By ALEXANDRA TIRADO
“They make it look as if there were snakes on their foreheads,” said Maria Saldarriaga, a junior business major.
Steve Ambrosino, a senior business major, agrees. “I don’t understand why people would do it,” he said. “Why not try things that actually look like they are supposed to be on your face?”
These are the kinds of reactions that wavy eyebrows get out of people. In this trend, people draw their eyebrows into a wavy or squiggly line. It started on social media after Jessica Brodersen, a beauty blogger, posted the first true form of the wavy brow back in July.
“It’s all makeup,” Lexington Hartman, a licensed cosmetologist and Instagram influencer, 20, said. “You can manipulate them with brow gel or even some hairspray and they will do it that way so it stays. You can also cover them with a glue stick and then you put powder on top; you cover them up so it looks like skin and then you draw whatever you want on top.”
It is not hard to see why wavy eyebrows became a trend: it’s weird.
“Weird does well on social media,” Chloe Metzger, the Digital Beauty Editor of Marie Claire magazine, who wrote the first article on the wavy brow trend, said. Metzger said that she has noticed that eyebrow trends tend to blow up in the internet faster than any other trend. “There must be some innate fascination with eyebrows.”
After a while, people began posting their own pictures with the signature line and started adding to the now over 8,000 posts by using the hashtag #wavybrows.
“I saw it on this girl named Huda, she just had the eyebrows so I kind of wanted to try something fun and funny,” said Jasmine Treviño, an LA artist in her early twenties who tried the look. “But, personally, I wouldn’t wear it in public unless it was Halloween.”
Amidst all the backlash and ridicule against the trend, there are some positive opinions.
Hartman said the trend is good and those who think critically of it are people who don’t use makeup as much.
“People who do makeup can take it for what it is and appreciate it,” Hartman said. “Not everything is supposed to be a wearable daily look.”
Hartman, who has more than 52,000 followers on her Instagram account and has her own Youtube channel, believes that the reason there has been such a negative response to the trend is that people don’t realize it is an illusion.
“I just did it because I thought it was a fun way to interpret a facial feature that’s usually so regular,” said Hannah Lyne, a 15-year-old beauty vlogger, who has more than 30,000 Instagram followers. “To me, makeup has always been about art. I like to play around with makeup and mess with how people see beauty.”
Many are terrified of trying the trend for fear of ruining their eyebrows. “I would never do that, I like my eyebrows the way they are,” said Monica Swartley, a junior biology major. “I struggled to get them this thick.”
“I feel like nobody paid attention to eyebrows until three or four years ago,” said Hartman. “Then, when makeup became a trend in the late 2000’s, people started saying ‘Oh, I’m gonna have great eyeshadow, great lipstick – gotta make sure eyebrows are on point too.’”
Ismar Silva, assistant manager of downtown Tampa’s European Wax Center, agrees.
“Eyebrows have always been the biggest part of your face,” Siva said. “So right now, we are really big on selling our brow products that either have the pen that fills them in or the powder that you can use when they dry.”
Silva, who sports groomed, yet subtle eyebrows, says that the way you do your eyebrows can change your whole face. “When your eyebrows are done, it’s pretty much safe to say that your makeup is done,” she said.
Silva also pointed out that when customers come into their store, they don’t ask for unusual eyebrow designs. Instead, the bushy brow look is what most people go for.
“We give a lot of advice like putting castor oil on your eyebrows so they grow, because people are really interested in the thick eyebrow look.”
That “brushy look” mania can actually be traced back to yet another Instagram trend.
Hartman reckons that in 2010, one of the first big trends started when people started posting about the “Instagram Brow” on social media, which has the eyebrow styled in a dark and ombre way.After that, Hartman reckons that people got “bored” of the trend and started pushing the boundaries of eyebrow art.
“I think one of the first ‘artsy’ trends was the feather brow. The creator [Stella Sironen] took the brow gel and split her eyebrow down the line,” Hartman said. “She said it was a joke, but people took it seriously and started doing things like painting their eyebrows different colors and that started yet another trend.”
When it comes to trends, however, there are certain aspects that help them become popular.
“Honestly, it’s chicken or the egg,” Metzger said.“Some outlets are quick to call something a trend that, in reality, has one or two photos on Instagram. But think something is a trend when more than, say, a few dozen people have started talking, posting, or mimicking something within a very short period of time, like within a few days. Wavy brows started with two photos and my article, and it led to “squiggle” brows, which have now been covered by every single outlet, and copied by every makeup artist.”
Metzger also believes that the reason behind the popularity, and even the inception, of these new trends, are due to social media.
“I think we’ve now faced a cultural shift, in the era of Snapchat and Instagram, where although designers are still ‘creating’ the trends, it doesn’t mean that the general population is following them anymore,” Metzger said. “We’re now seeing most millennials, myself included, getting our style cues from social media.”
Another contribution social media has made is that older generations can now keep up with the trends, according to Hartman.
As for eyebrow fashion, Silva says that people are drifting away from the bold look and going back to a more natural look.
Metzer, meanwhile, reckons that as with every other fad, “the internet will [eventually] become so saturated with the same photos and same story over and over again, that they’ll stop clicking on anything remotely related, which will cause the trend to die.”
However, eyebrow trends on social media seem to operate by the same concept of energy: it can’t be created or destroyed – it can only be transformed.
“It was the wavy brow, and now it’s being followed by the braided brow,” said Hartman. “The other day I actually saw somebody on Instagram that drew their eyebrows on backwards.”
Metzger assures that there is no sure way of knowing what might come after this trend.
“Only Tim Burton’s terrifying mind could probably guess that, “said Metzger. “But we’ll definitely see at least one more eyebrow trend before the year is over – I’m positive of that.”
Alexandra Tirado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.