The Things We Grew Part I: Eyebrows

Where fashion and Gaby Hoffmann intersect.


The things we do to be cool rarely ever actually work — mostly because it’s the act of trying that renders us instantly uncool. Once the social hierarchy of the high school cafeteria has been stripped away, the measure of cool relies largely on personal comfort (though an innate sense of style doesn’t hurt), but as someone who works in an industry that revolves around the celebration of trends, it can be easy to find myself standing alone in the hallway, wondering if I too can pull off leather palazzo pants.

I typically decide I cannot. I will write about them and dissect their worth until my keyboard is broken and my fingers fall off, but my fear of looking like I tried too hard tends to override my desire to experiment with new looks. But then Fashion Week inevitably turns up and the stress over looking cool rears its stupid head. This season, I found my secret weapon.


I have always had gigantic eyebrows, ones that could possibly grow into my forehead and take over my face if I left them alone for long enough. In their natural state, before my mother finally let me wax them, my brows were the love children of Peter Gallagher and Gaby Hoffmann. This was a horrifying realization at age 12, especially in comparison to girls in my class getting their first arches done. But when I remembered my furry browed roots just a few months ago, it was a revelation. They were to be my best accessory come Fashion Week.

I know that sounds dumb. I knew it sounded dumb the moment I said out loud to Leandra that I was “growing my eyebrows out for Fashion Week,” as if they were highlights or those yarn wraps you’d get on a family cruise to Jamaica. But I stand by my word choice. For a girl who has spent her life plucking errant hairs with the obsessive compulsion of a neurotic basket weaver, this was huge.

So for one whole month I didn’t touch my brows. The awkward in-between phase was worse than bangs, because my hairs are so black and thick that when they start to grow in I look like I’ve spiked mascara above my lids. As some sort of defense mechanism I adopted a habit of immediately pointing out my project the second I ran into anyone or met someone new. “Don’t mind the wigs growing out of my face,” I’d say, pointing to my brows. Although absolutely every time, no one noticed anything strange or different.

I even started to get annoyed. This was supposed to be a drastically new me. The whole point of me reverting back to brow au natural was to eliminate the need for a new wardrobe come fashion week — especially in this white shit storm of a winter that eradicates the hope of wearing anything but a full body parka. See, in the history of hyperbolic moments, eyebrows are potentially having the greatest one and for once I can participate with absolutely minimal effort.  So hello, can someone please notice?

But then finally, someone did.

“Your eyebrows look really good,” my friend said after I posted a selfie on Monday to Instagram.

When I went in for a bikini wax yesterday, the receptionist assumed I was there for my brows.

Then, just last night it was confirmed at dinner that the heavy brows made me look more “fashion-y” than usual, and after much prompting and cajoling and fishing for the very compliment I wanted, I got it. They told me I look cool. Er. Cool-er.

Whatever, I’ll take it, because I didn’t even have to try.

I think I’m going to keep the brows post-Fashion Week. Mostly because not doing them saves time and money. Next up on the fashion frontier that is my two facial caterpillars, however? Glitter a la Chanel’s last show, which is still so much cheaper than buying shoes.

Get more Beauty ?
  • Maggie Clancy

    I wish I could grow my eyebrows out! I have very fine hair and my eyebrows like to take their sweet time growing. Strong brows ARE cool.

    • WTheregoth1983

      мʏ ғʀι­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴɖ’ѕ нαʟғ-ѕιѕт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ мαĸ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ѕ $69/нʀ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ. ѕн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ нαѕ в­­­­­­e­­­­­­­­­­­­e­­­­­­ɴ աιтнօυт աօʀĸ ғօʀ ɴιɴ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ мօɴтнѕ вυт ʟαѕт мօɴтн н­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ ƈнɛƈĸ աαѕ $17586 ʝυѕт աօʀĸιɴɢ օɴ тн­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ƈօмքυт­­­­­­e­­­­­­ʀ ғօʀ α ғ­­­­­­e­­­­­­ա нօυʀѕ. ʀ­­­­­­e­­­­­­αɖ աнαт н­­­­­­e­­­­­­ ѕαιɖ fox800&#46com

      • Lilli

        no one has a friend with a half sister… everyone knows those stories are always lies

  • Julianne Wallace

    Being Sicilian, I naturally have a serious set of brows and recently faced the same challenge back in September. My quality of life has since drastically improved as well, for I too had “the obsessive compulsion of a neurotic basket weaver” for the last 5 years. I’ve gotten so many compliments! So many, that I’m almost kind of offended. Like, did they look THAT bad before?

  • Lina

    I’ve never touched my brows, for fear of making them worse. Does that mean I’ve always been cool? It lets me act like I don’t even try to look good.

    • Amelia Diamond

      hell yea girl

      • Kandeel

        same though #eyebrowgamestrong

  • White Girl Tara

    When school started again, my eyebrows came in like a wrecking ball after growing them out all summer. I understand what ya went through, girl.

    • White Girl Tara

      I call them my Caras on some days, but on days when they’re doing ridiculous things, they’re my Fridas.

  • Élora

    Dat glitter on your eyebrows <3

  • Adrianna Grężak

    I still cringe when I think back to how much I tweezed my eyebrows in 2003.

    I like the natural, full eyebrow look, but I think filling them in with make up is a little much.

  • CDJ

    I thought the same thing when you posted the selfie! They look great. I’ve been telling my best friend that I am “growing out my brows for her wedding”, but I have the same picking problem as Leandra, so I have yet to go longer than a week (2 days) without pulling at ’em. I SWEARRRRR once May hits, I’ll really make an effort. Thank God for pencil.

  • Leneth

    I know the struggle… but hey, brows are so in fashion atm, we should cherish them!

  • Kathy Jacobsma

    I’ve been debating whether or not to grow mine back out, but now I’m going to. … At least until I hate them again.

  • Morgan

    The brows look great!
    This makes me so jealous because I have picked mine into oblivion. I used to have beautiful thick brows and now my stupid compulsive habit is making them extinct! WHYYYYY?!?!

  • Quinn Halman

    I so get this. I’ve been regularly waxing my brows since I was 12 but I was just always drawn to the idea of a nice bold n thick brow. I was basically driving this bandwagon before Cara or whoever ever stepped on.

  • Aly

    I love the way natural brows look. But am I the only one who ends up looking younger with a fuller brow? I know it seems ridiculous to complain that you look too young, but sometimes particularly at work, I need to look my actual age (28) and not 22.

  • I’m not so much into thick brows. I love natural brows, but bushy brows just freak me out.

    Mafalda ❤

  • Amelie

    My favorite pictures were the ones of Brooke Sheilds, Cara Delevigne, and the one of the fashionweek sparkly eyebrows. Strong eyebrows are the BEST!

  • marita_hunt

    I’ve got a question that’s rarely addressed in brow-posts. Do you pluck the strays that grow down near the eyelid? I’ve got thick black eyebrows that aren’t quite as arched as yours. I leave them pretty full – they’re my best asset! But have been plucking all the strays out since I was 12… more than a decade! Can’t really remember how thick those ones are. Maybe I’d look like Gandalf if I stopped plucking. I think I’d be ok with that.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I left those ones! I am just plucking my unibrow. But to be honest, there are some random hairs by themselves that I may just get rid of because they aren’t bringing anything to the table.

      • marita_hunt

        Ha. ‘Look, I’m sorry, I gave you a chance, but you’re just not a team player. We can’t afford any extra fat at the moment. I’m afraid we’re letting you go.’

  • Great brows, Amelia! I’ve never touched my brows (or even my faint unibrow), just because I really lack the diligence of upkeep when it comes to such things. I wish my eyebrows were fuller, though. Blonde hair makes objects (well, brows) in mirror look scarcer than they actually are.

    Also, I see your pupils are lookin’ gr8!! Was the above picture taken before or after that masterful instagram post?

    Love Brooke Shields’ brows. Literally unmatched. My uncle was really close friends with her in college, so I always ask him to recall any fun stories whenever he is in town. We actually have a baby picture of her in our house in some random drawer….kinda creepy but she gave it out as a party favor at one of her birthday parties one year and I guess my mom snagged it from my uncle just because.

  • Ana

    When I was 12 I realised that my eyebrows looked like two thick lines made with black sharpie, I felt horrified but my mum wouldn’t let me pluck them so I did it behind her back. Of course I instantly regret it and it took some time but they finally grew out. Now, at the age of 17 and looking at all these woman with great thick eyebrows I finally feel proud about mine.

  • bitchcorner

    We totally relate–our obsession with thick eyebrows knows no bounds.


  • PCFashionista

    My eyebrows are curly like my hair. they are a bitch when they are in that in-between stage.

  • Kristen

    I got my eyebrows done professionally (if threading at a place for $4 is considered “professional”) once in grade 7 and nobody noticed a difference. I’ve tried to do them myself multiple times ever since but I always manage to overpluck, leaving a weird gap in my brows (it was bad). I’m just letting them grow out now, but I miiight have to pluck the ones traveling down onto my eyelids…

  • sarahg

    they really do look awesome, fashion-ier, and cool-er

  • Whitney V

    Nothing beats the natural look, whichever it is will come back for sure! It’s more a confidence thing than anything else… And some fashion trends, of course, but when they include you being you, it can’t hurt, can it? For last Fashion Week I posted some eyebrow comments too, more trying to be funny (maybe) than anything else if you’d like to have a look:

  • Kandeel

    Eyebrow game strong- Chinese proverb

  • Hailey

    I have thick eyebrows but I do keep them neat through waxing and tweezing and I love the look on me and other girls. I think there is a misconception that less hair is more beautiful and dainty but thick brows are now becoming more popular which is great. Super gorgeous!

    Follow my blog here for updates on fashion, music, beauty and much more:

  • I wish I had better eyebrows to grow out!

    They look awesome Amelia!!

    The Macadame. xx

  • I recently found my senior yearbook picture, before I discovered that women often pluck and fill their eyebrows. (I had barely just figured out shaving at that point.) I’m convinced that brow shape and face shape must be related, because a high plucked arch makes me look like I have cheekbones and ungroomed brows make me look like the Geico cave man. 🙁

  • nana

    I adore your good fashion eye combined with that hilarious sense of humor!! Nana – Denmark.

  • Liz

    I have light eyebrows, but they’re luxurious. I ask my hair colorist to dye them with the leftover hair dye.

  • Yagmur

    Oh my, Amelia, you are so beautiful! *hearteyedemojihere*

  • Homogeneity

    I guess women of color don’t have eyebrows?
    We are among your readers too… Yes, I see Frieda here but she is not enough.

  • Laura

    The more natural your brows, the better.

  • Jenny

    I did it. Grew them out. Started last fall and think I went 3 or 4 weeks without touching them and then groomed. Groomed once a week to get those dark stray ones that we’re distracting. The past few months I’d see pictures and think, wtf, why do I look like shit? I literally came to the conclusion last night that, the ‘full’ brows made me look worse.

    You look waaaay better.

    What I learned was to leave them be for a week or two before grooming (I use to pluck every goddamn day). Everything needs a little space.

  • Your eyebrows look gorgeous. I am trying to grow out mine but they just don’t grow after many years of plucking. Fortunately mine still are not thin but not as great as yours.

  • Julia

    Your brows DO look awesome! I am always a fan of letting them run wild and free!

  • We’ve been loving the fuller brows lately.

  • I am using brow effect which is help me to get growing and thicker eyebrows.

  • Chance Gardener

    Big eyebrows on women: Yes.

  • Inside You

    yo cantik lah,, iso tak gawe encok encok an, you so beautiful without make up at all, desain ruang tengah

  • pamb

    Oh Amelia. As an OLD, I say enjoy your eyebrows NOW! I’ve always had thick brows, but as I head into my late 40s… growth has slowed. As in, I don’t need to tweeze between my brows AT ALL. As in, the hair itself is finer. As in, as long as I’m trying Rogaine on my head, I’m putting a dot or two on my brows. Sigh.

  • savvy blackbird

    I still wonder if the Spanish guy who had a major crush on me in high school liked me because I resembled Frida Khalo but with Auburn hair… then I went off to boarding school, met my soulmate, and learned fashion and beauty from the other girls. My mom was a “beautician” in the 60s, but I went through the early 90s with permed hair that would have been a gorgeous mahogany auburn with coppery highlights if the salt water and chlorine from living at the beach and spending 75% of my time underwater hadn’t turned it green. I was told I looked like Brooke Shields at 12–I also had her ample bosom by then as well. (In truth, my eyebrows looked more like they were the love child of Brooke and Harpo Marx) When I went away to a college prep academy at 17 for my junior year and was finally out of my mom’s clutches, this ugly duckling turned into a swan. My husband literally fell out of his chair when I walked into the class he was in–he’d helped me with my broken locker the first day and had been searching school for a week trying to figure out who I was. After a bad experiment with at home hair colour, I cut all my hair off and was so surprised when it grew back Red! I swear by Oil of Olay’s facial depilatory cream to keep my caterpillar’s legs from stretching to my hairline and eyelashes… it’s also good on the dark hairs on top of the lip, sides of cheeks, and those few hairs on my chinny chin chin. My brows don’t seem to have much shape–very flat (Audrey Hepburn/Lily Collins/Keira Knightley) and prone to being overarched or arched in the wrong spot. I have a scar from waxing in college (Urban Decay’s primer potion is a concealing lifesaver!) and a phobia of having anyone else attack my brows. I’ve been scolded by “aestheticians” that say you shouldn’t remove hair above the eyebrows, had to fill in my eyebrows after somebody got too excited with the scissors before realizing that the tails of my brows are made of very fine hair in a lighter shade, and have had the overarched “sperm” shaped brows. I am loving this new found love for fluffy caterpillar brows. I do live in a metropolitan area in the capital of NC that has a Nordstrom and a tiny “Benefit” eyebrow bar at our largest mall, but I still feel like I live in the boondocks when it comes to the newest fashion and beauty trends–women down here are still clinging to Joan Crawford eyebrows and inch thick blonde “highlights”… sigh, the woman in the handbag department this week had never even heard of Longchamp. There is a new eyebrow threading salon in my little corner of Blue Heaven, but my instincts are telling me to get my arches done at the “Benefit” bar and just have the local place maintain them. I still just put a bit of the Olay cream on a q-tip and carefully apply above and below my eyebrows to remove the extra hairs. Tweezing all those hairs would take I do not recommend applying the cream to change your eyebrows’ shape–it’s too easy to remove too much hair and then have too thin brows. I’d seriously consider laser hair removal if my skin weren’t so pale and sensitive.

  • J-Ro

    Amelia, your brows are incredible!! Also, I am taking photo #10 to my brow lady and demanding to have them, NOW.

  • Violet W.

    Oh wow, I’m 2 years late to this party. I have a unibrow so thick I’ve literally never seen another person who could even come close to comparing, and I’ve never done a thing to them simply because I don’t know how. I’m kind of curious about trying, because even in the thick eyebrow trend mine are too thick to be fashionable.