Arched Eyebrows

Marlene Dietrich
The early  20th century penchant for highly stylized, arched eyebrows began in Hollywood in the 1930s. Brows were plucked into fine, high arched feminine lines and definition was pencilled in. 1920s brows had also been thinly plucked but were markedly straighter in design.

 The fine, high arch was a dramatic look, designed to emphasize the plains of a woman's face, even if at times, it did give the wearer a rather startled, unnatural appearance.

In the 40s the trend veered toward medium thickness and a more understated look -red lips, heavy on the schtick, rather than brows, were the defining facial characteristic of that era.

A young Joan Crawford in the 1930s
Getting Thicker
Joan Crawford's look reveals a  change of brow fashion
The cult of the arched eyebrow returned with a force in the mid 20th century, only this time with a dark heaviness reminiscent of the Egyptian Queens. However, while the fineness had disappeared, the high drama remained and the brows became strong personality statements, indicating feminine power and sexuality in a new way.

The change of styles can be seen clearly in actress Joan Crawford, who in the late 40s/50s chose a distinctly heavy, dark eyebrow arch - it certainly drew the eye, even threatening to overwhelm her facial features. In the 30s however, Joan had worn the classic Hollywood fine arches of the day.

In the 60s and 70s a more natural look was beginning to predominate. Interestingly, a 2007 study  revealed that younger people prefer lower placed eyebrows with a subtle arch, while those over fifty favour a high arch.

How to Arch your Eyebrows