mistake with your brows, allowing them to regrow will fix the situation in time. In the meanwhile, selective use of cosmetics can help you to redefine your eyebrow arches in a way that enhances them.