Eyebrows. We come by them naturally, but we never seem content to just leave them be. Through the years, we have waxed, dyed, tinted, tweezed, penciled, painted, and gelled them in countless ways, all to achieve that perfect arch. But this is hardly a modern phenomenon. In fact, women have been styling their brows for centuries. Here’s a look at brow trends throughout history.
Ancient Egyptian women preferred dark, arched eyebrows. They would darken their brows with powdered minerals to achieve the dark, strong look they desired. You can see evidence of this style on the bust of Queen Nefertiti, with her heavy, black eyebrows above her thickly penciled eyes.
Ancient Greece and Rome
You might be surprised to learn that ancient Greeks and Romans had an obsession with unibrows. Both cultures saw unibrows as an attractive feature in a woman, as well as a sign of intelligence. So women never tried to thin their brows, but would darken them slightly with black powder for a thicker look. And if they weren’t blessed with a natural unibrow, some women would try to create one with black paint.
Middle Ages of England
In the medieval period of England, the forehead was seen as the most important feature of a woman’s face. Women styled their hair to emphasize their foreheads, and they would often remove their eyelashes and eyebrows entirely to make their foreheads appear larger.
In this period, it was heavily frowned upon for women to wear makeup of any kind. Styling your brows or applying rouge was something that only “ladies of the night” would do. And so, most women left their eyebrows completely untamed, for a natural look that would show them as women of good breeding and high morals.
Silent film stars became the trend setters of the 1920s. Starlets wore their eyebrows in extremely thin, extremely straight lines, giving them a dramatic and thoughtful look. They would also apply Vaseline to style and add shine to their brows.
Though women of the 1930s still favored heavily tweezed eyebrows, the straight-brow trend gave way to high, rounded arches. The thin, curved brows of pinups like Jean Harlow led the way.
The ‘40s favored a more natural look than the previous two decades. Though women still tweezed their eyebrows to achieve a prominent arch, the era was dominated by heavier, well-groomed brows.
1950s and 1960s
Eyebrows of the ‘50s and ‘60s mirrored those of the ‘40s as far as shape is concerned, with thicker, more natural brows and defined arches. However, darker brows became the preferred look, and women began to pencil in their brows for a bolder look that made eyebrows the defining feature of the face.
In the ‘70s, brow trends divided slightly. While disco enthusiasts sported thinner brows with pronounced arches, hippies of the era favored thicker, more natural brows. Actresses like Lauren Hutton popularized the more natural look, however, so the majority of women in the ‘70s put their tweezers down altogether.
The natural looks popularized in the ‘70s continued into the ‘80s, with thick “caterpillar” brows dominating the scene. Women who didn’t naturally have thick brows would try to emulate the look with the aid of brow pencils and powders.
While we’d probably rather forget the eyebrows of the ‘90s, our school photos won’t allow it. Extremely thing, overly tweezed eyebrows were common, resulting in a great deal of women sporting a permanently shocked expression. Some women would even remove their eyebrows completely, replacing them with a tiny penciled arch instead. It was not a good time for eyebrows.
Thankfully, the eyebrow trends of the ‘90s didn’t last long, and since then, styles have favored a more natural look, with thicker brows and gentle arches. Of course, some styling is still in order to achieve that perfect brow. Our Brow Kit includes brushes and powders to help groom and tint your brows as needed. And if you desire a thicker brow, our incredibly innovative Fiber Brow product allows to add fullness and definition to your brows while keeping a totally natural look.
Whether you love your eyebrows as they are, love the look you achieve with careful brow grooming, or are still striving to groom your eyebrows to your liking, they are a prominent part of your look. So give them the attention they deserve, and make them a part of your beauty routine this year.