I don't get it.
One of the biggest beauty trend takeaways from our current decade has been full, feathered, natural-looking brows, a stark contrast to '90s and early-'00s overtweezed arches, so much that I'm pitched a new brow-growth serum or grooming gel on a weekly basis. We've learned that fuller brows have the ability to completely transform our faces and frame our features. It's a return to our roots and embracing the brows we were born with, except amplified to look even stronger and more defined, perhaps as a way to give a solid middle finger to the kids in middle school who told us they were bushy.
But sometime last year, an image of feather brows popped up on my Instagram feed. Not the wispy, brushed-up brows we'd once again come to appreciate, but a shocking split-down-the-middle brow made to look like an actual feather. (See below.)
Soon it was picked up by digital outlets and racing through the airwaves—but why? The picture, posted by @stella.s.makeup, has been liked over 50,000 times. Surely these people aren't strongly considering re-creating this look. Or maybe it was just the shock factor that was resonating with them. It didn't end there, though. Since then, we've seen "squiggle brows," "McDonald's arch brows," "halo brows," and brows with accessories. It's become a parody—who can come up with the wackiest brow look and subsequently get the most likes and reposts? Then glitter beards came about, and the internet as we knew it combusted into a cloud of smoke, leaving a trail of little hairs behind.
But in all seriousness, why am I still logging onto the internet to see another article highlighting these weird brow shapes, with today's look du jour being bow brows, a look that's exactly as it sounds. The very thought of them elicits an immediate eye roll, and I can't wrap my head around why we're giving them airtime. So to help (maybe?) glean a bit of clarity, I asked two makeup artists for their thoughts.
"Andy Warhol once said, 'In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,' and this is so true today!" explains celebrity makeup artist Kyriaki Savrani. "Since big, overdrawn Insta brows have been so successful in getting likes and followers, it makes sense to me that people would want to piggyback off of that to catch more attention with something even bigger and crazier—and then we end up with things like the bow brow."
While short-term fame may be the goal for the generators of these looks, what about the people that feed into them? "People are instinctively drawn to things out of the ordinary, whether good or bad. Kind of like a car crash—you can't help but want to see what's happening. Even though this look is not my personal taste, I still believe in creativity and thinking outside the box. Why not try something new?"
To that last point, celebrity makeup artist Min Min Ma agrees. "I'm in the business of enhancing my clients' natural beauty and bringing out their facial features. Having said that, these brows are so much fun, and I can totally see it for more editorial purposes. Makeup is fun—everyone should experiment with it and express their individuality."
Okay, so maybe I'm a bit of a cynic. The news cycle is fraught with unthinkable events, and maybe an artfully drawn brow in quirky shapes is just the sort of break we need. They're absurd, but not in a way that's hurting anyone or negatively impacting anyone's life. But forgive me; that still doesn't mean I'm going to tie my brows into a bow any time soon.
Opening Image: @beautylizs