Eyebrow Shapes Throughout History and the Women Who Started Each Trend
October 25, 2017
Just like fashion, the ideal eyebrow changes all the time. Ancient China, ancient Egypt, and the Olmec civilization in Mexico each had their own eyebrow grooming and makeup routines, as well as their own perception on the perfect eyebrow shape. Ancient Egyptians used carbon and black oxide to form thick and black eyebrows to honor their god Horus. Some eyebrow styles dominated ancient China such as the Daimei, black brows, Emei, fine brows, and Guangmei, short and thick brows. The Olmecs painted humans with flamboyant eyebrows. This emulated a jaguar in which they believed is where their society descended from.
As proved by history, eyebrow shapes have been one of the most important beauty aspects for women. Their styles have evolved as much as hair removal products, especially during the past 100 years. The twentieth century has been particularly incredible thanks to the advent of film, mass advertising, computers, and social media. The modern world has shown us that eyebrow styles have followed trends set by the female icons of the time. While ancient civilizations were inspired by their culture to shape their eyebrows, nowadays women follow the style of the artists and actresses on movies, music, or TV. Since the 1920s, there have been a dozen different eyebrow styles. Here's a list of amazing women who have set some of these trends:
1920s–1940s — Clara Bow: When Silent Films Demanded Thin Eyebrows
After World War I, the success of silent films gave rise a new trend: pencil-thin eyebrows. While Charlie Chaplin's eyebrows were not particularly thin, the eyebrows of the actresses who appeared in his films were. In movies with no dialogue, facial expressions needed to stand out more, just like in theater. Flimsy arches above the eyes were believed to add more emotion to the face. American actress Clara Bow's thin, slightly curved eyebrows are the best example of this. Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo and American actress Jean Harlow were among the artists who continued this trend through the 1920s and 1930s. As the decades went by, brows remained thin, but their arches got higher.
1950s–1960s – Audrey Hepburn: Hollywood under New Eyebrows
The thick, flat-shaped, low-arch, short eyebrows of Audrey Hepburn marked the start of a new trend. During these two decades, makeup was available everywhere. Retouching was popularized to make brows look more lush and perfectly symmetrical. Hepburn was among the first to embrace her power brows. Other icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Marylin Monroe followed soon after.
1970s – Diana Ross: The Time for Disco and Thin Brows
The 1970s was the disco era, and memorable artists like Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and Pam Grier had thin eyebrows mainly because that was how they naturally were. In Diana Ross' case, however, it was just to make room for more disco makeup. The hippie movement during these years also encouraged girls to pluck their eyebrows very little or not at all and embrace their natural beauty.
1980s – Madonna: Wild Is the New Black
Everyone loved Madonna's wild, thick, and messy eyebrows during the 1980s. They promoted the idea of an unkempt and natural style unlike the thick but perfect brows of the 1950s. Brooke Shields also contributed to this trend, which rose to prominence alongside the women's empowerment and women's rights movements of the time.
1990s – Drew Barrymore: Back to Plucking
Grunge music, supermodels, and minimalistic fashion ideas brought an old friend back: pencil-thin lines. In the 1990s, every girl wanted to look like Drew Barrymore, the actress whose short haircut, slick dresses, neck chokers, and incredibly thin eyebrows made her an icon of the decade. Cameron Diaz and Pamela Anderson also were among the celebrities who plucked their brows.
Today – Cara Delevingne: How Instagram Changed Eyebrows
Social media has changed so many aspects of our lives—even our perception of beauty. Eyebrows have become a powerful part of selfies, according to a researcher at Cardiff University, who told the Guardian that Kim Kardashian and young model Cara Delevigne are great examples of this phenomenon. Both celebrities are known for their Instagram selfies and for having and defending dense eyebrows. The researcher at Cardiff University thinks that their thick eyebrows could have something to do with the millions of "likes" that their pictures get on social media. As a result, thick eyebrows are back. Essentially, this trend was brought back by Delevigne's power brows and her policy of leaving eyebrows as they are.
Whether thick or thin, natural or groomed, contoured or messy, all eyebrows need at least a little bit of grooming, especially if someone wants to shape them in a particular style. Appointments for brow makeovers have increased to the point where specialized spas offer 45-minute services that include tinting, threading, waxing, and countering. Perfect eyebrows sometimes require a lot of work! But it is nothing professional estheticians cannot accomplish. Having great skills as a waxing specialist, mastering the art of eyebrow grooming, and knowing the latest eyebrow trends will surely encourage new clients to rely on your services and expertise.
Nowadays, you can find several innovative and quick options to remove facial hair, yet waxing remains one of the most in-demand methods because of its benefits beyond hair removal—exfoliation, nourishing, and long-lasting results. Hard body waxes work best for facial hair removal because the wax only sticks to the hair, not the skin, which lessens the effects of the pull. Besides, hard body waxes do not require a muslin strip when applied. The esthetician just has to wait for it to harden and then pull it off gently. That is what makes shaping eyebrows with wax so much easier.
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