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How to recreate 90s skinny brows without plucking out your eyebrows
Image / Style / Beauty

Netflix

How to recreate 90s skinny brows without plucking out your eyebrows


by Holly O'Neill
27th Mar 2024

Knife-thin arched brows are back, but before you start plucking, read this.

There was a lot of talk in the beauty sphere a little while back about Bella Hadid’s nose after she told Vogue that she had a nose job at 14, but regrets not keeping the nose of her ancestors. I saw it somewhat beautifully put that “your existence is proof that generations of your face has been loved.” There is however, another beauty lesson our more recent ancestors have been trying to tell us for the last thirty years, one that we need to impress upon the youth is as important and unchangeable as your original nose. What I’m trying to tell you is that the teens on TikTok are doing what every single interviewee of the IMAGE My Life in Beauty series says is their lifetime biggest beauty regret; they’re plucking out all their eyebrow hairs into 90s-inspired flat thin arches.

The chokehold Cara Delevingne had on the eyebrow industry is dead. First, Riri made headlines on the cover of Vogue with pencil-thin skinny brows, then Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira wore 1920s-inspired brows to the Met Gala, and it wasn’t long until Bella Hadid and Alexa Demie’s brows were barely there too. But the original 90s beauty queen who was an instigator of it all originally is really at the root of it. There was a 392% increase in Google searches for ‘Pamela Anderson makeup’ after Hulu released the Pam & Tommy series, a 175% spike in Google searches for ‘skinny brows,’ and a bone-chilling 4.4 million views of #skinnybrows videos on TikTok, thanks to a viral thin eyebrow filter.

So, before you permanently lose your brow shape or your brow hairs for life plucking your way to skinny brows, listen to the pros on how to cheat your way into the trend before doing something you’ll still regret thirty years later. “I genuinely thought that trend was left behind in the 90s,” says make-up artist Leonard Daly. “ Hopefully the kids won’t go down the same route that we all did.”

“Unfortunately there is no way to hide very full brows that will look good in real life,” says Leonard, but “for a photo, you can mask them out with glue stick and then cover with concealer and powder to set and you can then apply make-up on top. “If you have fine-haired brows this could work in real life. This technique was developed by drag queens to block out their brows to give them a more feminine brow shape, there are literally thousands of tutorial videos online that will show you how to achieve the look.”

As for the best in-depth video guide to blocking out your brows, make-up artist Nikki Wolff, aka Nikki Makeup has a step-by-step manual on her Instagram Stories. It’s hard work – first, she coats the brows in three layers of glue, combs the brows flat to the skin with a spoolie and flat brush, sets them with a dark powder with a BeautyBlender to neutralise the brow hairs, adds another layer of translucent powder, then concealer, then more translucent powder. It’s a lot of effort, but less effort than a lifetime of drawing on brow hairs.

This article was originally published in April 2022.