Thin ’90s Brows Are Trending—A Derm and a MUA Share If They’re Worth It

Thin ’90s Brows Are Trending—A Derm and a MUA Share If They’re Worth It

Jodie Turner-Smith with a soft glam makeup look and thin '90s eyebrows with gems

@jodiesmith / Instagram

In This Article

About the Trend Is It Worth It? How to Grow Brows Back Safely Pluck Your Brows Create Thin Brows with Makeup The Final Takeaway

If you lived through the ’90s, you’ll remember that one of the biggest beauty trends was thin eyebrows. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Drew Barrymore glided effortlessly down red carpets, flaunting what appeared to be “barely there brows,” and the trend took off so much that countless fans plucked their eyebrows down to next to nothing—then later went to extreme efforts to grow that hair back. Trends come and go, and while fuller, bushier eyebrows have dominated the scene for the past few years, the skinny eyebrow trend is back again with a vengeance. Whether you want to get the look without removing hair or are down to take some tweezers and a magnifying mirror to your brows, we’ve gotten advice from a dermatologist and a makeup artist on how to try the trend without regretting it later. Read on to learn whether thin ’90s brows are worth it and how to get the look.

Meet the Expert

  • Nazanin Saedi, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist based in Philadelphia, specializing in laser surgery and cosmetic dermatology.
  • Natalie Gee is a professional makeup artist and the co-founder of Gee Beauty.

What Is the Thin ’90s Eyebrow Trend?

The thin ’90s eyebrow trend is precisely what it sounds like, with an emphasis on thin. In the ’90s, minimalism and grunge aesthetics were dominating fashion, which in turn heavily influenced beauty trends like thin brows, dark lips, and frosted eyeshadow. Jennifer Aniston, Gwen Stefani, and Cindy Crawford all had thin eyebrows, among many other ’90s celebrities who pushed the trend to its highly coveted status.

Today, models like Bella Hadid have posted selfies highlighting thin brows, and you guessed it, the trend is back and spreading like wildfire. The full-circle moment is proof that trends come and go, and makeup artist Natalie Gee notes, "I always say that a trend is not created to last." Thus, deciding if thin eyebrows are even your ideal look is a good place to start before diving headfirst into a brow makeover.

Bella Hadid with a radiant makeup look and thin '90s eyebrows

Getty Images

Should I Pluck My Eyebrows Thin?

Deciding whether you’re committed to the thin ’90s eyebrow trend is key to knowing whether you should actually pluck your brows. “When you use tweezers to pull on and pluck out hair, you typically remove both the shaft and bulb of the hair,” explains board-certified dermatologist Nazanin Saedi, MD. “Once the hair is removed, you must wait for new hair to start its gross cycle and replace it. Eyebrow growth varies from person to person, but the typical growth cycle is three to four months.”

While it's fine to go for plucking if you know thin brows are the look you want, you run the risk of damaging the hair follicle, so there's no guarantee that you can grow your brows back to how they were before. "Over time, regular or improper waxing, tweezing, and plucking can damage the hair follicle," Saedi notes. "If the hair follicle is permanently damaged, it will prevent further hair from growing."

Regarding hair removal methods, Saedi doesn’t believe one is superior to another. “Tweezing, threading, and waxing are all common methods to keeping your eyebrows shapely and tidy,” she says. “I don’t think one method is superior to another; rather, it should fit an individual’s preference. However, waxing may more likely cause redness or breakouts for sensitive skin.” If waxing is your hair removal method, Saedi recommends not applying any retinoids to the area for seven days before treatment.

More Beauty

How to Grow Back Over-Tweezed Brows

So you’ve over-plucked and aren’t seeing any growth. Now what? “If you’ve over-plucked your brows, the best thing to do is to let the area rest and regenerate,” Saedi says. “I encourage patients on any hair growth journey to take good care of their skin [in the area], whether it be the scalp or the eyebrows, treating inflammation and keeping the skin healthy and hydrated. This will be helpful during your hair growth journey. You can also use medication and serums to help condition and promote healthy hair and lengthen the growth cycle.”

Regarding products that help regenerate hair growth, “for hair growth of the eyebrows or lashes, I prefer serums and formulations specifically designed for the delicate skin in these areas,” Saedi tells us. “My go-to products for eyebrows and lashes are the serums from Grande Cosmetics; I’ve used them and trust them since I experienced hair thinning and loss after my second pregnancy. I encourage anyone struggling with hair loss or on a hair regrowth journey to talk to their dermatologist for more customized advice.” For more brow growth serums to try, check out our roundup.

How to Safely Pluck Your Brows

If you're committed to removing your brow hair to achieve thin '90s eyebrows, Gee recommends approaching it cautiously with some simple tips:

  1. Go slow: “I am a huge fan of a natural brow shape; however, if you are interested in plucking your brows thinner, go very slowly and begin by removing a few hairs at a time towards the inner part of your eyebrows where the eyebrow tends to be a little more full,” she says. Quality tweezers are imperative, so invest in something like Tweezerman’s Ear-esistible Slant Tweezers ($24) for a precise tweeze.
  2. Consult your brow specialist: If you’re too timid to try this trend on your own, go to a trusted brow specialist who can guide you in the right direction for tools and techniques. This will ensure your brows are in good hands, and you won’t become overzealous when plucking.
  3. Switch between a magnifying and a regular mirror: This step is crucial because you want to ensure you’re getting the complete picture of your brows, as magnifying mirrors can tend to enhance hair that isn’t precisely noticeable to the naked eye, resulting in an over-plucking situation.

Shay Mitchell with red hair, fluffy sculptural black Christian Siriano dress, and thin '90s eyebrows

Emma Louise Swanson

How to Create Thin Brows with Makeup

You can achieve the look of thin brows with makeup, which might be the solution to seeing if you like it before tweezing your hair at the root. Gee laid out some simple tips on how to get thin brows without removing your hair:

  1. Brush your brows straight across: “Begin using a brow gel, and instead of brushing your brows up, brush them straight across to appear thinner,” she tells us. This makes sense, as most of us have been brushing our brows upward to make them appear more full.
  2. Shape with a precise pencil: Once you’ve brushed your brows straight across and they look as thin as they’re going to get, Gee recommends using a precise brow pencil for the next step. “For a thinner-looking brow, go in with the Gee Beauty Precision Brow Pencil ($28), which has a precise and delicate tip to allow you to draw your brows as straight as possible,” Gee says. “This will give you a look that feels intentional.” You can remove this and start again if you overdraw or make any mistakes. We’ve also rounded up a few brow pencils you can pick up on your next drugstore run.
  3. Practice with special FX products: If you need to create the look of thin brows for a costume or special event, you can use something like glue that’s safe for brow hairs and apply powder or concealer on top of it to hide the hairs that you’ve glued down.

Julia Fox with thin blonde '90s brows, a radiant makeup look, and oversized silver earrings

@juliafox / Instagram

The Final Takeaway

Whether you're wanting to completely change the look of your brows, or try something new without fully committing, you have a few options to try the thin '90s brow trend. It's important to evaluate whether you want to commit to thin brows fully by tweezing them or if you'd rather create the look with makeup to avoid the risk of them not growing back how you'd like. Whichever you choose (or even if you decide to keep rocking your natural brows), know that trends come and go, so the brow shape for you is more about what fits your face shape and aesthetic rather than what's most popular right now.

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