Bad Brows: Don’t Let It Happen To YOU!

Published on March 22, 2014 by   ·   1 Comment

0000000 Brow Don't LetTo start, let me just say that I fully admit that I do some crazy shit with my eyebrows, namely covering them over with gluestick and powder and drawing them back onto my forehead!  And they are never quite even; a fabulous makeup maven I was chatting with before the “Cancer Is A Drag” show in Wayne’Merica said it best: “Eyebrows are sisters, not twins!”  So clearly I am all about the change and transformation of eyebrows.

However, there seems to be an idea out there that anything and everything that can be done to eyebrows, should be done.  This is definitely not the case.  Just because you can draw your eyebrows on in flat lines with a Sharpie marker doesn’t mean that you should.  What exactly is going on in the upper eye/lower forehead region?

What inspired this was a Smoosh posting: 21 Girls Who Don’t Know What Eyebrows Are Supposed To Look Like.  This post includes a parade of tragic and terrible forehead caterpillars that are almost impossible to believe (Except for #5, which I actually kind of like.  There’s something artsy and fun about a stenciled brow, and at least you can tell she’s purposely not trying for a natural brow look).

So here are my thoughts on the DOs and DON’Ts of eyebrow maintenance and transformation:

1.  Like they say in Miss Congeniality: “Eyebrows: there should be two!” No matter what kind of hot mess brows the ladies in the post above may be rocking, at least none of them is rocking a unibrow (although some do come pretty close).  No one of any gender should ever be seen in public with a full-on unibrow.  Just don’t.

0000000 Brow Unibrow

2.  Colored brows are ok, as long as it’s a look you commit to.  If you are doing the “natural look” and put on a Little House on the Prairie dress, but then suddenly paint on a hot pink brow, someone needs to slap your face.  But if you are a colorful diva with a lot of attitude (and bravery!), I think a colored brow can be a fun “accessory” to a well designed face.  I included a post with colored brows on my article about the Queen of Blending [Available HERE]; below is another great video featuring a colored brow.

3.  Single-pencil-width eyebrows are the devil, especially if you can’t draw them on straight.  For me, there are two things that are absolutely essential for a good brow: a fabulous arch and a little bit more width at the start (near the nose) than it has at the end.  Even if you are creating an avante garde look, you want to at least have a nod to these brow conventions.

0000000 Brow Single Line

4.  On the flip side, I’ve seen way too many chunky eyebrows.  Yes, there should be a little width to them and brows don’t need to be plucked into near oblivion like in other eras, but the block eyebrow look is just tacky.

0000000 Brow Thick

Combine the blocky eyebrow with a bad arch (or in this case an arch/curve hybrid hot mess) and you get some really tragic brows.  This pic may be giving her credit for all kinds of emotions, but I only get one emotion from bad brows: disgust!

0000000 Brow Too Many Emotions

Here’s another example…just for funzies.  Seriously?

0000000 Brow Too Thick

5. Regarding the arch, I mean exactly that: it should be an arch.  Not a straight line, not a semi-circle.  An arch.  It should ascend, come to a peak, and then make its descent.  I’ve seen a lot of semi-circle eyebrows out there and here is the truth, ladies: it just makes you look like a creepy doll or a ventriloquist’s dummy.  It’s not a glamour choice.  Ever.

0000000 Brow Vent Dummy

6.  The stenciled brow: dangerous territory.  On the one hand, I like a more editorial look sometimes where the brow is stenciled on in a way that is artistic and graceful and contributes to the whole look.  This, however, is not wholesale license to just draw shit on your face.  If your idea of stenciled brows includes drawing pictures of cats where your brows used to be, you need to take a long, hard look at your life choices.

0000000 Brow Cats

7.  So, permanent makeup is a thing.  I’m not sure where it came from or who thought it was a good idea, but one thing is for certain: if you are going to get eyebrows tattooed on, please consider getting actual eyebrows and not words.  I’m looking at you, fellas:

0000000 Brow Tattoo Fail

0000000 Brow Tat Fail

8.  Don’t be afraid to take risks – and to live with the consequences!  These Dos and Don’ts are just guidelines, and while they can help you from looking a fool at the office party, they aren’t going to push you to find the next fabulous, crazy, editorial makeup look.  One of my biggest drag-spirations is Divine and the late makeup artist Van Johnson, who created Divine’s signature looks, including the bizarre makeup look from Pink Flamingos:

0000000 Brow Divine

John Waters once said in an interview that he wanted Divine to be “the Godzilla of Drag.”  Divine was performing in a time when all drag queens just wanted to look like women, take part in beauty pageants, and look alike.  Divine wanted no part of that…and drag queens at the time wanted no part of Divine!  But if Divine hadn’t pushed the envelope and made crazy choices and been willing to be looked on with suspicion and fear by other performers, then the art of drag might never have evolved past that “passing” mentality.  So take some risks and try new things – but be ready for people to not understand and be vocally critical of what you are doing.  If you believe in it, then stand behind it.

Unless it’s a unibrow.  That’s just unforgiveable.

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

0000000 Brow Chart

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