Back in my younger days, I was willing to try pretty much anything with my hair, from dying it blue (which means I sometimes woke up with blue-stained pillow cases and had to be careful that blue dye did not trickle forth from my skull when it rained) to allowing my roommate to cut it, in whatever style he thought might look fashionable for me at the time. I figured the worst that could happen is I wouldn’t like the haircut and so what really? Hair always grows back. In fact, I was usually pretty pleased with the styles he cut my tresses into, although I remember my mom commenting that my haircut looked sloppy on more than one occasion. This didn’t bother me too much. My roommate was a self-made stylist of sorts and I found his ideas about style appealing.
Back in my younger days, frequently experimenting with at-home haircuts and dye jobs sometimes just seemed like a fun way to spend an evening. So when this same roommate suggested that we bleach my eyebrows, because it might look interesting if they were a lighter shade, that plan must have sounded like a fun way to spend an evening, too. I have dark hair and matching dark eyebrows. I don’t recall disliking my brows the way they were originally, but I’m sure I was up for trying something new, so I agreed to his proposition.
I had certainly heard of Jolen Crème Bleach (and other at-home bleaching products), as a way for women with unwanted dark hair, especially unwanted dark facial hair, to lighten that hair. I had never purchased or used such a product before, though, as I didn’t have a problem with unwanted dark facial hair. For some reason, my roommate had this product on hand; I’m not too sure why, since he didn’t even possess particularly dark hair. He did enjoy visiting beauty supply shops from time to time, so perhaps he had just acquired the bleaching product on a whim and was now interested in giving it a whirl. I think he had a version of the product that consisted of a powder that your stir together with water and then apply the resulting paste to the unwanted hair for a specified time frame.
He seemed to know what he was doing, so I allowed him to mix and apply the paste to my dark brown eyebrows. We followed the package instructions and kept the product on for the recommended time and then gently wiped it off with a washcloth. My eyebrows had turned a slightly brassy reddish hue. They didn’t look too bad, but for some reason, we decided they might look better if they were lighter. We followed the same procedure again and this time when we wiped off the bleaching paste, my brows were a brassy blonde hue. Once more for good measure, we figured. A third application of the bleaching powder would surely be all it would take to eliminate every trace of brassiness. A third time was sure to be a charm, right?
Not quite. Instead what happened is that after the third application of the bleach, I wiped the paste off with a washcloth and my eyebrows came off, too. I was completely eyebrow-less, which makes for a very strange, almost alien-like appearance, complete with severely jutting brow bones.
Although looking strange and severe didn’t bother me as much as it might have bothered some other people, I didn’t really think that my rather intimidating new look would work out well in the context of my job at the time, which was a customer service oriented retail position at a science museum gift shop. Thus, I decided I would have to draw my eyebrows on. This idea didn’t bother me too much, either; at least not initially. I liked those thin, high arched brows that reminded me of glamorous old movie starlets, so I figured now was my chance to flirt with such a look for myself. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how high-maintenance achieving such an appearance would prove to be.
Oh sure, it was easy enough for the first few days after I’d wiped away every last trace of my eyebrows. I’d simply use dark brown eyeliner to carefully pencil in my brows a little bit higher, a little bit more arched, and considerably skinnier than they used to be-and I thought I looked glamorous and striking without looking tacky, over the top, or absurd. Then the stubble of my old eyebrows started growing back in. Well after that, the whole eyebrow ritual became much more time consuming than it ever used to be when the only thing I had to was occasional plucking to remove little stray hairs and shape my brows the way I liked them. Now, I had to apply several layers of foundation and powder to cover up the stubble of my old brows and then draw on the new brows; either that or I could keep plucking out the stubble, but then what if my brows never grew back-and did I really want to be drawing on my eyebrows for the rest of my life? No, I really didn’t.
Golly though, you think it’s hard waiting for your head hair to grow out; waiting for your eyebrows to grow out while trying not to look ridiculous during the process was even worse. I never really intended to be the kind of woman who spent half an hour grooming my eyebrows each morning, so there were times when I got fed up with the whole high maintenance process of it all and just drew my eyebrows on with blue or green eyeliner as some kind of offbeat little jinx or occasionally even left the house looking like that alien with no eyebrows at all. I didn’t want to press my luck too much with the day job though, so I was pretty glad when the eyebrows finally grew back.
On the plus side, they grew back thinner, so after my silly high maintenance brow grooming phase, I now barely have to tend to any eyebrow maintenance at all. Thank goodness!