Our country is obsessed with eyebrows.
It started a couple of years ago, so I can’t blame it on the pandemic. I mean, no one was staying home and thinking, “Hey, there’s not enough going on in the world, let’s all focus on our eyebrows!” It was a trend that, not surprisingly, started with the Instagram influencers and Kardashians and then trickled down to us regular human beings.
Apparently, the bigger and bushier the brows the better. So, while you are busy shaving your legs and waxing your arms, and electrolyzing your face to get rid of every possible hair on your body, you are supposed to make sure that your eyebrows look like big hairy caterpillars resting over your eyeballs. And if you aren’t blessed with big eyebrows naturally, there is still hope. What God didn’t give you, eyebrow pencils, powders, and micro tattoos could. Of course, if you have the money, you could get someone to do them for you. But if not, you have to take your chances doing it yourself and pray you don’t end up looking like Groucho Marx.
So, while you are busy shaving your legs and waxing your arms, and electrolyzing your face to get rid of every possible hair on your body, you are supposed to make sure that your eyebrows look like big hairy caterpillars resting over your eyeballs.
As a woman in her fifties, all this focus on eyebrows has presented some problems for me. I have good eyebrows, but not great eyebrows. When I was a kid, I had a unibrow that runs in my family and looks okay on my brothers, as well as Cro-Magnon men from 40,000 years ago, but on me, not so much. Thankfully, tweezers took care of that problem, and then I didn’t really pay my eyebrows much attention until recently. But when all this ado arose over big eyebrows, I did notice that I was indeed, somewhat eyebrow-deficient. Mine had definitely thinned as I’ve gotten older and some white hairs were starting to sprout there, I think, in solidarity with the white hairs that had started coming out of my chin. This meant, if I wanted to keep up with the trends, I had to figure out a way to dye my eyebrows, draw in a bunch of extra eyebrow hairs, angle the whole shebang just right, and make it all look like I got out of bed that way.
Truthfully, I was not optimistic about doing this. One time when I tried to wear false eyelashes, unbeknownst to me, one fell off and rested on my cheek. A friend I was talking to thought it was a spider and slapped me across the face. It’s possible she wanted to slap me across the face anyway and the false eyelashes just provided her with the excuse to do so, but I’ll assume, for friendship’s sake, that it was truly to get rid of the fake eyelash spider.
Now, usually, I’m not a big follower of trends. I don’t suddenly switch to high-waisted jeans or low-waisted ones, or jeans that look like you got attacked by wolves and lived to still go shopping afterward. And don’t get me started on the ubiquitous Mom Jeans that returned last year, which don’t look good on anybody, but most especially the moms for whom they were originally named. Why anyone would want to wear jeans that make your butt look so big they can see it from the International Space Station is beyond me. And yet, they came back, like Kanye West busting into someone else’s speech at an awards show.
But that’s another article.
Meanwhile, everyone I knew seemed to be jumping on the big eyebrows trend and I have to admit, I started to feel less-than. Even Schnauzers seemed excited that their eyebrows were suddenly having a moment. Could I stand for having a dog be more on fleek than me? No! So, I decided to join the big eyebrow generation, if only to see whether I would be magically transformed and look like an Instagram influencer or at the very least, her mother.
At the store, I saw that there were brow products with names like Brow Magic, Brow Wiz, and Big A-- Brows. There were a bevy of brow brushes and a brow pencils and brow wands. There were brow kits and brow stamps and brow tints for brow virgins who had no idea what they were doing. I realized if I bought all this stuff, I wouldn’t have enough money left to go out and no one would see my brows anyway.
I decided to pick up one of the brow kits to see if I could join the big eyebrow party without breaking the bank. Inside there was a dark wax to define and shape my brows along with a setting powder. There was a brush to create an arch for my brows and another to help fill them in. There was a stencil to get the perfect shape and a lighter pencil to go under my brows to help highlight the arch. Finally, there was a trimmer to help with the unruly eyebrow hairs that threatened to reach out and shake someone’s hand. All total, there were seven items needed to achieve the perfect eyebrow. That was more than all the other products I used on my whole body every day.
Still, I was curious, so I decided to give it a try.
It took me an hour and when I was done, my eyebrows looked great…
If I wanted to look like Eugene Levy.
I didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize this wasn’t a good look for me. Even if I did tone it down a bit, I still looked ridiculous with eyebrows so big they crossed state lines. Also, it was weird to have painted on eyebrows when I barely wore mascara and the only place I generally hung out in was the grocery store. Would the other people squeezing the tomatoes look at me and think, “Wow, that middle-aged woman in sweatpants and Uggs has the most amazingly perfect eyebrows.” I think not. If anyone at all noticed my eyebrows, they would more likely think, “Wow, that middle-aged woman looks just like Eugene Levy!”
Ultimately, I gave up the eyebrow dream and settled for a dark brush that just covered the white hairs. It was disappointing not to be on-trend but I just didn’t have the time to commit to sculpting my eyebrows each day just so I could take a picture and have everyone tell me how great my eyebrows looked.
If one day I did decide I wanted to be an influencer, I could always pull out my eyebrow kit again and give a schnauzer a run for his money.
And, of course, there are always my Mom Jeans.
WRITTEN BYTracy Beckerman