Eyebrow evolution – The history of making a statement with the eyebrows

The eyebrows have been independent fashion statements for thousands of years. Here is a look at eyebrows through the ages, with input on current trends from the international Kryolan Pro make-up team.

Why brows?

Marlene Dietrich barely had any. Frida Kahlo had one big one, and today, Cara Delevigne is known for making a statement with hers. Eyebrows frame the windows to the soul. They can be iconic, understated, allowed to grow freely or plucked into obscurity. But ultimately, they draw attention to the eyes and can be the most important touch of natural make-up on the face.

There is far more to the brows than performing their simple, intended function, which is to prevent sweat and debris from falling into the eye. We smile with them, furrow them when we frown and bunch them when lost in concentration.

Eyebrows have been objects that have been marvelled at for thousands of years, reflecting different cultural values, geographies, and periods in time.

Eyebrows through the ages

As long ago as 3500 BC – 2500 BC in Ancient Egypt, where both men and women donned make-up and followed cosmetic trends, the eyebrows were a style choice and not just practical fixtures on the face. Egyptians wore thick, bold brows to honour the Egyptian God of good health, Horus.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans followed a few trends too. Among them was a love for the uni-brow, which was a symbol for beauty. In Tang Dynasty China (618-907 AD), women generally shaved off their natural eyebrows to allow for easier make-up application.

In the 18th century, some say that the macabre practice of trapping mice and using their fur to form artificial brows became a solution for a fuller brow. The brows of the 1920s were needle-thin. And in the 1960s, Sophia Loren started a trend with her deftly applied pencilled look. Today, the jury is out, as a number of different trends sweep the world.

The essential fashion accessory

The Kryolan professionals say, “In the 2010s, bold eyebrows made a long-awaited return.

If women’s brows survived the zealous over-plucking of the 90s and early 2000s, they were left to grow free, following the bold example set by Cara Delevingne and even, to an extent, Kim Kardashian.

“Today, many women are tweezing less and adding a touch of texture with wax, gels and brushes. We are seeing defined but bold and natural looks emerging. The Ombré brow has gained a lot of momentum too. This features a thicker look, faded on the edges, and done right, it can look like a work of art. But caution is advised as it can appear a bit too much if it’s overdone. Overall, there is more freedom of choice today, as we see a number of trends that are catching the eyes”.

Whether you choose to microblade, go au natural or groom into shape, the eyebrows continue to frame faces of all shapes everywhere. They are a personal choice that can speak volumes about your personality, and whatever shape they may take, time has certainly proved that they are as eternal as fashion itself.