The Evolution of the Instagram Brow: Then & Now

By Emily M.| Last updated on February 13, 2023
Instagram Brow
⏱️ 4 min read

Eyebrows have become much more than a crucial part of our facial features: they are now regarded as a representation of beauty trends, personal style, and current fashion.

And with the growth of social media, eyebrows have become even more significant, particularly on apps like Instagram or TikTok. With millions of daily users, these apps have become a hotspot for beauty inspiration and a place where people can show off their looks.

But as the trends evolve so do the Instagram brows – they’ve come a long way since the beginning. Let’s take a look back at the evolution of Instagram brow from then to now.

What Is an Instagram Eyebrow Anyway?

The term Instagram eyebrow emerged around 2014 when the trend from thin brows started to shift towards thick, defined ones.

The original Instagram brow was all about bold, full, sharp arches. This look was popularized by celebrities and makeup artists who were teaching their followers how to achieve the look. And so, this style of brow quickly became the go-to look for Instagram.

And as Instagram itself grew, so did this trend. Let’s compare the beginnings of the Instagram brow to what it entails now.

what is an Instagram eyebrow
Image source: Instagram @huda

The Early Days of the Instagram Brow

In the early days of Instagram, brows were not as big of a deal as they are today. At the time, the focus was on bold, heavy makeup looks and heavily contoured faces, so brows had to be defined as well to balance out the look.

And thus, the Instagram brow was born, more as a consequence of makeup trends than a trend of its own.

This look was achieved by using eyebrow pencils and eyebrow gels to shape and define the brows.

Brows were often styled using an ombre effect, which involved filling in the brows with a darker color on the outer parts while the inner part of the brow was lighter, creating a gradient effect.

It was a brow that took quite a bit of effort to achieve, meaning people started searching for more practical ways to avoid spending so much time every day. Which lead them to eyebrow tattoos!

The Emergence of Eyebrow Tattoo

The problem of spending too much time on your brows was soon solved with microblading – the first version of a modern eyebrow tattoo.

Microblading is a cosmetic tattooing technique that creates the illusion of fuller brows by drawing on fake hairs. The popularity of this trend skyrocketed quickly, as it allowed people to achieve a more permanent look without having to constantly touch up their brows.

And soon other brow tattooing techniques started emerging. The one that resembles the original Instagram eyebrow the most is the ombre powder brow tattoo.

You can read more about the difference between powder brows and microblading here.

But what does an Instagram brow look like now?

Eyebrow tattoo Instagram Brows
Image source: Instagram @fancydreamsmadrid

The Instagram Brow Today

Well, fast forwarding to today, the infamous Instagram brow has evolved – a lot.

For a while, the focus was on making the most extravagant creative brows – which is what prompted trends like rainbow eyebrows, caterpillar brows, etc. These brows were wildly photogenic, but not very suitable for day-to-day wear.

The focus now is on enhancing the natural shape of the brows, rather than creating a bold, full look.

The Rise of Natural Brows

Creating a softer and more natural but still polished look is the biggest trend at the moment. But there are many different ways to achieve this look.

Brow lamination, for example, is one such method. This technique uses chemicals to get your brows to stay straight and neatly brushed upwards for several weeks. It can be bold and make your brows look thick, or just enhance the natural shape of the brows.

Or, you can enhance your natural brow shape with subtle, minimal nanoblading.

Brow Lamination - natural look
Image source: Instagram @lesgetbrowed

The TikTok Brow

In recent years there has been quite a shift as Instagram got a new competitor – TikTok. TikTok grew very quickly and started producing new trends which were then revealed on Instagram as well.

So it might be a controversial thing to say, but the new, contemporary Instagram brow is actually a TikTok brow.

TikTok eyebrows are a new way of sculpting and defining your eyebrows. A TikTok brow style seems to be focused more on the hairs within a brow arch rather than its shape.

But since TikTok users are constantly experimenting with new styles, products, and techniques, we can’t really single out one eyebrow trend as the dominant. It’s more about whatever seems to work for the TikTok beauty community at the moment.

So, the most prominent feature of TikTok brows is probably their diversity. They can be altered to fit various facial shapes and fashion preferences.

Or eliminated. Yes, you read that right. The bleached, camouflaged or straight-up shaved off no-brow has definitely had a moment in 2022, and seems to be going strong into 2023.

So, What’s The Future of Instagram Brow?

With the evolution of Instagram brows so far, it’s kind of hard to predict what the future might hold. However, it is likely that we will continue seeing new techniques and products emerge as the options continue to multiply at a rapid speed.

So the new Instagram brow, or should we say TikTok brow, is easy, fun, and versatile. Its multitude versions allow the expression of individuality and creativity, and complement the current fashion trends.

The most important thing is to embrace your individual beauty and discover the style that works best for you, whether you choose bold, thick brows or a natural, low-maintenance look.

Cover image source: Freepik



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