From super skinny to bushy and squiggly to red, we track the journey of brow trends

Yves Saint Laurent makeup. Courtesy YSL
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If eyes are the windows to the soul, then eyebrows are the lintels – they may not look like much, but they hold everything together.

Circa 3,000BC, ancient Egyptians wore heavy eye make-up, including eyebrows darkened with carbon, to honour Horus, a deity whose right eye was the sun and left eye, the moon. Among the ancient Greeks and Romans, circa 800BC, a monobrow was said to denote both brains and beauty, leading women to paint one in. Meanwhile in Europe, between 1,000AD and 1,400AD, the forehead was considered to be the most beautiful part of the face, with women plucking out both eyebrows and eyelashes to draw more attention. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, many women dyed their eyebrows red to match hers. American actress Clara Bow started a fad when she plucked her eyebrows into a thin, straight line, while by the 1920s, actresses such as Jean Harlow and Raqia Ibrahim sported fine, arched lines, a look adopted by Lebanese singer Fayrouz during the 1970s. The 1940s, 50s and 60s, gave rise to the classic well-groomed brow of Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and, most famously, the legendary Sophia Loren. By the 1980s, fashion favoured a natural, bushy brow, worn by Brooke Shields and Madonna, while the 1990s saw them all plucked off again, a la Pamela Anderson. Now, thanks to Cara Delevingne, brows are big again, and brushed to perfection. This luxuriant amount of hair has given rise to the strangest trend so far: the squiggle brow, where the brow is painted, brushed and cajoled into a wavy line. What ever next?


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