Beautiful Stripes: Eyebrow trends, microblading and faux news

  • Living
  • Monday, 02 Apr 2018

A Time article reported that brow colour fades with age so darkening them may make people look younger.

For the longest time, I had eyed eyebrow tattoos with suspicion, especially since I was privy to some examples of work gone awry on some friends.

To me, it seemed that God had created eyebrows for fun as they didn’t seem to have any function. I’ve since learnt that they prevent sweat, water and other debris from falling directly into the eyes. What’s probably more important, is how they indicate feelings though our facial expressions.

As a child, I thought it weird that an elderly aunt of mine had no brows, having plucked everything and redrawn a thin curved line in its place in the name of beauty then. It was probably a huge relief to her when eyebrow tattooing became fashionable.

Now, they say a person’s eyebrows can reveal personality traits, and even alter your fortune. What’s more, in a study published in Frontiers In Psychology, researchers surmised that people perceive faces with more contrast – especially lips and brows – as younger.

In the Time article, it reported the study as having discovered the biggest surprise of all – the power of the brow. “For women of all ethnicity, brow colour faded with age so darkening them may really make people look younger.”

That did it! In a bid to hang on to my youth, I did some research and decided on microblading, also a form of eyebrow tattooing, but a technique with more natural-looking results.

Unlike more conventional methods, there’s no bloody aftermath, no pain and the pigmentation and scab doesn’t cake up into an ugly caterpillar, which screams to the world that you just had a brow job.

What was even more remarkable was how my son, in a conversation over Facetime (he’s studying abroad), immediately noticed that I had done something different.

“Did you do microblading?” he questioned, and I reeled back in shock that he was so sharp and on point. When I asked how he knew, he said, “YouTube.”

Kids, these days, are too smart for their own good. (In contrast, my other half went about his business blithely and never noticed until the boys mentioned it.)

Anyway, post-brow job, I’ve begun taking more notice of other people’s brows and how they really do maketh a wo(man).

One brand that built an entire niche market and is today regarded the must-have name for brow products is Benefit Cosmetics. In January, it upped its game by launching a virtual brow try-on experience, created in partnership with Modiface.

The VR Experience guides customers through 15 choices of popular brow styles with customisable shapes and shades, giving users a chance to transform their look in Live 3D and choose what they like best.

A model sports a unibrow at Gucci's Fall/Winter 2018/2019 collection fashion show in Milan, in February. Photo: AFP

Model Sophia Hadjipanteli started the #UnibrowMovement in efforts to take a stand against beauty standards and “normalise something that society pressures us to hide or fix”, reported

The beautiful Greek Cypriot model has eyebrows which you can’t ignore or unsee as they practically unite at the centre of her forehead. Then, at the recent Gucci Fall 2018 runway show, models had the unibrow.

Deepika Padukone – one of India’s highest paid actresses – also sported the unibrow in her role as the legendary Queen Rani Padmavati, who had made the feature her signature look centuries ago (

One bizarre trend which probably won’t be taking off is the halo brow, the brainchild of beauty blogger Hannah Lyne, 16.

“I was having a conversation with a friend trying to come up with a new idea for a look, and all of a sudden it came to me that I should connect my brow tails,” she said on PopSugar. I only have one word for this – scary!

No doubt our brows and eyes often unwittingly give away our innermost thoughts. This was illustrated by Chinese journalist Liang XiangYi whose now infamous eye roll inspired thousands of memes the world over.

Almost overnight, her name became the most censored in China with unconfirmed reports of her official press credentials being revoked as well. We might not be trailing far behind as our government seeks to suppress all news deemed fake.

Question is, where do we draw the line? If a product fails to deliver its promise or makes unsubstantiated claims, does that qualify as fake news too, or false advertising? If someone publishes an unconfirmed accusation of another person, wouldn’t that fall under slander or defamation, rather than “fake news”?

The term fake news is bandied about too loosely and the definition too arbitrary – one day it will come back to bite us when we least expect it. Perhaps we should be more afraid of fake people.

Beyond the beauty industry, surely we should refuse to be browbeaten into accepting anything that curbs our freedom of speech and desire to learn the truth. Otherwise the day might come when all we have left are fake expressions on our weary faces.

There’s one kind of brows which Patsy Kam can’t resist – brow-sing through shops. Share your thoughts with

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