What's the Right Age to Start Plucking Your Eyebrows?
If you're like most people, your first time plucking your eyebrows marked the beginning of a long, sometimes painful eyebrow-maintenance journey. From there, the road forked into a thousand possible paths: you could keep plucking or graduate to waxing or threading. And these days there are even more possibilities. You can shirk brow-thinning all together and go in the complete opposite direction with eyebrow extensions. Or you can go all-in and give yourself this eyebrow makeover, which involves seven different products (don't skip highlighter!).
Who knew a simple set of tweezers could lead to such a complicated, exhausting endeavor? Which raises the question: how young is too young to start plucking your eyebrows? And what do you need to know before you attempt to master the art of the arch? To find out, we asked a panel of women to weigh in.
- Junior high English teacher and mom Lauren P.
- Asanda Aveda Spa Lounge aesthetician Elena Serbu
- High school guidance counselor and mom Lora A.F.
- High school senior Lily B.
What's the right age?
Elena thinks the proper age for brow grooming depends on the method. For plucking, the aesthetician recommends waiting until 20 to avoid accidental overtweezing. For waxing, she recommends waiting until at least 14, the year skin sensitivity starts to drop off.
Lauren, on the other hand, thinks sometime in late middle school is the right time to start plucking your eyebrows—around 12 or 13 years old—and Lily basically agrees, saying that 13–14 is the right age to start tweezing.
Lora recommends that teens hold off until they're about 16, the year of many kids' first major school dance. "But if they've got a unibrow, they better start as early as possible," she adds.
Is your kid ready?
Some questions to consider before you hand over the tweezers.
Is your kid self-conscious about their brows?
While looks aren't everything, they can feel important, especially to teenagers. As junior high teacher Lauren says, "A parent has to consider the effect [a kid's] eyebrows could be having on her self-confidence. Is she being made fun of? Or is it very bothersome? If so, then this might be a small change that could help greatly."
Does your kid know about overplucking?
Sure, most kids who are anxious about their appearance are going to be careful not to pluck away a ridiculous amount of hair the first time. After all, they're probably not trying to rock those pin-thin 1990s/early 2000s brows that were popular when you were younger. But as aesthetician Elena says, over-plucking actually happens slowly, over time. You don't notice it at first, but Elena has tons of clients in their 20s who come to her saying, "I don't have enough eyebrows." There's a reason that microblading, a semipermanent eyebrow tattoo treatment, has become so popular in recent years.
Overplucking is a risk whatever your age. To avoid damage to the eyebrows, Elena recommends plucking at most every six weeks.
Does your kid understand thick brows can be beautiful?
If she has specific quibbles with her brows' exact shape or wants to divide up a unibrow, that's fine. Just make sure that she realizes thick brows are just as beautiful as thin ones—if not more so. They can make a face expressive. Or, as Elena puts it, "Eyebrows are your personality." Plus, you could always show her pictures of beautiful women rocking big brows, from Cara Delevingne to Lily Collins to Beyoncé.
Has your kid considered waxing and threading, too?
Elena waxes eyebrows and recommends it for teens. (Younger kids' skin is often too sensitive for the treatment, and "there's a risk of peeling skin.")
High school senior Lily recently switched over from waxing to threading. In her experience, at least, it goes more quickly and leaves longer-lasting results—which makes it great for kids who aren't ready for the upkeep.
Can your kid describe the look she wants?
This is especially important when soliciting the help of a professional, as Lily found out during one of her first threading appointments. "[The lady] tried to thread my forehead. Like, the whole thing. I was like, 'What are you doing?'" She was worried that by her next appointment, her forehead would be covered in hair.
(It wasn't, though! She's OK.)
Do you want to be hands-off about the whole thing?
That might not be the best idea. This is the type of beauty endeavor it pays to supervise or at least rigorously discuss beforehand, guidance counselor Lora says. She recommends making your daughter's first round of plucking a mother-daughter (or beauty mentor-daughter) activity, "so your child is not that one kid that [everyone's] like, 'Oooh, what happened to you?'"
This was originally posted by staff writer Mae Rice and has since been updated by our editors.
Have an opinion to share? Let us know in the comments!