Are skinny brows really back?

Are skinny brows really back?

Thin is in

Text: Renée Batchelor

Rihanna appearing with skinny brows on the cover of British Vogue started a major discussion. So are they back, or not? And, more importantly, should we attempt them?

In case you live under a rock, here's the latest on brow trends. Rihanna appeared on British Vogue's September issue with super skinny brows that caused an instant sensation. Her thin brows harked back to beauty looks of a vintage era — think Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and for a more 'contemporary' reference, Drew Barrymore circa 1994 or Gwen Stefani in the 2000s. The magazine even referenced a picture of Dietrich's distinctive arches in its Instagram account. We know what you're thinking. Rihanna can only carry off that look because she's Queen Ri. The rest of us mere mortals are going to look certifiably insane with that skinny, crayoned-on line defying gravity, and all the brow rules we've been told we should follow.

In the last few years, the full and three-dimensional brow is what has been trending, sending girls with naturally sparse brows to the beauty counters to load up on brow mascaras, fibres and powders to fill in what nature hasn't given them. In fact, I confess that I have been known to have gifted brow kits to friends who insist on sporting this harsh, 'floating brow' look, in the hopes that they take things down a notch or two. So how do we even begin to approach this trend, as well, a trend?


Going this skinny is a pretty drastic move, so we would advise you to try using a heavy duty concealer first — think Dermablend or CoverFix products — to cover the entire brow area before pencilling it in, just to get used to the idea. Try this out a few times and if you have the time, get the brow hairs flat with a heavy duty glue. Please note that this was never going to be a casual makeup look. Hiding the brows is a drag queen staple and may not work if you have exceptionally bushy brows. You will also need to ignore all the rules of eyebrow symmetry if you're really going for it. These skinny brows will not necessarily arch at your iris or end at the eye corner (witness Rihanna and Marlene Dietrich's majestic arches that extend beyond the edge of the eye). And you have to be brave and ready for the stares and double takes.

Should you shave, wax or pluck your brows heavily to achieve this look? It's not for the fainthearted and, fair warning: They may never grow back the same way. Our advice? If you already have sparse brows and a fairly well-defined face, the skinny brow trend may just work for you. Try going skinnier by over plucking above and below the natural brow shape, and use concealer to cover up any excess hair that ruins the silhouette. Although that harsh pencil or crayon line is the effect that makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench was going for — it is dubbed 'The Big Fashion Issue' for a reason — a more dimensional approach or a softer hand will work better in real life. And if you have more of a Cara Delevingne situation going on, this may not be the best trend to dabble in. Reason? There is no dabbling with this trend, only a big style commitment. Unlike the hair on your head, your brows may not grow back quite the same, and in fact will introduce you to the not-quite-so-pretty effect of brow stubble. So big beauty trend or not, proceed with caution.