A History of Eyebrows, Part 2: 1970's-Today

An examination of eyebrow trends from the later part of the 20th century to now.
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eyebrows ELLE

Photo: ELLE

Last time, we saw how eyebrows evolved from the thinnest of curves in the 1920s into the bolder arches of the '50s and '60s. You might think we covered all the shapes and sizes in-between, but of course, fashion and beauty never stop changing.

Here's a look at how eyebrow trends have changed from the groovy '70s to today:

The '70s

70s eyebrow trends

Jennifer O'Neill, Ali Macgraw, and Diana Ross | Photo Credits: 1, 2 (screenshot from The Getaway), 3

During this decade, the hippie movement made waves, and for the first time in the century, a completely natural look became popular. Women wore very simple makeup, and to match their fresh faces, usually kept their natural eyebrow shape, with little to no plucking or shaping. 

A different brow trend also became common for '70s disco-goers: ones that were thinner and super-high up. This shape drew attention to the upper half of the face, and created more space above the eyelids to show off sparkly eye shadows and lengthy lashes. 

The '80s

80s eyebrow trends

Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Brooke Shields | Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

Thick brows were back again in the '80s, but unlike the '50s and '60s, perfectly shaped brows were not the style. Instead, stars like Brooke Shields and Madonna led the movement as bushy, unkempt "caterpillar" eyebrows became all the rage.

This look was perhaps an intensified continuation of the natural brow look from the '70s. To achieve a "messier" look, it became a common practice to brush individual hairs upwards and out of place.

The '90s

90s eyebrow trends

Kate Moss, Pamela Anderson, and Drew Barrymore | Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

In the '90s, eyebrows took a 180, and in much contrast to the previous decade, pencil thin brows with curved arches were in again. Brows were plucked, then plucked again, giving some a perpetually surprised look. This trend was worn most famously by celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Pamela Anderson.

The 2000s - Now

2010 eyebrow trends

Zac Posen Runway, Cara Delevingne, Lilly Collins | Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

By the turn of the century, the tweezing and plucking calmed down a bit, and eyebrows were worn with a more natural shape, though they were still quite thin. The shading stayed on the lighter side, and eyebrows stepped down from the spotlight for a while. 

All that changed in the early 2010s when the current queen of eyebrows, Cara Delevingne, showed up in the modeling world and wowed us all. We've seen a number of takes on bold brows. Some are perfectly shaped and shaded, while others are bushy, proud, and reminiscent of the '80s. Either way, big, face-defining brows are back again, and we're loving it. 

What do you think?

How long do you think bold brows will be popular? What's next when it comes to eyebrow trends? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!

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