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Ah, eyebrows. A privilege to some, and a burden to others. Also, one of the most subtly trend-ridden features. You may not explicitly be told of the different trends, but eyebrow undergo them every year, the new styles worn by celebrities, MUA’s and especially, social media influencers. 

Now, not all brows are the same. Some are bushy but not dense, some are dense but fine, and others are naturally thin or thick. I was blessed with dark, dense, and full brows. They used to be pretty wide in height, and over the years, I have had them reduced in rows. 

I started plucking my brows before my sophomore year of high school. I made them thinner and arched, and to my mother’s surprise, my inexperienced hand had somehow made both of them even, and the thinned arches suited my face shape more than the thick straight brows I had before. I was lucky! And for a while, my brows kept growing back fully. The rows that had been undone by my tweezers filled in like clockwork, so I could experiment with different brows to suit the trends, and my maturity.

I had the “Instagram brows” which were basically super shaped, thick brows. I had more natural brows with a bit of bushiness. I even experimented with my tail size. 

However, sometime in between all the fun I was having, I accidentally over-plucked one brow, and did not do the same to the other by accident. I thought I still had the miraculous skills from before, to be able to tell when my brows were even. However, to the shock of my mother, she noticed that one was too arched, while the other was not at all. I noticed that the arch itself came out odd: the main part of the brow was thick, while the tail was super thin. No worries, I thought, I will wait until it grows out then shape them after that. 

Except, it did not grow back. I waited and waited, and grew self-conscious and nervous. I did not like my brows to be so obviously uneven, so I took the risk and made the other brow thin to match. Over time, I noticed that that one would fill itself in, but the one I had originally over-plucked would not… at all.

I would fill in with pencil, cream eye shadow, plain eye shadow, anything with an ashy brown pigment. The problem with filling in brows, for me, was that a darker, more filled-in color of brows did not go well with my skin tone, and I did not want to get something as invasive (personal opinion) as microblading. Because of my self-consciousness and anxiety, I resorted to just keep on plucking the other brow to match.  

This went on for years, until about a month ago, when I saw a picture of myself, where, at the distance the picture was taken, my eyebrows looked so thin to the point of being invisible. This was an absolute shock for me, as in the mirror, I always thought that there was some significant thickness to the brows, despite the arch. 

I did not like that at all. The thinness and severe arch, so many years later, did not suit me anymore. I had been frustrated over my little eyebrow bald spot for years, and this was the last straw.

I was going to grow it out, no matter how long it took.

For me, having groomed facial hair and nails was central to my self-image, and more importantly, my confidence. So this process (yes, I am still growing my brows out, waiting for it to fill itself in) has been difficult for me. 

It has been a growing process (haha) for myself. A few months ago, if I had not visited my local threading artist every two weeks on the dot, I would refuse to step out of the house. I would feel unkempt and dirty and would think that everyone could notice each hair that was out of place.

However, I have become super comfortable with really bushy brows. Not only do I have neutral feelings about it, the fullness and naturalness actually give me confidence. It is a look I genuinely love. Even if I do end up reshaping my brows and plucking stray hairs after I grow the bald spot out, that does not mean I lose the self-growth. It has manifested itself in other ways. I am now totally fine with short, unpainted nails, hair on my arms and even shoes that make my feet look really big: another insecurity of mine is my size 11 women’s feet. 

I am really, really proud of myself. Walking around with bushy, uneven brows and not feeling like hiding every second is so relieving and empowering.

Annie Oaks

George Mason University '22

A legal studies major with a knack for writing and fashion.
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