Our Pro Course graduate from July 2015, Lorna Ferguson, has written a very cool piece on the history of eyebrows and how they have changed throughout the years, so interesting!
"The eyebrow; a protective growth of hair above the eye socket, or a sculpting facial feature to be worshipped and admired?"
Perhaps that seems a tad extreme, but no one can deny that a shapely, well-groomed brow can enhance and complete the face, but why all of a sudden are we so obsessed with eyebrows, spending a fortune on growth products, grooming and makeup? In actual fact the importance of eyebrows is not a new fashion.
The ancient Egyptians painted on their eyebrows thick and heavy with carbon and kohl (I wonder if that's cheaper than the dipbrow pomade...), Ancient Roman women sported an au naturale uni brow (something we all can relate to between eyebrow waxes) and during the Heian period in Japan,
noblewomen removed their eyebrows completely, redrawing them higher up their foreheads. So we can see that the art of the eyebrow is definitely not a modern idea and that our ancestors actually put us to shame with their extreme looks and crafty products.
Eyebrows have been through thick and thin, quite literally, for the past century, but lets not forget that their shaping changes frequently as well. The straight and extended needle brows of the 20's were paired with bold lip's and dark eyes, drawing attention away from the brows and to the rest of the face. The rounded, ohsosurprised Greta Garbo brows of the 30's created a soft face shape, but they still weren't the focus, until we get to the 50's when thick, highly arched and expressive brows were the must have look for ladies, we can see this stunning change from icons such as Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
When we look at eyebrows today, we can see they have evolved a life of their own and have become a feature on the face rather than just a finishing
touch. HD Brows, instabrows, whatever you want to call them, are gloriously slick, shapely and symmetrical, however there is some debate as to whether these eyebrows are magical or monstrous. The trend is to create a fade of colour, starting soft and light at the front of the brow and tailing off into a dark, thin line at the end, these can look heavenly if done well or horrendous if not, but with the millions of images out there of these immaculately sculpted brows, this trend is becoming more and more popular, causing eyebrows to transform the face with one quick sweep of a pencil. Or gel. Or powder. Or all three, depending on how much time you have. However, are these eyebrows actually achievable for us mortals? Or do you have to be an Instagram wizard to obtain these mystical beings.
Well, quite frankly, a cheeky little picture editor can do wonders for the eyebrows and the rest of the look, so really anyone replicate the perfect pair, but it doesn't necessarily look good in person, it just photographs fantastically. It seems as though Instagram is creating this style of eyebrow that is actually out of reach, causing us to shame our own poor, innocent eyebrows for not being able to live up to the standard of the mighty #browsonfleek movement. Maybe we should give our brows a break and stop being so hard and heavy on them by appreciating their natural state (or as natural as we can bare...). I don't doubt we'll look back in 20 years time and stare at our eyebrow fades in horror, but what fun is a trend if you don't fully commit to it? The rule to remember, is eyebrows should compliment that painstakingly applied smokey eye, rather than distract from it.
It seems as though eyebrows of every style have been done, so I can't wait to see what circles back round as the next popular look, here's hoping for the unibrow!
Written by | Lorna Ferguson
Instagram | lornafergusonmua