When some people say they can't leave the house without having their eyebrows done, they really mean it. Eyebrows have become one of the biggest beauty obsession that people are more than willing to spend a lot of money to keep their brows "on fleek". Filling your brows with an eyebrow pencil or gel is a decent first step, but semi permanent or permanent treatments like eyebrow tattoos, threading, and microblading are increasingly popular. Now, say hello to the eyebrow wig.
Yup, that's a thing.
Stick-on eyebrow wigs have been popular among for cancer patients and people with alopecia and trichotillomania for a long time. But it's become a mainstream trend many makeup artists and beauty bloggers have had mixed reviews about. They're cheap, but stiff. You apply them the same way you apply fake eyelashes—you need to trim them to fit the natural shape of your eyebrows and then glue them on. It's a bit like sticking a pom-pom to your face, said YouTube beauty vlogger Natalie Alzate in her video.
If even beauty experts are not buying this new trend, then who will? I got in touch with a friend who's obsessed with her eyebrows. To Karisa Rahmaputri, maintaining her eyebrows is very important since they affect her whole face—and I agree. I mean, have you tried imagining what you would look like without them? Threading, waxing, and brow transplants are all part of her routine. She told me that she spent Rp 3.5 million ($258.36 USD) in 2011 for a brow transplant because she had naturally thin eyebrows. Now, she pays around Rp 200,000 ($14.76 USD) for every threading or waxing session.
"It's not an addiction, but it's a matter of feeling comfortable," Karisa said. "Some people are unhappy with their brow transplant and so they moved on to microblading."
I asked Karisa if she would ever try eyebrow wigs. "Some people will do what it takes to get better looking eyebrows," she said. "So far I've felt satisfied with mine, and I'm afraid of doing too much and making them look weird."
The brow beauty industry is a big one. In the US alone, eyebrow products are leading sales growth within the makeup industry. In 2014, the eyebrow market is worth $122 million USD. In the UK, the industry is on the rise considering that it made £20 million ($26.3 million USD) in 2016, which is a 300 percent increase from 2011.
Social media has definitely helped keep the worldwide brow obsession going. On YouTube alone, there are up to 3 million videos with the keyword “eyebrows.” And that’s only in English. Meanwhile on Instagram, there are up to 9.9 million posts with the hashtag #eyebrow. That doesn’t include posts with the hashtags #eyebrowtutorial, #eyebrowthreading, and #eyebrowclass.
Honestly, I don't know how to feel about this whole eyebrow business. On one hand, I feel like it's imposing unattainable beauty standards for women. On the other hand, just like any product or service, eyebrow makeup and treatments make people feel good about themselves. Sometimes it’s nice to just try on makeup at 3 a.m. only to remove everything and go back to sleep. Sometimes it’s nice to not wear any makeup at all. Whatever it is, sometimes joy can't be explained and perhaps it’s better if we don’t put so many rules on it.
I won't be surprised if people forget about eyebrow wigs by the end of the year. But I wonder, how far are we going to take this eyebrow obsession?