Thick n’ Thins: The Eyebrow Debate
Thick n' Thins: The Eyebrow Debate
The rumors are flying, eliciting strong reactions on all sides: thin eyebrows may be back. With the emergence of the Y2K trend as well as general 90s nostalgia, there is talk that the tides are shifting away from heavy brows to the softer, feather-light brows of pre-2010.
Like most things, however, the current opinion on brows is hardly black and white. While celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Barbie Ferreira have clearly embraced a skinny brow, some fashion moguls such as Elle and Vogue have published articles that provide more varied looks to draw inspiration from.
There are several emerging trends to choose from, actually, none of which fall cleanly on the “thick versus thin” spectrum. We reached out to Yvonne Shvartshteyn of The Perfect Veil On-Site Hair and Makeup for Weddings and Special Events for insight on how popular each of these trends will be among future brides.
Natural Brows: This is the simplest trend to describe, given its simple concept. Those sporting the “natural” brow are pairing this look with “No-makeup” makeup, creating an illusion of a fresh face and healthy skin. Whether thick or thin, the brows are subtly styled to look as though they always look this effortlessly good. This trend is most likely to be favored by a groom. “Most men are not huge fans of makeup… [so] on your wedding day you wanna enhance who you ARE,” Yvonne said.
Laminated: a step up from the “soap brow” popularized on TikTok, this look has been referred to as an “eyebrow perm”. The first step involves cleaning the brow surface and applying a product that softens the hairs of the brow, which are then combed into a fluffy and desirable shape. Then a second product is applied to stiffen and hold the brow hairs into shape. “One of my artists, Alyssa Ball, is providing laminated brows. …I think that they’ll stay, and are a great way to make a change that is not a permanent change, and is not such a dramatic change. It’s not too costly for you, so it’s not just for a certain type of pocket, like with the pricey microblading, so I think it will be open to a bigger crowd,” Yvonne said. The final look has a slight sheen to it, which is where the name comes from, and both people with thick, unruly brows or thin, spotty brows can take advantage of the chemical treatments to achieve a level of perfection that mere gel cannot hold a candle to.
Geo Brows: This trend can most easily be described as “the Zendaya”. The young actress really typifies the look, which includes fluffy brows shaped to lift the face. “I think a lot of that is like an Instagram brow, it’s more for, like, a show. It’s not gonna be for everybody, especially not for brides,” Yvonne said. The most telling characteristic for this look includes being bold toward the center of the face but sharply tapered toward the outside. It seems as though the name stems from the fact that this look is landscaping for the face, meant to draw the eyes upward.
Straight Brows: Sported by Kendall Jenner, this look creates a sharp angled look that gives its wearer an elfin, almost otherworldly appearance. “It’s all on your eye structure. It’s a bold and very stunning look, it takes the focus from your eye shadow. …I think a lot of brides will come in asking for this one,” Yvonne said. Though it seems to favor the thin side, those with naturally thicker brows could achieve something similar by fusing it with the Geo look, or shortening their own brows to create that strong downward tilt.
Filled Brows: This one isn’t actually gone yet. But in the year 2022, its emphasis is less on the stage-makeup inspired looks of the 2016-ish era of beauty YouTubers and more for those picking an alt, grunge, or goth sort of fashion. As such, bright colors, stark blacks, and sky-high arches to make any cartoon villainess proud are a must going forward with this look. This is meant to be the polar opposite of the natural, evoking dramatic moodiness suitable for Elvira. “You can use any type of brow fill-in, it depends on how you go about it. Some want a light fill-in on their brow, because they’re new to makeup and wearing things on their skin, so they won’t want the more bold look. But it can be very cultural, as well. Indian weddings tend to be very bold,” Yvonne said.
Blanched Brows: In for a short while almost exclusively in the high fashion world of the 2010s, the contrast of dark hair with clear or invisible eyebrows is said to be making a comeback. Though this time, blondes are finally included in the mix, as well they should be; many natural blondes and redheads have clear brows. “This is one that best works for fair skin, light eyes, a low contrast look. I feel right now you go with what works for your eye. We’re in a world where it’s all eye-feel,” Yvonne said. Where the 2010 look was made to be edgy with smudged and smokey eyes and a glower to kill, the 2022 rendition is taking what some people have naturally to its furthest extreme: white. This look has a sort of fresh, almost infantile look to it, an incarnation of innocence.
Thin Brows: Think more 90s and 2000s than 1930s pencil brow. This look is soft, more natural to a larger portion of the population. The arch is subtle, rounded, adding innocence and youth to the face. “I think it will be the next big thing. Some women look stunning with thick brows, but I thought some looked overwhelmed in thick brows,” Yvonne said. But women with naturally thicker brows needn’t fret, as trends nowadays allow for a little give that older generations rarely got to experience.
Many signs point to 2022 being a time of flux for the trends, but this can actually be a good thing; it means that there is no “right”, so the only “right” is the one best for you. Look into what will suit your own face shape, pair a brow look to your planned makeup look, or consult someone you trust to decide on what trend to hop on for your big day.
Author: Tara Nester