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To Pluck or Not To Pluck? An Eyebrow Primer

Updated on February 25, 2018

I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in eyebrow trends. In the 1970s, women’s eyebrows began the decade thick and natural—a carryover from the 60s, no doubt. By the time disco hit the scene, brows were pencil thin and perfectly arched. I can still recall the hours and pain I suffered shaping mine the very first time. My skin was swollen and red for days!

With the 1980s came full, untamed brows which were certainly easy to maintain, however not exactly what I recall as being terribly attractive (especially when paired with those over exaggerated shoulder pads we wore!) Pencil thin was back in vogue during the 1990s. The first decade of the new millennium witnessed a more relaxed approach to what was considered appropriate eyebrow shaping—an “anything goes” attitude.

Where to Start?

Today, there are many options for shaping your eyebrows, from waxing, threading, electrolysis and laser hair removal. I guess it doesn’t matter how you do it – just pick a method that fits your budget (so for me it’s a pair of tweezers, a magnifying mirror and a steady hand!) Next, and most importantly, you have to decide on the shape and thickness.

So what’s a girl to do? I have been reading a great deal lately about eyebrows and am in a quandary about how much plucking is enough. I certainly don’t want to go back to the severe look of ultra thin brows, nor am I quite ready for the wild and woolly look.

While researching, I stumbled upon some information that may just change your life—I know it has mine! It is based on styling your brows to suit your face shape. Ok, it’s not revolutionary, however it cuts down on any confusion you may have when you get ready to reshape your eyebrows. It actually makes perfect sense – it’s just like choosing a hairstyle or eyeglass frames to suit your face.

Here's the Scoop

First, you need to determine your face shape. It’s easy. Pull your hair back from your face and stand in front of a mirror. With a dry erase marker, outline the shape of your face on the mirror. Stand back and pick one of the following shapes that best matches the shape on the mirror!

Square Face

You have a broad jawline that is in proportion to the width of your forehead. You need a brow that will add softness to the straight lines of your square face.

Square faces should avoid heavily angled brows.
Square faces should avoid heavily angled brows. | Source

Create a delicate arch versus a rounded or overly angular arch. If you can do it, create a straight brow line from the beginning of the brow to your natural arch. Shape a gentle curve from the peak of the arch to the end of the brow.

Round Face

Your circular face shape is best suited for medium to full eyebrows with an angular, rather than rounded shape.

Angled brows look best on a round face.
Angled brows look best on a round face. | Source

An angular brow will offset the fullness of your round face. Rounded brows simply emphasize the roundness of your face. Resist the urge to pluck your brows too thin. Thin eyebrows do not a thin face make! A fuller brow will add a sense of balance to your face.

Oval Face

OK, you have the perfect face shape. You share an oval face shape with Megan Fox, Kate Hudson and Beyonce. Congratulations!

Oval faces can pull off any brow shape.
Oval faces can pull off any brow shape. | Source

Now what do you do with your eyebrows? A medium to full eyebrow is the perfect choice for your symmetrical face shape. Be daring and do a pronounced arch—you can rock it!

Heart Shaped Face

The heart shape, or inverted triangle, is recognizable by your wide forehead, prominent cheekbones and slender chin.

Shape your brows in a subtle arch if you have a heart-shaped face.
Shape your brows in a subtle arch if you have a heart-shaped face. | Source

Take some brow hints from the angular, square-shaped face. You are dealing with straight lines, so you should opt for a softly arched eyebrow. The bulk of your face width is from the eye line to the forehead, so an overly curved brow will just draw attention to your face shape instead of detracting from it. Shoot for a fairly straight brow line with an ever-so-slight curve.

Now You're Ready!

Whether you do your own thing or have your brows shaped professionally, you are now armed and dangerous! Print out your description and give it to your brow stylist or keep it by your side as you pluck away!

Threading is a bit less painful than plucking.
Threading is a bit less painful than plucking. | Source

Tools of the Trade

If you are new to the brow shaping game, it might be a good idea to let a professional shape them the first time—it will minimize the discomfort, plus you’ll reduce the chances of a shaping mishap. You can then take care of routine maintenance at home with a combination of handy tools.


Invest in a good pair of tweezers. Find some with a good grip and hair gripping power. Once you’ve been waxed or threaded, you can keep your eyebrows in tip-top shape by plucking the strays every few days.


If you’re like me, the more magnification, the better! Don’t settle for less than 10x magnification—any less and you’ll be straining to see the fine hairs left behind.

Grooming Tool

A combination eyebrow brush and comb will tame the wild hairs in the morning. Throw in a tube of brow gel to set your style into place.


Eyebrow stencils take the guesswork out of shaping. Buy a kit with a variety of shapes and choose the one that best suits your face shape. Stencils come in handy as a guide for tweezing or filling in color.

Did You Know?

The Veet Canada website includes a number of eyebrow-related facts that you probably weren’t aware of:

  • Women actually get eyebrow transplants! Hair transplants for eyebrows started in the 1990s and are typically performed in cases of extreme hair loss. Just like other hair transplants, hairs are “harvested” from the back of the scalp and are “planted” along the brow line. Patients must trim their transplanted brow hair several times a month.
  • An average eyebrow contains over 500 individual hairs.
  • Eyebrows not only frame one of our most important features, they serve a practical purpose as well. Eyebrows work in conjunction with lashes to protect the eyes from harmful dust and environmental particulates.
  • Eyebrow pencils came into being during the 1920s.
  • Women started using eyebrow combs in the 1890s as the medium of photography became increasingly popular.
  • In the early 18th century, fashionable women shaved their eyebrows and glued on fake eyebrows fashioned from mouse hair pelts!

© 2010 lindacee

Do you have an funny or unusual eyebrow shaping experience you’d like to share? Or just leave a comment!

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Christine, I've been doing it for years. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy--and cheaper than professional waxing. Good luck if you decide to give it a try. Thanks for stopping by my Hub!

    • ChristineVianello profile image


      7 years ago from Philadelphia

      I love this!! I get my eye brows waxed because I am so terrified that I may pluck too much and I will end up looking horrible. But with your tips, I may try to pluck.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks travelespresso! Yeah, who would think something as simple as eyebrows would be so complicated!

    • travelespresso profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in this exciting world.

      My goodness lindacee - I never knew there were so many things to consider. Nice hub.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Sorry, chander! See what we ladies have to go through for the sake of beauty? It is a real pain--literally and figuratively!

    • chander mehra profile image

      Chander Mehra 

      7 years ago from Delhi

      God! I am so confused, both eyebrows raised and the right eye twitching!


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