LJ O’Rahilly knew there was only one way she could truly offer the best possible eyebrow tutorials to those struggling to cope with hair loss — she had to pluck hers out.
The Irish beauty blogger, who lives by the motto “passion is infectious,” started her annual “Browtober” tradition in 2018 in order to offer a source of comfort to people losing their hair, whether due to chemotherapy, alopecia, trichotillomania or any of the wide variety of other conditions that may cause the stressful symptom.
“Browtober is a full month dedicated to eyebrow tutorials for people who are suffering with hair loss,” O’Rahilly explained to In The Know. “I started to do some research online and I could see that there were so many different eyebrow tutorials for people who already had eyebrows and then I came to the realization that people without eyebrows have no tutorials.”
O’Rahilly said she felt as though it was her “purpose” to remove her own eyebrows so that she could completely recreate an eyebrow “from scratch” and provide those resources for those who needed them.
“I just really wanted to figure out a way to use my makeup artistry skills to help people,” she explained. “I feel as though makeup is one of the most powerful things in the world. It can bring out people’s confidence, it can enhance natural beauty.”
“It’s extremely emotional because people will feel as though they are never gonna have the perfect eyebrows back again,” she added. “But with the use of makeup, and a guiding hand like myself — a true makeup artist who is passionate about identity and eyebrows — they can feel like themselves once again.”
O’Rahilly chose the month of October for her annual tradition in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, since many people undergoing chemotherapy to fight the disease may lose their hair, including their eyebrows and lashes.
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After completely removing her brows each Browtober, O’Rahilly sets out to create as many different types of eyebrow tutorials as possible.
“I’ll test out all the different products that are on the market, just so that I can show you what each product and what each technique is going to give you,” she explained. “So even if you’re a beginner, I show you how to create the eyebrow from scratch by mapping out the eyebrows. Or, if you want to go advanced, I’ll show you how to create little tiny eyebrow hair strokes, so you can create that extremely realistic-looking eyebrow.”
Before the pandemic struck, O’Rahilly used to travel to hospitals with the charity Look Good, Feel Better, which helps women learn to manage the side effects of chemotherapy with workshops on makeup and beauty. Some proceeds from her Browtober videos are still put toward the foundation.
“It’s just such an amazing feeling to say that I was able to be part of that,” she shared.
Although O’Rahilly strives to provide a way to cover up hair loss, she says she still wants to make it clear to those struggling with the condition that there is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.
“I know and I understand that many people may want to cover up their hair loss, or might feel a little bit of shame, but there is really nothing to be ashamed about,” she said. “Hair loss is extremely common, and there are so many different ways that you can regain your confidence through the power of makeup.”
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