It’s no secret that hair matters for a more beautiful you. Although most people immediately think in terms of head hair, the eyebrows and eyelashes also count. Well-shaped brow definition adds a touch of unique distinction to the face. This is evident with the celebrities we consider to be the eyebrow muses of our time, like Brooke Shields, Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevingne. When it comes to giving the eyes beautiful, natural and feminine definition, we all seem to love the look of lengthy, upwardly curled eyelashes.
The eyelashes and eyebrows are important facial features in their own right. But unlike the nose, cheekbones, cheeks and lips, having the gorgeous eyebrows and eyelashes you most depends on hair growth, a limitation for those who are follicularly challenged.
Today, many people who face this dilemma are given the choice of relying on beauty products and services, or opting for eyelash or eyebrow transplant surgery. Here’s the scoop on long-term considerations to think about.
Services and Products for the Eyebrows and Eyelashes – Are They Worth It?
The intense demand for chic, full brow definition and long, elegantly curved eyelashes has given rise to a never-ending development of cosmetic products and services.
Like a kid in the candy store, taking a dive into this world can feel like a real thrill at first for the average beauty enthusiast. But once you achieve the lash and brow look you want, it’s hard to stop. You get to the point where you have to have them every single day.
On the practical side of things, staying consistent can be a hard thing to keep up with. When you are in a rush to get out the door, beauty routines for the brows and lashes are not as fun if they eat away at your time. Combing your eyelash hairs with mascara can feel frustrating, let alone affixing stencils for your brows or trying to glue on false lash strips or apply brow extension fibers.
Although eyelash extensions are considered a hot trend, largely due to their use by celebrities, they can incur infections and the permanent breakage of your natural lash hairs. Plus the cost of maintaining them long-term can get quite expensive.
All these products and services only help you copy the look of fuller brows and longer lashes. As alternatives to plastic surgery, they end up being just second-best approximations to the actual reality of having your very own natural hair growth in the brows and lash line.
Eyelash and Eyebrow Transplant Surgery: Drastic or Life-Enhancing?
Fortunately, the field of hair transplantation has made it possible to transplant your very own hair follicles for improving your eyebrows and eyelashes.
Conventional versions of these surgeries use follicles taken from the patient’s scalp, but here’s the catch to be aware of: head hair is much thicker than actual eyebrow or eyelash hair. Therefore, it is not the most natural looking option. Yet, the whole point of having hair transplant surgeries is to achieve realistic, true to life results as though you were gifted with the lucky genes to have full eyebrows and longer eyelashes in the first place.
Thanks to newer advances, patients can now choose hair from any area of the body to supply the follicles they want for the eyebrows or eyelashes. Hairs that are a better match for brow and lash hair include those that come from legs, nape, armpits and even the pubic area.
At first, going the surgical route to enhance lashes or brows may seem a bit extreme. But the results and lifestyle practicality makes this decision worth it in every sense. For those who have had eyelash or eyebrow transplantation done, the long-term results can be truly life-enhancing.
The Latest In Eyelash Transplant and Eyebrow Restoration: How These Procedures Are Performed
In order to harvest hair from the outside the head, highly specialized tiny punches are used. According to Sanusi Umar MD, who is known worldwide for his body hair transplant procedures, hair from the body grows at very sharp angles. This makes it difficult for surgeons to accurately guess where the follicles are beneath the skin. The extractions need to avoid damaging the grafts since follicles will not grow back. Therefore, the doctor needs to use the right instrumentation with specialized features that has the ability to follow the hair’s bends and curves until it reaches the follicle in order to cut around it.
Another important consideration for patients is the wound healing process on their skin following their graft extractions. This is especially important if you decide on using hair follicles taken from more visible donor areas such as the nape or legs. When basic hair transplant (Follicular Unit Extraction, or FUE) punches are used, it is very likely that visible scarring and redness will remain. These punches are good for harvesting head hair, and any scars that remain will be covered by hair, making them unnoticeable. However, they have their limitations when harvesting donor hair from the body.
Today, more advanced hair transplant punches exist, like Dr.UGraft™ devices, developed by Dr. Umar himself. They are specifically built for safe body hair extractions and better wound healing results, leaving your skin free of any visible signs of surgery. After all, no one would want to be left with numerous bumps and redness on areas like the legs or even the nape. Although the average person would not likely notice your nape if your hair is long, some people prefer to keep their hair very short in this area, or like the option of wearing their hair up. Therefore, the use of specialized instruments for eyebrow and eyelash transplant are more of a must-have than a nice-to-have.
What to Expect During an Eyelash Transplant Procedure
For an eyelash transplant procedure, between 20 to 50 single hair follicles are harvested and carefully inserted into the lash line. While traditional methods will derive grafts exclusively from the scalp, more advanced practitioners offer the option to select donor hair from areas like the nape or legs, where the maximum length is close to that of real eyelashes.
Shedding of the old hairs may be observed 2 to 8 weeks after surgery. Patients can expect to see signs of new growth roughly 3 to 4 months following their procedure.
How Eyebrow Restoration Surgeries Are Conducted
In an eyebrow restoration procedure, usually 50 to 325 hair are harvested. Once again, with newer and more advanced follicle extraction technologies, it is possible to choose where these grafts come from.
Prior to eyebrow transplant surgery, an experienced physician provider listens to your input about how you want your brows to look. Since these procedures can be done on men or women, he or she will also apply classic aesthetic principles for male brow shapes or female eyebrow arches to help patients look their best.
If you are considering an eyebrow transplant, be sure to provide images to your doctor, even if they are those of celebrities. Yes, it is possible to get eyebrows like Kim Kardashian. The surgeon should study your face and design the right arch shape, given your feedback about your preferred outcome, while planning out more intricate details like hair direction, density and orientation.
Much like an eyelash transplant procedure, existing hair on the follicle grafts can be expected to shed within the following weeks. This signals that new hair growth cycles are underway. New growth usually becomes apparent 3 to 4 months following surgery.
How to Groom and Maintain Your Surgical Eyelashes and Eyebrows
Maintenance of your new eyelashes or eyebrows is extremely simple and minimal. On a day-to-day basis, these measures are extremely convenient compared to using makeup products or relying on salon services like eyelash extensions or topical products like LATISSE.
New eyelashes, especially if they are created with longer head or nape hair, will usually involve trimming the hairs to their desired length. Eyelash transplant results with leg hair will require less trimming since these hairs will reach a maximum length that is similar to real eyelashes. However, the patient can still use their judgement on whether to trim or not. Additionally, Dr. Umar notes in his study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery journal that eyelashes created with leg hairs have not required perming after the use of curlers, unlike eyelashes created with head hair.
Likewise, surgically created eyebrows usually require routine trimming for a well-groomed appearance. Patients may also opt for brow gels and pomades to maintain hold, if this is desired. Tinting and coloring can also be made part of one’s brow grooming regimen.
Lifestyle Impact of Eyelash and Eyebrow Transplant Results
Thanks to the availability of eyelash and eyebrow transplant surgery, it is possible to wake up with long beautiful lashes as well as the well-defined, lush brows you’ve always wanted. Gone will be the days of having to constantly apply shadows or eyebrow pencils every day, or remembering to apply your prescription eyelash solution. Nor will you have to fuss with eyebrow fibers or stencils to maintain your look. You can also say goodbye to costly, regular salon visits for eyelash extensions (which could end up doing more damage than good).
With newer advances in eyelash and eyebrow transplant surgery, you can now pick up where your genes may have left off, giving you a whole new lease on life… not to mention more time in the morning to spare!
Dr. Sanusi Umar is certified by the American Board of Dermatology. He is also the inventor of the Intelligent Punch™ and additional patented FUE technologies designed for safely extracting head and body hair grafts as well as Afro-textured hair. His breakthrough work in these areas has been published in premier medical journals and covered by major U.S. media sources like Good Morning America, Elle and the New York Times.
Dr. Umar started his Los Angeles-based hair transplant clinic in 2005 where he performs surgery for basic and challenging hair restoration and repair cases. These include issues like severe baldness, donor depletion, patients of African origin, and also eyebrow and eyelash restoration. His revolutionary work in Follicular Unit Extraction inventions have led to the development of the hybrid punch concept, the first universally applicable Afro-textured hair transplant punch along with the cutting-edge engineering of the first ultrasonic FUE technologies.
Currently, Dr. Umar serves an associate faculty member at UCLA and holds the title Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at Harbor UCLA Medical Center.