From Clara Bow to Cara Delevingne; the evolution of eyebrows

I’ve always been a fan of bold brows; they frame the face and exude absolute glamour. Cara Delevingne, it would appear, is of the same opinion.

Her thick, oversized brows have captured the world’s attention, and are becoming something of an entity unto themselves. Indeed, those thick, angular lines are shaping the modern face of beauty.


Cara Delevingne’s bushy brows are in vogue… and every other fashion magazine out there (image: Getty)


Big brows have been coming back into style for a while now, but Cara’s arrival on the scene has cemented their status as a beauty-must. Why they ever went out of fashion is beyond me; strong, well-groomed eyebrows give a powerful edge to any face. Sultry yet slightly stern, they compliment a smile as well as they do a withering glance.

Cara recently Tweeted vintage photos of her 101 year old grandma (also a model in her youth) sporting a set of striking eyebrows not dissimilar to her granddaughter’s. These snaps prove that bushy brows have been in vogue before, but this hasn’t always been the case…

Looks like Cara Delevingne's got her grandmother to thank for those trademark eyebrows (Image: Instagram/CaraDelevingne)

Looks like Cara Delevingne’s got her grandmother to thank for those trademark eyebrows (Image: Instagram/CaraDelevingne)

Eyebrows have taken on a variety of forms over the past century, evolving dramatically across the decades. Just have a look!


Silent film star, Clara Bow, who epitomised the flapper era, favoured thin, straight eyebrows which were very fashionable during this decade. This style is all a bit too pantomime-esque and sad-looking for my liking. Moving on!


Clara Bow favoured thin eyebrows in the 1920s (image: Getty)




As can be seen in this photo of Marlene Dietrich, eyebrows were still thin at this point but far more rounded. Women often gave their eyebrows a ‘shiny’ finish by applying petroleum jelly, brillantine or olive oil.


Marlene Dietrich’s perfectly arched brows, 1930s (image: Getty)



Enter the Golden Era. Eyebrows became thicker, but were tweezed to form high, striking arches. They were also accentuated with dark brown pencil. Take heed from Lauren Bacall:


Foxy! Lauren Bacall looks striking in this 1940s snap (image: Getty)



By now, brows were thick, well-defined, and more angular than ever before. Generally, the inner corners were thicker, and either rounded or squared, and the outer corners were groomed into fine points. Think Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Jane Russell (pictured).


The very handsome Jane Russell (image: Getty)



The swinging era was all about feline brows, as can be seen in this photo of model and actress Jean Shrimpton. By this decade, women were regularly filling in or accentuating their eyebrows with pencil – some even shaved them off only to draw them back on again!


The world’s first supermodel, Jean Shrimpton (image: Getty)



By this period it was high time for a softer, lighter, more natural look – one to match the hippie vibes and flower power. Charlie’s Angels gal and ultimate 70s icon, Farrah Fawcett, aced this look (admittedly the hair helped).


Charlie’s Angels, girls on top! Farrah Fawcett circa 1970s (image: Getty)



Thick, dark, and with upward strokes; eyebrows were at their most powerful during this decade. A style which was favoured by the likes of Brooke Shields and Madonna.


Brooke Shields brought back the power brow in the 80s (image: Getty)



Groomed to the max (think Jennifer Aniston during early episodes of FRIENDS) and at times severely over-plucked (think Gwen Stefani circa No Doubt), eyebrows became super slim and began to grow further and further apart.


Gwen, these eyebrows are not a good look. There’s No Doubt about that. (image: Getty)


2000s and beyond

The rules? There are no rules! Since the dawn of the 21st century, eyebrows have been in a constant state of flux, and are continually adhering to ever-changing trends – many of which are inspired by the past. Thick brows may be all the rage right now, but who knows what’s coming next. As long as it’s not a sci-fi style set of Spock brows, I’m excited to find out!

Spock eyebrows Star Trek

To boldly go where no eyebrows have gone before (image:

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