Thin brows are back, and as a millennial, I’m quaking. Recently, we’ve seen everyone from Bella Hadid to Doja Cat embrace a thinner brow. For many, the ‘90s-inspired look seems fresh and exciting — especially for those who never experienced the style before.
For the rest of us, the resurgence is concerning. I remember tweezing my brows to oblivion as a middle schooler in the early 2000s. I also remember the dismay, once I reached my 20s, to realize that my eyebrows would never recover, even if I tried reshaping them.
But today, I understand that the beauty of fashion is that it’s ever-changing, reminding us of its subjectivity. Trends can help us to place ourselves at a point in time and reconnect with the past.
With that in mind, I set out to explore the new coming of thin eyebrows. I wanted to see if there’s a way to embrace the look without over-tweezing. For expert advice on all things brows, I reached out to Melanie Marris, a celebrity brow stylist and the founder of Brow Code.
Can thin eyebrows look good?
Slip dresses, low-rise pants, and platform shoes — thinner brows are just one of a multitude of ‘90s and early-2000s fashion elements coming back in style. “Fashion is a huge driver behind many beauty trends,” Marris told Glowsly. “With the Y2k closets coming back in full force …, it was only right the ‘90s brow came back to finish the look.“
As I look at images of celebrities with thin brows, both from today and from the ‘90s, I start to appreciate the look for what it is. Marris is also a fan, largely because of the historical factor. “I personally love seeing the return of all eras in fashion and beauty,” she said. “It’s so iconic and nostalgic. I especially appreciate it in editorial and runway.”
That said, she highlighted that while the trend is fleeting, plucked eyebrows are forever. “As a professional brow stylist, I spend much of my time restoring ‘90s brows and the damage done by over-tweezing.“ As such, she suggested trying the trend with cosmetics rather than through hair removal.
How to create a flattering thin brow that isn’t forever
Marris recommended using a full-coverage concealer to carve out a thin shape and hide the hairs that aren’t part of the look. After concealing, set the concealer with a loose powder to keep it in place.
Then, use a brow pencil or pomade to refine that pencil-thin look. She recommended Brow Code’s Imitations Micro Brow Pencil, which has a very fine tip that makes creating a thin line or micro strokes effortless.
She also suggested taking the time to map out the brow, focusing on where it’ll start and how it’ll arch. ”The ‘90s brow was a little further apart than a typical natural brow, approximately in line with the inner corner of your eye,” she said. “The soft, rounded arch was carved out in the middle of the pupil, rather than the outer iris.”
Marris added that the tail was usually a little shorter in the ‘90s but that you can adjust things and make decisions based on your eye shape.
Giving the thin brow a spin
I decided to give the thin brows a spin, and I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the final result. Before I started, I pulled up a few reference photos of ‘90s celebrities, like Brandy and Drew Barrymore for inspiration.
Then, I reached for my trusted Tarte Shape Tape and focused on concealing my brows from above. Despite my naturally dark hair, the concealer did a remarkable job of hiding the hairs that didn’t fit into my thin brow fantasy. The only hairs that didn’t hide easily were the ones at the front of my brow, which grew upwards rather than sideways.
I filled in the remaining hair with an eyebrow pencil. Normally, I fill in and thicken my brows from above, where the hair is very sparse. This time, only having to pencil them in where there’s already hair felt like cheating — it was so simple!
That said, I utterly failed at achieving any sort of symmetry, especially at the front, where my brows are naturally mismatched. Even so, I liked the thinner brow look. My eyes appeared much more open, and the rounded arch that Marris recommended helped soften my features.
Give thin eyebrows a try
If you’re in the same boat as me (or if you’re a newcomer who wants to give the thin eyebrow trend a try), I highly recommend Marris’ method. I know that the next time I look at pictures of myself from the past, I won’t cringe at how thin my brows used to be. I can finally apply some of that nostalgic appreciation to myself!
My tweezers are still under a banishment order, and I won’t be ditching my usual brow-filling approach. However, it’s nice to know that I now have a low-stakes option to go thinner and can participate in this trend without dire consequences to my beloved brows.