Eyebrow Fashion: Arches are Out, Straight Brows are In

The arches have fallen! But it’s not a case for a podiatrist – it’s a continuing trend that may redefine how we understand our eyebrows. According to a recent report in Clinical Plastic Surgery, it seems that the fashionability of arched eyebrows has been on a downward decline for 60 years.

Melissa Rudy, a columnist on RealSelf.com, argues this trend can already be seen in the younger generation of female celebrities. You don’t have to look any farther than Emma Watson, Camilla Belle, and Anne Hathaway – fashion-forward starlets with full, expressive eyebrows. They defy the conventions of razor-thin brows that were more popular in previous generations.

At least one plastic surgeon, interviewed by the UK Independent, chalks these changes up to broader social trends:

“Upward curvature of the eyebrows was considered to be an attractive feminine feature in the past. We are finding that more and more women are looking for a flatter, straighter, more masculine look. I think it has to do with the increasing equality of the sexes. Women are subconsciously favouring a masculine brow.

— Mark Soldin, MD

To achieve this fashionable “lowbrow look,” many women are considering cosmetic procedures that can straighten their eyebrows. Since plastic surgeons have traditionally used the brow lift (and similar surgeries) to move the eyebrows in the other direction, many surgeons will probably need to adapt their techniques to match this increasingly popular style.

But there are other techniques that can work just as well. Hair transplants, as Rudy points out, can be used to enhance the appearance of thinned eyebrows. Botox can be used to reduce eyebrow arches by targeting specific facial muscles.

Of course, it also bears mentioning that the study – which was based on an analysis of Western print media between 1945 and 2011 – measures general trends over time. You’ll want to consider your own facial structure before applying these study results to your own appearance.