Eyebrow Evolution: From Barely There To Thick And Proud

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably realized how cyclical the fashion industry is. Something that was wildly popular in the 1990s was downright repulsive by the 2000s. But now it’s 2016 and everyone is totally fixated with the 1990s. It’s strange, especially for people who grew up in the 1990s. But it’s not just clothing. Through the years, there have been many highs and lows for hairstyles, makeup trends, certain colors, and even brow shapes. Let’s take a trip down memory lane to examine the eyebrow trends of the past and the lengths women went to in order to obtain those appearances.


With her distinctive eyebrow shape in the 1920s, American actress Clara Bow started a big fashion craze. Those lines, if you can even call them eyebrows, are. She nearly completely removed her eyebrows before drawing in delicate lines from her eyes to her temples. A compelling decision, no? The lines also swooped down at the end, giving her a perpetually depressed appearance. In the 1920s, everyone thought that was wonderful, and many people wanted to replicate that look. Today, we would consider that to be crazy.


The extremely thin eyebrows were still very vogue during the 1930s. The trend-setters this time around, though, were Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. Greta’s eyebrows were also heavily plucked, making them appear very sparse, and a high arch was drawn in. Marlene Dietrich reportedly went above and beyond by shaving them off entirely rather than plucking them and drawing them above her brow line. I wonder whether she intended for it to appear that she was continuously astonished.


Finally, eyebrows were permitted to fill out a little in the 1940s. At the time, Lauren Bacall was very well-known, and her eyebrows played a role in that. Her distinctive v-shaped eyebrows were novel at the time. She earned the moniker “the look” because to this as well as her thick lids and lengthy lashes. Women always had alluring looks.


There were a terrific decade for brows. They were ultimately let to fully re-grow. In the 1950s, Audrey Hepburn was perhaps the main source of brow inspiration. The women lusted after her thick, bushy brows. Everyone wanted brows like Audrey’s. Over time, their shape altered a little bit; sometimes they were absolutely straight, other times they had a slight arch, but they were always thick.


The 1960s were an odd decade. Everyone appeared to have abruptly reversed course and returned to having sparse eyebrows. Women started filling up the narrow lines left by eyebrow plucking with pencil liners. Consider Mia Farrow and Mary Quant. Sophia Loren is renowned for shaving off her naturally thick brows and drawing in each individual hair with a small pencil stroke. It’s crazy how much work went into it, isn’t it?


The 1970s were a bit of an erratic decade. Women started going for a more natural look and ceased penciling in and sketching on their brows. Because of all the eyebrow plucking that took place in the 1960s, however, their brows still seemed to be exceedingly thin. So here’s a lesson for you: don’t expect your eyebrows to magically grow back if you overpluck them frequently for a long time. Time is required.


The 1980s were all about strong, bold eyebrows—figuratively speaking. They were further accentuated with pencils or filled in with black makeup after being allowed to grow in once more. Madonna’s brows appeared to be bigger and darker than before. Everyone was in awe of Brooke Shields’ thick, feathery brows. Brooke Shields was undoubtedly the 80s’ most well-known brow symbol.


And once more, we witness the extremely thin, almost perceptible brows of the 1990s. Everyone followed the trend that Kate Moss started. Pamela Anderson did the same, but Gwen Stefani upped the ante by adorning her brows with tiny stick-on jewels. Both brows and fashion in general went through some strange times in the 1990s.

present day

And now we’re back to having thick, healthy brows. I appreciate Cara Delevigne bringing that out. Recall how initially she was perceived as having large, almost grotesque brows? Now that we have seen her brows, we all hope we could grow out our own. While not everyone can achieve Cara’s thick and bushy brows, we sure would like to try.


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