I’ve known since my days of over-plucking in the '90s that eyebrows are not just statement pieces on our faces. Done right, eyebrows are like a good bra—they give you definition, support and confidence. Yet, so many of us have a hard time understanding what eyebrow shape works best for our faces.
This led me to an idea. What if I covered up my natural eyebrows using a ton of makeup, and then, for research purposes, draw on new eyebrows in various different shapes and walked around in public, all so I could report my experiences back to you?
I’m always down to exploit myself for educational purposes. Trust me when I say that this experiment taught me a lot about eyebrows. Here's how it went down.
Eyebrow No. 1: “The Chola”
The method I used to cover my eyebrows was not as easy as it looked online. I used my son’s old glue stick, translucent powder and concealer, and when that didn’t work, I added on foundation, white eyeliner and clown makeup. It took me two tries and dubious amounts of clown makeup to get my black eyebrows to sort of disappear.
Once I had a mostly blank canvas, I went straight for the black sharpie. Just kidding. I’m not chola enough to even think about putting permanent marker on my forehead. Instead, I drew a pair of super thin, super pointy eyebrows well above my natural brow line using a dark color eyebrow powder.
Then, like the boss bitch I was, I walked in to my doctor’s office and signed in for my appointment. Like true professionals, once the staff took a precursory, horrified glance at my face, they were all business as usual. I so badly wanted to explain my eyebrows, especially when my nutritionist walked past and gave me a smile that said, “Oh honey, those eyebrows are a mistake!”
I sent a text to my husband, thinking that he would laugh along with me. Instead, he found them attractive. #Weirdo.
On my way home, I received an emergency call from my son, telling me he forgot his lunch.
“No worries,” I told him. “I’ll bring one to you.” What I didn’t tell him was that I would also bring my second set of eyebrows along with me.
Eyebrow No. 2: “Caterpillars on my Face”
I had limited time before I had to get to the school, so I decided the quickest eyebrow I could draw would be the super-thick eyebrow. I have to admit, I kind of liked them.
I decided to surprise my son with an upgraded lunch of supermarket sushi, giving me an opportunity to walk through my local grocery store and observe how other shoppers reacted to my new look. At one point, a young woman pushing an empty cart started giggling and tried (unsuccessfully) to suppress her laughter. When she couldn’t, she looked down. It took just about everything I had to remain focused on my mission. I may have let a small chuckle escape my lips, but in the end, I prevailed.
When I pulled up at my son’s school, numerous kids stared as they walked past. When my son approached me the first words out of his mouth were: “Oh my god! Your eyebrows!” Surprisingly, he didn’t seem embarrassed to be seen with me. I raised a good one.
By the time I left, my eyebrows were starting to feel heavy and cakey. I was ready to take them off.
Eyebrow No. 3: “Reverse Brows”
It was the next morning and I had a scheduled appointment for blood work at a nearby lab. I decided it would be a great time to test out a new set of eyebrows.
I chose an easy-to-draw eyebrow that I had recently seen on an internet meme shared on Facebook: upside-down eyebrows.
Immediately after drawing them on, I felt stupid. I had to muster all my self-respect to walk out of my front door, get in my car and drive down to the laboratory. Of course, on the way there, anyone who happened to look at me stared, and a few pointed directly at me.
Once I arrived in the building, I walked past a woman waiting for an elevator. As soon as I turned the corner I heard her say, “Huh. I certainly wouldn’t do that!”
Inside, the lab the staff was just like the staff at my own doctor’s office. In fact, it was probably more difficult for me to keep a straight face and act normal than it was for them. Once back in the safety of my car, I texted my husband and sons a picture of my brows. Their responses were not surprising in slightest: "You look crazy, woman" and "Mom, please stop."
Once I got home, I decided to try on another eyebrow—one that reminded me of my childhood.
Eyebrow No. 4: “The Unibrow”
Being naturally hairy, I was once the unwitting wearer of a unibrow until a mean kid in fourth grade informed me of my single-brow travesty. I never thought I would be willing to sport a unibrow again. Apparently, I didn’t know myself that well.
I waited for my son to call me after he finished track practice and then went to pick him up. My son told me he absolutely loved the unibrow. It was both funny and, strangely, a bit adorable. I kind of agree with him. My son’s girlfriend told me that I reminded her of Helga Brunhilda from "Hey Arnold." All my fantasies about looking Frida Kahlo-esque went out the window.
Once I got home, I decided to take a few days off and let my own brows take a breather. It was time well spent, since I discovered the last set of eyebrows that I had to try before my experiment came to an end.
Eyebrow No. 5: “Brows of the Future”
The perfect opportunity came at a volunteering get-together I was having at my house. Friends, acquaintances and husbands unknown-to-me came over to help my husband and I sort through a garage full of donated items that would later be distributed to families in need.
Obviously that would be a great audience for me to wear the last set of eyebrows. Once I got them on, I have to admit, I felt kind of sexy. My guests had a different reaction.
Most of them, even the ones that knew me, were surprised. The few in attendance that didn’t know me looked genuinely terrified that I was insane. In the middle of the event, I excused myself to run to the bathroom where I added a small, curly twist to my dotted brows. When I returned the party, as expected, everyone had a good laugh.
At the end, I was happy to return to my normal, slightly over-plucked eyebrow look. I expected my face to retaliate by erupting in a thousand pimples, but thankfully, I just got one.
The Best Brows
I spoke with Denise Rivera, a cosmetologist and makeup artist who writes about beauty and everyday life on her blog Life 'n' Lashes. I wanted to know how women could find their best eyebrow shape without having to resort to insanity, like I had.
Her advice included finding the natural start and stop points of your eyebrows by using your eyes and nose to measure.
“Eyebrows should never exceed the line of your nose, or go past the outer corner of your eye,” she warned.
She also explained in her recent blog post about eyebrows how important it is to know your face shape before landscaping your brows. But she doesn’t want those of us with imperfect brows to feel bad.
“Don't worry if your eyebrows are not shaped exactly right, or they are over-plucked. Even if you don’t have the perfect arch, you can fill them in with eyebrow powder and get a great look. Having a natural-looking eyebrow is key.”
Or, you could dismiss the good advice and do whatever you want with your brows. I'll admit, it was pretty fun.