How Brows Have Become the Beauty Obsession of the Decade

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How Brows Have Become the Beauty Obsession of the Decade

September 21
14:54 2022
How Brows Have Become the Beauty Obsession of the Decade

Lorenna Araujo is the “Sydney brow expert” for Lorenna Araujo Eyebrows. She travels to about 40 countries every year, talking brows with women. According to Lorenna, they like them dramatic in the Middle East, straighter in Korea and with a “soft, fluid look” in native America.

According to the market research company NPD, Australian women spend, on average, $200 a year on eyebrow grooming. Lorenna and colleagues are out to increase this. LA Eyebrows introduced a variety of four brow solutions in June after three years of development, and they are currently the market leaders with a 50% market share. The decade’s most stunning story is the transition from a trend to a boom.

LA Eyebrows introduced a variety of four brow solutions in June after three years of development, and they are currently the market leaders with a 50% market share. The decade’s most stunning story is the transition from a trend to a boom. New brow advances include eyebrow transplants and microblading, a kind of tattooing where tiny strokes of ink are added to resemble hairs, a treatment that lasts up to three years. Beauty service booking app Treatwell reports that HD Brows and microblading are growing in popularity. Treatwell’s beauty director, Liz Hambleton, says HD Brows is in Sydney’s top 10 most booked treatments. Tinting and threading searches were up 50% nationwide in 2021.

Eyebrows have gained increased prominence in popular culture. In 2021, an American girl named Peaches Monroe’s Vine went viral with the phrase “eyebrows on fleek,” which refers to exceptionally fantastic eyebrows. Over three million Instagram posts with the hashtag #brows and over 600,000 with the hashtag #browsonfleek. There are more than 500,000 tutorials on YouTube, all with different diagrams on how to get your brows looking good. One, by makeup artist Zukreat, has been viewed more than three million times. It stresses that you need at least an hour to perfect your eyebrows.

In 2016, we were at what is frequently referred to as the decade’s pivot, the point at which the look of the 10s (or whatever they are called) is solidifying. If Bernice’s bob represented the 1920s and Twiggy’s eyelashes represented the 1960s, Cara Delevingne’s brows would represent the current decade. Young women everywhere now have a brow icon thanks to Delevingne – or Her Eyebrowness, as she is dubbed in September’s Vogue. The Delevingne brow is low on the face, long, and dark, extending towards the hairline and nose. “She raised the brows of the masses, and it’s been so strong,” Bailey adds. “They’re a bit oversized, but how she has embraced them and made them a good thing has made women want natural brows.”Delevingne isn’t the only brow icon. The scouse brow, as seen on Desperate Housewives, and The Only Way Is Essex’s tattooed eyebrow are almost a part of Amy Childs’ style as the notorious vajazzle. The Duchess of Cambridge’s brow, termed a scouse brow, may be included in the brow revolution.

Brows have always had trends dating back to Cleopatra’s carbon-lined brows. The pencil-like styles of Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s, Audrey Hepburn’s thick brows to emphasise her doe eyes in the 1950s, Marie Helvin’s glossy brows in the 1970s, and Brooke Shields’ bushy brows in the 1980s. Growing up in the 1990s, the pencil-thin look was all the rage, as were celebs like Pamela Anderson and Drew Barrymore. I plucked mine to almost nothing and proceeded to draw them in kohl. The noughties went further. The likes of Sophie Ellis-Bextor or model Lara Stone had squeaky-clean skin with brows as an afterthought.Over the 20 years since then, I’ve diligently, painstakingly grown mine back. Brows were formerly an afterthought in aesthetics, but they are now a focal point. Refinery29’s fashion and beauty editor, Alice Casely-Hayford, believes brow features are generally popular on the site because “post-Cara, everyone worries about their brows.” I don’t wear much makeup, but I have my brows done every 30 days. It’s my biggest beauty indulgence, and God forbid she [the beauty therapist] takes too much off.”

If Delevingne represents one face of brows, the overall look could indicate a broadening of the beauty standard beyond blonde and caucasian. According to Delbar, brow attractiveness has long been a concern in the Middle East. “Threading and the thick brow have a pedigree in Asian and Arab communities while the thin brow does not,” explains Anna-Marie Solowij, beauty editor and co-founder of Beautymart. “Those cultures have shaped strong brows.” Bailey describes the Middle East as influential: “It’s really exciting for me to go there. Brows have been enormous for a long time there.” One of his major influences is Kuwaiti-based beauty blogger Dalalid, who has 1.8 million Instagram followers and avatar-like brows. Meanwhile, Patia of Browhaus believes the so-called Korean brow, which is straighter yet robust, is gaining trend.

Because threading started in India, women of Indian heritage dominate the brow industry. Vaishaly Patel, the woman credited with popularising threading in the UK, and Holmes Patel are both of Indian descent. Reema Khan, an Indian-born entrepreneur, founded Shapes, a brow threading establishment worth more than $14 million (£10.8 million). Vanita Parti of Blink Brows, whose parents are from India, is featured in the most recent issue of Gentlewoman magazine. She says most therapists at her 22 brow bars are Indian or Nepalese.

Age is also a factor in the brow boom – or the sweet spot on a Venn diagram where thirty something women out to thicken their brows (notably more youthful than a thin or sparse brow) meet the post-Delevingne generation that has ditched the tweezers and gone straight to the salon. “I don’t think my niece, in the fifth grade, will ever pluck her eyebrows,” says Bailey, “and not just because she’s my niece. Young girls are being warned by their mothers who over-tweezed in the 90s.” “There are lots of debates on forums about whether girls 15 or 16 should get Brazilian waxes,” says Solowij. “It is a moot point because they are, along with blow dries and mani-pedis. You can raise your brows to that.” According to the therapists, teenagers are now regular at all of the salons I visit, though they won’t be treated until they are 16.Ariel Levy wrote in Female Chauvinist Pigs in 2005 about teenage girls’ clothing and grooming as “a kind of Sisyphean chore” to engage and hold men’s attention. With the addition of social media to the mix more than a decade later, the perceived level of grooming required has skyrocketed. Treatwell’s Hambleton admits: “There’s an increased expectation on women and men to seem groomed at all times,” says Hambleton of Treatwell. Contouring, a makeup technique first used by drag artists to feminise features with shadow and concealer, is now standard for twentysomethings who grew up watching reality TV stars on Towie and Keeping Up with the Kardashians and scrolling through a constant stream of Glam Squad-created “selfies” on Instagram. Are brows part of cartoon-like femininity aimed at a phone screen rather than real life?

Victoria Anderson, a social media researcher at Cardiff University, believes that brows are a component of the power play that underpins every selfie. She indicates the Latin word for brow, supercilium. “It’s the supercilious source,’ a way of being superior and looking down on others,” she explains. “That’s mapped into the selfie culture, where there’s an image to show the world that you have status and power.” In the 2010s, the profile of the brow and the selfie grew concurrently, with selfie queens such as Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Cara Delevingne all sporting power brows. Still, Anderson sees a link between brows and authority dating back to Dietrich’s time. “All these women were about control of their image,” she says. “With those Hollywood women, there was a weight behind them. Without sounding judgmental, there’s a lot of emptiness in these images [selfies].”

If this is some of the cultural meaning of brows, they are a minor toe-dip into this outer beauty world for most women. “Women are aware that they will be observed and judged at any time,” Anderson says. “This is not only the male gaze but also the peer gaze.” “Brows represent power and self-definition.” Most of the ladies I know have a brow story and an obsession. They’re the talk of the bar – a beauty obsession that might be part of an objectified Identikit face made for guys but isn’t normally on the male radar on its own. “My friends who have no interest in fashion are engaging with beauty more, especially brows,” says Refinery29’s Caseley-Hayford. “False lashes and lip fillers, as seen on the Kardashians, are not for everyone. But everyone can do their brows.”

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Company Name: LA Eyebrows
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Phone: (02) 9389 0665
Address:90 Bronte Rd
City: Bondi Junction
State: New South Wales 2022
Country: Australia

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