How to master bleached brows (if you dare)
From Maisie Williams to Kim Kardashian, this bold look is creeping into the selfie-sphere. Joanna Taylor asks: is it really wearable?
From the over-plucked to the excessively filled, there are plenty of eyebrow trends that belong in the bin - along with the photo evidence.
The bleached brow, a catwalk and fashion magazine favourite, is a divisive one and seems to be creeping back into reality. Last week Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams transformed her trademark boy brows to match her bleach blonde mullet for the Brit Awards ceremony, while across the pond brunettes Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian have used Instagram to show off theirs.
Lauretta Power, National Brow Artist at Benefit, has several theories about why the look is trending. “Make up artists have been bleaching brows at runway shows for a long time and I think people have missed seeing them during lockdown.”
Power adds that until recently, the risk of making a fool of oneself has been minimal thanks to lockdown, so many have been trying new things and sticking with them. “A lot of people have been more daring, experimenting with hair and brow colour.”
So, for the million dollar question: can we mere mortals pull it off? Maybe, says Power. “A full bleached brow is a statement with a real edgy, editorial feel, it’s bold and intense. The makeup we’re seeing on social media at the moment has become much softer and lighter, so a pale brow will soften features while creating some drama.” Though be warned, Power adds, “It can be rather ageing.”
For those willing to take a leap of faith, Power recommends meeting the trend half way. “If you want to soften your look you can lighten the brows without fully bleaching them, as we’ve seen on Kim Kardashian and Rita Ora in the past. It’s much more wearable and it can flatter features, resulting in a more youthful appearance. It’s especially gorgeous on those with deeper skin tones as it frames the face.”
If you plan to achieve the look at the hands of a professional, Power says that the process is no different to a standard brow tint. “It’s the same as tinting brows in technique, you simply swap out the tint with a lightening solution.”
To get the desired look at home, Power recommends using the RefectoCil Blonde Brow Bleaching Paste, £9.99. “Make sure to do a patch test 48 hours beforehand. Ensure your skin is clean and apply a barrier cream such as Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly, £3.50 around the brows on the surrounding skin.” Next, “Mix the bleach cream with the 3% peroxide cream and using a disposable spoolie, apply through the brows backwards to get the roots, then apply evenly in the direction of growth. Leave on for recommended time and remove with water.”
If the colour is a little off, reach for what’s in your shower, says Power. “If the colour isn’t as ashy as you’d like use a blue toning shampoo to knock out any yellow tones.”
Ready for the best part? “Bleached brows will grow out, which means maintenance is minimal,” says Power, “though a keratin and soy enriched brow conditioner such as the Benefit Browvo! Conditioning Eyebrow Primer, £25, will nourish, strengthen and hold strays in place.”
ut that £75 potion down, because unless you’re wearing broad spectrum SPF every day, it won’t be doing much in the way of anti-ageing.
In fact, according to suncare expert and founder of Ultrasun Abi Cleeve: “Over 80% per cent of all ageing is due to the sun. And the World Health Organisation claims that up to 90 per cent of the visible changes commonly attributed to ageing may be caused by sun exposure.”
If that isn’t frightening enough, blue light is also an issue, says Cleeve. “The high energy visible (HEV) light that is emitted from electronic devices poses potential skin harm. HEV light penetrates more deeply into the skin’s epidermis and generates free radicals which cause cells to produce enzymes that break down collagen and elastin. This process is known as oxidative stress which can lead to hyperpigmentation.”