It used to be if you pulled up any random photo of a person from any point in recent history, their makeup — the tint on the lips, shadow on the eyes, arch of the brow — could tell you approximately when that picture was taken. But the beauty trend cycle has become shorter and shorter, to the point where even something as extreme as bleached-out brows has already had several moments in the spotlight during our lifetime.
“Brow bleaching first became popular in the early ’90s following appearances on the runway via Alexander McQueen and Anna Sui,” says makeup and brow stylist Dani Vincent. “At that time it was a counter-culture and club kid look, and it was even donned by Madonna.” Now, thanks to TikTok, the avant-garde trend has become hot once again — to the point where even you (yes, you!) might be tempted to recreate the look at home.
You can, of course, go the more temporary (and safer) route of covering up your brows with a mix of concealer and powder to mimic the bleached eyebrow effect. But if you’re determined to go all in, please leave the actual bleaching to the pros. Then, follow these at-home care tips to ensure your eyebrow experimentation doesn’t turn into a permanent disappearing act.
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The Effects of Bleach on Skin and Brow Hair
Similar to bleaching the hair on your scalp, bleaching your brows comes with the potential for adverse side effects. At the end of the day, bleach is a caustic chemical, meaning that it can burn the skin, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara explains. “Bleach can cause irritation, inflammation, swelling, discoloration, and can damage the hair making it more brittle,” she tells Allure. “Eyebrow and eye skin, in general, are particularly susceptible to the above.” There’s also a risk of the solution accidentally making it into your eyes, which, as I’m sure you can guess, would hurt a lot.
Not convinced? Even if you’re careful enough to avoid dripping bleach into your eyes, you could end up doing serious damage to your brows. “Ingredients used to bleach the hair [that include] high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cause serious burns,” New York City-based dermatologist Michelle Henry previously told Allure. “If the solution is too strong, brows and hair can be damaged. Significant burns can also cause permanent hair loss. Even when done appropriately, the process can dry and damage the hair, making it more prone to breakage.”