What To Do When Your Eyebrows Are Trending

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Matte, fibrous, and dark

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relatively light and feathered

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Matte, fibrous, and dark

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relatively light and feathered

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Only in the last year or so have I started to get brow compliments. So bushy, so on-trend, so feathery. Really does wonders for a girl's self-esteem. But, it hasn’t always been Chicsville. Is there anyone else out there who was the Groucho of their high school who feels like hot shit now because of it? I mean, I never had delicate Angelina arches. I’ve always had the same bushy “before-picture' brows of every '90s makeover rom-com. I had the brows nobody wanted.

But trends are fickle beasts. Nowadays I often field the “Who does your brows?!” question, with no better answer than “Uhh, God!” There’s nothing to be done. They just hang out there on my face, like always. It’s just the eyebrow tide that’s changed, mercifully in my favor. I used to get Frida Kahlo comparisons—now I’m getting Cara Delevingne.

My maintenance has always been minimal: Usually I’m tweezing the unibrow-hairs and those low-hanging ones that veer dangerously into eyelid territory. But this summer I decided that it would be hands-off for the season—no hair removal of any kind—just to see what would happen. My brows are now slowly infesting my entire brow bone, completely uninhibited. There are two ways to style this approach: to accent their depths, and to draw out their length. Being bushy, I’m not worried so much about shape ('fuzzy caterpillar' is shape enough). The thing I’m interested in is texture.

Products to darken and enhance are new to me—I never thought I needed so much of that. But since my brows have become trendy, I figure, why not play them up? When I’m feeling flaunty, I go for something crunchy, all matte, and fibrous. This style requires coloring and setting. I’ve been using Anastastia’s Brow Wiz and Dipbrow Pomade, both in Dark Brown, sometimes followed by the Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium/Deep, the setting and staying capacity of which is unsurpassed in the field. This isn’t a feathery look where you see individual hairs all aligning. This is an solid, dense brow, the hairs all blending together and shielding each other in the dark. It’s a Phalanx brow—overlapping, entangled, systematic, and pugnacious. Don’t even worry about the defining the edges. This isn’t a YouTube tutorial brow. This is a fighting-in-the-streets brow.

The other way I wear them only requires only one product: the clear brow gel of your choice. Mine historically has been Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara. In high school, I would use this to gel all the hairs in line—but no more! There’s only one step here: gel brows straight up. You look not unlike an angry Hades in Disney’s Hercules. Your brows are on fire, but there’s a wet-look imparted by the gel. Perfect. Unlike the Phalanx brow, this one is all about hair individuation—it’s a feathery brow all right: a great, wet, ruffled feather.

Of course, these looks are only dramatic up close—at a few feet away it’s really rather subtle. So take advantage of this. Leave your eyes bare and pair one of these brow looks with a rough, red lip, and your go-to classy look just got interesting.

—Trace Barnhill

Photos courtesy of the author.

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