"Don't Try This at Home," and Other Things You Should Know About Bleaching Your Brows

Over the last few weeks, we've seen a handful of celebrities break out the bleach to give their eyebrows a barely-there look. Earlier this month, Kim Kardashian was seen on her Instagram Story documenting the process of temporarily lightening her brows for a project she was working on, and nearly two weeks later, Game of Thrones alum Maisie Williams showed up to the 2021 BRIT Awards with hers bleached as well. It might be a little too early to call it a trend, but in the event that brow bleaching becomes one of the cool to-do activities this summer, it might be helpful to have a guide on hand of how it works.

We'll start by saying that bleaching your eyebrows is a whole lot different than bleaching your hair, and there are a few things you should know about the process beforehand — especially if you're thinking about doing it at home. Ahead, we spoke to two hairstylists about bleaching your brows and found out what to do (or what not to do) in the process.

What Happens to Your Hair When You Bleach Your Brows?

"You're basically lifting all the natural pigment from your hair," hairstylist Cory Aaron Scott told POPSUGAR. He added if you want to bleach your brows, he doesn't recommend doing it at home, as "there are so many dangerous things that can happen if not done by a licensed professional." (More on that in a moment.)

Why Would Someone Bleach Their Brows?

Much like there are a handful of reasons why someone would bleach or color their hair, there are also a handful of reasons why a person would bleach their brows. Usually, this happens when a person wants to lighten their brow color to match an equally lighter hair color.

"Some people who wear a hair color that is significantly lighter than their natural color like to lighten their brows slightly to help make the lighter hair color match their brows better, which creates a more natural appearance," hairstylist Jeremy Tardo said. "Others who bleach their eyebrows fully lighten them all the way to a super-light or white color, which creates a more intense look that is typically created for fashion purposes."

Scott agreed, adding that he's also worked on fashion and movie sets to bleach and color eyebrows for shoots and films.

How Long Does Eyebrow Bleaching Take?

This, of course, is dependent on how naturally dark your brows already are. "The darker your natural brows are, the more pigment you will need to remove from them in order to achieve a very light color," Tardo said. "Thus, the darker your natural brow color is, the longer your processing time is when bleaching your eyebrows."

Generally, though, it should take between 10-15 minutes.

How Can You Prepare to Bleach Your Brows?

You've probably had a stylist tell you not to wash your hair before bleaching or coloring it since oil or product buildup can work as a shield to protect against potential damage to your scalp and skin — the same logic can apply to brow bleaching.

"To prep your brows for bleaching, be sure to remove any makeup from them," Tardo said. "Clean your skin of makeup or products but don't scrub it. If the skin is stimulated by scrubbing, it will create more sensitivity when bleaching your brows. Add Vaseline or a similar skin barrier lotion to the skin around your brows to protect your skin."

What Can Go Wrong When Bleaching Your Brows?

For starters, bleaching your eyebrows is not something stylists recommend doing on your own at home since, according to Scott, you can run the risk of over-processing the hair and cause it to fall out.

"Brow hair has a different texture, thickness, and growth pattern than the rest of your hair on your body and should be treated as such," he said.

Because this is bleach we're talking about, it's also possible for the chemicals to cause a reaction on your skin, depending on how sensitive your skin is. Per Tardo's instructions, if you know that you have sensitive skin, brow bleaching or lightening might not be for you.