Thin eyebrows were a mainstay of 90s fashion. Supermodels, musicians, and actors alike fed the skinny eyebrow trend.
Like all trends, thin eyebrows are coming around again. Lots of celebrities have been spotted on social media (and even on the red carpet) with much thinner eyebrows than we’ve seen in recent years.
Thinking about thinning out your brows to jump on the skinny eyebrow trend? Don’t reach for the tweezers just yet. There’s a lot you need to know about safely removing eyebrow hair so you don’t leave yourself with permanently overplucked brows.
This article tells you all you need to know about:
- The return of the thin eyebrow trend
- The risks of overplucking your eyebrows
- How to get and maintain thin eyebrows safely.
Is the thin eyebrow trend coming back?
In 2022, many style outlets reported that thin eyebrows were back. Celebrities like Doja Cat, Millie Bobby Brown, and Nicola Peltz Beckham have all been seen sporting a skinny brow in recent weeks.
Not all Instagram looks translate offline. But the skinny eyebrow trend has taken off before — so there’s a high chance we’ll see a return to thinner eyebrows in the real world, too.
This may not sound like great news if you’ve spent the better part of a decade growing/taming/styling (delete as appropriate) your thick, lustrous brows.
But all trends come and go — the bushier brow will inevitably be back. So even if you want to jump on this year’s skinny brow bandwagon, you need to know how to shape and thin your eyebrows without permanently damaging them.
Thin eyebrows: 90s vs 00s
00s thin eyebrows are much more experimental than 90s brows. The 90s brow trend was all about eyebrows that looked naturally skinny — all you needed were some tweezers and an eyebrow pencil.
But the modern trend requires a total brow overhaul. Celebrities like Doja Cat and Bella Hadid have removed their natural brows in favour of a full redesign, channelling 90s brow trailblazer Gwen Stefani.
But design isn’t the only difference. There’s also a big shift in how these looks are being achieved. Instead of plucking — risking serious disruption of your eyebrow hair growth cycle — celebrities have taken to shaving or bleaching their brows to create a blank canvas.
The risk of overplucking your eyebrows
Overplucking can cause permanent damage to your brows. It’s a major cause of eyebrow hair loss, and one of the most common reasons people seek eyebrow hair transplants.
Repeated plucking damages the hair follicle. Eventually, this trauma can cause the follicle to stop producing hair. When times change and you want to regrow your eyebrows, this may not be possible. That’s why it’s essential that you avoid overplucking your eyebrow hair.
How to thin eyebrows safely
While tweezers are OK for removing the odd straggly eyebrow hair, there are safer ways to thin your eyebrows.
See a brow technician
Beauticians are trained to shape your eyebrows using the most appropriate techniques for the look you want. So this is probably the safest option, especially if you haven’t experimented with brow removal before.
If possible, avoid threading, as this can also cause irreversible eyebrow follicle damage.
Makeup can help you create the illusion of thinner brows without actually touching them. Use concealer and foundation to cover up your brows. This is also called brow blocking, and it’s used by makeup and drag artists to achieve bespoke brows. Here’s how you can block your brows with makeup:
Shaving your eyebrows
If you want to go the whole hog and remove your eyebrows fully, shaving them is a much better option than plucking. Shaving doesn’t impact the hair follicle in the same way as plucking, so it can be safer than using tweezers to get the look you want.
Shaving can irritate your skin. Use the right technique and apply soothing skin balms to prevent rashes and skin irritation.
Don’t pluck more than you need to
Plucking your eyebrows can become a habit. But you don’t need to constantly attend to your brows. The eyebrow hair growth cycle is usually 3-4 months long, so you don’t need to take out the tweezers very often . Restrict your eyebrow hair removal to no more than once every 2 months.
If you’re plucking your own eyebrows, it’s easy to overdo it. But if you make a mistake (such as overplucking on one side), try not to overcompensate on the other.
You might look a bit lopsided for a few days, but it’s better than losing your eyebrow hairs completely. This is another good reason to see a brow technician if you’re new to shaping your eyebrows, or if you want to get thin eyebrows safely.
How to wear thin eyebrows in 2023
Even if you’re keen to experiment with a new eyebrow shape, you may not want to go full Doja Cat and completely remove your brows. Here are some more subtle ways to wear thin eyebrows in 2023.
Thin eyebrows for subtle glamour
Pamela Anderson’s trademark skinny brows are back in the limelight. Coordinated with dark makeup and modern brown lipstick, subtle, narrow arches can add 90s glamour to your look.
Natural thin eyebrows
Thin eyebrows don’t have to look highly stylised. Light shaping can give you a natural finish that suits lots of different face shapes. Here are Cate Blanchett and Halle Berry sporting narrow, natural-looking eyebrows.
Ultra-thin eyebrows are a current catwalk favourite, so if you want to push the brow boundaries, this is a look to try out. Just remember to cover or shave your brows to the required length — don’t pluck them.
What to do if you overpluck your brows
If you accidentally overpluck your brows, the best thing to do is to give them a few months to grow back. There’s always a chance they might recover. Try solutions like Minoxidil for eyebrows, which is proven to stimulate eyebrow hair growth [2-3].
However, if you don’t see any regrowth within six months, you may need to consider other options.
Common treatments include:
- Makeup — use an eyebrow pencil or brush to fill out your thin eyebrows
- Microblading — a semi-permanent tattoo used to create a bespoke eyebrow design
- Eyebrow tattoos — a permanent alternative to microblading
- Eyebrow transplants — a permanent, natural-looking procedure that allows you to shape your eyebrows as required.
As one of the UK’s leading eyebrow transplant clinics for more than 45 years, we’ve seen first-hand the risks of the thin eyebrow trend. Remember that many celebrities have professional stylists to ensure they don’t damage their existing brow hairs (and the money to fix it if things go wrong!).
UK eyebrow transplants cost £3,820 on average. So it can be expensive to restore your eyebrows if you don’t take care of them. That’s why we recommend consulting a professional before you make any dramatic changes.
- The Biology, Structure, and Function of Eyebrow Hair
- Efficacy and safety of bimatoprost 0.03% versus minoxidil 3% in enhancement of eyebrows: A randomized, double-blind, split-face comparative study
- Minoxidil 2% lotion for eyebrow enhancement: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face comparative study
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