That’s why, some 20-odd years down the line, many millennials can still be found Googling “microblading,” “eyebrow serum,” or “how to grow eyebrows back” on any given night of the week. We’ve lived through multiple school graduations, our first years on our own as adults, and hell, even a pandemic, all while waiting impatiently for new hairs to sprout back up where they once grew like weeds.
Why did we mentally torture ourselves over something so seemingly meaningless as our eyebrows? Trends. Marketing. Celebrities. At the time in our lives when we were our most impressionable, it was considered passé — nay, unladylike — to have so much as a single hair growing outside the harsh, thin boundaries the time’s beauty standards had laid out for us.
Fast-forward to Cara Delevingne’s entrance to mainstream Hollywood in the early 2010s, and those standards made a complete 180. Seemingly overnight, ultra-thin eyebrows became a thing of the past, and big, square, “natural” eyebrows were the new ideal. Many celebrities — what with their never-ending access to makeup artists, beauty treatments, and cosmetic procedures — fell right in line with record-breaking speed. We, normal people, however, got a mad case of beauty whiplash when we realized our natural brow hairs weren’t coming back just because we stopped plucking.
With nostalgia for the Y2K era at an all-time high right now, the same exact thing seems to be happening, just in reverse. Lily James as Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy, Barbie Ferreira in 1920s-inspired garb at the most recent Met Gala, a significant amount of fashion runways, this Godforsaken TikTok filter — thin eyebrows are stamped all over modern popular culture. And that means they are making a comeback whether millennials such as myself like it or not.
Though I can’t stop the inevitable, I can, at the very least, warn you about what happens next if you risk a permanent change to your face for the sake of a trend. Just like everything else in this world, all trends have to die someday, whether that be in a week, a year, or even a couple of decades. But they do end, and when they do, humans pretty much always see-saw back to whatever they were doing before.
Consider eyebrow standards throughout the past century: in the 1920s and 1930s, thin eyebrows were all the rage. They thickened back out throughout the ’40s and until the ’90s, when society reverted to the thin, rounded shape and stuck with that until the 2010s. All beauty standards run in a cycle — and the inherent nature of cycles is that they never end. So while we might be living in the land of thin, rounded arches for the foreseeable future, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that it won’t stay that way throughout the remainder of our lifetimes. When I was so young that I could not fathom what the world was like before my conception, that had never crossed my mind. So I wasted hours upon end inspecting every tiny hair that sprouted, assuming that was just how things were supposed to be when they most certainly didn’t have to be.