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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 07/17/2009

No Eyebrows -- The New Black or Totally Whack?

By Liz Kelly

This morning, I read this ridonculous NY Times story about the latest trend in eyebrow grooming: removing them altogether.

Said practitioner Lauren Boyle (a fashion consultant) in the Times story:

"It's unifying. There is an asexual element to no eyebrows. We are much more accepting of the 'other' nowadays. Removing eyebrows removes a degree of expression, which makes one look less human and more cerebral, maybe even mechanical. It's an exercise in modernity."

Or, as a friend of mine put it, the no-brow look is the "perfect match to Botox if you want to be completely expressionless."

The article goes on to posit that removing one's brows may be a reflection of the economic downturn. No brows, no costly maintenance, I guess.

I ain't buying it. Ten minutes with a set of tweezers in front of the mirror is a budget-conscious option, too. And even supermodel Adriana Lima (pictured in the article) is reduced to looking like a better-complected Marilyn Manson.

Still, what better way to react to a truly dumb trend than by imagining some of our favorite celebs rocking the new look? Below, I applied my meager photo-manipulation skills to update their looks:

Clockwise from top left: Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Gerard Butler. (AP Images, Photo Illustrations by Liz Kelly)

By Liz Kelly  | July 17, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Fashion, Insta-Polls  
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You need an E: none of the above choice...

Meh, no eyebrows makes people look like lizards... and not the kind of lizards we like here on the island.

Posted by: LTL1 | July 17, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

May I also voice an objection to the look where the outer part of the brows rises stratospherically, giving the wearer a perpetually goosed look? In some cases, it may be a consequence of partial facelift surgery, in others the outer brow appears to be shaved off and the new line drawn in. Ick. Nast.

See my earlier post on the Morning Mix re Andy Warhols acolyte Jane Forth's shaven eyebrows.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Years ago, vh1's "Where Are They Now?" featured the Thompson Twins. Two of the three members were asked why they shaved their eyebrows back then.

They said something to the effect of, "It was a lark. But we didn't realize eyebrows actually served a functional purpose. Once we shaved them, every time we sweat it just poured onto our face from the top of our heads and blinded us."

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | July 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

BTW, there's an evolutionary function for eyebrows: to keep forehead sweat from rolling down into the eyes, where its salinity stings the eyeballs and partially obstructs vision. Even well-plucked/waxed brows can permit some of that to occur, by failing to divert the stream down the side of the face. I know whereof I write.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Just when you think we've maxed out on stupid ideas, here comes another. I remember reading an interview back in the '80s with the woman in Thompson Twins, where she said she had shaved off one or both eyebrows as a fashion statement, then learned the hard way what brows are for, as the sweat from her forehead ran into her eyes all the time. (Then again, maybe anyone dumb enough to follow this "trend" also has their sweat glands removed. Actually, maybe Botox stops sweat? Now that I think about it, I think I have heard of it being used for people with extreme sweat gland problems.)

Posted by: Janine1 | July 17, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

td, we both have an 11:16 AM time-stamp, proving that great minds once again think alike. Well-played!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You too, janine!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Great minds (and memories for VH1 trivia)...

Posted by: Janine1 | July 17, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I remember when people who had shaved eyebrows were just victims of slumber party pranks. Never, ever, be the first to fall asleep at a slumber party.

Posted by: hodie | July 17, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

One of the reasons Sian Phillips looked so creepy in Dune was because she had no eyebrows. I don't really need another reason. She scared me as a kid.

Posted by: DCCubefarm | July 17, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Clearly both Janine1 and I have no lives, ha ha. The Thompson Twins eyebrow story I remember. What did I have for breakfast yesterday? No clue.

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | July 17, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Sad but true, td. And hodie is right -- the one upside of my childhood insomnia was that I was always the very last person to fall asleep at the slumber party. It was a gift.

Posted by: Janine1 | July 17, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

DCCubefarm, Sian Phillips is ALWAYS scary in any role she ever plays.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

DCCubefarm, Sian Phillips is ALWAYS scary in any role she ever plays. Remember her in "I, Claudius"? Shudder!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: kabuki3 | July 17, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Without eyebrows, Angelina looks like some Star Trek alien. So does Beyonce, actually. It's freaky. Browless Jennifer Aniston looks kind of like a man.

Save the eyebrows!

Posted by: ASinMoCo | July 17, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

A supermodel shaved off her eyebrows years ago. I forget her first name, but I think her last name is McMenamy?

As for their sweat-stopping function, wow, I had no idea. Learn something new every day here on Lizard Island!

Posted by: Californian11 | July 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't WANT to look asexual and non-human. That kinda misses the point of trying to look good.

Face it, just because some celubutard does something does not mean the rest of us have to follow suit. If a celubutard goes pantiless does that mean we should too?

Posted by: epjd | July 17, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

This is actually all the rage in Puerto Rico where men are doing this as well as shaving off all their body hair. It is kinda weird.

Posted by: Mama1 | July 17, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Don't even think about shaving your eyebrows for fashion! My husband's grandmother shaved her eyebrows back in 1945 so she could draw on brows like the movie stars had and her eyebrows never grew back! She is 88 and still refuses to be seen without her drawn on eyebrows. I can't believe this is considered a fashion trend.

Posted by: cdfromwa | July 17, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I guess it looks ok to those who have an albino fetish. To normal people no eyebrows is gross.

Posted by: buffysummers | July 17, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Whoopi Goldberg doesn't seem to have eyebrows either, does she? Sad to say, those who embrace this trend look like they're undergoing chemo, but wearing a wig and artifical eyelashes.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

In the spirit of all things MJ these days, does anyone know whether he had his brows tattooed on as well as the eyeliner?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | July 17, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Eyebrow-less Angelina looks like Tilda Swinton.

Eyebrow-less Beyonce looks like Grace Jones.

Posted by: northgs | July 17, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"I don't WANT to look asexual and non-human. That kinda misses the point of trying to look good."

Too bad Donatella Versace, Joan Rivers, Priscilla Presley, the late Farrah Fawcett (RIP), the late Michael Jackson (RIP), or any number of celebs who had really bad plastic surgery and ended up as unrecognizable caricatures of their former selves, didn't get that memo.

Posted by: Californian11 | July 17, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I had no idea Halloween was supposed to come early this year.

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | July 17, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Kevyn Aucoin on "Covering the Brows" (from "Making Faces")


To achieve some of the more adventuresome looks in this is necessary to change the shape of the brows completely. This can be accomplished in two different ways.

The first is to either completely pluck or shave your brows off. Although this will give you the best surface, it does seem a high price to pay for "the Big Party"...So, if being cast in the title role of "The Marlene Dietrich Story" is not in your future plans, I suggest covering your brows.

While this is a technique mostly used by "movie stars" and "gender illusionists", "the naturalist" may find it appalling. I thought I would include it just in case you ever get the urge. This way you can have all the drama without the aftermath.

Even when you do master the application, just like Cinderella, you'll only have a few hours before it starts to show signs of wear. Still, if you have a party to go to or some other fantastic function, it can make all the difference.


eyebrow wax
eyebrow sealer
brow brush (optional)
concealer or foundation
loose powder
brow pencil


Draw over your natural brow (tweezed as you like) with sealing wax.

"Paint" over waxed brow with sealer; allow it to dry

Cover over sealed brow with foundation and lightly powder.

Then draw on any shape you like, anywhere you want.


Seems like a lot of work for something that can turn out so badly ;) But also note, he encouraged DRAWING BROWS BACK ON.

Third row down - Christina Ricci as Edith Piaf. This demonstrates why for artistic purposes (movie role, photo shoot, etc) radically changing the brow is sometimes called for, but other than that, looks like too much bother, to me.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | July 17, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"...which makes one look less human..."

Yeah! Our goal is definitely to be less human! LOL!

Posted by: cmecyclist | July 17, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

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