Everything You Need To Know Before Bleaching Your Eyebrows

If you're suddenly seeing tons of folks on social media who seem to be missing their eyebrows, you've officially stumbled upon the bleached brows trend. Sure, you've probably seen celebrities like Karty Perry walk the red carpet with non-existing brows and found that you were not at all surprised — celebrities do strange things all the time. It might come as a bit of a shock, then, that this seemingly crazy trend has taken over social media and the world of beauty. Even big stars like Kim Kardashian, Maisie Williams, and Lizzo have all sported bleached eyebrows (via The Guardian).


The trend was made official at the Marc Jacobs fall 2022 show, where all the models showed off their nearly non-existing eyebrows. "Bleached brows give a more futuristic effect to the face," makeup artist Diane Kendal, the woman behind the models' stunning makeup, told Vogue.

And now, the trend has taken over social media. Search #bleachedbrows on TikTok, and you'll find thousands of videos of people applying bleach to their dark eyebrows. So, has the world finally gone mad, or is there some substance behind this seemingly crazy trend? If you're someone who jumps at the chance to try something out of the ordinary, you're probably already researching the nearest salon. If you're curious but cautious, we've got you covered with all of the details.


The reason bleached eyebrows are currently trending

New beauty trends tend to pop up overnight, and the sudden flood of bleached eyebrow content on social media is proof of that. While some of us might raise our non-bleached brows at this strange trend at first, you shouldn't be surprised if you find yourself eventually starting to consider hopping on the bandwagon.


According to experts, bleached eyebrows' rise to popularity might be a result of the mask mandates that have been enforced for the past two years. Now that more people are starting to brave the outside without them, makeup trends are shifting. "The imposition of masks quickly focused attention on the eyes to communicate with others in public spaces," professor Andrew Groves told The Guardian. It's natural, then, that people want to place the focus elsewhere now that masks aren't mandatory anymore. And while bleached eyebrows look strange at first, their main purpose is actually to draw attention away from the eyes. 

"You're not focusing on the eyes anymore, but on the totality of the person. It makes the person more visible. It's taking away from the eyes," fashion psychologist Dr. Dawnn Karen says (via The Guardian). Gone are the days of elaborate eyeliner and bright eyeshadow; bleached eyebrows force attention back to the lower part of the face that's been hidden for so long.


Why would anyone want to bleach their brows?

If your first thought after discovering the bleached brows trend was something along the line of "why would anyone want to do that?" you're not alone.

According to experts, the draw is in the endless possibilities the look creates. "You don't realize the impact of brows on a face until you've gotten rid of them," makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench told Vogue, adding, "Eyebrows express a lot of emotions and therefore articulate a lot from someone's personality." Ffrench continued to explain that most of her clients gawk at themselves in the mirror after first getting their brows bleached because of the way it changes their faces. Not only do bleached brows make you look entirely different but they also present you with an opportunity to do anything you want with makeup and experiment with new looks.


Brow stylist Jamie Long agrees with Ffrench. Speaking to Elle, she explained that, while celebrities donning the look definitely have an influence on people wanting to try bleached brows, most are really interested in trying it because it allows them to "get creative with their appearance." And after a global pandemic, who can blame us?

How will bleaching your eyebrows impact your face?

Anyone who's ever tinted their eyebrows knows that it can drastically change your appearance. Bleaching your brows is no different.

Whereas dark, bold brows will give you a more intense look, lighter or bleached brows soften your face, skincare expert Robin Evans explained to Allure. Makeup artist Samantha Lau agrees. "I find that lightening brows can brighten the face up if done with the right ingredients and methods," she told the outlet.


Bleached brows can also focus the eye on other parts of your face that are usually overshadowed by darker eyebrows, makeup artist William Scott told Vogue. " ... It can reveal aspects of our beauty that we can't always see or emphasize with a full brow, like where one's eye socket is deepest," he explains. He added that, because our eyebrows play such a big role in the structure of our face, bleaching them can have some cool side effects, like creating the illusion of bigger and rounder eyes. This is because the perceived absence of the brows allows us to see our eyes in their entirety without any distractions, Scott explains.

How can you use makeup with bleached eyebrows?

If you're wondering whether you'll need to reinvent your favorite makeup looks once you bleach your eyebrows, you can rest easy. According to brow stylist Jamie Long, bleached brows mean that your face is basically a blank canvas, and you can do any makeup look you want. Long says the options are truly infinite. "Bleached brows can be paired with any makeup look, from a strong statement eye to something more soft and natural," she told Elle


You'll find that your eye area allows for the most play once your eyebrows are no longer stealing the spotlight. "There's no 'frame' to take into consideration so you can do pretty much any shape in any size you want and create something dramatic," makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench told Vogue. You can also style your brows a bit if you'd like by using a clear brow gel to give them some added texture.

Who can bleach their eyebrows?

Those who naturally have lighter eyebrows will probably have an easier time taking the leap to bleach their brows. Those with darker hair and skin tones, however, might hesitate. But according to brow stylist Jamie Long, there's no need.


If you have a darker skin tone, Long recommends you only go a few shades lighter and see how you like it. "... Lightening just a few shades can help soften the overall appearance of your brows, and you can then go even lighter should you feel like taking the plunge," Long told Elle. The same goes for those who have dark hair and are worried about how much their overall appearance will change once they bleach their brows. "For the bold and confident, the bleached-out brow works with any hair color," Long assures.

Colorist and bleach expert Hanna Edelman agrees with Long. Speaking to Nylon, she explained that the process of bleaching eyebrows could easily be divided into three steps — you don't have to go all in the first time. You can kick off the process by going a few shades lighter first, as Long explained, and then go deeper down the rabbit hole with step two, which Edelman explains consists of bleaching and toning the brows without erasing them entirely. Step three consists of completely bleaching the brows. And again, this is literally for everyone. "[The wearer] doesn't care about the rules. It's a bold, in-your-face, on-your-face look carried by the wearer's badass confidence," Edelman says.


How exactly does eyebrow bleaching work?

Bleaching your eyebrows pretty much follows the same process as bleaching your hair. It will eliminate your natural color, leaving your brows looking white. "Brow bleaching lifts pigment (melanin) and keratin in the hair to lighten the color," makeup artist and brow expert Monica Ninh told Byrdie. At its core, bleach basically dissolves your natural color. "Bleaching breaks the bonds of the pigment, causing them to decompose," cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson told Allure, adding that the amount of time the bleaching tint is left on your eyebrows will determine the outcome of the treatment.


Ninh says that the amount of time a brow technician will leave the bleach to do its work will also depend on your natural brow color (via Byrdie). Darker brows, for instance, will take longer to bleach than people with naturally light brows. Since different increments of time yield different results, bleaching tint can easily be manipulated to lighten eyebrows just a few shades without turning them completely white, which is the perfect solution for those who are a little afraid of the impact the look will have on their appearance. It also works great for people who simply want to lighten their brows to match their hair color.

The difference between lightening your brows and bleaching them

There are plenty of treatments out there to change the appearance of your eyebrows, and it can be pretty overwhelming at times, especially if you're a newbie. If you're wondering what the difference is between bleaching your brows and simply lightening them, you're not alone. Even though it seems like the same thing, it's not, and knowing what sets these two treatments apart can help you make an informed decision.


Simply put, if you want that bold white brow, bleaching is the way to go, but if you simply want to go a few shades lighter, brow lightening is your best friend. The difference between these two treatments is small but powerful, makeup artist Samantha Lau told Allure. "Eyebrow bleaching is taking the color completely out of the eyebrows, whereas eyebrow lightening lifts the color a few shades lighter than your original brow color," she explains, adding that bleaching is much harsher on the brows as well.

So, how do you choose? It really depends on the look you're going for, hairstylist Rachel Bodt says. "When you lighten your brows with color, you are looking to just soften them or take the edge off," she explains. "When you bleach them, it's very impactful and more of a statement." Figuring out what look you want to go for can help you decide which treatment you'd like to opt for.


Can you bleach your eyebrows at home?

Many of us prefer to tint our own eyebrows and have done so successfully many times, but is it safe to try bleaching them at home? According to experts, not really.

Bleach is different than tinting and a lot more can go wrong, especially if you don't know what you're doing. Speaking to Byrdie, Chanel brow artist Jimena Garcia and celebrity makeup and brow artist Dani Kimiko Vincent both agreed that people should make an appointment with a brow expert if they wish to try the bleached brow look. "Bleach and peroxide are chemicals, and there is plenty of room for error," Vincent warns. "Leaving the product on too long can damage brow hair (it can singe off), and your skin can get burned by the bleach." Well, that sounds like a nightmare.


If you're still determined to do it at home, Vincent says to get a friend to help you. "... This allows you to keep your eyes closed and reduces the risk of product getting into the eyes," she explains, adding that you shouldn't be surprised if the color doesn't turn out the way you expected it to. In case you do end up with bright orange brows, Vincent says a professional will be able to dye them back to your natural color. So, if something goes wrong you'll have to pay to fix it anyway, so it's probably best to just make an appointment to get the results you want from the get-go.

How do you maintain bleached eyebrows?

Just like bleached hair, bleached eyebrows will need some TLC. Brow stylist Jamie Long told Elle that bleaching your eyebrows will dry them out the same way it would the hair on your head. So, yes, you need to make sure you apply products that will condition those delicate hairs. Long recommends you look for a good brow conditioner you can apply daily. There are even masks designed specifically for eyebrows that can be applied overnight for some extra moisture.


Depending on your natural hair color, your bleached brows might look brassy after a while, but this can be remedied quite easily, hairstylist Rosie Sumstad told Byrdie. "[U]se a purple shampoo with a Q-tip to keep that tone nice and white," Sumstad recommends.

This bold look is also harder to maintain than tinted brows, because, instead of fading over time like a tint, bleached eyebrows stay bleached. This means you'll notice when your roots start to grow out, and you'll need to go for regular touchups. "As the brows grow, you may develop a 'zebra stripe' look, so you'll want to either touch up the bleach or dye your brows back to your natural color," makeup artist and brow specialist Ramy Gafni explained (via Byrdie). For this reason, it's important that you have healthy eyebrows when you first start bleaching them — when you go for touchups, the technician will have to bleach your entire eyebrow again, they can't just do root touchups, makeup artist Monica Ninh says.


What are the risks associated with bleaching your eyebrows?

Of course, one of the scariest risks is losing all your eyebrow hair, but this is unlikely to happen if a professional does the bleaching (via Allure). Your skin can also suffer if you're not careful. "Ingredients used to bleach the hair [that include] high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cause serious burns," dermatologist Michelle Henry told Allure. You also run the risk of losing your eyebrow hair permanently if the bleach solution is too potent. This is why it's crucial you go to a professional if you want to try the bleached eyebrow look.


Those with sensitive skin should also be very careful when it comes to bleaching their brows. The chemicals present in the dye have the potential to irritate any skin type, but hairstylist Jeremy Tardo told PopSugar that it's usually best for sensitive skin types to avoid bleaching their eyebrows altogether. Cosmetic chemist Ni'Kita Wilson also warns that the hydrogen peroxide used to bleach brows is inherently dangerous. "Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent that will not discriminate between your hair, clothing, or your cornea," she warns. Again, leave the bleaching to the professionals.

It's also good to keep in mind that bleaching your eyebrows probably isn't something you should do for prolonged periods of time simply because it's such harsh treatment. Even when you have it done by a professional, the bleaching process will still damage and dry out your hair over time, Henry warns.


How do you prep for eyebrow bleaching and how long does it take?

The most obvious requirement before bleaching your brows is that they need to be healthy. Hair stylist Rosie Sumstad told Byrdie that brow hair that hasn't undergone any other treatments prior is perfect for bleaching. "I wouldn't recommend bleaching your eyebrows if you've had them laminated," Sumstad says.


You should also take care to ensure that the skin around your eyebrows is in good shape. If you're taking the leap and bleaching your eyebrows at home, make sure you remove all makeup from your brows and the surrounding area first but don't make the mistake of scrubbing the area clean. "If the skin is stimulated by scrubbing, it will create more sensitivity when bleaching your brows, hairstylist Jeremy Tardo told PopSugar. After all, red, angry skin around your brows is the last thing you want when the goal was to make them more inconspicuous. To protect the surrounding skin, Tardo recommends you apply something like Vaseline to offer your skin some extra protection against the bleach.

As for how long the process takes, bleaching eyebrows thankfully don't work the same way as bleaching your hair — it can all be done in a single session. "Usually, I bleach the brows in one session, and sometimes I may need to reapply for a bit depending on the original brow color," colorist and bleach expert Julia Elena told Nylon. The bleaching process itself usually takes around 10 to 15 minutes, Tardo says.


Keep in mind that you'll look different and that eyebrows grow fast

Our eyebrows have a huge impact on how our faces look, so you can expect to be a little shocked by your reflection after bleaching your brows. "You're exposing your face to something non-conforming after all, so you do need to be ready for that when you decide to bleach your brows," colorist and bleach expert Julia Elena told Nylon.


While you and everyone else you know will definitely notice the change in your appearance, you should also keep in mind that your bleached brows won't last forever. In fact, bleaching your eyebrows will show you just how fast they really grow. Elena says you can expect to spot your roots growing out in just one week. Within two, your natural color will start to take over once again. Yikes. This means you need to ready yourself for a lot of maintenance if you want to keep donning this unusual look for a while.

What if I hate the new look?

So, you bleached your eyebrows, and no matter how hard you try, you simply can't convince yourself that you like it. What now? Fear not, because it's very easy to fix it.

Speaking to Nylon, colorist and bleach expert Julia Elena said that a brow technician will be able to restore your original brow color in no time, and you can even opt for a different color than usual if you're still craving a change. Colorist and bleach expert Hannah Edelman agrees. "After a shameful Insta story, a few minutes of demi-permanent color will put your brows back to where you want 'em. Be nice and put a little conditioner on them, too," she says.


If you've always wanted to try the bleached brows look and the only thing that was holding you back was the terror of hating your reflection afterward, you now know that it's the last thing you need to worry about. Your trusty brow technician will be ready to jump in and change them back in a jiffy.