PLEASE tell me this could be the death knell for “Instagram Brows”.
Has anyone else noticed the marked difference in the style of eyebrows in beauty brands’ marketing and Instagram feeds lately? For years we’ve had the so-called Instagram Brows taking over, er, Instagram. What’s best described as drag queen brows, we’ve seen these exaggerated, airbrushed-style brows on so many girls (and boys!) for a while now, and I honestly think a change is finally coming.
(And if not, then I’ll be crying into my makeup bag for a good while longer yet.)
Of course I’m 100% in favour of everyone wearing whatever the hell they like, without fear or judgement, and that extends to makeup, too. But I still have personal preferences on trends in fashion and beauty, and this was one I just never warmed to I’m afraid (apologies, Instagram Brows fans).
However, recently I’ve seen a shift towards a new style that I really hope will take over eventually (all trends change of course), so I thought I’d take a look* at what I think the most on-trend brows will look like in a few years’ time.
*a light-hearted one, of course, nothing serious or heavy about this post. Bit like the brows…
Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission at no cost to you (click here for my full disclosure). Any items listed as* were gifted within the last 12 months.
Let’s take a look at Instagram Brows first.
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neon luv⚡️inspired by the gorgeous @dilansabah 💗 | #saranda ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Eyes: @anastasiabeverlyhills Riviera Palette- Monte Carlo, Bahamas, Coastline, Palm, Mediterranean & Seaside • #violetvoss Venus Glitter • @nyxcosmetics Off Tropic Pro Liner in ‘Happy Hour’ • #smbeauty Sam Marcel Black Liquid Liner • #WanderBeauty Unlashed Mascara • #HouseOfLashes in ‘Midnight Luxe’ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Brows: @benefitcosmetics BenefitBrowSearch Entry ‘Contour Brows’ 💗 | Ka-BROW 04 + FoolProof Brow Powder 03 + High Brow #benefitbrows #benefitbrowsearch⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Face: #milkmakeup Hydro Grip Primer • #sleekmakeup Highlighting Elixir • @lagirlcosmetics PRO Coverage Foundation Natural • #nyxcosmetics Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Concealers- Light Ivory & Golden Honey • #hudabeauty Pound Cake Baking powder • #bhcosmetics Bronzer in ‘Bronze Babe’ • #tartecosmetics Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface • #wetnwildbeauty Highlighting Powder in Blossom Glow ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Brushes: Used all #morphebrushes for this look! ⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #wakeupandmakeup #makeupmemes #norvina #colourpopme #eyemakeuptutorial #albaniangirl #flawlessdolls #gothographic #benefitbrows #morphebabe #abhcollection #livingforface #abhriviera #eyemakeup
Don’t get me wrong – I fully appreciate the artistry in makeup like this. It’s incredible, and I couldn’t come close to doing anything that detailed or perfect. It’s just that in terms of actual makeup I just can’t bring myself to like these brows… to me it’s theatrical makeup that’s meant to stand out from a distance when seen on stage. I didn’t like them when they first appeared, I still don’t like them now.
It’s no different to someone disliking my chunky platform sandals. I’m allowed to like them! Others are allowed to NOT like them!
You get my point.
But sometime last year I noticed a few beauty brands and fashion brands featuring models with very different brows. To be honest, I knew that very few brands (especially fashion brands) had never, ever given their models Instagram Brows. Brands like Mango and Asos have ALWAYS favoured natural brows on their models (especially evident on their jewellery and accessories pages in close-ups) – no black painted-on eyebrows with pointy edge bits finished off with concealer to get those edges precision-perfect.
Enter: Soap brows.
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Ever wanted to know how I do glass skin? It's all about the skin care you use and when I have the time I like to do the full monty so for my gloriously beautiful friend @maddykane_ I started out with @soniarosellibeauty sexapeel then added a hyaluronic and collagen sheet mask from @fussfreenaturals left that on for 15mins then applied @soniarosellibeauty Water Elixir, Water Oil and Water Balm. Hydration and smooth skin is key to get that beautiful polished glow Swipe for product #glassskin #radiantskin #realskinisin #katmcandrewmakeupandbrows
Now these brows were something I’d been aware of from a very young age… despite their bizarre name, they’re not new.
I was into all the Hollywood greats when I was a kid, and the first time I saw Sophia Loren’s makeup – with those brows and the perfect cat eyeliner – I was mesmerised. Looking at it now the brows are a bit weird (HOW did she get them so sticky-uppy and regimented?!), but as a young teen I thought they were beautiful. They were just a little bit different to the untouched, all-over-the-place Brooke Shields-style eyebrows of the 80s and hey, different always stands out, doesn’t it?
The funny thing is that eyebrows go in and out of style as much as hemlines do (probably more so), so I’m convinced we’re seeing a shift in style right now. We’re in the transitional eyebrow fashion stage (or at least I bloody hope we are).
Now if I’ve lost you with the whole “soap brows” thing, as I already mentioned they are not a new thing. It’s just that they ARE a new thing. (Stay with me.)
Soap brows are natural, fluffy and “sticky-uppy”. Often unplucked. The soap bit is the fact that you get them to stick up – and stay sticking up – with soap. And if you don’t believe me…
It’s the look I’ve been favouring myself for a while now – less of the colour-blocked-in-with-perfect-shadow, more of the natural brush strokes look with those nice gaps of skin showing through. And if you’re now shouting No, Catherine! All I see are Instagram Brows still!! at me down your phone or laptop, then take a look at these natural beauties (brows I mean, though the girls are stunning too)…
And another (even more exaggerated and sticky-uppy:
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This beauty @julie_verlo by @sarahbrownphoto hair & makeup by me. Highlight is @colourpopcosmetics Flexitarian✨✨✨ let me know if you want more makeup details ✨ Edit: Skin: @bobbibrownuk vitamin enriched base, @lauramercier illuminating tinted moisturiser, @delilahcosmetics Take Cover Concealer Bronze: @nudestix Bondi Bae (on eyes also) Highlight: @colourpopcosmetics Flexitarian Blush: @glossier Dusk Lips: Nude Kate @ctilburymakeup (over some lip balm) Lashes: @sweedlashes Cluster (just on corners) Brows: @soapbrows Freckles: @freck
And then there’s this one – the makeup is over the top and doll-like, but the eyebrows couldn’t be less Instagram Brows-y…
So soap brows are the way I think the next trend in brows is headed (thank god). Or even just a return to fluffy, natural brows, and the most realistic, untouched brows we’ve seen in a while. No more pencil-thin, overplucked 90s and 00s style brows. No more Scouse Brows. No more Instagram Brows.
Just a BIT of brushing. Just a BIT of plucking (only if necessary). Just a BIT of filling in (again, only if necessary).
They’ll be the wildflower garden of brows rather than those with big ol’ perfectly manicured, dense hedges.
But what if you (like me) succumbed to the plucking in the 70s, 90s and early 00s – and you’re left with little more than a few sparse straggles of hair? Do not despair – there are ways and means to create more than just a thin line of doom across the top of your eyes.
Products for creating natural brows (and soap brows)
1. Ardell Beauty Stroke A Brow Feathering Pen – This is the BEST pen I’ve found for creating feathery strokes. Even close up they look like real hairs. Available in Taupe, Medium Brown, Dark Brown and Soft Black.
2. Pears transparent soap – As recommended by Pixiwoo Girl Nicola Chapman in the video above, this is what I use for making my eyebrows sticky-uppy.
3. Soapbrows kit – The real deal. More expensive than buying a bar of transparent soap (but a lot cuter in a handy little tin), this is the actual stuff created specifically to create soap brows.
4. Glossier Boy Brow (& Brow Flick) – The cult product that everyone is talking about (you know, “everyone”) to make your brows thicker by adding fibres to bushy them up a bit. This set also includes the Brow Flick which does the same as the Ardell Feathering Pen, but I haven’t used it so can’t say how good it is. You can buy Boy Brow and Brow Flick separately if you’d prefer.
5. RapidBrow Eyebrow Enhancing Serum – I’ve used this for a long time and I tell you THIS REALLY WORKS. If your brows are sparse from overplucking then this will – if used every day for a few weeks – help them grow back. The difference it’s made to my eyebrows is incredible, I can’t recommend it enough.
My own brows: lately
(Above) This is the most recent selfie I’ve taken, showing off my own soap brows. Now I KNOW that lots of people have said they like my brows this colour – this is my natural brow colour (yes, they’re naturally almost black) but with my chosen hair colour I just prefer them lighter. I haven’t bleached them in quite a while as I wanted to see whether I really did like them dark again, but no… I want them lighter again (like below):
So that’s what I’ll be up to this weekend. Bleaching and brushing them babies up, up, UP.
Believe me, soap brows are the way to go (no matter what colour you choose). WE’RE ALL IN DIRE NEED of sticky-uppy, bushy brows in our lives – if only to get away from the black “straight out of the salon” caterpillars we’re still seeing on so many makeup feeds. And if you don’t believe me, here’s the last word from beauty influencer Mariah Leonard – she knows what’s going down brows-wise…
“Didn’t really live until I decided to put soap in my brows.”
Dontcha just love a bit of brow drama?! ; -)
What are you doing with YOUR brows at the moment (if anything)?! Tell me in the comments!
So all that’s left to say is – I’ve shared my thoughts/stories/tuppence-worth this week, now it’s time to share yours… LET’S GET THIS [LINK UP] PARTY STARTED!
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