A Trajectory of Your Life, as Told by Your Eyebrows

They basically know everything about you


Your brows aren’t the only chatty hair on your bod. Buns and ponytails have a lot to say, too. 

It is a parents’ natural if not somewhat narcissistic inclination to want preserve their children’s beauty as genetics intended it. (“Look what we created!”) But it is also a true wonder that my own parents and so many other supposedly devoted guardians let us go through the first bits of our life with untamed topiaries on our foreheads. Life is way too cruel for awkward pre-teens to emotionally endure any sort of hairy thing and yet eyebrows — for whatever reason — are often not transferred over to a child’s control until she turns 14.

At least, not officially.

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Fine-wisped, well-shaped and full of life, your early childhood eyebrows were perfect. Think Bruno Mars meets Kiernan Shipka, but as a baby. Today you look upon photos of them longingly and wax nostalgic about the untouched angel clouds of innocence that shaded your sweet eyes from the harsh realities of the world. Realities like eyebrow bald spots and errant hairs that grow exactly where you don’t need them. These were the brows your parents didn’t want you to touch.

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Let’s blame our moms here for holding on to our hirsute baby fat for too long. Their reluctance to accept that we were growing up and our brows were growing OUT (of control) meant that we were banned from even thinking about touching our pubescent forehead-staches with tweezers. At Thanksgivings and holiday reunions, aunts, adult cousins and our grandmothers on both sides would say things like, “Never wax! You’ll regret it.”

I ask you what stings more: wax, regret, or that I was once mistaken for a Groucho Marx impersonator at local fair.

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Armed with an improper tool (possibly a razor; a nail clipper; a pair of sewing scissors) and determination to look hot for the eighth grade dance, we took to our brows with psychopathic vigor. We were young women possessed, drunk with a god-like ability to change the apparent shape of our face, zoomed in way too close to the mirror for our own good. Half an our later and one step back revealed we’d gone too far; that we’d done something very wrong.

But we didn’t care. We took pride in the slender, furry sperms of our creation and laughed in the face of Eli Berman. HA! Dare you to call me a monkey, now. Plz don’t look at my arms, though.

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Sophisticated and mature, we learned to pluck our tadpoles into rainbow arches after flipping through every teen mag we could get our hands on. Our eyebrows looked Marlene Dietrich’s. Unfortunately, we were not Marlene Dietrich. We just looked surprised.

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After a beauty consultation at a fancy makeup counter in the nice department store for Junior Prom the year prior, we began growing our eyebrows back out thanks to a woman who showed us exactly what a brow pencil could do. In the meantime — because the Dietrich Bald Spot takes a while to regenerate — we got really, really into coloring within the lines and looked halfway between stern and dramatic, all the time.

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Once the hair grew back, we hit up our very first wax (counterintuitive, some might say) where a professional tortured our face to create the perfect brow. No like, perfect, perfect. With the arch just so and not a single hair out of place. We strode into freshman year like a damn lion. But actually. Because have you seen Scar from The Lion King’s eyebrows?

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Our left and right sisters have never been more representative of our actual lives than the fresh post-collegiate years. We had the bulk and the shape just right. This began our narrative arc, if you (we) will. But there grew a frequent rotation of hairs that we began to miss and a bit of the old uni began to creep in above our noses, like party hats — because we were more stressed than ever and trying to keep up with our newfound adult responsibilities as opposed to our foreheads’ 5 o’clock shadow.

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And now…the good news is that after college, every brow year got — and gets — better. It’s here that we settle into the gel that works best and find peace regardless of whether we’re into waxing, threading, using our fingers like Leandra or doing absolutely nothing at all. There’s no more cursing at our eyebrows for not being Bhumika Arora’s or Cara Delevingne’s. We — the person, the left brow and the right — are the three best friends that anyone’s ever had.

Especially because a new hairy situation just cropped up: the chin whisker. What the actual fuck?

Illustrations by Emily Zirimis.


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  • Quinn Halman

    Great article, Amelia! But my eyebrow game has literally always been on point

    • sarvij

      Goddammit that’s one cutie pie in that pic!

  • Lauren

    All of this vicariously rings true. I have blonde eyebrows and therefore they could be a mixture of most of these at all times. I’ve been practicing with drawing them in, but it almost immediately makes me feel like Blanca on OITNB….

  • Ashley

    Tonight, after too much wine and not enough cheese, I’m going to stare in the mirror and Carrie Bradshaw the shit out of my eyebrows…”I couldn’t help but wonder…what if my eyebrows had never evolved beyond thirteen year old tadpoles???”

  • I definitely had those skinny 15 year old brows, how terrible haha. I think brows are the first things I look at back in old photos now lol x


  • Emma

    Hahahahaha how is this so accurate? I just did my brows yesterday and they look killer. Thank god I was born with bushy ones and don’t need to fill them in, just gel them.

  • When I was 12 or 13, one of my sister’s friends (who was 16/17 so of course I thought she was so grown up and knew everything) told me that plucking your eyebrows is the most important thing you could do. So I got into a vicious habit of seriously overplucking my eyebrows until they got to the Dietrich stage, and for a long time I thought I had reached the point of no return. Then I decided to grow them back and deal with the ugly brows for a while. End result was so worth it though. It turns out my brows actually have an amazing natural shape!

  • frankie

    would have been a much better blog is the shape of your eyebrows can be used as a profile study to your personality.

  • Aydan

    Thankfully my mother recognized that my middle eastern browns needed to be tamed and by someone other than me! I used to go for regular eyebrow waxes every couple of months starting in 8th or 9th grade (they maintained my arch beautifully and kept it a little on the thicker side — THANKS MOM FOR MAKING THAT A REQUIREMENT). Now all I have to do is tweeze every once in a while and trim (they grow like crazy) and I’m all set! Three cheers for my mommy on her forward thinking on this one!!!

  • Brielle Saggese

    I definitely was in the using-a-razor-as-a-tweezer phase for way too long. As a result, my eyebrows looked like one and a half tadpoles: the left eyebrow, a full tadpole that took a bite out of the right eyebrow, a half tadpole.

    • Kitten

      Omg I’m laughing way too hard at this ?

  • everywhere in the world, the same old story! I’ve always had full brows and at 15 I started to overplucking them but fortunately, or unfortunately, they continue to grow a LOT!



    My mom blew a fit when she first saw me with plucked eyebrows.
    they became such a pain to maintain that I grew them out.
    And frankly I’m happy with my au naturals, because they are au naturals..
    I actually think they were perfect to begin with and I shouldn’t have interfered. Vanity,thy name has to be woman who likes to do stupid things to be busy.

  • starryhye

    Oh man this is so spot on! I’m definitely taking all of my eyebrow knowledge and passing it on to my daughter. She’s only 7 but she has some amazing eyebrows! I’m hoping that I’ll be able to help her avoid the mistakes I made. Pre-teen daughters listen to their mother’s advice and follow it, right?? 😉

    • pamb

      My 15 year old is compliant with my eyebrow wishes for her. Her hair is light brown and fine, so all we do is pluck in between. If she eventually wants them done, it’s waxing by a pro only.

  • Julie

    THE CHIN WHISKER!! Those two short, wiry, *black?!* hairs that are like no other hairs on your entire body and pop out no matter how many times you’re damn sure you vanquished them, and you only realise it’s back again when you are lost in thought and stroking your imaginary (or is it?) hipster beard.

    Ah, Amelia. Thanks for charting the territory between ruthlessly harvesting my poor perfect dark blonde eyebrows at age 12 with my mother’s ancient blunt tweezers, not that she ever noticed or tried to rescue me from the following five bald years, to their merciful recovery – and bristly seal’s whiskers.

  • mother. effing. chinwhiskerz.

    • Catherine Bohner

      So grateful to know I’m not the only one who curses them

    • I have two. Baby smooth except for those two prickly fuckers. Tweezers are my best friend.

  • vdigital

    i think im still rocking childhood brows. who knew

  • pamb

    Because I am Old, I’m here to tell you that eventually, your brows stop growing. I’m 51, and no longer need to tweeze between my brows. I’m trying to let the fronts of my brows grow in, but the hair is lighter, and I’m now dependent on brow get for a uniform shade (I still refuse to use pencil).

    I have a 15 year old daughter and refuse to let her touch her brows (except tweezing in between) until she can commit to upkeep (she doesn’t care enough to make the effort). Luckily, her brows are not especially dark or thick, and she’s fine with au natural.

  • chouette

    this old meme is rly all i have to contribute.

    • hahannah

      Hilarious – thanks!

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Joanna Maziarz

    The last line makes the entire article A M A Z I N G!!!

  • Kitten

    My eyebrows are pretty nice naturally, except I have a scar running through the left one preventing some hair growing and as a result it’s a bit shorter. :/

    • sarvij

      That makes you a badass Kitten.

  • Scar had excellent eyebrows.

  • staceyk

    32 years old and still holding on strong to my “pre-teen, pre-plucked” brows. so thankful now that my caterpillars are still intact.

  • alexandra

    i loved amelia’s article on the different phases of our eyebrows throughout our life. i can 100% relate to her article. i went through the exact same scenario, and i do mean exactly, i got chills, it was as if she were relating my story, im not kidding! my family also didn’t want me touching my eyebrows, saying i would regret it, and all of that. but i still did it. at the age 12, for the first time ever, i plucked my eyebrows…….the result was horrible….like clown eyebrows! luckily i had bangs, so i could sorta hide them, but they were ridiculous!! but oh well! better than thick, furry, unibrows!! and yes kids are cruel. in middle school i had the hairy arms as well, and was called hairy, and then someone called me hairy and the henderson’s, because of a show popular back in my day, back in the 90’s, called hairy and the henderson’s, a sitcom about a family who adopted a sasquatch, and named it hairy (how original!) so yes, i was compared to a bigfoot, monkey, like amelia said, and was also called hairy beast, anything to do with hairy! 🙂 reading this article was cathartic because i had no idea that there were other people out there who go through this. i don’t why i thought i was the only person who went through this, because seriously, i literally thought i was the only person who went through this! now i know that’s not the case. and yes, adult eyebrows do end up looking better, and everything else too. 🙂 so yay to adulthood! 🙂 and once again, thank you amelia for writing an article like this where people like myself can relate. 🙂

  • TT

    Mine are “college brows” but have a little thicker of a tail, but im in high school

  • USWeeklyHatesComments

    My aunt was a hair stylist and anytime she saw me, which was always, she’d be pushing my eyebrows up to start getting an arch. When I finally plucked, they turned into the shape I’ve had now for almost 20 years lol. Although I did have an overplucked look, but shamefully it was well after 15. I wasn’t going for it, just kept taking a little of that one side, then went to the other one to try and mirror the look but took too much then went to the other to mirror and took too much. Then I had to stop before they were gone for good.

  • Meg S

    Too accurate. Holy grail of eyebrow growing advice: CASTOR OIL!!!

    • Celina

      So true! I’ve also been using it on my lashes, and they’re longer and stronger after a few weeks! Probably the only DIY beauty trick that’s ever worked for me.

  • Katrena kaif

    Great job with the info. How did you find it? Please let me know….

  • Hay

    I know I’m a little late to the conversation, but I just have to put in my two sense. Although very informative, I found it, at least some of it, inaccurate.