Eyebrows Have a Marked Effect in Facial Expression
December 19, 1920

The newest fashion in eyebrows demands that they shall be arched. This was the form deemed most beautiful in the old days (as described in novels of a generation or longer ago) before anybody through of the plucking process for altering the natural shape of eyebrows, but for some time past, they have been made as straight as possible.

How importantly the eyebrows affect the expression of the face may easily be ascertained by any woman who will take the trouble to try a few little experiments on herself in the mirror.


First, let her efface her eyebrows altogether, with a bit of greasepaint and powder. She will be surprised to see that her visage has acquired a blank look, perhaps with a suggestion of the Chinese.

Then let her take some “gauche” (a mixture of white water-colour paint and India ink) and make for herself with a camel’s hair brush a few different styles of eyebrows – one pair at a time, of course. A wipe with a moist rag will take the stuff off. She may try them straight, moderately arched or high arched, heavy or merely ‘penciled’, and so on, successively.

She will find that each change makes a striking difference in her expression; also that one style is more becoming than any of the others.

Here is a point of much more importance than might be imagined for, in a way of speaking, women’s eyebrows do not always fit their faces. They do not always harmonize with the hair and features. Alice and Florence might both be decidedly prettier if they could exchange eyebrows.

This is a beauty queen question which has never been adequately studied — the proper relation of eyebrows for becomingness to the features, the contour of the face and the coiffure. It is a matter which beauty shop practitioners do not seem to take into view at all in the plucking treatment.

Plucking is done chiefly for symmetry – to narrow the line of the eyebrows and give it regularity. Many women seek to obtain he same effect by soaping the eyebrows and pinching the hairs together with their fingers.

Obviously, the form of any individual pair of eyebrows cannot be altered beyond a certain limit. Straight ones cannot be made higher arched or vice versa. This this difficulty is overcome by artificial eyebrows, which are a new Parisiany invention.

They are very expensive, each hair being separately passed through and fastened upon the foundation, which is a strip of thing, translucent, rubberized silk. So artful is their construction that the foundations concealed by the hairs; and, when the natural eyebrows have been shaved and the false ones adjusted above the eyes, the illusion is perfect.


The plucking process is excruciatingly painful. One may pull out a few hairs from one’s head without feeling it much; but if you want to find out how much it hurts to have eyebrow hairs extracted, just try it on yourself – a single hair, for experiment’s sake.

Of course, the hairs thus removes soon grow again, and the performance must be frequently repeated. The best plan, really, is to have them killed with the electric needle, and to get rid of them for keeps – though the process is long and distressing.

Eyebrow hairs, like those of the head, are covered with thin, flat, overlapping scales, as may easily be seen when one of them is placed beneath a microscope. Each hair is a tube, growing out of a vase-shaped ‘follicle’ with a narrow neck. when pulled out, it does not being the root with it. The root remains and produces another hair.

The head of the average woman is planted with about 120,000 hairs. A hair that has no tendency to curl will be seen, under the microscope, to be cylindrical in form. A curly hair is oval in section. A negro’s hair is flat in places and therefore kinks. The heat of a curling iron causes each hair to contract on one side, and to curl in that direction.

Curling irons and curl papers produce very temporary curliness; it doesn’t last. Hence the eagerness with which women nowadays are having to resort to the ‘permanent wave’ which stays put. The permanent wave is obtained by a sort of baking process, the electrical apparatus used being complex and rather formidable.

A disadvantage of the permanent wave is that it kills the hair. It does not kill the roots, else the hair would quickly drop out, with resulting hopeless baldness. But a natural hair is a living structure; after baking, it is dead above the scalp. Hair with a permanent wave might be likened to the ‘perpetual palms’ one sees in restaurants.

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