a century of eyebrows

A century of eyebrows

I experienced a particularly fierce eyebrow wax recently. I think that perhaps I’m feeling a bit alarmed by my new shaped brows because I have become used to tending to them myself, when all our lovely beauticians were closed. But it did leave me wondering how brows have changed over the last 100 years and if there’s any chance my new skinny things will soon be back en vogue!

1920’s Eyebrows

Gloria Swanson – Hollywood star of 20’s

The 1920s eyebrow trend certainly paid great tribute to silent, black and white films with their thin and rounded arches. These brows definitely made a statement and were in-style to copy actresses’ iconic saddened looks.

I remember my Grandma’s friend (she’d be over 100 years old if she were still alive) having pencilled on blue eyebrows. I never understood it until much later. Women saw Hollywood actresses with blue eyebrows and copied them. The actresses (and actors) had their faces painted very differently than the kind of make-up colours we know today, because the camera’s needed maximum contrast to make them look great. Read this by Max Factor to find out more.

1930’s Eyebrows

Lana Turner

In the 1930s, stars like Lana Turner ditched the sloped look of the previous decade for a rounded upward bend.

1940’s Eyebrows

Marlene Dietrich – early 40’s

Dietrich’s skinny set walked the line between the trends of the ’30s and ’40s, though her arch was less severe than those of the previous decade.

Billie Holiday

Women like Billie Holiday, whose red lip and floral hairpiece were her trademark, filled their brows in with a darker hue to play up the bend.

Joan Crawford

By contrast, Joan Crawford’s heavier brows became her trademark look later in the same decade.

1950’s Eyebrows

Marilyn Monroe

In the era of the bombshell, women in the ’50s followed Marilyn’s lead with bold red lips, lush lashes, and angled arches.

Elizabeth Taylor

If you’ve got ’em, flaunt ’em! Elizabeth Taylor played up her already-ample brows with a generous amount of matte shadow in the same decade.

1960’s Eyebrows

Audrey Hepburn

The Hepburn effect, sparked by the star’s thick, natural set, inspired the women of the ’60s to fill in their own with well-placed strokes of the brow pencil.

1970’s Eyebrows

Pam Grier

Pam Grier’s brows followed a more natural shape, but stayed in line with the thinner trend of the decade.

1980’s Eyebrows

Brooke Shields

Thanks to stars like Brooke Shields, who flawlessly worked a full set, the women of the ’80s got their grow on, with ample brows completing any good power-dressing ensemble.

1990’s Eyebrows

Kate Moss (& Johnny Depp)

In contrast to the overgrown look of the previous decade, the ’90s saw an abundance in pencil-thin brows, a la Kate Moss.

Y2K Eyebrows

Victoria Beckham

Instead of lining the beginning portion of the brow with the bridge of the nose, stars like Victoria Beckham had their arches start along the outer area of the nostril.

2010s Eyebrows

Cara Delevingne

The supermodel (and her ample arches) inspired us to step away from the tweezers and embrace a fuller brow shape.

Scouse Brows of this decade (2010’s)

What is a Scouse brow?

We’ve all seen them, the young girls with Sharpie style eyebrows drawn on, I’m not sure if paying zero attention to the colour of your hair is part of it?! If in doubt, go for the blackest black and don’t be shy about its application, the more the merrier. This hideous fashion is said to have come from celebrities being photographed leaving their eyebrow tinting appointment at their beautician’s, still with heavy brows (loads of tint), which they were going to wash off, but the paps got the pics pre-rinse and voila, a fashion trend.

So it would seem we have come in a full circle since the 1920’s and copying celebrities of the day, incorrectly as it turns out.

Future Brows

So if trends continue in this pattern, we’re all going to be reaching for the tweezers soon, which is only good news for mine, formerly lush, now sparse affairs. Oh dear, those of us with permanent tattoos -eek!

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