TikTok Says Thin Brows Are Back—Here’s What Brow Experts Have to Say

Hold off on the tweezers for a minute.


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Once the low-rise jeans of the ‘90s came back in full swing, we knew it was only a matter of time before razor-thin brows started trending. For those of us who lived through the trend the first time around, even the thought of those pencil-thin arches is enough to send us into a full-on spiral. 

And it’s not just the cringe factor of it all, many women are still trying to undo the damage from over-plucking 30 years later. But after years of bushy, fluffy brows reigning supreme, the pendulum was bound to swing back. Here’s the good news: Like the resurgence of other ‘90s trends, the thin brow is getting a 2022 update.

“The thin brows in the past weren’t just thin—they were actually bad brows,” says celebrity eyebrow stylist Joey Healy. “They were asymmetrical with a rainbow shape to them; they were the same exact width across the entire brow. So, when you think of these bad, thin brows, you think of little, tiny semicolons—and the modern-day version is not that.”

While Healy says he’s wary of the return of the skinny brow (“with anything that has to do with hair removal, it can be permanent or damaging,” he says), it seems to be a sentiment largely lost on Gen Z. A study by Europe’s top premium beauty retailer, LookFantastic, analyzed last year’s key beauty trends, and found that thin eyebrows had a 450% search increase in 2021 compared to the 2020.

Anastasia Soare, CEO and founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills, has her own concerns about the trend. “I can emphatically say, whatever you do, don’t over-pluck your brows,” she warns. “Trends like this are fleeting, but tweezing can damage the hair follicle over time. As those of us who lived through the heyday of razor thin brows in the ‘90s can tell you, the hair doesn’t always grow back.”

Another reason Healy’s hesitant about the return of the skinny brow? Thin brows don’t do any favors when it comes to signs of aging. As we get older, our brows tend to thin out and get patchier. So by removing hair and opting for a less impactful brow, you automatically age the face (to be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with aging, but we prefer ours to happen naturally).

If you’re really set about going all-in on the trend, Healy suggests taking a more modern, less permanent approach than simply tweezing your brows into oblivion. “It’s all about not over modifying based on a trend and listening to what your own natural brow looks like,” he explains. “The way that I like to approach a skinny or thin brow is to take a brow that we all like and then just shrink it down by maybe 20%. It has to be the modern brow that we all love, but just scaled down.”

All this aside, Healy and Soare say they aren’t totally against the trend itself, but more about the damaging methods people are using to achieve it. “If we're talking about makeup for the thin brow, then I'm all in!” says Healy.

“If you’re truly devoted to the cause, use methods that first disguise your brow with a mix of skin-safe glue and concealer,” Soare shares. “It’s time consuming, but it will save your arches from possible permanent damage.” She suggests playing with styling and product application—but emphasizes anchoring brow shape on the golden ratio for brows to be sure it suits your face shape.

Healy suggests starting with a matte highlighter (no shimmer, no glitter) under the brow, which will give you more arch and lift without sacrificing any precious hairs. He suggests High Rise Brow Concealer from his eponymous brand (which we can confirm is an absolute 10, skinny brow or not).

You can also use an eyebrow gel or lacquer in a lighter color to fein the skinny brow look. As he explains, using a softer, lighter gel makes the brows step back a bit—which is really what the skinny brow trend is all about. It makes them look less significant and draws attention away from the area without any permanent damage.

“We have really learned so much in the past years about how eyebrows shape your face, and we don't want to go backwards,” he says. “We want to use this knowledge to keep our brows in their best forms, which to me is not super thick or super skinny.”

And Soare agrees. “What’s popular has a constant cadence and there will always be trends that seem completely banished only to resurface in a decade or two,” she says. “Thankfully, I think there’s less uniformity to beauty norms these days, so if skinny brows aren’t for you, there’s less pressure to succumb to a homogenous look just for the sake of a trend.”

TL;DR: you do you (just remember that overplucked brows don’t grow back!).

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