We recently put out a call to all the women in the office to hear what beauty myths they wanted us to investigate, and an overwhelming number wanted to get to the bottom of tweezing. You know, how it seems like the hair that grows back after plucking their smaller counterparts always looks a little … thicker, even darker. Is that what's really happening there?
In this week's installment of Beauty Myths, we enlisted Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City who has been studying hair and scalp health for more than 22 years, to clear up the confusion about tweezing hair and what exactly it's doing to the hair that grows back in its place.
"Tweezing is not likely to influence or cause diameter changes to hair texture," says Cunnane Phillips. "Hormonal variables and genetic predisposition are much more likely to be at play."
What about tweezing versus waxing? We've always heard that waxing makes hair grow back slower and less thick, is that true?
"Some in the industry suggest that this is the case, but again body hair growth is influenced predominantly by hormonal and genetic factors," says Cunnane Phillips. "Scalp hair is also significantly influenced by nutritional components."
Conversely, some people say that over-tweezing can destroy the hair follicle, causing it to ultimately not grow back. Does that thinking hold any water? (Here are a few cautionary tales.)
"Tweezing eyebrows repeatedly can lead to destruction of the follicle," Cunnane Phillips says. "But from a trichological perspective, if someone is going through hair changes and also reports the eyebrows are finer and more sparse we will always want to ensure there is no Thyroid imbalance."
"The world of hair and skin has an ocean of tightly held misconceptions, including the above," Cunnane Phillips adds. "They also suggest that washing the scalp and hair infrequently is ideal -- nothing could be further from the truth."
Conclusion: Tweezing does not cause hair to grow back thicker. Changes in hair texture are likely caused by hormonal and genetic factors.
For Beauty Myths, we've enlisted the help of pros to help debunk and demystify some of the most popular advice out there. Do you have a myth you'd like us to investigate? Let us know in the comment section, and check out previous questions in the gallery below.