The 90’s had a lot to answer for. Baby doll dresses, tartan mini skirts, butterfly clips, Tamagotchi's, Mr Blobby, B*Witched, Titanic… and micro thin eyebrows, plucked to within an inch of their life.
I’m never entirely sure what to say when you’re asked what decade you grew up in. I was born in 1980, so surely that means I was an 80’s child. But then I really can’t remember too much about my first 10 years of life - apart from long car journeys to Cornwall to stay in static caravans for our summer holidays; birthday parties with magicians; and a pair of rather natty Flintstones embossed jeans that were obviously the height of fashion (and I bet my mum will now tell me that I was actually rocking those when I was 14). The 90’s on the other hand are a lot clearer - I mean, I guess they should be as it was when most things changed for me (though the alcohol intake of the latter 90’s has probably clouded some memories – which is probably a good thing).
Starting secondary school, college, work and university - plus part time jobs, driving tests, boyfriends, holidays without my parents, holidays abroad without my parents (hello Club 18-30’s), moving out of home. It was all change.
All done to a soundtrack of Britpop, House, Garage and Swing (I swear this is what R&B was known as back then). I’m obviously neatly sidestepping my musical tastes from the early 90’s – I definitely bought “Jason” and his Technicolour Dreamcoat (on vinyl no less), along with monstrosities such as the Outhere Brothers, whose lyrics make me shudder now but I would have gleefully been singing along to when I was 12 (seriously - I’ve just googled the lyrics to “Boom Boom Boom” and I now have to go and disinfect my eyeballs).
But what about the eyebrows, I hear you cry? Well, like many other girls at the time, I went to town on mine - waxing, rather than tweezing (had to leave it in the hands of the professionals obviously) – to leave myself with thin slips of hair above my eyes, like a pair of emaciated furry caterpillars. Tiny eyebrows that, after years of abuse, finally crossed their arms and firmly decided that as punishment for this monthly deforestation, they would NEVER GROW BACK AGAIN. I’m placing the blame for this terrible trend squarely with Gwen Stefani (of No Doubt fame at the time) - and it’s only the fact that I’m pretty sure she’s the coolest person on the planet that I haven’t hunted her down with my tiny brows and demanded that for her punishment, she spends the rest of her music career singing variations of Steps songs but in the style of jazz fusion.
What am I saying……she’d probably make that stupidly cool as well.
(As a side point, she’s obviously found the fountain of eternal youth - or maybe she’s a robot. No one can continue to look that good, for that long… not even if you bathe in Oil of Ulay… sorry, Olay*… for 22 hours a day).
So, taking the opportunity of a global lockdown and the prospect of not having to see anyone (bar the other half), I put aside my usual eyebrow grooming routine (which is thankfully far less severe than 20 years ago) and decided to try to “rewild” the old brows. Having being suckered in by Insta-influencers, I even spent my hard earned money on the beauty equivalent of magic beans, and found myself slathering on lotions and ointments, which to be honest were probably just the tears of other 90’s girls who had fallen before me, desperately trying to become hairy again.
It didn’t work.
I looked like I’d had an unfortunate accident with a small child who was attempting to create a picture of a face out of really tiny pieces of macaroni – you know the sort of picture, where there’s PVA glue all over the place and all the key features are deformed. In this case, it was the eyebrows that suffered.
So I’ve given up and am just accepting my fate. I’ve bolstered the make up bag with a variety of eyebrow pencils and fillers, which, to be honest are giving me the desired effect without having to spend months on end coaxing regrowth that just doesn’t want to be coaxed. Though, to be honest, I haven’t researched eyebrow transplants yet. I’m assuming that’s a thing, and that they can take the eyebrow hairs growing from the places I don’t want them (because of course, they’ve sprung up like a forest in those spots) – and sow them like oats à la Wayne Rooney? (I mean his hair transplant obviously – I don’t want eyebrows like Wayne Rooney).
The irony of the situation is that like most things, the trend is apparently coming round again and I’m now being bombarded with images of current day super models and celebrities all jumping on the thin eyebrow trend. All whilst I’m still actually living it from the first time round. It’s even featured in Vogue this week – making it clear that this revival is not going to be a hairless horror story like the 90’s (of course not, Bella Hadid will look glorious with tiny brows and in twenty years time people will look back and talk about how fashion forward she was).
To make matters worse, this apparently is all wrapped up in what’s being called the “Y2K” aesthetic and alongside the “indie sleaze” revival, I’m apparently going to have to watch those born in the early 2000’s look better in the outfits that I wore out to infamous Essex indie clubs the Bullseye and Pink Toothbrush the first time round. I now realise how my parents felt when flares came back into fashion.
I guess as long as they don’t bring back Noel’s House Party from the 90’s – and Benefit keep making inventive eyebrow make up solutions - I’ll probably be able to manage.
*only those who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s will understand this kerfuffle