A Glimpse Into The History Of Brow Styling & Shapes

Makeup is an art form that has existed since ancient Egyptian times, but each generation has a unique way of applying it. 

Marilyn Monroe’s bold red lips or Cindy Crawford’s signature beauty spot has been a makeup and beauty icon every decade. 

While the basics mostly stay the same, the looks that one creates with makeup differ through the decades. We’re taking a look at some eyebrow icons from each decade. 

Ancient Egyptian Times 

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In Ancient Egypt, it was both men and women that wore makeup. Their makeup, made from kohl, was black. The Egyptians drew on thick eyeliner and drew their brows to match. Subtlety was not a strong point back then. The icon from this era could only be Cleopatra. 

The Middle Ages 

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Medieval makeup was a stark departure from Ancient Egyptian makeup because it was subtle and soft. Most women would pluck their eyebrows thin to focus people’s attention on their foreheads. Many women would dye their eyebrows red to emulate Queen Elizabeth, making her the icon of this era. 

The 1920s

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Fast forward a couple of hundred years to the 1920s, when eyebrows are still barely there, but there’s no dye involved anymore. The 1920s saw women tweezing their eyebrows until they were thin and straight and then penciled them in slightly. The inspiration for this look was Clara Bow, a silent film star. 

The 1930s

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In the 1930s, women started to enjoy a fuller brow look, plucking their eyebrows less and filling them in more. This decade’s trend was the curved eyebrow, with singer Billie Holiday being the icon for this generation’s beauty trend.  

The 1940s 

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This decade saw women start to arch their eyebrows in a way that many women still do today. The brow became softer as they didn’t fill them in as much, and the arch framed the face in a way that brows hadn’t before. Joan Crawford was this generation’s beauty icon. 

The 1950s

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The arches got higher as the introduction of a full face of makeup was made. Women started wearing lipstick, eyeliner, facial powders, and filling in their eyebrows in a way they hadn’t before. The arch introduced in the 1940s became more defined, and who better to be this generation’s beauty icon than Marilyn Monroe? 

The 1960s

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Audrey Hepburn and her beautifully thick and natural brows sparked a trend in the 1960s of women filling in their natural brows with thin strokes of the brow pencil. Other stars, like Sophia Loren, also adopted the trend. 

The 1970s

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The hippie movement took flight, and so did the desire to pencil in eyebrows. The ‘70s saw women embracing their natural eyebrows, simply neatening a few stray hairs before heading out the door. The trend can be seen displayed perfectly on Aretha Franklin. 

The 1980s

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Stars like Madonna and Brooke Shields rocked an entirely new trend of not plucking your eyebrows at all. The women of the ‘80s let their brows grow into their natural shape and then brushed them up to achieve a more dramatic look. 

The 1990s

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The ‘90s saw women reverting to the 1920s over-plucked style. Women in the 90s once again had pencil-thin eyebrows, sometimes filled in with dark pencils. This look was expertly carried out on Drew Barrymore. 

The 2000s 

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The plucking fad had once again died down and made way for still thin but natural eyebrows in the 2000s. Cameron Diaz was a shining example of how to achieve a thin brow that still framed the face. 

The 2010s

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The 2010s marks the era of Kim Kardashian and Cara Delevigne serving thick, dark brows on a silver platter. The trend shows women wearing their brows thicker and darker than in the 2000s but still having the brows be subtle enough to look gorgeous.

Written By:
Daniella Segell

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