The Most Popular Eyebrow Trends Throughout the Decades

From pencil-thin to bold and bushy — and everything in between.

Cara Delevingne natural eyebrows and sleek, side-parted hair
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

What a long, strange trip it's been: Eyebrow trends have come and gone — and come back again. Back in the 1920s, silver screen stars like Anna May Wong and Clara Bow wore theirs pencil-thin with a severe downward-curving tail, and every decade that followed saw its share of brow-raising styles. Perhaps thanks to Audrey Hepburn's full set in the 1960s, arches began taking on a more natural appearance, until the '70s, when disco, shimmery shadow, and dramatic brow shapes came on the scene. As of late, thin arches are making a comeback, albeit with a more sculpted shape than their '90s predecessor — but we're jumping ahead.

We put together a retrospective look at the most-popular shapes by the decade, spanning from the 1920s to today. Click through our gallery to time-travel through the brow trends of years past.

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1920s: Anna May Wong

Anna May Wong 1920s' pencil-thin eyebrows and heavy bangs
Otto Dyar/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

In the '20s, brows were worn uber thin, and the tails were given a downward curve like Anna May Wong's.

02 of 33

1920s: Clara Bow

Clara Bow 1920s' pencil-thin eyebrows that arch downward
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Along with her defined Cupid's bow, women of the '20s mirrored the dramatic shape of Clara Bow's arches.

03 of 33

1930s: Merle Oberon

Merle Oberon 1930s' thin eyebrows with rounded upward bend
Sasha/Getty Images

In the 1930s, stars like Merle Oberon ditched the sloped look of the previous decade for a rounded upward bend.

04 of 33

1930s: Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday 1930s' thin, dark, extended eyebrows with slight bend
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Women like Billie Holiday, with her trademark red lip and floral hairpiece, filled their brows in with a darker hue to play up the bend.

05 of 33

1930s: Norma Shearer

Norma Shearer 1930s' straight eyebrows with down-turned tails
George Hurrell/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Others, like Norma Shearer, grew their brows into a completely straight line, save for the down-turned tails on the far edges.

06 of 33

1940s: Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich 1940s' skinny eyebrows with slight bend
A. L. Whitey Schafer/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

Dietrich's skinny set walked the line between the trends of the '30s and '40s, though her arch was less severe than those of the previous decade.

07 of 33

1940s: Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford 1940s' heavier eyebrows with rounded curve
John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

By contrast, Joan Crawford's heavier brows became her trademark look. To keep them from looking too severe, she opted for soft, rounded arches.

08 of 33

1950s: Lena Horne

Lena Horne 1950s' eyebrows with pointed arch and shorter tail
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Leaving the rounded curve in the '40s, the shape of choice in the '50s mirrored that of Lena Horne's, which had a pointed arch and shorter tail.

09 of 33

1950s: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe 1950s' angled arched eyebrows, bold lipstick, and lush lashes
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the era of the bombshell, women in the '50s followed Marilyn's lead with bold red lips, lush lashes, and angled arches.

10 of 33

1950s: Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor 1950s' thick, dark, shaped eyebrows and matte shadow
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em! Elizabeth Taylor played up her already-ample brows with a generous amount of matte shadow.

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1950s: Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt 1950s' eyebrows with graphic arch
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Kitt's graphic arch followed the aesthetic of the decade, and added a slightly sensual feline vibe to her look.

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1960s: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn 1960s' thick, natural eyebrows
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Hepburn effect, sparked by the star's thick, natural set, inspired the women of the '60s to fill in their own with well-placed strokes of the brow pencil.

13 of 33

1960s: Nina Simone

Nina Simone 1960s' full eyebrows with a rounded, emphasized arch
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Like Hepburn, Nina Simone also wore her brows full, but with a rounded, emphasized arch.

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1960s: Twiggy

Twiggy wearing graphic eye makeup, top and bottom mascara, and arched eyebrows with thin, rounded tails
Popperfoto/Getty Images

With graphic eye makeup and lengthy lashes the focus of the look, those who followed the mod trend like Twiggy kept their brows groomed into an arch, but opted for thin, rounded tails to complement the statement liner.

15 of 33

1970s: Donna Summer

Donna Summer 1970s' thin, curved eyebrows with shimmery shadow
Fotos International/Getty Images

Chalk it up to the sparkly disco feeling that took over the nation, but in the '70s, a thin, curved brow like Donna Summer's allowed the shimmery eye shadow to extend even further.

16 of 33

1970s: Diana Ross

Diana Ross 1970s' thin eyebrows with high arch and top and bottom mascara
Terry O'Neill/Getty Images

The sharp arch of Diana Ross's eyebrows gave her lengthy lashes an even longer appearance — well, that and tons of mascara.

17 of 33

1970s: Pam Grier

Pam Grier 1970s' long, thin eyebrows with the slightest curve
Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Pam Grier's brows followed a more natural shape, but stayed in line with the thinner trend of the decade.

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1970s: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin 1970s' thin, natural eyebrows and purple eyeshadow
Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

Talk about feeling like a natural woman! Franklin's expertly groomed set seemed to be untouched by the tweezers, perfectly framing her purple eye shadow.

19 of 33

1980s: Brooke Shields

Brooke Shields 1980s' full, overgrown, yet groomed, eyebrows
Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Thanks to stars like Brooke Shields, who flawlessly worked a full set, the women of the '80s got their grow on, with ample brows completing any good power-dressing ensemble.

20 of 33

1980s: Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston 1980s' thick, brushed-up eyebrows
Chris Walter/WireImage

Celebrities like Whitney Houston set the trend of brushing individual hairs upward for an exaggerated look. And it perfectly complemented the rest of her'80s aesthetic.

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1980s: Madonna

Madonna with full, overgrown eyebrows and '80s makeup and hair
Julian Wasser/Liaison

Following in the footsteps of her Madgesty, many women left out the tweezers entirely, allowing their arches to completely grow in.

22 of 33

1980s: Grace Jones

Grace Jones 1980s' thin, drawn eyebrows with upward slant
Anthony Barboza/Getty Images

The fashion-forward crowd, including supermodel Grace Jones, emulated the look of a real-life Patrick Nagel painting by opting for graphic brows with a severe upward slant.

23 of 33

1990s: Kate Moss

Kate Moss 1990s' pencil-thin eyebrows and waterline eyeliner
Ron Galella/WireImage

In contrast to the overgrown look of the previous decade, the '90s saw an abundance in pencil-thin brows, à la Kate Moss.

24 of 33

1990s: Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey 1990s' thin, rounded eyebrows and subtle smoky eye
Barry King/WireImage

Not unlike the skilled vocalist herself, Carey's curved brows hit all the right notes in terms of the mid-90s trends.

25 of 33

1990s: Sherilyn Fenn

Sherilyn Fenn 1990s' angled arched eyebrows and brown shadow
CBS Photo Archive

In addition to "Who killed Laura Palmer?" another question we had while watching the '90s-era cult TV show Twin Peaks was "Who does Audrey Horne's brows?" thanks to Sherilyn Fenn's trademark arches.

26 of 33

1990s: Tyra Banks

Tyra Banks 1990s' arched eyebrows with shimmery makeup
Ron Galella/WireImage

No brow powder here! Banks's light natural set was groomed into a narrow silhouette. But to give this look a little something extra, she went with shimmery shadow and lipstick because it was the '90s, after all.

27 of 33

1990s: Drew Barrymore

1990s Drew Barrymore with thin, dark arched eyebrows, brown lipstick, and a "grunge" bixie
Jim Smeal/WireImage

The grunge era also saw some interesting shapes, similar to Drew Barrymore's skinny, ultra-dark arches.

28 of 33

2000s: Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz with thin eyebrows, pink lip gloss, and effortless waves in the 2000s

Recovering from the tweeze-fest that was the '90s, eyebrow shapes remained thin but followed a more natural path like Cameron Diaz's.

29 of 33

2000s: Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham shorter, emphasized eyebrows in the 2000s
Tony Barson/WireImage

Instead of lining the beginning portion of the brow with the bridge of the nose, stars like Victoria Beckham had their arches start along the outer area of the nostril.

30 of 33

2000s: Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore with light eyebrows and frosted makeup in the 2000s

With frosty, early aughts shadow as the hottest trend of the moment, light brows like Mandy Moore's provided a subtle frame for the sparkly effect.

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2010s: Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian full, defined brows and long lashes
Noam Galai/WireImage

Perhaps in an attempt to keep up with the Kardashians, or our natural hair growth cycle, the 2010s were marked by a more natural shape with a vibe that suggested bigger was better, at least in terms of our brows.

32 of 33

2010s: Cara Delevingne

Cara Delevingne with full, dark, shaped brows and slick, side-parted hair
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The supermodel (and her ample arches) inspired us to step away from the tweezers and embrace a fuller brow shape. To add a tinge of softness, she went with a subtle smoky eye that we are still fawning over.

33 of 33

2020s: Bella Hadid

Bella Hadid sharp, thin eyebrows and a slicked-back bun

Getty Images

Today's brows seem to favor a thinner silhouette — just look to Bella Hadid as proof. And although they bear some resemblance to the narrow styles that dominated the '90s, their shape and definition make a name for themself. Looking to add a wow factor? Reach for the bleach.

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