Now & Then: The Bold Brow

“The eyebrows are hangers that hold up the eyes.” – Altuzarra’s Spring 12 makeup artist, Tom Pecheux

You’ve heard of the hemline index, the theory purporting that skirt lengths and the economy coincide. Tracing the arc of eyebrow trends over the years, you have to wonder what economists would make of the current fashion for bold and bushy brows.

With eyebrow growth stimulators and serums the beauty product du jour and the continued popularity of be-browed and proud “It” models Arizona Muse and Hilary Rhoda, it seems now is clearly the time of the eyebrow.

Modern Day brow icon, Arizona Muse by Peter Lindbergh

Many of us remember the last time brows were in the news back in the 1990s. Then, it was all about barely-there eyebrows, plucked until they resembled brow-icon Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s fashionably thin ones, which Newsweek pronounced “very glamorous.”

In the 1930s and beyond, Jean Harlow was the object of brow-envy

In her fluid bias-cut silk Narciso Rodriguez wedding gown and hair bleached the color of corn, Bessette channeled another style siren whose eyebrows were widely copied, Jean Harlow. In the 1930s, eyebrows were super thin – often waxed off entirely and penciled in – a look perfect for the over zealous.

Estée Lauder model Hilary Rhoda is known for her thick brows

According to Tom Pecheux, the make up artist visionary responsible for creating the straight, black eyebrows seen on Joseph Altuzarra’s spring runway, “The eyebrows are hangers that hold up the eyes.” If you decide to plump for the new bold brow, the key to making the trend work is keeping the rest of the face clear of color and making the brows the focal point of the whole look.

If you choose to embrace better living through tweezing, commit to heart these instructions before you hit the bathroom mirror. Remove a hair, and then take a step back and check your work. Repeat.

No eyebrow retrospective would be complete without Brooke Shields, who exemplified the 1980s heavy, bushy brow

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Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.