Brow Psychology: Are Your Eyebrows Telling People They Can Yell At You?
Sadie* used to come and see me to get her brows done. I was a designer and it was like, SO CHIC (uhm, it was also a long time ago). Most of the women were tricked out and had at-ti-tude for days, which I loved. We’d gossip about red lipstick and their husbands (GOLD). Those days were my training in women FOR RILL, and it was a wicked blast. Seriously, who knows how to party better than a woman at a beauty salon?!
But, then it was sometimes a bit sad. On the first appointment, women would look up at me with their “problem” brows, and listen I knew they weren’t trying to emote this -- but often they looked really insecure.
I’ll tell you about Sadie. She worked at a library and had a 15-year-old daughter (who was too gorgeous for her own good), and she had a hard time. People were not respecting her. At work, her daughter, her husband (jerk) and even clerks at stores. We bonded obviously. I love people who are real with me and being vulnerable is the REALEST.
But listen, Sadie had these eyebrows that just said, “I don’t know what I want, who I am, or how to do it. Please hurt me, I deserve it.” She was a CAPABLE woman but her eyebrows were total jerks that were telling people otherwise.
We all know how important eyebrows are, yadda yadda yadda. But let me tell you, I worked for years with women as their eyebrow stylist/therapist and these top 4 egregious eyebrow mistakes are COMMON.
These brows emote fear or sadness. People look at you and see someone who is NOT QUITE sure. Even if you don’t think this makes a difference, it does.
You can try one of the looks below for a day to see, or you can just believe me -- it’s easier. So, basically it’s your run of the mill over-tweezed brow with EXTRA TAKEN OUT atop the arch and at the front. It’s like you don’t even think you deserve brows. See? The thin brow is always an insecure one, but the archless brow is next level. Firm NO.
A surprised-slash-fearful look. This is a result of too much hair removed from under the brow. If you don’t have a natural arch, you look surprised. If the lucky winner has a natural arch, it reads as fear. Either way, WHY would you want to tell people you feel those emotions on the regular? These brows are often so high that it seems like you didn’t know where to put them. NO! YOU ARE INTERESTING AND SMART YOU CAN FIGURE OUT WHERE TO PUT YOUR EYEBROWS.
Our third look is more expressionless than anything. You know when someone completely removes the whole tail of their eyebrow? This is that. It is like a little straight line atop the brow and it is zero parts appealing. It is unsure of itself and this is not sexy. Confidence, babes.
This is not an insecure look; it’s a frightening one. This woman is challenging everyone she meets. Which is cool if that’s how you want to look. But empathy is pretty important in human contact, too. This look is usually easy to fix. Often it’s too much brow powder (or if you are using a pencil, switching to a powder can help soften the look). Sometimes it’s just the lines that are too straight which can be softened by switching to tweezing (threading often creates a straight line). Or the arch is too high and really there is only one sexy way to be too high (and it usually involves perfect eyebrows). Again, hard NO.
Should we epilogue it? We regrew Sadie’s eyebrows and tweezed in an arch. She came in every 3 weeks for about a year (COMMITMENT YO) and the beginning was hard. She was so used to tweezing those hairs out like brow S&M, that it was EMOTIONAL. But they came back, and you know what? Her inflection changed. Her actual voice was different.
She was stronger, decisive and firm with her daughter and with the staff. I SAW this transformation. People stopped assuming they could trample her because she didn’t look at you like she was asking if she could exist. And she rose to the challenge.
Yah yah yah, correlation is not causation etc. The eyebrow change could have been the result of a personality change in progress. It doesn’t matter -- the brows were a part of it and they might be for you too. I’m not trying to stand here and tell you to make your eyebrows like someone else’s. Just don’t tweeze your face into an emoticon! Duh!
Serious bizness, baby. So what do YOU think? Are your eyebrows so taken advantage of that your boss thinks he can ask you to stay late? Are you telling people something with your eyebrows that you don’t want to? Need advice on brow fixes? Post a pic. Could I write a thesis on this? SEND ME YOUR SUPPORT OR CRITICISM, I can handle it -- my brows are ready.
*Name has been changed to protect the innocent (the innocent being ME because I don’t remember her name).