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Kiko colourful brows

Curl up and dye: the idiot’s guide to bleaching your own eyebrows

Bright, colourful eyebrows are the perfect way to make a playful statement with your beauty, here an expert tells you everything you need to know to achieve them

At London-based brand, Kiko Kostadinov, beauty is always bold. The models in the label’s SS20 menswear show walked the runway with Regency-era curls, while in AW19, the hair and make-up was inspired by 19th-century female bandits, with sooty faces and voluminous hair.

Last September, the label presented its SS22 collection. With womenswear designers Laura and Deanna Fanning feeling wistful for their summers spent by the sea as teenagers, the collection bore limpet shells, gaudy surfer vibes and sunset shades. This beachy misspent youth atmosphere was captured perfectly in the new campaign for the collection, which dropped yesterday.

Set on the shore of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nations, the campaign calls back to the crazy dye-jobs and bright colours that you experiment with as a teen. The beauty is a technicoloured rainbow complete with multi-hued raccoon tail hair and complementary bright eyebrows in pinks and oranges.

The perfect look as we approach the warmer summer months, these brows are playful, bold and the ultimate dopamine dressing finishing touch. However, we know that making the leap into bleaching your brows for the first time can be daunting. So we went to the source of the Kiko Kostadinov brows herself, make-up artist Colette Miller, to find out exactly how the experts do it.

“I personally love a bleach brow if you are going to experiment with eye make-up looks,” she says. “It will intensify the look and really make dark or colourful make-up stand out.” While the bold look has often been seen on the runway and in editorial, recently Miller says she’s been seeing it increasingly on people on the street. “I think people are more down to experiment with beauty now than ever before.”

If you’d rather just dip your toe into the trend first, no judgment, watch our tutorial on how to fake bleached brows with make-up here. Or Miller recommends Brow Engineer in the shade ‘Bleached’ from Sensorium Beauty, if you want to try the look before you commit. But for those of you feeling bold and ready – read on!

Step 1: Preparation

Miller says she always starts by making sure the brows are free from all products by cleaning with a make-up remover and water.

The skin around your eye area is more delicate than the rest of your face, so she will then carefully apply a barrier cream to the skin surrounding the brows to protect the more sensitive skin. You can also use conditioner for this.

Step 2: Mix up your bleach

This is where it gets a bit more technical. Miller has different strengths of developer and a blue bleach powder in her kit that she will mix up depending on the colour and thickness of the hair she is dying. The darker the hair, the higher the percentage of developer she uses.

Mix a ratio of half powder, half developer into a bowl and stir into a paste. “Make sure it’s not too runny and not too thick,” Miller says. “You should be able to pick it up on a mascara wand without it dripping everywhere and easily comb it through the hairs.” 

Before applying to the full brow, she recommends doing a patch test to make sure you aren’t going to react badly to the bleach. “If it’s burning, remove immediately,” she warns.

Step 3: Applying the bleach

Once everything is all mixed nicely, start applying a thick layer of the bleach using a mascara wand to comb it through your eyebrows, making sure all the hairs are covered completely. 

Following this, keep a close eye on how the colour is developing, constantly checking to see if the shade is where you want it to be. “Usually the hair closest to the skin will be the brightest, as the heat from your body speeds up the process,” explains Miller. “You can even put cling wrap over the brow to lock in the heat and ensure an even lift of colour.”

Depending on how dark the hair is to begin with, this process can take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. If your hair is very dark, it might need a second application of bleach. Miller recommends waiting a day to give your skin a break or applying the bleach just to the very tips of the hair with your mascara wand, avoiding the root of the strands.

When the colour has lifted and it’s looking bright and light, remove the bleach gently with cool water on cotton pads. This will help keep the skin from further irritation.

“If it's too yellow sometimes I will mix up a little more bleach, and give it a second lift,” says Miller. “You can also tone them using the same purple shampoo you use for blonde hair if you want them really white. That will get rid of any brassiness or yellow.”

Step 4: Add colour

Now that you are done bleaching your brows, you can move on to the fun part – colour! If you are ready to commit to one shade, you can use any regular hair dye. Bleach London has an entire range of shades for you to try.

If you want to play around with different colours, Miller says that on shoots she will create temporary effects using coloured eyeshadows or creams combed through the hairs. This produces a bright look that you can wash out more easily and switch up regularly.

Depending on how quickly your hair grows, the bleached look should last a good few weeks, Miller says. “Some people like the look of a ‘salt and pepper’ brow as it gives them a bit more dimension,” she says. “But the good thing about bleaching is you can always dye them back easily with brow dye if you get sick of them.”

Last advice

When you are using bleach yourself for the first time, remember to be careful. Miller recommends asking an expert if you are unsure about anything or having an experienced friend to help you. 

Once you have the process figured out and know the right amount of bleach strength and time for your hair, “it just becomes another part of your beauty regime.”