When I was in middle school, I had big thick brows – and a moustache to match but that’s a whole ‘nother story – and it was during the late ’90s and early ’00s when that was definitely not fashionable. I guess that would be the age most UK school children start their secondary school years, around age eleven or twelve. And I’d seen my mother pluck her eyebrows, but she was fairly low maintenance as far as her appearance went. She didn’t sport a curling iron and curl her hair daily or do her makeup just so. She’d pluck her eyebrows but she didn’t really teach me to worry too much about the way I looked. She eventually let me shave my legs and underarms; however, I don’t think I was allowed to overpluck my eyebrows into the 2000s thin brow trend until I entered high school at the age of fourteen. Looking back, my eyebrows looked absolutely horrendous and, thankfully, trend or no, by my senior year I’d grown them back out, which means as a thirty-something adult I still have brows to work with (my older sister and older cousin don’t so much).
I now go and get my eyebrows “done.” I get them shaped by a professional and sometimes laminated so they can be fluffed up and on-trend, something that would have seemed rather alien to me in my 20s. I didn’t even get my brows waxed during my university years, which was the popular go-to treatment of the time. And each time I went for my weekly manicure, I had to endure the nail salon ladies asking if I wanted my brows (or that said moustache, although I’d learned to bleach it by then – what was I thinking? That made it worse) waxed and I’d politely decline, leaving the salon slightly mortified by their upsell.
In my early 20s, I went in for threading which was painful and more than once the person doing my eyebrows had decided that my thick brows weren’t fashionable and that I’d prefer thin brows instead, which left me rather devastated one time before I went to present at a conference in Chicago during graduate school and I felt like I looked alien with my face with thin brows when I’d prided myself on my thick ones. (Not that anyone but me would have cared.)
All that’s to say that I now find it remarkably refreshing that today’s brow trends are rather flexible. However, anyone who has seen a Gen Z young lady (or young man) knows that these youngsters would never ever ever be caught out with any unfashionable makeup or brow trends. Have you seen them? They all look filtered and flawless. In high school, I still rocked white eyeliner and lip gloss sans mascara and these girls can contour their faces sharp, highlight, do elaborate eye makeup and lashes, and look totally flawless – all while wearing clothes that came from the ’90s which are now fashionable again. Sigh.
Let’s examine the latest 2022 eyebrow trends from skinny brows to thick ones and everything in between.
#1 All the rage brow lamination
Brow lamination began in Russia and migrated to the UK around 2019 and it’s the semi-permanent solution to the “soap brows” trend. Two years later, this trend is still a go and it takes unruly brows and lifts and smooths out the hair in a vertical direction to give you perfectly Instagrammable brows.
It involves restructuring the eyebrows and setting them into place in a desirable shape (like a perm for your brows) and to take care of them you have to condition your brows just as you would with the end of your hair (no special product needed). It helps straighten any curved hairs, improves the symmetry of your brows, and fills in the gaps, allowing your brows to look fuller than thicker. This brow treatment is favoured by the likes of Gigi Hadid and Dua Lipa.
Once laminated, you can fill in those little extra bits with something like benefit Brow Microfilling Brow Pen (£23.50) and add a bit of highlight underneath with benefit High Brow Duo Highlighting and Lifting Eyebrow Pencil (£23.50).
#2 Full and natural fluffy brows
Fluffy brows can be achieved via lamination but they can also just be gelled in place. Billie Eilish often sports a good fluffy brow and it just involves brushing up your eyebrow hairs with your favourite spoolie yet leaving them relaxed and natural. No brow pencil needed!
You can gel your perfect fluffy brows in place with something such as benefit 24 Hour Brow Setter Clear Brow Gel Mini (£13). If you want to add a little colour without the pencil, you can try a brow powder like Lord & Berry Strip Kit Eyebrow Styling Set (£30) or swipe in a bit of your favourite brown eyeshadow.
#3 Barely there bleached brows
Remember in the 2000s when everyone (okay, not actually everyone) bleached their hair yet left their brows decidedly dark? Well, this trend is the opposite. You keep your hair whatever colour it is and bleach your brows (hair bleaching optional)! We’ve seen bleached brows on Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Maisie Williams, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Sevigny, and Lizzo. Proponents say that bleached brows make your eyes and lashes “pop” and highlights those features more than if you use brows to frame your face. Brows really do make a statement!
If you want the look without the actual bleaching, all you need is this sneaky TikTok hack where you use concealer and setting powder to make it look like you have bleached brows without the commitment. All you need is something like NARS Mini Radiant Creamy Concealer (£13), a spoolie you don’t mind getting covered in concealer, and some setting powder like Too Faced Born This Way Doll-Size Setting Powder (£12).
#4 Audrey Hepburn-esque iconic straight brows
When I picture straight brows, I think of classic beauty Audrey Hepburn. Forget arches! The trend originated in Korea and focuses on fuller brows with minimal arching and a straight tail, which gives an instant eyelift effect. Zendaya is an eyebrow chameleon but she’s rocked some straight brows as has Cara Delevigne.
To achieve the look, you can remove the hairs that go down on the back half of the brow but it may be best to “fake it” before diving right into altering your brow shape. You can conceal extra brow hairs and fill in the brows underneath to achieve a signature straight line.
To fill in all those areas, you can use something like the MAC Eye Brow Styler (£16) which is a thin pencil that can allow you to make hair strokes under your natural arches to make them appear less arched or the Urban Decay Brow Blade (£22). Then, you can conceal the tail ends of your brows with a thick concealer like the Maybelline Instant Anti Age Eraser Concealer (£8.99).
#5 Funky and fun coloured brows
For those who love a bold look like a statement eyeliner or candy-bright eyeshadow, this trend of the coloured brow is for you! I’ve seen fashionistas colour their brows practically every colour including hot pink and lime green. Would you go so bold?
On this makeup channel, this Irish YouTuber explains ways she colours her brows. Methods involve using greasepaint or white mascara set with a matte pigmented eyeshadow or using coloured lip liner or lipstick and setting with matte eyeshadow.
To get the look, you can try out something like this Rimmel Volume Boost Lash Primer (£7.99) which is the white eyeshadow suggested in one of the methods covered with one of these very bright eyeshadow shades in the NYX Professional Makeup Ultimate Shadow Palette (£16).
#6 Back to the 90s (and 20s) pencil-thin brows
Thin low-arched brows have been popular in three decades: the 1920s, the 1990s, and the early 2000s. Clara Bow, Jean Harlow, and Marlene Dietrich pioneered the look on the silver screen and then Gwen Stafani, Cameron Diaz, Paris Hilton, Christina Aguilera, Drew Barrymore, Kate Moss, and practically every other IT-girl and celeb in the 90s had them! And now, Bella Hadid is rocking the throwback brows on the runway.
If you don’t want to reach for tweezers, wax, or other means of hair removal, you can just fake thin brows with your handy concealer that you found in last month’s subscription box or something like Maybelline Fit Me! Concealer (£5.99). Just conceal the hair underneath and/or on top of your brow to reach your desired thinness and then pencil over the top to make your brow appear 90s-trend thin.
#7 However they grow au naturel brows
Since the pandemic happened and two years on (can you even believe it’s been that long?), things have become a little more easygoing when it comes to beauty routines. We mostly work from home in stretchy pants for one and we probably spend less time worrying about our appearance. One benefit of that is the trend that says you can just embrace or enhance what you have – like your natural brows.
With the pandemic meaning none of us could get to our eyebrow appointments for waxing, plucking, tinting, whatever, then we embraced our natural brows (I may or may not have grown a unibrow). So, this more natural shape with a little definition has become fashionable.
Celebs who have always embraced more natural looks include Cara Delevingne, Lily Collins, Sofia Vergara, Emily Ratajkowski, Amandla Stenberg, Brooke Shields, and Anya Taylor-Joy. These women are stunning with gorgeous natural, yet defined brows.
So, put on your fav “no makeup” look and run a spoolie through your natural brows, add a touch of pencil, and voila!
Quick skincare tips
Absolutely nothing looks better than a strong brow, a strong lip, and flawless skin. To get amazing, radiant skin, you can try our Age-defying laser, which will rebuild lost collagen, plump out fine lines, and improve skin texture taking just a few minutes per day. The best part is it’s on sale now for £299 (saving £151). It will save you hundreds of pounds over the same clinic procedure (non-ablative laser rejuvenation), which costs £450-975 per treatment (usually needing a course of six treatments), so you can have your own at-home laser for half the cost.
Take a look at what this NHS doctor, Dr Komal, had to say about her (non-sponsored) experience with our Age-defying laser.
The bottom line is no matter how your brows look best, you do you. The trends this year vary from big and fluffy to thin and sleek. You can do your brows to suit your face, your mood, and your lifestyle. If you’re a no-fuss gal (or guy), then you can opt for a lower-maintenance look and a little filling in here and there but if you want full-on drama, you can go for laminated brows, bleached brows, or coloured brows. Which of these brow trends excite you the most? Let us know on social media.
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