Whether bushy, wide, thin, straight or arched – eyebrows are the latest thing. When shaped properly, they give expression to the face, shaping and framing it. Since the beginning of time, eyebrows have played an important role in the history and aesthetic of people. Across the centuries people, have changed their looks and styles and brows in particular have been at the centre of attention:
In Ancient Egypt both women and men completely shaved their eyebrows to draw them on later with dark, thick strokes. Even in ancient times, Greek fashionistas with bushy and dark brows were considered beautiful. Those wanting to be modern had a monobrow – this gave the face a certain intellectual charm. And in Japan during the Heian period (794–1185), noble women actually completely removed their brow hair and instead drew on artistic high arches. Then later on, in the Middle Ages, a different ideal of beauty prevailed: A pale complexion and high forehead, like the Mona Lisa, were a must have for the modern woman. For this, the hairline and eyebrows were completely shaved, as Queen Elizabeth I did. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the tendency again leaned towards a natural look.
A turning point in the rise of eyebrows was at the turn of the 20th century, when commercially produced cosmetic products came on the market, including those for eyebrows, among others.
A sad, dramatic look was en vogue during the silent film era: Silent film star Clara Bow was the epitome of beauty – she had painted on, straight brows.
The era of sad eyebrows lasted through the 30s: The cool look was easy with thinly plucked eyebrows. Actress and beauty icons, such as Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, completely shaved their brows and drew them on higher up than they originally were in a pronounced, thin arch.
The forties and the golden age of Hollywood brought with it a change back to more natural brows, they were a little bushier and angular resulting in a less severe look, like the actress Veronica Lake. It did not just make Humphrey Bogart faint..
This trend continued into the following decade: Eyebrows became wider, darker and heavily emphasised, like with Marylin Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Katharine Hepburn. Brows were perfectly plucked into a triangle to get an intensive, playful and lascivious look.
Brow pencils were increasingly used in the swinging sixties. Everything was swinging, even the eyebrows of Hollywood stars like Sophia Loren. Her brows were famous around the world and a work of art in itself as she shaved them completely and drew them with very dark, tight but meticulously shaped vertical stroke.
A revolution! Sparsely plucked brows made a comeback in the 70s with “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” star Audrey Hepburn in her mini skirt, pixie cut, eye liner and slim silhouette. Even cult model Twiggy and the famous Faye Dunaway emphasised their wide eyes with pronounced, curved eyebrows.
The untouched look once again found its way into society with the film “The Blue Lagoon” and the natural beauty of Brooke Shields. This naturalness drove women in the 80s set aside their tweezers – like Madonna: Yes to uncontrolled growth!
When playmate Pamela Anderson found fame in the TV series “Baywatch”, her style – including her very thin eyebrows – won over many fans and the natural, bushy brows of before predominantly became a thing of the past. This trend also included the ultra thin brows of beauty icon Gwen Stefani and German producer DJane Marusha.
And here we go again: Naturalness! Straight, not too precisely plucked brows were fully on trend around the turn of the millennium. Sarah Jessica Parker did it anyway, but even Britney Spears, a sex symbol of the 2000s with her curved eyebrows, showed us how us women should look.
And today with Cara, Lily and co: More is more!
It is ok to go thicker and denser: Brow it girl Cara Delevingne shows us how it is done. Her eyebrows are a statement: wide and dark in contrast to her blonde hair. They even like it dark and bushy at the English royal court: Duchess Kate finishes her look with strongly emphasised eyebrows.
And there is now help in the form of brow transplants and permanent make-up for those who cannot grow their hair naturally.