Linda has written content for national fashion and beauty websites. She enjoys sharing style trends and tips with her readers.
I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in eyebrow trends. In the 1970s, women’s eyebrows began the decade thick and natural, which was a carryover from the 60s. By mid-decade, brows were pencil thin and perfectly arched. I still recall the hours of pain and suffering to attain that perfectly fine line.
The 1980s ushered in untamed brows. They were easy to maintain but not terribly attractive when paired with big hair and exaggerated shoulder pads. Super thin brows were back in vogue during the 1990s. The first decade of the new millennium witnessed a natural and relaxed trend featuring slightly thicker brows.
Where to Start?
Today there are many eyebrow shaping options from tweezing, waxing, threading, electrolysis, and laser hair removal. It doesn’t really matter how you do it. Just pick a method that fits your schedule and budget. (For me, it’s a pair of tweezers, a magnifying mirror, and a steady hand.) But first you need to determine your face shape and corresponding brow shape.
Discover Your Face Shape
To reveal the shape of your face, pull your hair back with a headband, hair tie, or clip and stand in front of a mirror. With a dry erase marker, draw the shape of your face on the mirror surface. Stand back and pick one of the following shapes that best coincides with the outline.
Square faces have a broad jawline in proportion to the width of the forehead. You need a brow that will add softness to the straight lines of your square face. Create a delicate arch versus a rounded or overly angular arch. If you can do it, create a straight brow line from the beginning of the brow to your natural arch. Shape a gentle curve from the peak of the arch to the end of the brow.
A circular face is best suited for medium to full eyebrows with a pointed arch rather than rounded shape. An angular brow will offset the fullness of your round face. Rounded brows only emphasize the roundness of your face. Resist the urge to pluck your brows too thin. Thin eyebrows won't make your face look any thinner. A fuller brow will add a sense of balance to your face.
Oval is the perfection of face shapes. You share your face shape with Megan Fox, Kate Hudson, and Beyonce. A medium to full eyebrow is the perfect choice for your ideal symmetrical face. Be daring and do a pronounced arch. You can rock it, girl!
The heart shape, or inverted triangle, is recognizable by a wide forehead, prominent cheekbones, and slender chin. Take some brow hints from the angular, square-shaped face. You are dealing with straight lines so you should opt for a softly arched eyebrow. The bulk of your face width is from the eye line to the forehead. An overly curved brow will simply draw attention to your face shape rather than detracting from it. Shoot for a fairly straight brow line with an ever-so-slight curve.
You finally discovered your face shape and matching brow style. Brow mapping is great way to determine the brow length and point where it peaks above your eye. Use a mirror and hold a thin makeup brush in a vertical line from the outer edge of your nostril straight to the inner corner of your eye. That's where your eyebrow should begin. Mark it with an eyebrow pencil.
Next hold the makeup brush diagonally from your outer nostril to the outside of your eye. Mark that spot where your brow ends. Use your makeup brush for last measurement placed diagonally from the outer part of your nostril directly across the center of your pupil. That's the location of your brow arch.
Visual Brow Mapping
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Brow Shaping Methods
Whichever shaping method you choose, it not only emphasizes your eyes but also showcases your beautiful face. Always try to stay with your natural brow shape and avoid removing too many hairs. Pick one of the three most popular shaping techniques: tweezing, waxing, or threading.
- Use a pointed or flat-head tweezer for the most economical and precise method of eliminating unkempt hairs. Tweeze each individual hair in order to carefully monitor your brow shape and contour.
- Waxing your eyebrows is a relatively quick way to remove unwanted hair. Apply warm wax to the area below and above the browline. Let it cool and swiftly pull the hard wax or waxed cloth in the direction of your hair growth. Trim long hairs then pluck the strays.
- Try threading to shape and remove excess brow hair. Cotton thread is twisted and pulled along the brow acting like a cowboy’s lariat to lift the hair from the follicle by the root. Threading has been used for centuries in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. It’s actually less painful than tweezing or waxing.
Now You're Ready
Whether you do your own thing or have your brows done professionally, you now have all the essential information you need to get started. Print out your face shape and brow description. Share it with your stylist or keep it by your side as you begin to shape your brows.
Eyebrow Touch-Up Tools
If you are new to the eyebrow grooming game, it might be a good idea to let a professional shape them for the first time. It will minimize discomfort and reduce the chances of a major mishap. You can take care of routine maintenance at home with a combination of these six handy tools:
- Invest in a good pair of tweezers. Find some with a good grip and hair gripping power. Once you’ve been waxed or threaded you can keep your eyebrows in tip-top shape by plucking the strays every few days.
- Get a good mirror. Go with at least 10x magnification. Any less and you’ll be straining to see fine hairs left behind.
- Groom your brows. A combination eyebrow brush and comb will tame the wild hairs in the morning. Throw in a tube of clear brow gel to set the shape.
- Create clean lines with an eyebrow stencil. Buy a kit with a variety of shapes and choose the one that best suits your face shape. Stencils come in handy as a guide for tweezing or filling in color.
- Add color and definition. Eyebrow pencils, color palette kits and botanical dyes help sculpt, fill and highlight your brows.
- A pair of brow scissors or a battery-operated trimmer should be part of your arsenal. If stray hairs grow too long these tools are critical for maintaining a tidy appearance.
Did You Know?
The Veet Canada website has a plethora of eyebrow-related facts you probably aren't aware of:
- Women can actually get eyebrow transplants! Hair transplants for eyebrows started in the 1990s and are typically performed in cases of extreme hair loss. Just like other hair transplants hairs are “harvested” from the back of the scalp and are “planted” along the brow line. Patients must trim their transplanted brow hair several times a month.
- An average eyebrow contains over 500 individual hairs.
- Eyebrows not only frame one of our most important features they serve a practical purpose as well. Eyebrows work in conjunction with lashes to protect the eyes from harmful dust and environmental particulates.
- Eyebrow pencils came into being during the 1920s.
- Women started using eyebrow combs in the 1890s as the medium of photography became increasingly popular.
- In the early 18th century fashionable women shaved their eyebrows and glued on fake eyebrows fashioned from mouse hair pelts!
© 2010 Linda Chechar
Do you have an funny or unusual eyebrow shaping experience you’d like to share? Ask a question or leave a comment!
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on March 07, 2011:
Christine, I've been doing it for years. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy--and cheaper than professional waxing. Good luck if you decide to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by my Hub!
ChristineVianello from Philadelphia on March 07, 2011:
I love this!! I get my eye brows waxed because I am so terrified that I may pluck too much and I will end up looking horrible. But with your tips, I may try to pluck.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 24, 2010:
Thanks travelespresso! Yeah, who would think something as simple as eyebrows would be so complicated!
travelespresso from Somewhere in this exciting world. on December 24, 2010:
My goodness lindacee - I never knew there were so many things to consider. Nice hub.
Linda Chechar (author) from Arizona on December 22, 2010:
Sorry, chander! See what we ladies have to go through for the sake of beauty? It is a real pain--literally and figuratively!
Chander Mehra from Delhi on December 22, 2010:
God! I am so confused, both eyebrows raised and the right eye twitching!