Many have heard the phrase “eyebrows on fleek” tossed around in recent years. Its purpose is to describe a perfect pair of eyebrows, however its origin is a bit of a mystery. We do know that the phrase represents the recent obsession with eyebrows among the world’s youth. Girls and boys alike regularly thread, wax, and pluck their furry friends, whether they reshape them completely or just clean up a few stray hairs. Some also opt to keep them natural and rock the shape they were born with. One wonders how long this eyebrow craze has been going on and what brings people to care so much about two patches of hair on their face.
“People care about their eyebrows because they shape and accentuate your face,” explained senior Emma Distefano.
What people may find surprising is that people have been caring about their eyebrows for hundreds of years. Marianne Mychaskiw of Marie Claire magazine explains in her article “A History in Eyebrows” how in each decade since the 1920’s, eyebrows have been styled in numerous ways. For example, in the ‘20s and ‘30s, a thin, high arch was sought after. In the ‘50s, more intense arches became all the rage and women began to fill in their brows. The ‘80s was when au naturale, overgrown eyebrows were adored, which was a huge contrast to the pencil thin eyebrows of the ‘90s. So what’s in now?
“Personally, I love the eyebrow culture of 2016,” said junior Kate Erickson. “Eyebrows of all the colors of the rainbow are accepted and it is beautiful. Now, even men who before would be so afraid to admit that they got their eyebrows waxed are now doing it once a month. A good eyebrow makeover can change someone’s life!”
Modern celebrity icons like Cara DeLevigne, Zendaya Coleman, and Lily Collins have inspired the world with their dramatic, well-sculpted eyebrows. Because of this, it is common to overhear a group of adolescents gushing over their new Benefit eyebrow pencil or the recent threading they had done at Layla Beauty. Celebrity inspiration aside, many simply find it satisfying to take a gander at a pair of smooth, symmetrical eyebrows, and aspire to flatter the shape of their own natural brow as much as possible.
“Occasionally I notice people’s eyebrows,” said junior Jenna Torchia. “Whether people put effort into their eyebrows is just their personal preference, if they wanna keep them cleaned up or not.”
Beauty aside, eyebrows are essential in keeping sweat and debris from entering our eyes, as well as in defining the human face. Because of eyebrows, humans are able to easily express our emotions simply with facial expressions. They are critical in terms of facial identification and forensics. By analyzing a person’s eyebrows while they speak, you can detect traces of surprise, fear, disgust, anger, or happiness they may display facially without realizing it. For example, when a person is sad, their inner eyebrows raise and and push together. An angry pair of eyebrows move lower and closer together.
Every shape and color of eyebrow can be flattering and beautiful because the shape that looks best varies from person to person. Above all, they help us see better and increase our individuality. The obsession with eyebrows is a positive, albeit strange, phenomena because almost everyone has them and beauty is found in every type of brow.