On Tuesday, British Vogue debuted its September 2018 cover, featuring a flower-crowned Rihanna sporting some seriously skinny eyebrows that would give Greta Garbo a run for her money.
But before you get excited and grab the tweezers, we urge you: Step away!
First of all, Rihanna’s brows on the cover are a result of some makeup magic. Makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, who used Fenty Beauty (naturally) on the singer’s face for the photo shoot, confirmed as much to HuffPost via email. When asked if she achieved the eyebrow look by covering and then drawing over them, Ffrench simply replied, “Yep!”
Drag queens have been employing this technique for years:
If you want to try the ultra-editorial look for yourself, covering your natural brows offers way less risk than your tweezer-happy hands. And while plucking your eyebrows isn’t a bad thing, overdoing it (whether with tweezers, wax or threading) may result in some unwanted consequences.
“Tweezing eyebrows repeatedly can lead to destruction of the follicle,” Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York City, told HuffPost back in 2012.
And if the hair follicle is dead, “nothing is going to grow,” Dr. Audrey Kunin, a Kansas City-based dermatologist, once told The New York Times.
If you do overpluck, there are still a few things you can do to bring your brows back to life. The most important thing is to be patient. According to The Cut, brows typically grow in a three- to four-month cycle, which means there will almost definitely be an awkward grow-out phase. You could also try using a brow serum or castor oil, which is said to be an effective way to encourage hair growth.
All this is to say, unless you plan on sporting the pencil-thin eyebrow look for plenty of years to come, it’s best to proceed with caution when it comes to ripping out your eyebrow hairs.