2014's Greatest Eyebrow Moments From Month to Month — Because '90s Over-Plucking Is Definitely a Thing of the Past
As a species, we've always been drunk with eyebrow love. Ancient Egyptians painted them dark out of respect for the gods; medieval women plucked them thin out of respect for their queen; flappers elongated them out of respect for themselves and their own sexual liberation. Today, we’re no less beholden to the brow — even male soldiers stationed in Afghanistan found the time and inclination to shape their arches last year. But it was in 2014 that our above-the-eye obsession reached new heights (or should I say "new thickness"?) thanks largely to girl-crush-worthy Cara Delevingne, who has solidified her position as the best bushy-brow ambassador of all time. All hail the untamed!
So as the year draws to a close, we bring you the Year of the Eyebrow. From the funny to the strange to the iconic, here are the biggest big brow moments of the past 12 months. Enjoy, and may your tweezers rest in peace.
January marks the beginning of a huge surge in the sale of eyebrow-styling products. By May, the brows will have raked in $56.7 million in the U.S. alone — a 27 percent increase from last year. Happy New Year, eyebrow enthusiasts! Also in January, the reigning Queen of Caterpillars Cara Delevingne, who has given new life to the untamed brow trend, is profiled in Vogue. “In a lifeless world of art-directed Instagrams and green-juice detoxes, Cara’s disheveled rebellion is compelling and, crucially, likeable,” says writer Violet Hendersen.
Glamour magazine sheds light on the “dark-horse” beauty trend that is eyebrow bleaching, calling out celebs like Miley Cyrus, Karlie Kloss, and Kendall Jenner for their barely there framers. Meanwhile, teen girls on Tumblr are the latest group to embrace the beauty of the bushy, comparing a thick, on-fleek eyebrow to porn.
Beauty company Billion Dollar Brows indulges a public thirst for epochal arches by publishing a piece on ”Iconic Movie Images Made Possible By Brows“ this month, including pictures of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter — because #BrowObsessed.
The strange, albeit funny, fad whereby parents draw eyebrows onto their infants’ faces with Sharpie marker hits Instagram with the appropriate hashtag #BabyEyebrows. And unlike last year’s more dramatic newborn-related brow story — you know, Kim Kardashian accused of waxing daughter North’s face — the backlash is mostly nill. In adult eyebrow news, Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke inspires a 27 percent surge in eyebrow grooming kit sales on Amazon, and science says a strong power brow game might ruin a woman’s political career.
Less than a year after she was blamed for single-handedly (single-eyebrowedly?) reigniting the big-brow craze and causing irreparable damage to the tweezer industry, Cara Delevingne tells Vogue she’d be interested in launching her own tweezer line. Oh, the hair-plucking irony. Meanwhile, the bashing of skinny brows continues.
The Atlantic examines the historical significance of eyebrows, from Frida Kahlo painting her own in order to poke fun at conventional beauty norms, to residents of the Ganga Delta in India putting eyes and brows on masks meant for the back of the head as a means of fooling Bengal tigers, a species that only attacks from behind.
Bleached eyebrows, pastel-dyed eyebrows, pierced-from-end-to-end eyebrows and shimmery eyebrows hit the runway during Fashion Week in New York and Paris. According to Elle : “The beauty spotlight isn’t going to shine anywhere else anytime soon.” Also this month, these 50 brows are named the most influential of all time by The Cut.
Everyone’s favorite icon of '80s power brow, Brooke Shields, comments on Cara Delevingne’s similar, signature look in an interview with New York Magazine’s The Cut. “Oh, I could play her mother,” she says. Cue collective knee-weakening of au-natural brow enthusiasts around the world. In other news, Renée Zellweger’s patchy eyebrows are blamed for a firestorm of social media hate after she appears in public with a drastically altered appearance. Also, Lady Gaga does this. And then this.
After a little bit of bad brow news (tattooed versions causing trauma!), brow worship returns. Taylor Swift is called the “princess of pop” by British magazine Wonderland, but with the edgy slicked-back hair and shockingly thick eyebrows she’s sporting on their cover, she is more “badass” than “princess.” How to know it’s a winning look? Queen Cara approves. Meanwhile, The New York Times shows some love for ginger brows, Kim Kardashian embraces the bleach, eyebrow transplants are a thing, and bedazzled brows carry on, nearly two years after Chanel debuted them on the runway.