Let's imagine that there's a magical World of Eyebrows. In it, there are two queens. One rules the East and one rules the West, and together, they build great bridges and monuments that redefine the word "arch." The queens are none other than
Anastasia Soare, the beauty guru with a famous label bearing her name, and Kristie Streicher, one-third of the trifecta that is the Streicher Sisters.
Soare personifies glamour — and, while she certainly extols and advocates the virtues of thick brows, she enjoys shaping and grooming. Streicher, on the other hand, forsakes wax and threads for careful and minimal tweezing sessions. She favors unibrows, politely forbids clients from using tweezers for eight weeks at a time, and believes that the more natural the arch, the better. She even has delightful homemade remedies for both
pre- and post-tweeze, to soothe your set.
Different perspectives aside, the brow divas are far from archenemies. Together, they came up with a guide to eyebrow shapes, which takes us from the '30s all the way through today, with a very diverse range of aesthetics. Click through for some serious inspiration — and to find out what makes those arches look so damn good.
Photo: REX USA.
The '30s Brow, À La Jean Harlow
"In the era of Harlow and [Marlene] Dietrich, the actresses had lots of lashes, but thin, drawn-on brows," Soare explains. "This gave them a mature, dramatic look. Since fashion followed Hollywood, the popular eyebrows of that time were very thin and drawn on higher than normal. Many women even shaved their eyebrows or tweezed them off completely."
Soare cautions that this look — though very important when discussing eyebrow history — is not particularly modern. (Unless that's your thing — in which case, rock it!) "I never recommend shaving or over-tweezing to achieve a shape thinner than your natural arch," she says. "But, I will say that a petite, slim arch is ideal for people who have smaller browbones and features."
Photo: REX USA.
The '50s Brow
Have you ever seen a pair of brows chicer than Audrey's? "She had some of the thickest brows Hollywood had ever seen and showed no interest in tweezing them. If you have prominent browbones, a fuller, bolder brow is especially flattering," says Soare.
But, it's important to note that, unlike the untamed sets you see in fashion today, Audrey's were actually quite defined. For a similar look, Soare suggests tracing your natural shape with Dipbrow, which will behave as a waterproof base. Then, fill in details using a pencil, like Brow Wiz.
Photo: REX USA.
It's no secret that Frida Kahlo popularized the unibrow. "This look is not for everyone," Streicher cautions. "But, it's best when it's full, feathered, looks untouched, and softly connects in the middle. It looks great on men, and I even loved it on Madonna's daughter, Lourdes."
And, just in case you think this is totally unapproachable, Streicher coerced her own assistant into rocking the look, which he does to very impressive effect.
Photo: Everett Collection/REX USA.
The Bombshell Brow
"This is the highly arched, bold brow that's perfectly groomed," Soare says. "Kim Kardashian is the perfect example of a modern interpretation of this shape." (For the retro take, think Marilyn Monroe.)
Beyond that perfect arch — which should be achieved by a professional, by the way! — the brows are immaculate. "A tinted gel will deepen the color and set the shape all day for a very polished look," Soare suggests.
Photo: Matt Baron/BEImages.
The Natural Brow
"This is the shape that's well-groomed without being overly dramatic," says Soare, citing Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, and Paula Patton. "The key to achieving it is that the shape must be impeccable, balance the face, and the color must be even."
There's not exactly a foolproof formula for what "natural" brow would look best for you, but think of it as a happy medium between dramatic arches, like Kim K's, and going all-out Cara. "For a similar effect, I like using a light powder to enhance and fill in the overall shape, and then darken just the tail with a darker powder," she says. Consider her Brow Powder Duo for on-the-go ease. But, also definitely bring photos of the leading ladies she mentioned to an expert.
Photo: Erik Pendzich/REX USA.
The Feathered Brow
In Los Angeles, Streicher has been pioneering the feathered brow, which entails not touching one's arches for up to eight weeks at a time in order to start controlling their growth cycle. It sounds crazy, but both this senior editor (Hi!) and our beauty director are converts.
"It's basically a softly shaped eyebrow without any harsh lines, utilizing one's own shape and natural characteristics," Streicher says. "We use only tweezing to shape, and only remove strategic hairs one at a time to achieve that feathered look."
Looks like the Olsen twins got the memo.
Photo: Via Bulgari.
Feathered Brow With Straight Outer Arch
"This is a softly shaped brow...where you tweeze more from the top and less from the underside, removing any rounded characteristics," Streicher says. "I created this on Rachel Weisz for her Bulgari campaign in 2010. It elongated her natural arch."
Photo: PIXELFORMULA PRESS/REX USA.
The Straight, Feathered Brow
Yup, it's good ol' Cara D. Streicher says Brooke Shields is also a proponent of straight, almost boyish brows. "It requires just a little bit of shaping from the top and the bottom to achieve a look that has little or no rounding arch — just a straight-across brow," she explains. "But, you have to have a very full brow to pull this off."
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