Oh So Abrowsing....

A magazine cover from 1945. Available on a poster from   All Posters.com  Rather  super  I think.

When we do our make up, we might think about eyes and lips, may be our cheeks, but do you give your eyebrows some time and attention? Yes your eyebrows, those things on your face that actually frame your eyes. I'm passionate about eyebrows. Odd thing to say I know, but including your eyebrows as part of your make up routine really will add that final touch look to complete your face, and when it comes to a vintage inspired face the eyebrows shouldn't be left out.

When I work with clients and run workshops with The Historical Sauces so many say they do nothing with their eyebrows apart from perhaps plucking to keep them tidy. Plucking, now there's something I'd like to talk to my seventeen year old self about! My eyebrows are now fairly thin thanks to years of plucking - they're not too bad to be honest, but because they are quite fair they can look quite faint. Some girls would shave theirs off! Thank goodness I only armed myself with tweezers!

When we talk about the history of how people looked in decades gone by, we're referring to the typical/popular look of the time. Not everyone looked the same or followed the trends, just as they don't today, but here are some typical looks for eyebrows of times gone by. 

If the thought of someone shaving their eyebrows off filled you with terror, well I have to say that whilst the girls in my teenage years may have thought they were reinventing the eyebrow, they weren't. It wasn't at all unheard of for women to shave of their eyebrows and just draw some new ones on! In fact it was the norm....


The twenties eyebrow was very thin. The glamour of the big screen has always influenced fashion and with silent movies conveying emotions and drama by expression rather than words, the actresses of this time wore dramatic make up. The eyebrows were often quite straight, long and swept downwards to the temple, making the actresses look pensive. Handy when you're playing a damsel in distress.

Clara Bow
This might not one of the most wearable eyebrows today, so when I create a twenties brow I keep it thin (without further plucking!) but arch it. If you're going to a fancy dress party as a silent movie actress then by all means copy this look to the letter, but if you aspire to a twenties influenced or flapper look for an evening out where you're dressed up (which is a very different thing to fancy dress), then personally I'd shape a round arch in the brow, even just a little which would make it a bit more thirties but you'll still get the look. 


The classic thirties brow was still thin but much rounder in shape, whilst the twenties brow could make the face look anxious, the thirties brow was often worn high and often gave a look of surprise or in Marlene Dietrich's case, a knowing confidence. For me, she was simply just the most beautiful creature. Seemingly straight faced and often expressionless, she still manages to convey so much. 

Marlene Dietrich
Jean Harlow
Although many movie stars were wearing the brows thin, there's plenty of images around that show thicker brows being sported but still in that round arch shape. Again you can make this a look that's very wearable today by drawing/colouring the brow into a round shape, extending at the ends as required.  


Veronica Lake may be famous for her peekaboo hair style but she also sported beautiful eyebrows too. Eyebrows became fuller, but were still well groomed. A completely wearable look today and you may even sport what could easily be a forties eyebrow without it being intentional. 

Veronica Lake
Lauren Bacall


 The fifties, my personal favourite of the eyebrow fashions. Everything went pointy in the fifties. Bras, the cupids bow and the eyebrow arch. I adore both Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor and I also adore their eyebrows too. Groomed, neat and beautifully arched. A shape that with a little practice is easily achieved with help of make up. 

Elizabeth Taylor

A typical fifties brow has a very defined arch. For me to get this shape on my own brows, I have to use make up to thicken my eyebrows and create a shape that isn't quite there. Next week I'll get my eyebrows naked for you (oo-er!) and I'll show you how I create my brows and what products I like to use. I think you'll be surprised at the before and after!


  1. Brilliant post! I like the focus on eyebrows...and I can't wait to see how you shape the eyebrows in your next post! Have a fabulous weekend!
    May x

  2. Eyebrows are my big thing too. I could go out with no make up on whatsoever if my eyebrows are done. I love the boldness of the 50s brows but I just can't pull it off so mine are more 40s

  3. I love a bold brow! As you say they frame your face and can make a huge difference to your overall look.

    You picked some gorgeous pics here, love em all! Though I won't be trying the 'silent screen' brow any time soon!


  4. I massacred my brows in the 90s. I have to pencil them in now, especially for a 60s/70s heavy eye make up look. Even modern, I'd look shocked without brow pencil.

  5. Fantastic, people definitely underestimate nicely shaped eyebrows! I feel my make-up doesn't look finished until my eyebrows have been done :)
    I'm also known for going up to strange women and complimenting their eyebrows haha
    Lovely blog xXx

  6. I totally agree with you, I've been big on filling in my brows for years and I've had many a compliment over time so I guess what you say is true: people notice a good brow. I go for a more 40's look, but I absolutely love the 30's brow, just gorgeous! x

  7. wow i see what you mean about the 50s pointy brow! i am loving that! totally having a go...! also the image of lauren bacall with quite a thick brow is gorgeous. how would someone with thicker brows who does not wish to pluck (ive only managed to grow them out from teenage overplucking during the last year) create a 20s look, for example? This is great, thankyou! Xx

  8. ooh i just tried to leave a comment but it has disappeared! I will try again: I am loving the pointy 50s brow look! I will defo be having a go at that one. how would someone who does not wish to pluck (my brows have only just recovered from teenage overplucking during the last year!) create a 20s look, for example? this is great, thankyou Xx


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