The Beautiful And Iconic History Of Brows
From decade to decade, brow shapes have evolved and transformed. From the razor-thin brows of the 20s to the full, bushy brow of the 80s – no decade has ever looked the same. In fact, eyebrow shapes have often mimicked seasonal fashion trends and have even changed multiple times within a year – how do we keep up?!
Well, we’ve decided that for 2021, it’s all about owning your own brow, whether that’s thick, thin, bushy, or a beautiful monobrow – literally no shape is out of “style.” In the mood to feel inspired? Take a look at some of the most famous brows throughout history. One thing’s for sure: brows have always been so. damn. powerful.
The Ancient Egyptians
Eyebrows held a deep significance in Ancient Egypt. Both men and women wore makeup to help them achieve a thick, bold brow. Ancient Egyptians actually believed that a strong brow paid homage to the Egyptian God of protection and health.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans
In Ancient Rome and Greece, the traditional makeup look reflected the cultural values, which focused on purity and natural features. In Greece, married women left their brows untouched while single women would darken their brows using incense. In Ancient Rome, unibrows were a sign of intelligence, and some women drew on a faux unibrow.
The 1920s is almost synonymous with a high, overplucked brow. At the time it was notoriously sexy, with icons like Marlene Dietrich, Clara Bow and Jean Harlow opting for this distinctive shape. The decade was, in fact, the first time brow products were made available to the masses, and flappers would pay particular attention to their brows before a big night out!
In the 1930s, the fierce, heavily tweezed brow continued to reign. However, the shape became more pronounced and curved, instead of remaining flat like the signature 1920s brow.
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When the 40s hit, brows regained some of their natural fullness, and movie stars like Grace Kelly and Joan Fontaine sported fluffier, more natural brows. During this time war rations also impacted grooming trends, and as women were needed in the workplace low-maintenance beauty thrived.
Of course, we have to add that the most iconic brow of the 1940s belonged to Frida Kahlo. An enduring feminist icon, Kahlo’s unibrow made a timeless statement: women shouldn’t have to abide by beauty standards dictated by society. What makes it unique and authentic is where the real beauty lies.
The strong brow with a perfectly pointed arch was a huge trend in the 50s populated by all the major Hollywood stars, from Audrey Hepburn to Elizabeth Taylor, not to mention Marilyn Monroe.
Sophia Loren redefined the term bombshell in the 60s. She was a timeless trendsetter. However, when it came to her brows she actually shaved them off and penciled them in to create a bold yet seemingly natural look with fine, hair-like strokes.
Towards the end of the decade, icons like Twiggy became popular and the makeup movement steered towards bold lashes and bright colors. As a result, brows were groomed to perfection with a high arch and thin rounded tails that complemented statement liner and lashes.
Once again, the 1970s marked the return of the fluffy, natural brow as the hippie movement came into fruition. Grooming, in general, came to a halt and people welcomed their natural beauty – an era we can get behind.
The 80s brows were full, bushy, and beautiful, as modeled here by Brooke Shields. This brow look is actually very reminiscent of the current feathered, boy brow trend.
Moving from the 80s to the 90s, needless to say, tweezers were trending once again. Brows moved from being bushy AF and graduated to the “less is more” vibe. In 2021, people are questioning whether this look is about to make a comeback, thanks to It girls like Bella Hadid who are loving the 90s vibe. With that said, some of the most iconic supermodels of the 90s, like Naomi and Kate, opted for a more defined, sculpted brow that lifted towards the tail, which is yet another current trend!
During this time, brows remained on the skinnier side. It was less about penciling in the shape and more about pluck-pluck-plucking for a naturally thin brow. Think Christina Aguilera in the Dirty video…
From 2010 to 2020, social media came through in full swing and Instagram trends began to dictate our makeup vibe. First, Cara Delivigne brought back a strong full brow, then there was the perfectly-filled block brow on Instagram that became a global sensation.
As a result of these full-brow trends that followed a decade where many of us plucked our brows to the extent that they had literally stopped growing, brow treatments like microblading became increasingly popular.
Finally, we arrive at 2021, where the brow style that’s trending is full, feathered, and striking. Laminated brows are also hugely popular as they mimic the popular bushy brow. However, we’re also at a stage where we’re down for whatever makes us feel good and you can rock the brows you want. It’s a time of self-acceptance: you do you, boo! We hope the rest of this decade continues to explore self-expression and freedom to do what you want, whether that’s rocking a monobrow like the gorgeous Sophia Hadjipanteli, or plucking to a shape that you love.
We created our #BOMBBROWS Microshade Brow Pencil, $17, with this in mind. The insanely fine tip (0.9 mm) allows you to create natural, hair-like strokes, so whether you want to fake a fuller brow, or go super fine, you can!
What’s your go-to brow look right now? Let us know in the comments.