The Story Behind Lady Gaga's Ever-Evolving Eyebrows

Photo: Via @ladygaga.
If you thought the beauty world's obsession with eyebrows was on the wane, think again. Celebs, models, makeup artists, and basically everyone else with an Instagram account just can't seem to get enough of all things arches. From Cara Delevingne's bold-and-bushy pair to the faux-pierced look makeup artist James Kaliardos sent down the Rodarte runway just last year, eyebrows have seemingly stolen the spotlight from all other facial features.

Of course, there has always been one woman at the forefront of the bold-brow movement: Lady Gaga. The singer has made brow embellishment a second career, taking her arches to dazzling, dizzying, boundary-pushing new heights. "[Gaga's] unhappy with conventional beauty; she doesn’t like things to look perfectly pretty all the time — she likes to feel a little like a punk," says the lady behind Gaga's brows, makeup artist Sarah Tanno. "She’s rebellious, so a lot of times if I do something really pretty, she’ll want to fuck it up."

With the star's brows, Gaga and Tanno did just that — fuck things up — in the best way possible. The Mother Monster's spectrum of brow looks is equal parts glam and badass — and seriously impressive. Tanno says the brow transformations were a chance for her to take a different, Gaga-esque twist on an existing trend.

"I thought playing around [with] the brows was something really fun, because we’re in the age where everything is about a big, bold, beautiful brow — so we kind of wanted to do the opposite," says Tanno. "We just wanted to do something more elevated — the eyebrow should be celebrated; it should be the new eyeliner."

Tanno created these custom designs with the help of Face Lace and A-Morir Eyewear. There are spikes, crystals, and...you'll just have to click through and see. Ahead, check out some of Tanno's favorite looks — plus see which brows Gaga adores the most.
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Photo: Via @sarahtannomakeup.
Fox(y) Brows
Tanno consulted Gaga on her feelings about this brow style. "Brows don't have to be overdrawn and strong to be sexy," Lady Gaga says in an email. "Sarah is more abstract, and we have fun framing the face differently. These are my favorite. We call them the 'fox brows.' [They] mimic the brow ridge of a fox, but with lines. Savage, but beautiful."
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Photo: Via @sarahtannomakeup.
Jazz-Punk Brows
Lest we forget that Gaga is a performer (she's on her Cheek to Cheek tour with Tony Bennett right now), Tanno mentions that most of these looks are meant for the stage — hence the intense level of glam.

"The tour we’re doing right now, they don’t have huge screens or anything, so I had to think of something where you’re really gonna see her face from a far distance and [something] that just lights up the stage," Tanno says. "You know how [with cartoon] characters, they use their eyebrows as such an expression? When you're thinking of stage makeup, you want it to be something that has a big impact."

This particular arch-art style is known as the jazz-punk-meets-anime brow in the Haus of Gaga. Tanno builds up to it throughout the show: She starts with full strips of crystal lids. Next, she adds custom eyeliners and a crystal holographic highlight, and tops it off with an Édith Piaf-inspired brow.
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Photo: Via @ladygaga.
Crystal Brows
These blinged-out brows were a part of Gaga's opening-show look, according to Tanno. The dark cat-eye was inspired by Barbra Streisand's character in Funny Girl, but deciding on a brow design was a little trickier. "I wasn’t sure what we wanted to do with the brows, but we wanted it to be something grand," Tanno says. "I had the pieces made that were going to be for a...contour highlight, and we just decided to stick them on her brows."
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Photo: Via @ladygaga.
Rodarte-Inspired Brows
"I have a bunch of these handmade Swarovski-crystal pieces that were actually supposed to be like an eyeliner that I used for the show, and we just thought it would be really cool to put it on the brow," Tanno says on the process behind this pair. "I’ve been wanting to do [the Rodarte brows] forever, but with [Gaga] I have to work very quickly so I don’t have a lot of time to do small details like that. So I kept some pierced rings, and I just pierced these crystal strips and glued it on." Voilà! Punk meets glam.
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Photo: Via @ladygaga.
Glamour With An Edge
First, let's just note how flawlessly Gaga's brows match her earrings. That's the kind of matchy-matchy coordination we can absolutely get behind. Gaga stepped out with these particular brows on New Year's Eve and Tanno says that they both loved them so much, they started using them for shows. "It's like a different take on eyewear," she says.
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Photo: Via @ladygaga.
Red Carpet Brows
Gaga's straight-across Met Gala brows were a nod to old-school Shalom Harlow. "There was this old shot of her that I really loved because it was super-ethereal and still really, really fashion," Tanno says. "I wanted to try and bring something like that to the red carpet, and stick within the theme but still make it more editorial than traditional red carpet beauty."
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Photo: Via @ladygaga.
Downtown Chic
For Shiseido's most recent beauty campaign, Gaga and Tanno amped up their brow game to show-stopping new levels. "We were on the way there, and they’re filming in the car, and she’s like, 'Hey, remember those chains you pulled a long time ago? What if you, like, just stuck them on my face?'" says Tanno.

"I had already had in mind doing this crazy, red-crystal brow...I had 20 minutes to do the makeup for the last scene, and me and my assistant were furiously trying to stitch the chains to the eyebrows we wanted. Sometimes, the craziest things work out in the shortest amount of time, ever."

And since the campaign is entitled Be Yourself, this is a pretty perfect note to end on.
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