These days, eyebrows are groomed and "done" with the same dedication that goes into concealing a zit. It is the age of the arch circa whatever you call this decade following the aughts (the aught-teens?). I know this because even Real Housewives are touting the importance of dope eyebrows. I believe they call it "keeping your brow game tight."
So it seems only natural that the feature would fall under scientific scrutiny. (I'm not saying that it never did before, but that sort of information is suddenly more interesting to the masses.) I recently read an MIT study claiming that eyebrows are the key factor in facial recognition and familiarity.
Subjects in the study were shown varying photos of well-known figures like Winona Ryder and Richard Nixon; some had eyebrows cropped out, some had only eyes cropped out. The results were that celebrities with eyes cropped out were more recognizable than those with brows cropped out. So eyebrows are major personal identifiers. It’s particularly polarizing in humans because, in comparison to other mammals, we have less body hair.
Because makeup is more fun when you use it for science, I set out to manipulate my own brows and see how it could change my face. Using a slew of my favorite brow products I went to town on my arches to create different “personas.”
Here’s how my eyebrows normally look. Not terribly thick, but I wouldn’t say sparse, with a definitive arch that kind of fades off into nowhere a bit sooner than I’d like. But, oh well, that’s genetics for you.
LOOK 1: STRAIGHT AND NARROW
I used Kat Von D’s Lock-it Tattoo Concealer to conceal the top of my arch and a bit underneath. This stuff has great coverage, considering it’s meant for concealing tattoos, so a couple layers did a great job at camouflaging some hairs.
I broke out the Anastasia Beverly Hills for this look. After “shaving” off the top of my arch with concealer, I used the Brow Powder Duo and Mini Brush to draw a straight line over the visible hair, following my natural curve, but only slightly so it retained a rather straight shape. This is a really trendy brow look in Korea. (Mari pulls off a great straight brow!) Apparently it makes you look young and innocent and cherubic...or something. When I think of straight brows I think of Natalie Portman’s cry-face, which I guess is pretty angelic.
And you know what? Yeah, I think I do appear to be a bit peachier with these bars over my peepers. At least more ingenuous or something along those lines? Like, maybe no one would suspect how sarcastic and moody I am with such unassuming brows.
LOOK 2: THE TWIN PEAKS
If Sherilyn Fenn’s brows were ski slopes, they’d be black diamonds. Those arches are so steep. Just a subtle raise sends skeptical daggers flying. The thin, tadpole-like shape was pretty standard in the '90s, but whenever I see it now it looks a bit wicked, if you know what I mean.
I concealed the under-hairs of my brow and used something inkier, Anastasia Beverly Hill’s DipBrow Pomade, to make some slopes.
LOOK 3: THE DELEVINGNE
Like her or not, Cara Delevingne's brows are her calling card, along with her signature smirk, because she knows she has the best brows in the biz. WE GET IT, CARA, YOU’RE GORGEOUS. NOW PUT THOSE AWAY. Do you think her career would have taken off as it did if it weren't for those brows? If she ever needed to go into witness protection, do you think she’d shave them? The world may never know.
I used Benefit’s Brow Zings--filling in with the creamy side and then drawing “hairs” with the powder side to bush up my brows. Then I brushed my brows upward with Benefit’s Gimme Brow to mold them into place. The results are staggering.
After wearing these for a while, I get it: it’s a power brow. Cara's brows are the shoulder pads of brows. They communicated to the world...pretty much anything you're feeling because brows (especially ones like these) are your number one non-verbal communicator. No need to speak up with these caterpillars, just move your face around. Also, they really bring out my bucktooth. I feel cool now.
LOOK 4: THE NO BROW
While we’re flirting with high fashion here, let's examine the hairless or bleached-to-match-skin-tone look. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve noticed a few models moving in favor of no brows for whatever model reason that models do things.
And because models have that weird thing where they ALWAYS look attractive, they still look striking and cool and otherworldly sans brows. Dammit.
If I erase mine, will I also look striking and cool and otherworldly?
I stamped out my brows using Benefit’s Erase Paste, really stippling it in there with a concealer brush and then going over it with Kat Von D’s Lock-it Tattoo Concealer for further camouflage. While not completely erased, my brows appeared to match my blonde hair. And you know what--two out of three ain’t bad, yes?
It’s like I’m a completely different person! Possibly cyborg or alien! Aliens are in now, right? I don’t even hate this look. I would feel supremely self-conscious in public with it, but were I to bleach my brows for whatever reason, I’d love to walk around feeling like a completely different person for a bit. Just for laughs...and to freak out my mom.
And just because I couldn’t resist doing weird things to a mostly blank canvas, here’s something no one should replicate:
What's your take on eyebrows and perception? Thinking of changing up your brows? Any of these looks speak to you? Tell me how you really feel.