Why do women raze their eyebrows?

by Olivia Rossi
Your Personal Trainer

I notice eyebrows—the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly.  I’ve been an observer of eyebrows for years—guess you could say I have “eyebrow envy.”  After an unfortunate experience when I was fifteen, I’ve done my best to re-grow mine in an attempt to make them look as natural as possible as they once did.  Which brings me to the subject of this article:  Why do women “raze” their eyebrows only to pencil, tattoo or otherwise put them back?  I’ve always wondered that.

Eyebrows follow the shape of the lower margin of the brow ridges.  Their main function is to prevent sweat, water and airborne debris from falling down into the eye socket.  Moisture follows the direction of the eyebrow hairs to direct it away from the eyes.  Eyebrows also provide some shade and protection from insects.  Pretty good plan, don’t you think?

Eyebrows are a major facial feature.  They convey emotional expression and communication, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so.  You’ve seen it—one eyebrow raised in sly humor or as a secret signal, both eyebrows raised in surprise, or perhaps brought together in a frown of disapproval, anger, or query—or sometimes simply lost in thought.

Eyebrows frame your face.  If eyes are the windows to the soul, eyebrows are their window dressing.  As your hair frames your face, your eyebrows frame your eyes.  Look back at some famous faces—Ingrid Bergman of Casablanca fame refused to pluck or shave her eyebrows.  She and they were beautiful.  Lana Turner, another screen beauty, was forced to have her eyebrows shaved off for a film.  They never grew back.  We aren’t all blessed with beautiful eyebrows like Brooke Shields or the Hemmingway girls.  I have noticed that more and more actresses and models are leaving their eyebrows natural along the brow line with what appears to be minimal grooming of the strays.

Through plucking, shaving, waxing or threading, women have erased, razed, altered or enhanced their eyebrows over the centuries.  You have only to look at a little girl’s eyebrows—perhaps your own when you were young—to see how beautifully natural they are meant to be.  I’ve never understood why, as women grow up, they feel the need to remove them only to pencil them back in, often in distracting expressions that range between a state of permanent surprise, permanent anger or sometimes just permanent distraction!  Is it a rite of passage?

Eyebrows should enhance your features and your beauty, not steal, detract or overpower your beautiful self.  In the style of an old Country and Western song—“Mothers, don’t let your daughters grow up to raze eyebrows.”  Oh, I know, we don’t have that much power but it’s something to think about.  Why do women raze their eyebrows?


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