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  • When have humans not been fixated on our eyebrows? From the Egyptian pharaohs who blackened their arches with kohl to 17th century
    society women who donned mouse hide brow wigs, to fashion’s current swings between bleached and bold brow extremes, cultures have long prized the eyebrow in its limitless forms - and they weren’t always pretty. Here, we present a few of the eyebrow’s greatest moments,
    guaranteed to raise a few... well, you know.
     

  • Both women and men in Ancient Egypt wore eye makeup as an homage to the god Horus and to ward off evil spirits and disease. Eyebrows were, of course, part of the look. Paired with kohl-lined eyes, shaved or tweezed eyebrows were darkened with gray or black powder made from galena, a lead-based mineral. The bust of Nefertiti (1345 BC) - one of the original bombshells, no doubt - shows the pharaoh's wife with dark, arched brows. And according to first-hand accounts from Greek historian Herodotus, when a cat died in a private home in Egypt, all inhabitants of the house would shave their eyebrows.

    Photo by: Getty Images

  • The Ancient Greeks had their own strange eyebrow rituals. Women used powdered minerals or soot to paint their brows black, and appeared to have preferred a unibrow (though it was primarily prostitutes who painted their faces). Eyebrows were also part of the Romans' elaborate beauty rituals, and like the Greeks, they favored a unibrow. Both cultures' poets and writers described women donning false brows to enhance their looks. These were made of dyed goat's hair and attached with tree resin.

    Photo by: Wikipedia

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  • It may be a major beauty foul in today's Western world, but the unibrow has been prized by cultures throughout history. A mosaic created in 548 A.D. depicts the Byzantine empress Theodora, wife of Justinian, with kohl-rimmed eyes and a well-defined unibrow. During the Qajar dynasty in Iran (1785-1925), connected brows were considered beautiful, and Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) iconically exaggerated her own unibrow in self-portraits. More recently, basketball player Anthony Davis (the 2012 NBA first draft pick) recognized the branding potential in his own distinctive unibrow by trademarking the phrases "Fear the brow" and "Raise the brow." We’ll be first in line for those T-shirts!

    Photo by: Wikipedia; Getty Images

  • The Eyebrow in Japan’s Royal Court Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

    During the imperial Heian period in Japan (794-1185), the court beauty standard called for Rapunzel-long black hair, white powdered face, blackened teeth (yup), red lips and eyebrows shaved and redrawn high on the forehead in a hazy, cloud-like style.

  • Skinny brows were all the rage during medieval times in Europe, when women favored a pale, eggheaded look and plucked their hairlines to achieve it. The fashion continued through the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, whose bare brow and tweezed hairline enhanced the domed forehead and pallid complexion she painted with toxic white lead-based ceruse. During the 1600s, people rubbed walnut oil onto their children's eyebrows to inhibit hair growth.

  • The Mona Lisa's (1503-1519) eyebrowlessness adds to her intrigue, but she may not have started out that way. In 2007, an ultra-high resolution camera found a single brushstroke of hair above the painting's left brow, which may suggest that Leonardo da Vinci revised his famous painting, or that a sloppy curator accidentally removed the brows and eyelashes in a botched cleaning attempt.

  • Aside from La Giaconda, Whoopi Goldberg is arguably the most famous bald-browed person in existence.

    Photo by: Getty Images

  • During the 17th and 18th centuries, bold brows made a comeback. The same fashionable European women who wore faux beauty mark mouches coveted bushy brows. Some would affix false eyebrows made from furry mouse skin to their faces, usually high up on the forehead, giving them a quizzical expression.

  • Mice may not have eyebrows of their own, but others in the animal kingdom do - namely, birds. Supercilium is the name for the plumage stripe above the eye that characterizes some bird species, such as the eyebrowed jungle flycatcher of Borneo.

  • The turn of the twentieth century brought commercially made cosmetics, including eyebrow fillers. In 1919, T.L. Williams created his Lash-Brow-Ine, inspired by his sister Mabel’s habit of applying Vaseline mixed with coal dust to emphasize her eyebrows and lashes. The product would later be christened Maybelline.

    Photo by: <a href="http://cosmeticsandskin.com/bcb/lash-brow-ine.php">cosmeticsandskin.com</a>

  • From the golden age of silent films through the 1930s, dark, super-skinny brows were a must for screen sirens - all the better to convey emotion on camera. In 1925, iconic Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor gave Greta Garbo the eyebrow makeover that helped highlight her sleepy-lidded beauty and make her a star.

    Photo by: Getty Images

  • During the 1950s, Dior’s polished New Look demanded to be worn with a put-together face. The look called for full winged eye makeup, lipstick and brows shaped in the Diva Arch, as seen on stars like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor. Another iconic ‘50s pair? Audrey Hepburn’s dark, straight brows, which epitomized the gamine look.

    Photo by: Getty Images

  • Sixties siren Sophia Loren shaved her brows and penciled them in with excruciatingly detailed individual strokes. Meanwhile, at Warhol's Factory in New York, art star Edie Sedgwick was making ultra-black brows her thing.

  • Brows thinned out during the days of disco, but returned with a vengeance in the '80s, when stars like Brooke Shields and Madonna popularized the bushy look.

  • Plucked For The Very First Time Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

    Madonna's first makeup artist, Debi Mazar (now a successful actress) recently told Allure, "I was forever trying to get her to pluck those eyebrows. She would never go for it - it was her Latin heritage and she wanted to keep them. It wasn't until François Nars came in and convinced her to pluck them at a Steven Meisel shoot that she agreed to do it."

  • Now You See Them, Now You Don’t Wendy Rodewald-Sulz

    During the '90s, brows came in all shapes and sizes, from Cindy Crawford's lush arches to scrawny shapes, as seen on Drew Barrymore. Supermodel Kristen McMenamy's career took off after she shaved her eyebrows for a 1992 Vogue "grunge" shoot with Steven Meisel.

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    Since the '90s, brows have alternately appeared big and bold or bleached to oblivion in fashion editorials and runway shows - sometimes both during the same season. For fall 2012, Chanel makeup artist Peter Phillips sent models down the runway with graphic sequined appliques affixed to their brows.

    Photo by: Vincent Lappartient/Courtesy of Chanel

  • Recently, plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Epstein told the New York Post that 12-15 women every month are paying him,000 a pop for eyebrow hair transplants to make their brows look like actress Megan Fox's.

    Photo by: Getty Images

  • Of course, eyebrows aren’t just a beauty fixation - they play an essential role in communication and facial recognition, too. In a 2003 MIT study, subjects were able to identify celebrities with their eyes digitally edited out 60 percent of the time. When the celebrities’ eyebrows were removed instead, subjects only recognized them 46 percent of the time.

  • Photo by: via Buzzfeed

  • The general trend over the past 60 years is one of eyebrow equality. For a study published in the journal Clinical Plastic Surgery, researchers analyzed magazine images of fashion models and actresses from 1946 to the present. They found that women's brows gradually have become lower and less arched - essentially, more similar to men’s.

    Photo by: via <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/news/why-women-are-embracing-the-lowbrow-look-8142464.html">The Independent</a>

  • And on the spring 2013 runways, the masculine brow (seen here at Marc Jacobs) has been more omnipresent than ever, which means we all get to exercise our right not to tweeze.

    Photo by: Courtesy of Nars

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