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What Are Eyebrow Slits?

By T. M. Robertson
Updated May 21, 2024
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Eyebrow slits are a way of cutting or shaping the eyebrows that’s usually seen as something of a fashion trend or statement. The main idea is to remove a small section or hair — or, alternatively, to paint over it with makeup — to give the appearance of a slit or open patch in the brow. Some people choose just one slit, whereas others go for a more striped look; slits can similarly be in one brow or both. They can be created in a number of different ways with varying patterns. In most cases the reasons people choose this look are entirely personal. It’s often seen as trendy or “in,” and can also help identify a person as a member of a specific group or team if all members choose to adopt the look. People sometimes also use slits to highlight eyebrow piercings. The look is usually immediately noticeable, and often takes a bit of work to maintain.

Basic Idea

Eyebrow shaping has been an important cosmetic element since ancient times. People — predominantly women but a sizeable number of men, too — often look to contour their eyebrows to change the overall look of the face. Bushy brows are often thinned, and the hair is frequently plucked or shaved to do things like improve arch height. In extreme cases people remove their eyebrows entirely only to paint them back on in a different place, with a different thickness, or in a different color. Slitting is a practice grouped with all of these. It basically involves removing a small chunk or strip of the brow, usually with a razor or tweezers but sometimes also using makeup to give the illusion that a strip of hair is missing. The result is a brow that looks either striped or broken.

The design possibilities are almost endless. Some choose to have a single slit in one eyebrow, while others create a multi-slitted pattern or design of different widths. Eyebrow slits are sometimes associated with gangs, and a few of these organized groups have had prominent members use particular eyebrow patterns. For most, however, it's nothing more than a fashion trend that's even been popularized by some celebrities.

Makeup Techniques

The easiest and least invasive way to achieve this look is with makeup. People usually start with a liquid foundation or concealer that closely matches the skin tone of their face. This should be loosely applied over the area to be slitted. Going around the edges of the brow with an eyebrow pencil but skipping over the slit can also make the disparity more noticeable. Setting the whole thing with a loose powder can help it last longer.

The advantage to this method is that it will wash out very easily, and can be a good way for someone to experiment with the look without having to actually commit to more permanent hair removal. This method tends to work best on individuals who have very thin or sparse eyebrows. For those who have thick eyebrows, it may be necessary to do some trimming and thinning out first in order for the look to be believable.

Plucking or Shaving Hairs

More permanent slits can be created using a razor to shave out the missing patches or, alternatively, using tweezers to pluck the hairs one by one. If using a razor, small contouring razors tend to work best because larger razors designed for the face or legs have the tendency of shaving too much off. To pluck out eyebrow slits with tweezers, hairs should be plucked out either individually or a few at a time until the desired effect is achieved. In general tweezers give more control, but this approach can be more painful and time consuming.

Maintenance

The eyebrows are usually a very prominent feature of the face, and as such it’s usually quite noticeable when they are overgrown or not maintained. Hairs in this region don’t typically grow very fast, but over time they will regenerate; people looking to keep clean slits usually have to do somewhat regular maintenance work to keep everything looking fresh. Eyebrow slits that are shaved will usually need to be redone every few days to maintain their appearance as the hair grows back. Tweezing often needs attention once a week or so, though a lot depends on the individual.

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Discussion Comments
By umbra21 — On May 23, 2014

@pastanaga - If they aren't plucking it's not permanent. If they are, they could end up losing their hair if they do it too often. There are still women around who end up drawing on their eyebrows because they plucked too much when they were younger.

I know people think trends will last forever while they are happening, but I'd be very vary about something that changes your look so radically.

By pastanaga — On May 22, 2014

@KoiwiGal - It's not really any more odd than someone plucking their eyebrows into what they think is a pleasing shape in some other way. At one point it was fashionable to essentially remove your entire eyebrow and everyone thought that was normal.

I do suspect that the eyebrow slit probably started as a way of mimicking eyebrow scars. But you can tell that they aren't trying to pretend to just naturally have an eyebrow slit. The stylized nature of this kind of grooming is fairly obvious, particularly when you see it on kids who have shaved lines all along their eyebrows.

As trends go, it's relatively harmless and non-permanent though.

By KoiwiGal — On May 21, 2014

I didn't even realize this was a trend. I have noticed people with eyebrow slits before, but I always thought it was a scar left from when someone had had an eyebrow ring or maybe just from hurting their head.

I didn't realize that people will actually shave or pluck parts of their eyebrows as some kind of fashion statement. That just seems odd to me.

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