Heaven Help Us All: Rihanna Might Be Bringing Back Thin Eyebrows

This morning, British Vogue revealed the cover of its upcoming September issue starring Rihanna and a pair of alarmingly skinny eyebrows. The news sent our entire office into a tizzy, seeing as for the past five years or so, we’ve been dwelling firmly inside a comforting cocoon of full-browed revelry. Or should I say denial?

Given that just about every other trend from the 90s has made a comeback of late, I guess it’s no surprise that pencil-thin eyebrows would throw themselves into the ring, but that doesn’t make it any less panic-inducing. At the mere sight of the cover, our face fuzz collectively pricked to attention and compelled us take to Slack to discuss its implications. Read on for Team MR’s thoughts, pause mid-way for a small walk down 90’s brow memory lane, and then meet us in the comment section for a true confabulation.

Nora Taylor: Sorry for gasping so dramatically just now, but you guys. Rihanna has thin eyebrows.

Haley: Excuse me! Is this a new cover??!

Nora: It’s British Vogue’s September issue! And as Rihanna goes, so goes the nation….so do we have to prepare ourselves?

Haley: Omg. Amelia is gonna freak

Harling: Just when we thought our brows were safe. I feel like we just collectively time-traveled back to the 90s

Nora: Or the 20s

Haley: Lolll

Imani: I wish I was more surprised. I feel like this was bound to come back around

Haley: Wait wait wait this shot is very editorial and stylized for dramatic effect right? Maybe it’s just a LOOK. For shock value. Oh god, but that’s how Crocs came back

Imani: Exactly

Harling: Shock value needs to be deployed more carefully IMO

Haley: True!!!!

Nora: It’ll do that Devil Wears Prada trickle-down thing. Although whenever and however Beyoncé wants to shock me with that Vogue cover, I am ready

Haley: Are thin eyebrows genuinely unflattering or are we just not conditioned to like them? I feel like full brows frame the face in a way that’s timelessly good — like a good haircut. But then again Rihanna looks great

Imani: I feel like we’re conditioned not to like them since Glossier and other cult beauty brands have made the full brow such a thing

Harling: She looks amazing, but I feel like thin eyebrows are bad for reasons beyond flattering vs. unflattering — because once you pluck to that extent it’s hard to go back

Haley: True. It’s a hard trend to participate in temporarily

Harling: My real question is: Did Rihanna actually let the makeup artist pluck her brows for the shoot or is this some kind of CGI situation?

Haley: No way did she shave them off

Imani: I think it’s concealer

Harling: If Cara Delevingne made thick eyebrows trendy in 2013, Rihanna can def make thin eyebrows trendy in 2018


Haley: Harling you’re frightening me. Also: Does it feel kind of appropriative of “Chola style” beauty culture to anyone else?

Nora: Lil bit, and that is a full-face makeup look too

Imani: I agree. I’ve been follow this woman for a while, so Rihanna’s look does feel slightly referential?

I guess it really depends on how the look is executed

Haley: True. It’s also giving me slight FKA Twigs vibes

Nora: I think I’d go for Whoopie brows before super thin brows

Haley: Lol. We’ve brought everything else back from the 90s — maybe thin eyebrows are the last frontier?

Harling: But why does the return of thin eyebrows make people so stressed though, compared to other beauty trends that have come back? Is it because there’s a point of no return? It’s a COMMITMENT, right? So much maintenance

Nora: You can just take off a bucket hat, it’s so hard to grow your eyebrows back

Harling: And low-maintenance “no-makeup makeup” beauty has been the thing for so long,
it almost feels regressive to lose ground on that

Amelia: It’s stressing everyone out because we’ve spent the last decade saying: “I will never go back to my eighth grade yearbook look!!!!” And now we are fully disregarding that cautionary tale!!!!! People have literally had their eyebrows tattooed on to look fuller!

Haley: There she is.

Amelia: …Not everyone though. Who remembers when Evelyn Ngugi wrote that she can’t wait for eyebrows to stop being a thing? Also, this look is very 1920s.

Harling: Alternative theory: Rihanna’s thin eyebrows on this cover are merely a mechanism to display her eyelash extensions, which are truly a 10/10.


Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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