As far as emphasizing our eyebrows goes, we can opt for any of three results: temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent. The temporary result is probably the most popular. It's achieved through brow pencils and pomade (here we break from our scheduled programming to say hi, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, $21). These, of course, wash off with your nightly cleanser—an obviously appealing notion since getting the shape just right is easier said than done. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the permanent result, aka microblading. With this method, pigment is deposited inside the skin in natural, hairlike strokes, almost like a tattoo. This result lasts basically forever and involves minimal upkeep.
Finally, we have the in-between option—a semi-permanent result, which comes in the form of eyebrow tinting. This can be done in a DIY or professional setting (see a visual guide to at-home brow tinting here) and lasts a couple of weeks. It usually requires hair dye and a developer. But according to Instagram users, there's an alternative: henna, as in the natural hair-and-skin dye traditionally used in parts of Africa and Asia. Keep reading to learn all about the newest brow trend taking over Instagram, as well as some crazy before-and-after photos.
When we say it's taking over Instagram, we mean it. If you search #browhenna, over 230,000 results will appear. That's because more and more people are turning to henna as a natural, hassle-free way to darken and embolden their brows. It's especially popular in Russia.
Although many natural spas offer brow henna services (perfect for those who are a little hesitant to DIY it), many people choose to do it at-home anyway. They take a brown or black henna, or a combination of the two, and apply it to their clean, makeup-free brows using a spoolie brush or cotton swab. After letting it sit for a few minutes (some people recommend no more than 10 minutes while others keep it on well past that until the henna is fully dried), they wipe it off. Left behind is an extremely natural-looking tint that lasts a couple of weeks. Taking a casual scroll through Instagram is enough to prove its efficacy.
Before you DIY a henna brow, know that some Instagram users say it can be difficult to find the right color to match their natural brows since henna usually isn't offered in too many shade variations. As noted above, many people with darker brows end up personalizing their henna by mixing brown with black.
Speaking of black henna, keep in mind that all of it isn't created equal. The Food and Drug Administration cautions against using any formula you come across since some of it's pumped with added chemicals that can (in some cases) severely irritate your skin.
The culprit is p-phenylenediamine, or PPD, which is, by law, not permitted to be used on skin. So if you do try at-home henna brow tint, do your research first, and find a safe, gentle, chemical-free formula to use (like this one). Then, patch test the henna to be sure it doesn't irritate your skin.
As you can see, the standard practice seems to be to smear Vaseline ($4) around the perimeter of the brows to prevent the henna from staining your skin. As the henna is being applied, mistakes are touched up with wipes or cotton swabs. After the henna dries, remove with wipes, et voilà—bold, beautiful brows.
Would you consider trying a henna brow tint? Let us know in the comments below. Then, watch our editorial director get her eyebrows microbladed.