Well, This Is a Brow Trend We Didn't See Coming

We know trends are cyclical, and, for the most part, the recent Y2K resurgence we’ve been seeing in beauty and fashion has been fun and even comforting. Still, there are two trends we never expected to make a comeback: low-rise jeans and skinny brows. We’ve already had the jean talk, so we’re going to focus on lean arches here.

Why are skinny brows coming back now?

There’s a pendulum swing that tends to happen whenever culture is fixated on one thing for too long. (See: excessive contouring, millennial pink, athleisure and girl bosses.) And after years of seeking out bushy, “bigger is better” brows a la Cara Delevingne, it seems the bold aesthetic has lost some of its fervor.

“When it comes to brows, we’ve been leaning into working with what we have,” says Dani Kimiko Vincent, a celebrity brow expert and founder of Kimiko. “I believe this more relaxed, natural brow trend reflects a greater shift towards individuality, and in that vein, we are embracing self-acceptance and what feels most authentic for us, including our brows,” she adds.

For those who may have grown tired of overcompensating with products and more permanent treatments like microblading, this return to slimmer brows is less about chasing a new trend, and more a rejection of it. Think: Subtle enhancements over stark transformations.

OK, then how should I groom my brows?

“Brows are entirely individual, and while trends come and go, there is always a best brow for your specific face,” explains Vincent. “If you’ve been struggling to keep up with a maximal brow look by widening and filling in past your brow line, it could be time to go lighter with your brow makeup and embrace your natural shape,” she says.

Again, it’s less about “thinning out the brows themselves” to achieve a specific look and more about “working within their natural thickness.” To do this, Vincent recommends starting with the upper arches, which will lift the entire brow. “You want to ensure that you still have definition within your shape by filling in any gaps and sparse sections with a product that is fine enough to create a natural looking finish. (She recommends her Super Fine Eyebrow Pencil Automatique, which has a precision point that helps you draw tiny strokes that resemble individual hairs for a more realistic result.) Another key area to focus on, in addition to the upper arch, is the front of the arch where your brows begin.

“On the other hand, if your brows have become too thick or unruly, and you’d like more definition or a cleaner arch, I recommend seeing a brow specialist (preferably not a waxer or threader), who can subtly shape and refine them with selective tweezing,” says Vincent. "Find a specialist whose aesthetic you like from Instagram or Yelp, or try asking friends with good brows who they see. When you book your appointment, ask if they can do a tweeze only (no wax) appointment. Many brow specialists use wax to remove hair, but it's a much less precise method of hair removal and it can create a brow harsh shape. It also pulls at the delicate eye area and removes the top layer of skin, which can do real damage," she cautions. "Threading is less aggressive than waxing, but can also create a hard line, and so I prefer to tweeze only because it allows for selective hair removal and doesn’t damage the delicate skin in that area."

One thing everyone could benefit from—regardless of brow girth—is a clear gel. Even on bare brows, a clear gel helps. “It holds up hairs, which adds a soft fullness, and some precision and lift where hairs may have been drooping,” she adds.

And if you need some visual inspiration to embrace your natural brows, here are a few celebrity examples plucked from the internet by Vincent:

1. Olivia Munn

“Olivia has returned to her natural brow shape over the years, and still has beautiful definition. She’s not trying to make them something they are not (i.e., her pointed arches shown in a throwback photo of her in 2015), which I love.”

2. Issa Rae

“Issa is someone who is clearly working with her natural brow shape without going overboard on products. Her brows look beautiful and enhance her gorgeous features.”

3. Kerry Washington

“Kerry has consistently had the right idea about her brows. She’s a great example of embracing the brows you have and enhancing them for different looks.”

4. Olivia Rodrigo

Last but not least, Gen Z queen, Olivia: “I love how she is working with her natural brow shape and density and not overdoing it with overfilling.”

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...