Why more and more people are shaving their eyebrows and how to do it yourself | ET REALITY


There is something distinctly strange about shaved eyebrows: their presence, or rather their absence, challenges our expectations of what a face should look like. And, in fact, for much of the last century, they were a sign of deviation from the norm, either because a person could not fit in or because they refused to do so. Take drag queen Divine, who in filmmaker John Waters’ 1972 trash epic, “Pink Flamingos,” struts down a Baltimore sidewalk in a skin-tight wrap dress, slingback heels, and a pair of impossibly arched eyebrows. She’s undeniably glamorous, but her eyebrows, painted by makeup artist and costume designer Van Smith, who first removed Divine’s natural ones along with part of her hairline, give her face a permanent glow, as if underscoring Divine’s self-proclaimed status. your character. her as “the dirtiest person in the world.”

But if shaved eyebrows once announced membership in a transgressive subculture (goths and punks, like drag queens, adopted them a long time ago), today the taboo is fading. British actress Jodie Turner-Smith He said goodbye to his eyebrows in 2022, probably for a role.; model Amelia Hamlin made headlines last fall when he shaved his for a magazine photo shoot; and actress Mia Goth’s barely natural eyebrows have imitators inspired to shave theirs. Then there’s musician Doja Cat, who took it off during an Instagram live stream last year. Her red carpet style, which previously stuck to a conventionally feminine aesthetic, has become more extravagant and gender-agnostic in the year since: In January, she appeared on the Schiaparelli catwalk in Paris painted scarlet and adorned with Swarovski crystals; At the Viktor & Rolf show, she wore eyebrows and a goatee made from clipped false eyelashes: a delightful drag king flourish. Removing your eyebrows may be a relatively small act of bodily autonomy but, as the rapper’s career seems to suggest, it can leave room for your more experimental impulses to emerge.

And those impulses seem to be spreading. Currently, videos on TikTok related to shaved eyebrows have nearly 100 million views in total, and their creators range from well-groomed beauty influencers to seemingly bored teenagers in hoodies. Instead of their natural hair, they could draw with fierce bows; wide, rounded arches inspired by the 90s; or even little floating circles, if they draw anything. In particular, the trend coincides with the increase in independent work and remote work; Traditional interpretations of what is and is not appropriate for the position are, perhaps, following the same path as the position itself. The makeup artist and performer Laila McQueen also speculates that the mainstreaming of drag culture, through popular shows like “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Dragula,” has significantly shaped today’s beauty industry. “Makeup trends are much more ostentatious than they used to be,” he says. Many content creators will challenge themselves to recreate the look of a specific queen, like Barbie’s Trixie Mattel signature makeup and the Rorschach test, and shaving your eyebrows is a way to expand the surface area you have. to play. “When you change your eyebrows, you change the shape of your face,” says McQueen. “And if you can do that, you can really change anything.”

This desire to enhance our facial expressions by altering our eyebrows. It is not new. Ancient Egyptians of all genders removed their natural eyebrows and painted on more dramatic, wider arches, says Rachael Gibson, 39, the London-based writer behind the Instagram account @thehairhistorian. A similar practice, known as Hikimayu, was popular among men and women during the Japanese era. Heian period, between the 8th and 12th centuries. Practitioners replaced their eyebrows with stylized black shapes, ranging from thin arches to cloudy spots, placing them higher on the forehead, Gibson explains. And in the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I was known for plucking her eyebrows to the point of eliminating them, along with the front part of her hairline. “The ideal beauty standard of the time was essentially a bald egg white capped by red hair,” says Gibson, “and only one very thin, barely visible eyebrow.”

In contrast, the most popular brow style today, exemplified by Bella Hadid’s, whose brows slant inward at approximately 45 degrees, is angular and severe. To achieve the effect, some people turn to a cosmetic or surgical intervention, such as a fox eye canthoplasty, which removes sagging skin while tilting the eye toward a more almond shape, or a standard brow lift. But “shaving your eyebrows is definitely a cheaper and generally safer method,” says Gary. Linkov, 37 years old, plastic surgeon based in New York. To mimic the lifting of an injection or incision, some people – especially followers of the clean girl aesthetic, a minimalist makeup style that has gained popularity on TikTok – has started shaving the outer tails of his eyebrows and then redrawing them at a higher angle, making his face look as if it is tense. “Don’t get Botox, just shave your eyebrows,” the 27-year-old said. Makeup artist and cosplay artist Eleanor Barnes (known by her name, @snitchery), captioned a recent video.

Perhaps not surprisingly, shaved eyebrows have proliferated on social media, where a person’s face is often their currency. In the midst of a multitude of people, many of them filtered to inhuman perfection, an appearance of subversive beauty can attract attention, subscribers, sponsors and, ironically, enough imitators that a once rebellious act soon becomes something common. But there may still be something radical about the appearance. Divine wasn’t simply trying to attract an audience in that “Pink Flamingos” scene. She was also bringing her own personal fantasy to life, disturbing the calm of a suburban road to be the dirtiest, freest version of herself. If your eyebrows anchor your face, removing them can leave you adrift, and how liberating it is to decide exactly where you’d like to go next.

Model and makeup artist: Raisa Flowers at EDMA Hair by Jadis Jolie at EDMA Makeup assistant: Eunice Kristen. Camera assistant: Timothy Mulcare. Editor: Bobby Davidson.

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