Beauty Trends: Eyebrows Are Back—In A Big Way!

Try these tips from the trade for an instant face-framing lift.

Throughout history, women’s eyebrows have run the style gamut from Marie Antoinette’s powdered-into-oblivion look of the late 1700s to the stick-thin arches of ’30s stars like Greta Garbo to the bushy caterpillars of ’80s sensation Brooke Shields. We’re here to tell you that brows are back as a beauty trend—and in a big way. A cynic might suggest they’re the last facial feature to be fussed over, in the same way that decorating magazines urged readers to overhaul their laundry rooms after the rest of the house had been exhausted. But brows are important. “They create harmony,” says 25-year brow-shaping veteran and beauty pioneer Anastasia Soare, who is based in L.A. “And we are coded to recognize harmony—that’s what beauty is.”

Social media has now popularized “Instagram brows,” ones that are highly defined with a dramatic arch. They stand out in photographs but look startlingly fake in real life and are probably best seen on millennial YouTube stars. For Maybelline New York Global brow expert Maribeth Madron, meticulous brow grooming is essential when you’re warily circling menopause, as newly crepey lids can make eyeshadow application more difficult. “Adding definition at the brow can balance the face,” she says.

Brow geometry

You may have done the brow pencil test as a teen, but Madron recommends trying again after gravity and time have changed the game. A vertical pencil alongside the bridge of the nose, resting in the notch above the nostril, leads straight up to where the brow anchor should begin at the inner eye. “The area between the brows widens as brows thin with age,” she says. “When we’re young, everyone wants to widen it, which ages you later on.” Missing hairs can be drawn on with light brow pencil applied in gentle, feathery strokes.

To find your natural arch, place the pencil just underneath the outer edge of the nostril and angle it upwards alongside the “outer edge of the pupil,” says Madron. Tweezing hairs under there can create “an instant brow lift.”

And finally, the pencil placed at the outer edge of the nose and aligned with the outer edge of the eye will extend to the point where the brow should end. Tweezing any hairs beyond that point will visually lift the eyes.

Sisters, not twins

If you weren’t an “over-plucker” in your youth, don’t start now. If you over-tweeze, “the chance of everything growing back becomes smaller post-menopause,” says Madron. So never pluck your greys (have them tinted if you feel less adept with makeup) and leave wholesale brow removal methods like waxing and brow-threading to the younger generation.

And unless you have extremely poor eyesight, avoid magnifying mirrors. Zooming in tight to perform surgical strikes on every last errant hair sounds good in theory, but it also encourages over-plucking. (And a close-up view is dispiriting, making magnified pores resemble Martian craters.)

When tweezing, remove several hairs one at a time from one side, then stand back from your (non-magnifying) mirror to evaluate your progress before continuing. You can always tweeze more but you can’t replace the hairs you may have unnecessarily removed in haste.

And always stop before you think you should. Attempting to match the sides perfectly is futile and will lead to pencil-thin brows and certain heartbreak. Brows should be sisters, not twins.

Colour selection

Choose brow products “one shade lighter than your own colour for a natural looking brow,” says Soare, who adds that “oils in your skin will darken the product.”

Ashy taupes work for grey and blond hair, while light to medium brown works for dark brown hair.

Next: Our product picks…

Instant lift
“Remove one row of peach fuzz from the top of the brow and one row from the tail down,” says Madron. “The area will reflect light, visually lifting the eye up.”

Brow mascara like Maybelline New York Brow Precise Fiber Volumizer ($12) builds up fine hair, smooths coarse hairs and unifies brows.

L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Prep & Shape Pro Kit ($18, Shoppers Drug Mart) is a pigmented wax and powder duo. The wax preps the brow for the setting powder and holds shape for up to 12 hours.

Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde is a neutral waterproof wax that fills in sparse brows for added bulk and definition. ($23, Sephora)

A version of this article appeared in the March 2017 issue of Zoomer with the headline, “Brow-Raising,” p. 48-49.