“Three cuts in your eyebrows tryin’ to wild out,” Jay Z once rapped, mocking people for adopting a style pioneered by Big Daddy Kane. Instead of gatekeeping the style like he intended to, Jay Z is now credited with initiating the resurgence of an entire beauty trend—currently at a whopping 101 million views on TikTok. Re-introducing eyebrow cuts, a 2021 runway trend whose roots can be traced back to hip hop culture and the black community.
Eyebrow cuts are thin, vertical slits typically made towards the tail of an eyebrow. Spin-offs of the trend include variations in terms of the number of slits, angle of tilt and the eyebrows chosen. Although there is no hard and fast rule about the width, number or style of cuts, single eyebrow cuts are considered to be the most basic style for starters.
With enough evidence to trace its origins back to the late 90s, eyebrow cuts are a trend influenced into popular culture by hip hop artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Bow Wow. Their creation is deeply embedded within the hip hop and black community and has witnessed continual peaks and dips in popularity. They are also considered as an offshoot of designs African-American men would shave onto their heads to simulate the appearance of a scar.
Over time, however, the trend has been looped into two major controversies. First, for its affiliation with gangs and general ‘badassery’. Perceived as the remnants of an injury from fights, eyebrow cuts are said to be pulled off by gangsters—who keep a count of the number of people they’ve murdered with the number of slits they make. These rumours have been so persistent that it has previously influenced schools to either ban or make students fill cuts with eyebrow pencils.
The second controversy surrounds cultural appropriation. A 2015 Buzzfeed article has been in the news for cherry-picking eyebrow cuts from hip hop and the African-American community into a fashion statement. The article featured Soulja Boy as the poster child of the trend instead of Big Daddy Kane. They also renamed ‘eyebrow cuts’ as ‘eyebrow slits’. A follow-up article by The Root later called out Buzzfeed for “columbusing”—the art of ‘discovering’ something that has existed forever. “Calling something that is older than Soulja Boy ‘slits’ is a microaggression and an attempt to rename a cultural legacy that is older than him and all of these newbies doing it,” The Root added.
On the other hand, critics argue how the terminology for the style shouldn’t matter—given that we are constantly interacting and borrowing from other cultures and traditions. As the trend currently washes over the 2021 runways, however, it is crucial to acknowledge how it originated from a subculture before it was recognised as a trend. Cultural significance should not be overlooked like they systematically are in this regard.
Let’s start by listing out the possibilities of eyebrow cuts. Although one or two cuts on one eyebrow is the most popular with zero risks, other options include one or two cuts on both eyebrows, cross cuts (two crossed lines resembling an ‘X’) and front cuts (slits towards the front of your eyebrows instead of the tail). Sometimes, the eyebrow cut is also extended into the hairline with the same tilt to give off an elevated look. Bejewelled cuts are yet another spin-off of the trend. All of these variations mentioned can be further personalised depending on the width and size of the gap made.
So, if you are ready to channel your inner Jason Momoa—although the actor got his eyebrow cut from an actual bar fight—here’s how you can jump on the trend (minus the 140 stitches to the face that it took Momoa).
First up, brush out your eyebrows to make them nice and even. Then grab a white liner and decide on the width and size you want your cut to be. If you are planning on double slits, then make sure to space them out evenly before committing to the trend. This is also the step where you decide on the angle of tilt you want to go for—be it a perfect 90 or a 60 degree.
Once you’re done outlining your desired shape, it’s time to fool-proof the process a bit. Using scotch tape, place the sticky side onto the lines you’ve drawn in step 1. The straight edges of the tape would essentially help as a guide to ensure you don’t end up with a bald patch during the process. Make sure to use scotch and not duct tape—remember, we’re shaving today, not waxing.
There are various tools you can use to nail the look. But these choices depend upon the stability of your hand. If you’re confident enough, you can go ahead and grab one of your bulky electric trimmers. But if you harbour self-doubt like me, I recommend a manual eyebrow shaver. Those sleek ones that safely take off less than you always intend to.
It’s time to get cracking. Grabbing your weapon of choice, start by shaving the patch between the lines you’ve highlighted with the scotch tape in step 2. Make sure to hold the razor vertically and move sideways carefully. Increased pressure, in this case, would not only displace the tape and make you shave off more than necessary but also guarantee you some nasty razor burns. Slow and steady wins the trend.
Once you’ve shaved most of the hair out of the way, peel off the tape carefully and grab some tweezers to pull out the leftovers. This step would guarantee a smooth, clean and sharp cut without having to define it with makeup later on.
Let’s address some of the most common questions that come along with the trend. Do eyebrow cuts grow out? If so, how long does it take? According to How To Discuss, eyebrows have the same growth pattern as the hair present all over the body. Similar to beards and mustaches growing out after shaving, eyebrow cuts generally take two to six weeks to grow back fully. This time frame can be looked at from two different angles. If you’ve nailed the look after shaving, this means that the cut would be low-maintenance. Otherwise, well…you can always fill them in until they grow back.
However, if you merely want to try out the look first, makeup can do wonders. All you need is a concealer and a flat brush. After prepping your eyebrows like you generally would with liners, grab a spoolie and brush out the area you want to create the artificial cut. Using your flat brush, apply some concealer in a vertical line as desired. Make sure to cover the patch completely and blend it out. According to TikTok, this hack passes off as a real eyebrow cut unless someone decides to breach COVID-19 protocols and examine it up close.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve always wanted to jump on the bandwagon, grab that clipper or concealer and get to work. But make sure to tread with caution (or rather thread with caution) either way.
The Korean beauty patrons are at it again. Ever since the global adaptation of Beauty Balm (BB) cream in 2011, K-beauty (shorthand for ‘Korean beauty’) has been gripping makeup pouches across the world with innovative products and unconventional techniques. Following TikTok’s obsession with Jamsu and slugging is an eye makeup technique—guaranteed to march you into battle without looking like a raccoon caught in headlights.
Puppy eyeliner is a makeup technique that accentuates the natural roundness of your eyes—making them look bigger, rounder and irresistible like that of a puppy. Labelled as the “simpler and cleaner take on eyeliners,” the technique essentially helps the wearer pull together a youthful appearance.
In stark contrast to the popular cat eyes, puppy liners involve changing the direction of your flick altogether. Instead of directing the eyeliner upwards, the look requires wearers to drag their liners down and around the lower halves of their eyes. Channeling an innocent look rather than a sultry one achieved with cat eyes, puppy eyeliner is especially recommended for those who have upper eyelids that naturally slope downwards. In this regard, going with—rather than against—their natural shape makes their eyes appear larger and rounder.
Adorable, right? So what are you waiting for? Whip your weapons out and charge into battle because I’ve concocted a step-by-step tutorial just for you on how to nail the technique:
The makeup products needed for the technique depends on the complexity of the look you want to commit yourself to. If you want to stick to a simple and minimalistic look, whip out your pencil and liquid liner besties and get to work. If you want to give your eyes more dimension, then grab matching eyeshadows and brushes before charging ahead. And if you are a newbie to eyeliners altogether, I suggest grabbing a Q-tip and some makeup remover. Mistakes might be made but lessons will be learnt.
This step is for those who have eyeshadows in their makeup basket for today’s look. Start by prepping your crease with an eye primer. This would give you a clean base to start with. Now add warmth and dimension to your eyes with a neutral shade. Make sure to chase it up with a darker tone towards the lower end of your lash line. Blend it out and brace yourself for more action.
This is the stop where all of you minimalistic beauties jump on. Grab your pencil liners and start by lining your upper lash line from the inner corner all the way down to the outer corner of your eyelid. Make sure to stick as close to your waterline as possible. This would help keep the liner precise and consistent while ensuring a smooth glide to your final destination.
Now, you can always proceed to the next step without double-defining your lash line with a liquid liner. You can alternatively choose to line with a liquid one instead of a pencil in the previous step too. But double-defining your lash line will essentially give it more dimension—especially if you’ve opted out for the eyeshadow. Simply grab your liquid liner and retrace your way down to the outer corner of your eyelid and proceed.
It’s time to give the outer corner of your eyelids some due love and attention. Start by thickening the end of the line you’ve drawn towards the bottom of your eyes. Recall the countless years you’ve spent perfecting the outer wings of your cat eyes. Now channel a quarter of the same energy into winging it the opposite direction. Thicken and exaggerate the bottom line to create a point sharp enough to cut out the haters from your life. Then proceed to fill in the gaps with your liquid liner.
Now that the outer end of the line is prepped, let’s give it some support by connecting it to the lower lash line. Using the pencil liner, line the outer half of your lower lash line and draw it out to connect with the top. Make sure to keep the inner half of the lower lash line bare. This helps shed the limelight on the outer corners of your eyelid—they’re the main character in this story, remember? You can additionally take an eyeshadow brush and smoke out the lower line to achieve a soft and even finish.
Step 6 can easily mark the end of this process but it is also necessary to add finishing touches to pull the whole look together. I’m talking waterline, shimmer and mascara. After the puppy liner is in place, you can upgrade your look by waterlining the outer half of your lower lash line. Use the wildest colours to curate different looks depending on the occasion. You can also add shimmer to the inner corners of your eyes to make them pop. And, mascara? Coat your lashes like your life depends on them before heading out.
Now, if you’re done with both sides then open your third eye and listen: Cat eyes strolled so that puppy eyeliners could sprint. With 3.9 million views on TikTok, the platform’s obsession with the technique is apparent. So if you need more advice, head right over. I’ll be here perfecting the puppy liner to be its poster child.