I was born without eyebrows. OK, not really, but let's just say they left a lot to be desired. I had no shape whatsoever — no arch, no tail, just a few hairs in the front (thanks for those genes, Dad). I was bullied over them in elementary school, and it really started to eat at my self-esteem.
As soon as microblading became a popular service, I knew it was the perfect option for me and my sad, sad brows. That was five years ago, I had my first microblading session five years ago, and now — with the addition of some occasional touch-up tweezing — love my brows more than I ever imagined I could. With love comes protection, meaning no one is allowed to touch them — seriously. No one else has waxed, threaded, tweezed, or done any other type of grooming method you can think of to my brows in five years. I trust no one but myself to get rid of the sparse hairs surrounding my permanent shape; therefore, I do it myself (which came in clutch when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, since salons had to close).
But to be honest, that shit hurts. I don't care what anyone says — you don't just get used to the feeling of pulling hairs out of your skin. To help myself and all the fellow pluckers out there, I reached out to a few experts for advice on how to make tweezing less painful.
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1. Take a hot shower
Founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, Anastasia Soare (aka the brow queen), recommends taking a hot shower or using a warm compress on the brows prior to tweezing them. "This will help open up the pores and ease discomfort," she says.
New York City-based dermatologist Mona Gohara supports this trick as well, but also warns against using a hot compress after you tweeze; instead, use a cold one to help reduce any inflammation that was caused due to pulling hairs out of the skin.
2. Stay away from magnifying mirrors
As tempting as they can be, magnifying mirrors can be so dangerous. Soare says they're the quickest path to getting carried away, and chances are, you don't need to tweeze as much as you think.
"Brows should begin directly above the middle of your nostrils, end where the corner of the nostril connects with the outer corner of the eye, and the highest point of the arch should connect the middle of the tip of the nose with the middle of the iris," says Soare. If you fill in your brows using these guidelines prior to tweezing, it will ensure you don't get "tweezer-happy," causing yourself more pain.
3. Pick the right tweezer
Since your brow bone is curved, Soare recommends using a quality pair of slant-tipped tweezers to avoid breaking off the hair too far from the skin's base; this will cause unnecessary pain. We love the Tweezerman Slant Tweezer (a three-time Best of Beauty winner) because it will fully yank out the thickest hair as well as the finest baby hairs.
4. Tweeze the right way
Once you have your tweezers, you'll want to ensure you're doing the deed correctly. "You always want to make sure you are getting as close to the base as possible and tweezing the hair in the direction of its growth," Soare says. I can stand by this rule from personal experience. Plucking my hair in the opposite direction of growth makes my skin super irritated, and it hurts so, so bad.
5. Cortisone cream is your new BFF
Cortisone cream is a topical anti-inflammatory that should be in everyone's medicine cabinet. "After any hair-removal procedure, I always apply a bit of cortisone. This precludes a lot of pain drama," Gohara says. Cortisone cream can be found at any drugstore and can be used for irritation caused by tweezing, bug bites, eczema and more. It's really magic in a tube.
Now that you have these tips and tricks to help reduce pain from tweezing, I will leave you with these two thoughts: One, beauty doesn't always have to be pain, and two, be sure to check out Allure's handy guide to doing your eyebrows at home before you over-pluck.
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