It's incredibly odd that eyebrows, a tiny patch of hair that grows out of your literal face, can fall victim to trends. Take one look at the skinny brows dominating TikTok, though, and it's clear that this phenomenon is inescapable. As Gen-Zers are plucking away at their brows, millennials are still working to grow theirs back after doing the same thing 20 years ago... which should teach us all a lesson about making permanent changes for the sake of a temporary fad. So instead of hopping on the latest eyebrow trends by doing something that can cause long-lasting damage, eyebrow specialist Joey Healy is here to share a few tricks that don't require any commitment.
- Joey Healy, celebrity eyebrow artist based in New York City and the founder of the Joey Healy Eyebrow Collection
"We want to take care of our eyebrows and be very cautious with them," says Healy. "History repeats itself, so we should learn from the mistakes of our ancestors who have overworked their brows and have had a lot of trouble bringing them back."
Things like tweezing, lamination, and bleaching are all technically temporary. But over-tweezing your brows can damage your hair follicles and prevent those hairs from growing back, and lamination and bleaching can degrade your brow hairs over time. Microblading, on the other hand, is super permanent, making it difficult (and costly) if you decide you want to switch up your brow shape or color. "Before you pull out a hair, you should think long and hard, and you also should think long and hard before you apply anything that's a chemical treatment to the brow, whether it's bleach or lamination," says Healy. "If you're going to have fun, make sure it's limited to things in your makeup kit that can come off of your face at the end of the night."
Below, six ways to do precisely that.
Here's how to achieve six brow trends without making permanent changes
1. Y2K thin brow
"We're seeing things like this Y2K aesthetic, a thinner brow that's harkening back to the late '90s and early aughts," says Healy, adding that this look can be really challenging. "You can create some permanent damage—when you're done with the trend, the trend is not done with you."
Luckily, there's a way to get this style without touching a single pair of tweezers. Instead, grab a bright concealer, like the Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($30), that you can use to highlight under the brow and a pair of brow scissors ($28).
"Putting a highlighter under the arch makes it look a lot higher without taking away more hair," says Healy. "And if you're trimming the brow, you're making it more compact and maybe a little bit skinnier, but you're not actually pulling out the hair from the follicle. Could you make mistakes? Absolutely. Can you get gaps and holes? Sure. But in my opinion, it's not going to damage the hair follicle." For best results, trim one hair at a time.
2. Laminated brow
"Brow lamination uses chemicals to straighten the brows," says Healy. He explains that it's basically a "keratin treatment for your brows" and works by breaking the bonds of your hair to give them a straighter, swept-up look.
Lamination isn't permanent—when your brows start to grow in, they'll do so with your natural texture—but it's still not great for your brows. "You really shouldn't be doing it all the time because it is kind of damaging," says Healy. "When I see people who've had lamination, their brows are really dry and a weird texture."
Instead of going in for a pro-grade lamination, Healy recommends using brow gel ($28) or soap ($5) with a spoolie ($4) to achieve the same style. "Sweep up your brows with two coats of clear brow gel," says Healy. "When the brow is still a little bit wet, I'll take my tweezers and pinch the little hairs into clusters, which gives you that spiky, laminated look."
If you have extra-curly brows or need a little extra hold, try this trick with soap instead of brow gel. "Take a clear or amber-colored glycerin soap and go into it with a slightly damp spoolie, then go ahead and push the brow upward with care," says Healy. "We don't want to tug at the hair, but you can get that laminated look without chemicals, and then at the end of the day, you can just wash it off."
3. Microbladed brow
Microblading uses permanent ink to create small, hair-like strokes to make eyebrows appear fuller. "It's more permanent than people think—it's a tattoo on your brows," says Healy. "I feel like there are a lot of fancy terms for it—micro touch, micro feathering, ombre brow, shadow brows, feather touch—but it's all the same, and it's a face tattoo."
Like regular tattoos, the look of microbladed brows changes over time—so though you may love them immediately after your appointment, that may not be the case 10 years from now. "The big issue is that the pigment changes and degrades over time—when you first get it done, it's really dark, then you kind of hit a sweet spot, then it lightens up, and then it can turn red or blue with sun exposure," says Healy. "Plus, as we age, our muscles slacken. And as the draping of your facial muscles goes down, your microblading will go down too."
What's more, the permanence of microblading prohibits you from ever switching up your look. "For example, say tomorrow, you change your blonde hair into an auburn bob—you can use a more auburn-y pencil to bring that color into your brows, but when you're microblading, you don't have the option to do that," says Healy.
So instead of opting for one of these "face tattoos," use an angled pencil to fake the look. "When you use a slanted tip pencil, like Joey Healy Brow Architect Stylo ($29), you can make these little hair-like flicks with the pencil that will mimic some of those more distinct lines in microblading," says Healy.
4. Bleached brows
"Bleached brows are very '90s, and you see it a lot on runways, but they're not great for the brows because bleach removes and strips color," says Healy. "Especially if you've got lush, beautiful brows that grow nicely... they don't want bleach. They're sensitive little things and very fickle, so we don't want to torture them."
To fake the bleached look, try a light tinted brow gel ($22) or concealer ($30). "There's a light blonde shade of our Brow Lacquer brow gel called 'Honey,' which you can simply swipe through the brow, and it will fill them in and hold them in place and make them look really, really light," says Healy. "Or, if you want to erase the brow, some people use concealer on a spoolie."
5. Subtle statement brow
"We've seen self-expression with hair color, but people now want to be creative and explore using their brows as a means of self-expression," says Healy, adding that there are many different ways to do this. His favorite? "I've always loved using different colors to fill in the brows," he says. Grab a deep matte, jewel-toned eyeshadow ($8) in dark plum, burgundy, green, or navy, and dust it through your brows to add a fun, statement-making tint.
6. Disco brow
"The disco brow involves using something lightly adhesive—like a clear brow gel or some chapstick—then pressing eyeshadow or loose glitter into it to bedazzle your brows," says Healy. "It's fun for a night out, and you're not doing any damage. You can take things further with sequins, beads, and bobbles—as long as you're using a hair-safe adhesive that can wash out, it's fun for a night out, and you're not doing any damage." TooD Bioglitter ($26) is a great option for spicing up your brow.
Learn different ways to use glitter in your brows:
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