What Happened When We Tried Bleached Brows


What Happened When We Tried Bleached Brows

"Doing Something Not Conventionally Sexy was Surprisingly Freeing", says writer Ruby Staley.

Ruby Staley

0 minute read

Published: January 2023

Origin: Australia

From the skinny brows of the 90s,

to the full bushy brows of the late 2010s, just about every brow shape, size and shade has had its heyday. Now, it seems that just about everyone in the fashion and beauty circuit is trying out a bleached brow. 

Whether you’re a natural blond or brunette through and through, the white brow look seems to suit just about everyone. Although the look is slightly alien inclined, there’s something elegant and high fashion about a fresh, glowy makeup look that is only elevated by a blonde brow. 

Where did the trend come from?

Light brows have always existed in some capacity as long as humans have had brow hairs. Some have them naturally without the need of peroxide, others are just jumping on the style while it's trendy. This current wave of trending lightened brows is all thanks to the convenience and usability of modern bleach, the influence of alternative runway beauty and, of course, TikTok.

Colour specialist from Sydney boutique salon Extra Silky Emma Davidson said that the bleached brow trend has been trending on and off for years. 

“I would say this current trend happened during lockdown,” she said.

“I think it has become popular because, one, it’s something people can easily do themselves and, two, it’s so transformative of someone’s appearance with very minimal effort.”

In good company with the likes of Bella Hadid, Maisie Williams and Julia Fox, Emma is one of many who have recently opted for a barely-there brow. 

“I currently have bleached brows and I honestly love it and would encourage anyone to give it a go,” she said. 

“Yes, it feels unnatural and a little bit out of the stereotypical beauty standard but that’s the great thing about it, if you think it will look weird on you then great because the more unique the better with bleached brows.”

Image credit: Emma Davison

How I did it myself

I’ve seen countless TikToks on bleached brows – some great, some horrific - so to feel adequately prepared, I decided to seek professional advice before bleaching my own. Emma recommended that if you are to DIY, to firstly “[use] a barrier cream like Vaseline before bleaching” to protect the sensitive skin around the eyes.

“[Then], leaving the bleach on for a max of 15 minutes at a time - you can always re-apply - and mostly just being super careful around the eyes,” she said.

Having quite prominent dark brown brows myself,

I’ve always been intrigued by this trend, but never brave enough to try. But this week I finally took the plunge. Here’s how it went.

I popped into my local chemist and picked up a packet of both generic bleach powder and developer. It was surprisingly inexpensive, and I have plenty spare in case I want to bleach them again any time soon.

Mixing together one part bleach to two parts developer, I stirred the mixture in a non-metallic bowl until combined. Next, I applied Vaseline around the brows as Emma had mentioned and then went in on my brow hairs with the bleach. I tried back combing the bleach through the brows to ensure there was an even coat over the hairs.

Leaving the mixture on my brows for 15 minutes,

I noticed the bleach start to warm my skin and so decided to wipe it off. For this first try, I realised I had missed a few spots and the colour hadn’t lifted as well as I had hoped. So, under Emma’s recommendation I did a second round of bleach. 

Once this was processed and wiped away, I added a purple toner to my brows to minimise the brassy tones that were peeking through. I washed my face, waited for them to dry and then admired my very DIY handy work. 

What was my experience like?

My brows are (or were) the focal point of my face so I was understandably nervous going into this experience that I would look totally different. In a bad way.

I was also incredibly under prepared when bleaching and actually used a spoon to apply my bleach. Next time, I would recommend a clean spoolie to really get in those hairs. But even so, I was pretty happy with how they came out, but that’s not to say I didn’t freak myself out every time I looked in the mirror.

As someone personally battling against needing validation for my looks, doing something radical (for me) and not conventionally sexy or attractive was surprisingly freeing. I loved that for once, people weren’t staring at me like some sexualised piece of meat, instead they were staring because I looked weird to them. Love that.

Moving forward, I’m not sure I’d keep them permanently, but it was an interesting experience that allowed me to somewhat detach myself and my worth from my physical appearance, even if only for a short time.

What's the upkeep like?

From my experience, I would recommend also reapplying a toner regularly to maintain a platinum blonde look. 

Although the look is dramatic, Emma said the long-term impacts on brow hairs is minimal, meaning if you do hate it, it’s very easy to go back.

“Depending on your natural hair colour the grow out can be two to four weeks,” Emma said.

In addition to simply dying them back their natural colour, Emma said that “eyebrows grow back reasonably quickly so it doesn’t have any major lasting effects.” 

So, if you’re even remotely interested in the trend, take it from Emma and I and give it a go. You can always dye them back.

Ruby Staley


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