Skinny brows are back, here’s how to embrace the trend


Are skinny brows the low rise jeans of the beauty world?

Trends can be so fickle. One minute you’re insisting high-waisted pants are the only silhouette you’ll ever wear, and the next you’re having a meltdown when TikTok informs you that ’00s low rise jeans are back with a vengeance. High waisted pants had been a trend for what seemed like a very long time, and this made you feel safe and secure.

Of course, we were foolish to believe that the longevity of a trend has any effect on the merciless fashion pendulum. Once it’s swung so far to one side, it’s eventually going to make its way back. Hence the return of jeans with a waist so low even Kim Craig would balk at the thought of them. Beauty isn’t averse to this phenomenon, either.

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For bloody ages, it’s been all about a thick, full brow. Whether you plucked, waxed, microbladed or laminated, the shape we were all after was fluffy and natural. Those of us not blessed with a naturally thick brow used gels and pencils and powders to create the illusion of them.

Us millennials and Gen Zs learnt from the mistakes of our parents and older siblings. We were repeatedly told to not let loose on “your precious brows” unless you’re a trained professional (or someone with a steady hand and a knack for following online tutorials). In magazines and beauty salons’ waiting rooms, women burdened with the dreaded tadpole brow thanks to Kate Moss-inspired overplucking in the ’90s would urge us to heed these warnings.

But to my dismay, it appears the full brow has had its time in the sun and the ’90s inspired skinny brow has returned, like a questionably dressed and unwanted guest at your family Christmas. Clearly, I’m not jumping at the idea of thinning out my brows. And if a thick brow frames your face better, or you just prefer it, then there’s no need to make any drastic changes. But in case you’re feeling a little curious about the skinny brow, I spoke to Sammy Tonkin, Benefit’s National Brow and Beauty Expert, to get a better idea of what caused the resurgence of this trend and how to make it work.


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As with many trends these days, TikTok has played a key role in the skinny brow’s return to popularity. “It seems to be beauty’s version of Marmite, you either love it (like Gen Z) or hate it (those of us who are victims of overplucking!). TikTokers have even been using a warping feature to see what they’d look like with thin brows or using concealer to cover their brows and draw on thin brows and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” Sammy tells me.

Despite the polarising nature of this trend, she reveals that #skinnybrows, #skinnyeyebrows and #90sbrows have had a total of 1 million views on TikTok in recent times, which is nothing to sneer at. So what makes the 2021 skinny brow different from the painfully thin ’90s brows?


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“Even though we will start to see slimmer brows and slightly more lifted arches, we know so much more about brows now than we did 20 to 30 years ago. For starters, back in the 1990s brow mapping wasn’t practised as it is today. Now, at Benefit, we use this signature technique in every brow service. We are scarred from those wild and skinny brows that started too far back, had no clear arch or shape to the brow and either finished way too short and high or way too long,” she explains.

So our newfound brow knowledge will mean these skinny brows won’t be bad carbon copies of Kate Moss’, which is a relief. Sammy tells me that this time around, skinny brows will look “so different”.

“Brows will still be starting in the right place to create a slimming effect on the nose, Evenly lifted brows from the starting to arching points, arches or highest point of the brow sitting approximately 2/3 of the way across and [with] the ends finishing in line with the nose and eye to ensure it gives enough sculpt to the face and framing to the eye,” she says.


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But before you start rummaging around for your tweezers, it’s best to leave this one to people who know what they’re doing. “It’s more important now than ever if we are going to thin those brows, to put the tweezers down and leave it to the professionals. In 2022 we will start to see brows look genuinely slimmer but just like the same way we brush our brow hairs in an upward direction to create wider and fuller-looking brows, we can brush our brow hairs in a downward and outward direction to create slimmer lines without removing excessive amounts of hair… no tadpole brows here!” Thank the beauty gods for that.

For more on the skinny brow trend, try this.

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