Is everyone tired of talking about different types of eyebrows yet? From bushy brows sported by the likes of Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins to extremely enhanced brows seen on Instagram and the Kardashians, the main brow trend is "go big or go home." Suddenly it seems like the only wrong way to do your brows (besides over-plucking them) is to do nothing to them at all. These days just about everyone has a minimum of three brow products on their vanity, from powders and gels to brushes and spoolies, and you're expected to spend more time on your eyebrows than your lipstick.
Personally, I find the current brow craze to be fascinating. The general consensus seems to be that you can transform your whole face by transforming your brows. What's even more interesting, though, is that everyone has a different opinion on how to go about doing it. Some people like a clean, minimal look while others practically give themselves new eyebrows from scratch. I myself don't usually do too much to my brows, but I was curious to see if there's a brow trend out there that would somehow "improve" my face. I decided to try out three different brow techniques on myself to see which trend really made my eyes pop — or whatever it's supposed to make happen.
Here is what my brows look like normally, with no makeup or shaping (beyond the occasional tweezing):
And here's a closeup:
As you can see, my brows are naturally pretty thick which wins me major points with all of the current brow fads. They also have a fairly decent arch, although I'm not sure if I maybe just forced that into happening with tweezers. Also one eyebrow is always slightly more arched than the other for some reason, so now you know going into this that I'm not sarcastically raising an eyebrow in every picture.
Here are the three eyebrow trends that I tested out.
1. Bare and Brushed
For this minimal trend, I grabbed some Vaseline (although you could also use hairspray) and a clean mascara wand.
This technique is very simple. Apply Vaseline to your brows or a mascara wand and then use the wand to brush your brows upwards, as pictured below.
You don't want the hair to go straight up (which looks crazy), but rather in an upwards angle towards your temples.
For the outer ends of my brows, I went back and smoothed those down so they went slightly downwards. This preserved the appearance of an arch.
I liked this look a lot. It was fast and easy to do, and you probably don't need to purchase any products (I didn't, anyway). Best of all, it looked very natural but still had a nice, eye-opening effect.
2. Angular and Defined
The next trend was the extremely detailed, groomed brows seen on YouTube beauty vloggers, Kardashians, and users of the tag #browsonfleek on Instagram. I grabbed my e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit, which contains a dark brown gel and a light brown powder, and an angled brush for this.
To achieve #browsonfleek, I used my angled brush and brown gel to define the line under my brows. I took the line a little further on the ends than my brows naturally grow to make them seem longer. I also defined my arch a little more. Then I filled my brows in with powder, including the inner corners of my brows which are naturally quite sparse.
This look took a lot more time than the previous one and definitely has more of a visual impact.
I don't think I would normally choose this particular look because it can look a little harsh and unnatural in person. It definitely taught me that, as much as the sparse, uneven inner corners of my brows bug me, trying to fill them in with powder or gel looks much worse.
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3. Straight Across
This trend is big in Korea. Straight-across brows are considered to be a youthful look in Korea, which makes sense to me since little kids often have very straight brows. Since I didn't want to actually shave off any part of my brows to achieve this look, I had to gather a lot of tools to make this work: a small, stiff brush, Airspun Loose Face Powder, a thick, creamy concealer (I used VMV Hypoallergenics Concealer), and my e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit.
First I dabbed a ton of concealer onto the ends of my brows with my brush, and then added powder on top of that. This worked to conceal the outer arch of my brows. Then I used my e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit to fill in the rest of my brows, careful to create a straight line by filling in my arch in particular.
It was a lot of work, so for that alone I wouldn't do this everyday.
Did having straighter brows make me look younger? It's hard to say. Honestly I felt kind of like Groucho Marx with these brows. Perhaps if you fill them in with a lighter powder you can achieve a softer, more natural effect.
In the end, I think I prefer the first technique because it's the simplest and the most natural way to make my brows look groomed. I might also fill them in with some gel or powder for some extra definition, although I wouldn't go as far as I did in look #2. Trying to force my brows to look perfect and identical is a mistake. Abbi on Broad City said it best:
Images: Kelly Dougher; Giphy