You know that phrase “fake it until you make it?” Well, in the case of bleached brows, we suggest that you fake it… maybe forever? The reason is bleaching your brows not only causes serious damage, but it can get tricky. “The most important concept of the Joey Healy ‘Eyebrow Philosophy’ is making sure to keep your eyebrows healthy, full, and have lots of longevity,” says Joey Healy, Celebrity Eyebrow Specialist. “Unfortunately, bleaching your brows goes against this idea, and is very damaging to the hairs. Bleach strips the hair of lubricating oils, causing the hair to weaken and become very dry—similar to when you bleach the hair on your head.”
Then there’s the regrowth to deal with, which isn’t exactly a walk in the park. “When the bleached brow hairs begin to grow in, they take on a speckled appearance because the virgin hairs are beginning to sprout,” Healy says. “It’s best to let all of your hair grow back in before lightening again; this will cause over-processing and cause much more damage to the previously bleached hair.”
Still sold on the naked brow trend? “If you are considering bleached brows, I always suggest doing the fake bleached brow first before committing to the permanent bleach,” Healy says. Here’s everything to know about how to fake bleached brows.
Why Bleached Brows Are Trending
This is definitely another comeback fad that’s due to the revival of the Y2K aesthetic. “During the ‘90s and early 2000s the bleached brow look was very runway chic and was pioneered by celebrity makeup artists like Kevyn Aucoin,” Healy says. “I think the younger generations are more open to taking chances because of fast social media cycles, especially on platforms such as TikTok, that has hundreds of millions of users seeing these kinds of Y2K trends recirculating across their feeds. When you mix in the post-pandemic movement of people wanting to reinvent themselves with something fresh and new, the high-fashion, extreme look of the bleached brow is the perfect form of unique expression.”
Another reason bleached brows are stealing the spotlight is because the look is certainly an attention grabber. “Bleached brows have a very alien or otherworldly look, and not exactly aligned with our idea of classic western beauty, which is why I think a lot of people are into it!” Healy says. “I predict that makeup and beauty is going to experience a big grunge moment that is more extreme and rebellious, which bleached brows are indicative of in some ways.”
Are (Faux) Bleached Brows Right for You?
We hate to break it to you, but this isn’t the easiest trend to work into your look. “Bleached brows are very difficult to pull off because they basically erase the eyebrow, and for most people, this gives the appearance of a very large forehead,” Healy says. “The best face shape for a bleached brow is a square shape—one with a more substantial jawline and more narrow forehead. This is because the jaw and forehead are able to balance each other out even when you’re erasing the brows.”
Those with a heart-shaped face should avoid the bleach brow look entirely. Sorry, Reese Witherspoon! “If you have a very small mouth, narrow chin and a larger forehead, this trend will cause the upper hemisphere of the face to look much bigger, drawing more attention to this area,” Healy explains.
How to Fake Bleached Brows
The first thing you’ll need in your arsenal for faking a bleached brow is tinted brow gel, as it’s a true essential. “You want to use a lighter/blonder color that is as close to your skin tone as possible so that the hairs disappear,” Healy says. “I love using the Joey Healy Brow Lacquer ($28) for this because the brush is smaller and more compact, making it easier to apply across every hair. You want to really work the product into the brow in all directions and get down the base layer. Essentially, this will visually erase all of the hairs and eliminate any dark shadows.” After generously applying the Brow Lacquer all over the brow, Healy likes to go in with the Joey Healy Duo Brow Brush ($28) and pull it through the hairs to get an even coating.
Another option for the illusion of bleached brows is using a full coverage concealer. Healy recommends using a mousse-texture concealer rather than a pressed cream to make application easier. “Take a mascara-type wand to sweep and work the concealer through the hairs,” he says. “It helps to apply it in layers to fully cover the hairs.”
A third way is using a root touch up spray, such as the L’Oreal Paris Magic Root Cover Up ($10). “Carefully spray the product on a spoolie and sweep across the hairs in the same way you would with concealer,” Healy says.
Make sure to avoid any products that have an orangey tone. Stick with nudes and neutrals to ensure the hairs seamlessly blend into the skin. You’ll want to avoid shiny products, too. “Matte products are best for faking bleached brows because it makes the hairs look a little bit more set back with the skin, giving them a more realistic bleached brow,” Healy says.
What to Do if You Fall in Love
While a DIY bleach-job can be done, Healy recommends seeing a professional, whether that’s an eyebrow specialist, cosmetologist or hairdresser. “Proceed with caution,” Healy says. “Bleach is much stronger than other brow dyes, so you want to make sure you avoid contact with your eyes. If you feel skin irritation, remove the bleach immediately.”
Be sure to limit the amount of chemicals you are applying to your brows. “If you are participating in other brow treatments, such as brow lamination, forget it—your brows are going to be toast!” Healy says. “If you decide to bleach your brows, that should be the only chemical process you are doing.”
Keep in mind that if you hate the look immediately after bleaching, it’s very difficult to get back to your natural color. “Even if you dye the bleached brows, the hair is already so dry and porous that they will absorb any dye (even if it’s a light shade) and make it extremely dark and prominent—oftentimes, they will turn black,” Healy warns. “If you don’t like the look, you’ll have to wait a week or two before dyeing back to a color in order to allow the brows a chance to recover.”
If you do opt to bleach your brows, be sure to nourish the fragile brow hair. “I highly recommend using a peptide-based brow serum, like the Joey Healy Brow Renovation Serum ($125), which is full of botanicals, vitamins, hyaluronic acid and moisturize-boosting ingredients to keep the hairs looking their best,” Healy says. “Using a serum after the bleaching process will help condition and strengthen the hair.”
And remember, just because it’s trending doesn’t mean you have to do it. “Always be wary of trends!” Healy says. “They are not necessarily always flattering.”