The Evolution of The Eyebrows

Bold and natural weren't always the norm, oh how they've grown!

Written by Audrey Sasai

Photo: Jenna Reeves; Styling: Valerie Attwood; Model: Grace Olsen

“Eyebrows on fleek” today is synonymous with the perfect brows of celebrities like Cara Delevingne. A bold, full shape with an impeccable arch is the look of the decade. However, the perfectly groomed eyebrows of the present are not the brow trends of the past. Eyebrows went on a long and ever-changing journey to reach the today’s bold, impeccable arch and fuller shape.

The Roaring Twenties were filled with needle-thin eyebrows sported by stars such as Clara Bow and Josephine Baker. Brows were severely plucked, then pencilled over in a thin, straight line with the tails extending past the eye and downward.

A decade later in the ‘30s, ultra thin was still in. However, stars like Greta Garbo and Billie Holiday opted for more rounded arches and curved brows.

The eyebrow trend of the 1940s was similar to the previous decade but with a softer curve in the shape. Nevertheless, women like Joan Crawford had fuller brows while Marlene Dietrich combined the styles of both decades, sporting thin brows with a less prominent curve.

The 1950s saw eyebrow trends taking a giant leap away from the previous years. Brows had a more pointed arch and a short tail. Marilyn Monroe wore her brows light while Elizabeth Taylor preferred a dark, bold look.

In the 1960s, “It” girls heavily influenced brow trends. Two major styles emerged from this era: Audrey Hepburn’s dark brows and Twiggy’s lighter arches. Hepburn had thick, straight brows that she filled in with dark pencil to create a bold look. On the other hand, Twiggy sported a well-groomed, lighter style with prominent arches that emphasized the strong eye makeup that was popular at the time.

Fast-forward to the 1970s, brow trends shifted dramatically again. Stars like Farrah Fawcett and Lauren Hutton popularized the fresh-faced look and brow trends followed suit. Eyebrows in the ‘70s were left natural-looking with minimal tweezing involved.

The eyebrow trend in the 1980s took the style from the previous decade and went further. Women allowed their brows to grow out to their natural shape. The look involved no grooming, with hairs growing below the arch. Stars like Brooke Shields and Madonna made this look fashionable.

In stark contrast with the previous years, thin brows were came back during the 1990s. Women followed the lead of celebrities like Kate Moss and Pamela Anderson, who showed off skinny, barely-there eyebrows that were the result of severe plucking.

In the 2000s, women were still recovering from their over-tweezing in the previous decade. Brows remained  were still thin but they were slowly growing grew towards a thicker, more natural look. Cameron Diaz and Victoria Beckham were among the celebrities of this era who were in eyebrow recovery mode.

Today, “full and natural” describe the perfect brow. The bold, strong brows of Cara Delevingne encourage women to minimize tweezing and embrace a fuller look. For those not blessed with thick brows, the countless brow products available on the market provide the necessary tools for anyone to let their inner Delevingne shine.