I Tried The Viral Garden Brows Trend And It Didn’t Exactly Come Up Roses

by Alex Cavallo

Dramatic eyebrows are really in right now. The current beauty zeitgeist dictates that the bigger the brow, the better.

You can’t walk down a city street without getting slapped in the face by some fashionista’s full, luscious brows, streaming in the breeze like a show horse’s mane. I blame Cara Delevingne.

Ok, I might be exaggerating a little. The point is, the sudden abundance and popularity of #thicc brows has me really regretting the late ‘90s, an unfortunate era during which I plucked my own brows nearly to the brink of extinction. 

So I have to get creative. I turned to the beautifully lit and entirely mystifying world of Instagram’s “beauty influencers” (seriously, when did that become a job?

*shakes fist at sky*) for some inspo. And that’s when I encountered them. Garden brows.

A post shared by Taylor R (@taytay_xx) on

The brainchild (browchild!) of uber-popular Canadian IG influencer and beauty blogger Taylor R—the wispy blonde you can thank for the alarming and blessedly short-lived “nose hair extensions” trend—garden brows are the latest kooky eyebrow trend to take the internet by storm. (See: braided brows, brow crowns, and squiggle brows.)

I obviously had to try it. It is spring, after all. Luckily, Taylor had helpfully documented the whole procedure on her YouTube channel. There were only four steps. How hard could it be?

First, I Needed To Gather My Supplies

garden brow materials
Heeral Chhibber for LittleThings

Per Taylor R, all it would take to turn my eyebrows into some kind of next-level botanical garden were cosmetic wax (whatever that is), a grassy-colored pigment, some teeny tiny fake flowers, eyelash glue, eyelash glue remover, and, optionally, some equally teeny tiny butterfly stickers.

I set off to the nearest Ricky’s NYC ( a beauty one-stop shop, like Sephora, except you can also buy heart-shaped nipple pasties there) to get my materials.

The salesgirl was also stymied by the concept of cosmetic wax, so I ended up with a container of flesh-colored Ben Nye nose & scar wax. Apparently this is a product meant to “create simulated injuries such as a bullet hole or a broken nose.” Sure.

The eyelash glue and remover were easy enough to locate. As for the grassy pigment, Taylor R used a Jeffree Star liquid lipstick, but that shiz is $18! I opted for a bright liquid green eyeliner for the bargain price of a couple bucks.

I don’t know where one buys teeny tiny fake flowers, or even how to ask the internet where one buys teeny tiny fake flowers, so I popped into the florist around the corner from my office and bought a few stems of baby’s breath.

I also don’t know where one buys teeny tiny butterfly stickers. The children’s crafts aisle at Staples had a pack of different-sized, multi-color plastic jewel stickers, so that is what I got.

I was ready. Ish.

Getting My Garden Brow On

I brought all my supplies into the shared bathroom of my office building to begin my transformation, where it would be not at all awkward for a stranger to walk in and find me attempting to turn my eyebrows into some kind of replication of a set from Avatar.

The first step was to use the cosmetic wax (nose & scar wax) to separate the individual eyebrow hairs and swoop them upwards. To emulate grass, I guess. As mentioned, I do not have an abundance of eyebrows, so my “grass” ended up looking more like a lawn in sore need of an assist by some Scotts Turf Builder. In the city, you take whatever grass you can get, I guess.



garden brow trend

Next, I used my eyeliner to paint my grass a vivid green definitely not found in nature.

Two steps in and I looked less a horticultural vision than the Dr. Seuss Grinch. I was killing it.

The next part was tricky — and arguably the most important. I picked up a teeny tiny flower between my not so teeny tiny fingers (I believe the official medical term is “sausage fingers”) and dipped its teeny tiny stem into the teeny tiny vial of eyelash glue.

Then, I kind of just stuck it into my eyebrow “grass” so that it looked like it was growing out of my forehead. Or, at least I imagined that was how it was supposed to look. I planted as many flowers as I could in my forehead lawn until I looked an extra from a low-rent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

flower eyebrows
Courtesy of Author

It wasn’t hard work, per se, but it wasn’t exactly easy either. I assume the Taylor Rs of the world have delicate, nimble fingers designed to effortlessly transform their faces into ornate floral displays. That’s why they get paid the Instagram big bucks.

I liberally pasted the jeweled stickers all around my eyebrows, figuring that, at this point, more was more. (I believe that’s the closest you can get to the literal definition of “gilding the lily,” by the way.)

I was finished. I looked…kind of crazy. Of course, I wasn’t benefitting from the expert lighting and myriad filters that professional Instagram beauty bloggers/influencers like Taylor R and her ilk have at their disposal, but still. I couldn’t imagine this was how it was supposed to look.

Oh well. It was time to take my #nofilter #gardenbrows out for a walk.

Garden Brows, IRL

Garden Brows, IRL
Courtesy of Author

The garden brows looked even more ridiculous once I had my jacket and sunglasses on. Oh well, such is the beauty blogger/influencer life, right?

As I passed the receptionist of my office building on my way out the door she glanced at me and smiled politely. Then, she did a double take, gaping at me less politely, but not unkindly. “Oh wow!” Wow, indeed.

I laughed brightly, as if this was a totally normal Friday look for me, before waving and skipping into the elevator.

Courtesy of Author

Once outside, I immediately encountered side-eye. Lots of quintessentially New York City side-eye. The kind of side-eye that said, “I see you. I see what you’re doing. But I don’t like it and I refuse to acknowledge it.”

Others, in even more New York fashion, didn’t give me a second look. A 33-year-old woman with flowers growing out of her face is far from the weirdest thing they’ve seen in this city that afternoon alone.

I did get a few abrupt head swivels accompanied by nakedly alarmed looks. They were probably tourists.

Still, I didn’t feel like I was getting a true garden brow reaction from the public — not that I had any idea what that reaction should be.

Then I walked into a bodega to buy a bottle of water. (Being an Influencer is a thirsty business.)

Finally, Some Reactions

Finally, Some Reactions
Heeral Chhibber for LittleThings

I carried my bottle of water up to the counter and noticed that a kitchen worker had appeared at the far end of the counter and was covertly taking my picture with his cell phone.

Did he think I was a celebrity? A crazy person? Was he taking my photo for evidence to give the police in case I robbed the joint? I could see the Post‘s headline now “Blooming Bandit REAPS Havoc On Bodega: Puts the PETAL to the Metal And Flees.”

I smiled at him, hoping to put him at ease, and waved him over. He came out cautiously from behind the counter…and asked if we could take a selfie together.

I had made it. I was an Instagram Influencer. At least for one afternoon.

@taytay_xx / Heeral Chhibber for LittleThings