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BIG BEAUTIFUL BROWS: Your Best Beauty Accessory (And How To Get Them)

02/28/2015 08:01 am ET | Updated Apr 30, 2015

Eyebrows have a true purpose for being -- to help keep sweat out of our eyes, and convey a wide range of emotion through facial expression.

But they've also had a starring role in beauty trends for thousands of years.

Ancient Egyptians darkened brows with kohl (Tend Setter: Cleopatra), and the Greeks wore false 2015-02-20-cleopatraeyebrows.jpg
eyebrows made from dyed goat's hair. The Celts dyed brows black with berry juice, and it was quite the "in" thing for Byzantine women to pluck brows into a straight line, and finish the look with a thick, black line drawn directly under the brow.

Plucking most or all hairs off the face, including brows, and rubbing oil on brow areas to block follicles (to keep hair from growing back -- a strategy that actually works) was the trend in the Middle Ages. (Trend Setter: Queen Elizabeth I).

During the 1920s, silent film stars kept brows very thin, believing thin brows would make it easier to convey emotion and expression without sound, according to The Encyclopedia of Hair. 2015-02-20-iconic_icim1_Marlene_Dietrich.jpg This "thin brow" trend continued on into the 30s when "talkie" movie stars, like Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, removed their brow hairs completely, creating new ones with a pencil.

But, some actresses bucked this beauty trend and started to play up their brows, using them to play up to the camera. In Gone With the Wind, Vivien Leigh, the British actress who so perfectly played Scarlett O'Hara, was skilled at conveying all kinds of emotions -- especially scorn -- just by raising her right eyebrow.

Since the 1940s, the natural look -- thicker, fuller brows -- has been the prominent trend, with a few "thin brow" years here and there, like during the "Swinging Sixties" when all the emphasis was on eyes (Trend Setter: Twiggy). And every year there's a new twist -- bleaching, piercing, coloring, trimming, threading, waxing -- to further emphasize the importance of brows as a key beauty accessory.

Which brings me to now.

Beauty arbiters have proclaimed 2015 the year of the full, prominent brow (again). Many fashion designers are showing models touting the "No-Makeup Look" (a beauty trend I embrace and have written about), natural hair (ditto), and full, lush brows. I'm not suggesting you blindly follow the trends, but I do believe that brows could be one of your best -- and easiest to get -- beauty accessories, at any age.

Why are full brows so "must have" right now?

A few reasons . . .

  • Full Brows Let You Wear Less Makeup: It's true! One of the best ways to achieve the 'No-Makeup' or 'Nude' Look -- which calls for wearing a lot less makeup especially on eyes and mouth -- is to play up your brows. "Full brows are the perfect counter to less color on the face," says beauty expert Sania Vucetaj. "Full, perfectly shaped brows form a frame for the face, which lets you get away with wearing less makeup."
  • Full Brows Make You Look Younger: Hair that's thinning, whether on your head or brow, can make you look older than your years, which is a huge beauty bummer.
  • Full Brows Show More Facial Expression: Unless you've pumped your forehead full of Botox, rendering your brows frozen in place, fuller, more prominent brows can help convey a greater range of emotion -- worry, disappointment, surprise, delight, scorn (thank goodness Botox wasn't around Gone With the Wind was filmed!).
  • Full Brows Make Everything Look Up: As we get older, things start to succumb to gravity, including our faces (thus, the face lift). But, there are a few simple tricks to lift the face without the surgery, and playing up brows is one of them. All eyes will be drawn to the upper part of your face, especially eyes, not your jowls.

Women in midlife have often over-plucked over the years (especially when the grays start showing), slathered on too much cream and lotion in brow area (blocking follicles from sprouting new hair), and have basically given up on ever having the brows they really want. I know, because I was one of those women.

But, there are ways to "fake it until they become it." Take a look at this short video in which one of the country's top brow experts told me all the things we can do, and should never do, to have the beauty accessory of the moment -- big beautiful brows:

Want more tips? Visit www.bestofeverythingafter50.com.

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