Picture this: It’s three in the morning on a weeknight. I’ve been tossing and turning for all of five hours, and I am no closer to falling asleep than when I first clambered into bed. Understandably, I’m feeling a little restless. Now, that wouldn’t be a huge issue for most, but if you know me at all, you’ll know that a bout of insomnia and me, awake, at 3am only spells out trouble… for me.
You see, the more I toss and turn, the stronger the urge to give myself a makeover gets. Unfortunately, cutting my bangs is out of the question—I’d already exhausted this option two weeks prior to this, and it was quite decidedly a mistake (surprise, surprise). I couldn’t bleach or dye my hair, either, as I had invested too much effort into growing it out. Besides, I’d only just gotten a perm a couple of months ago, and having my hair melt off wasn’t how I wanted to start my 2022.
Of course, a DIY cut and colour was never really on the cards for tonight. No, what I was actually about to do had already been decided for weeks. A premeditated act, if you will. I just needed the courage to strike. Well, here we are in the wee hours of the morning, all confidence and no critical thought. I am going to bleach my brows and no one is going to stop me.
I’ve never liked my eyebrows, and I have been itching to get rid of them ever since I had blocked them out for this self-shoot. In the months leading up to this moment, I had purchased bleach, shaped my brows, done a patch test (top tip: always, always do a patch test), and mentally prepped myself for an empty face. Frankly, I was more prepared than I had ever been.
So, there I was. Somewhere between lucid and delusional, mixing up a small pot of facial bleach. Then, some time later, there I remained—only this time, the mixture had been applied to my brow area and left to incubate under a film of plastic wrap. Twenty-five minutes on and my eyebrows were ginger. All in all, not quite what I was going for.
It took another week and another round of bleaching to get my brows to blonde, but when it finally got there, I was ecstatic. I loved it. I was obsessed with my officially brow-less face.
Et voila, the result:
Honestly, they are still a little too yellow for my liking (believe me—no amount of toner could kick the sunny hue), but given that my brow hairs looked and felt like they were going to snap off at any given moment, I was happy enough with the result to let it slide without another round of bleach.
So, to recap, here’s how I feel about the brows so far:
- I have never felt this hot or powerful with eyebrows
- I love the intensity that the bleached brows add to my look
- I love how versatile my makeup routine has become without brows
- It’s easy enough to convincingly fill in the brows when I have to (read: when my grandmother comes over for lunch and I don’t want to give her a shock)
- My eyebrow hairs feel, well, bleached—namely, dry and brittle
- I’ve only had them bleached for a week, and the roots are already visible
Given this plainly laid-out list, it seems like a no-brainer, right? If I like the bleached look so much, why am I never doing this again?
Put simply, this is why:
If you scroll through my gallery of unsettlingly close-up selfies, you may notice an unfortunate development happening around my eye area. No, that’s not red eyeshadow. Alas, it is a case of contact dermatitis. Yes, despite being diligent about patch-testing the bleach, I somehow still ended up with a pretty gnarly allergic reaction.
To be fair, according to my dermatologist, the bleach may not be the culprit. Given my occupation as BURO’s resident lab rat, it could be any one of the countless beauty products I use on a week-to-week basis. Plus, considering that the changes in my eyelids only kicked in around a week after my second bleaching session, it is a pretty delayed reaction.
That said, I can’t think of any other major changes I’ve made to my routine and so, to be on the safe side, I have elected to never bleach my brows again. It was, quite simply, not worth the dermatitis. Further, until my eyelids clear up, I have been forbidden from using any and all products (exempting my new derm-approved routine), which is a major inconvenience given my line of work. Alas, what’s done is done and I’m not about to risk a sequel.
Of course, this pro-brow decision comes at the glee of my mother and my partner, both of whom were adamant haters in my bleached brow endeavours (boo!). All in all, in the future, should I ever wish to ditch my brows again, I’ll be opting to block them out with makeup instead.
Moral of the story? Always do a patch test, kids. Oh, and get a good dermatologist.
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