Tutorial:How to Achieve Vintage Eyebrows


After a few questions and comments from readers about my eyebrows, I decided to whip up this little tutorial about how to achieve vintage style eyebrows. Eyebrows are an extremely important and often over-looked feature. Your eyebrows change the overall shape and expression of your entire face. The shape and movement of your eyebrows aids in communication by expressing your emotions.

In the world of vintage, eyebrows are just as important as bold, red lips. We've all admired the gorgeous brows of movie starlets and most of us have probably plucked the heck out of ours to try to get the same coveted arches. With shaping, cosmetics and frequent manicuring, we can all have perfect, lovely vintage eyebrows.

Check out my other post, a guide to 1950s brows with a peek inside a vintage cosmetology book

Different Shapes- Different Eras

Eyebrows in the 1920's were extremely thin and usually a straight line or slightly turned down like 1920's "It Girl" Clara Bow

1930's brows kept the thin line of the 20's but had a high, exaggerated and rounded arch, often extending past the natural length of an eyebrow, much like Jean Harlow's brows

In the 1940's, eyebrows were kept at a more natural thickness with arches sharper than that of the 30's. Sultry starlet Lauren Bacall has fabulous 40's brows

By the 1950's eyebrows became thicker and darker than that of the 40's but still kept the elegant, defined arches and long shape. Elizabeth Taylor has always had gorgeous 1950's brows

How To Shape your Eyebrows

*please note*- avoid tweezing your eyebrows right before a first date, job interview or anything really important. Redness and puffiness happens sometimes and gorgeous new eyebrows won't make up for swollen, tender skin. Eyebrows are best plucked right after a shower when your pores are open and skin is relaxed.

1.) To find where your brow begins, hold a makeup brush or pencil parallel against the side of your nose. The spot where the pencil and your brow meet should be the starting point for your eyebrows.

2.) To find your arch, move the pencil across your face so that it is parallel to the edge of your iris. This marks the highest point of your natural arch.

3.) To find the end of your brow, hold the pencil or brush against your nose and tilt it so that it sits at the corner of your eye. This marks the end of your brow, unless you are choosing a 1930's eyebrow, which can be a bit longer.

4.) Once you have all of the points of your brow marked (with an eyeliner or brow pencil, draw a line marking the shape that you desire. Draw straight, thin lines for 1920's brows. Use high, circular arches for the 30's. Do sharp arches and thicker lines for 40's and 50's.

If you are nervous about free-handing your brows, you can buy brow stencils at walmart, target and beauty supply stores. You should fill in the thickness of the desired brow with the pencil.

5.) When both brows appear even, you can begin! Start by tweezing both outside edges of the brow so that both brows are the same length, then start to shape the brow. Pull one hair at a time to avoid accidental bald spots and over-plucking. Take it easy and go slow.

 Gently pull the skin taut and pluck in the direction that the hair is growing. Make sure to have a magnifying mirror and natural light. If your eyebrows are thick and straight, remove the bottom hairs first. If you are trying to get high arches, you will want to avoid tweezing the top of your brows as much as possible. I prefer a 1940's brow on me. To get my arches, I tweeze in an upward diagonal line here to here:

And then continue in a downward diagonal line here to here:

6.) When you're finished, brush your eyebrows so they stick straight up and carefully trim long hairs with a small pair of scissors, then smooth them back down.


After tweezing, if your skin is red and puffy, apply aloe gel or a cool compress to the area to relieve swelling and pain.

If your brows have places that need to be filled in, you can use eyebrow powders (looks like an eyeshadow), brow pencils or cream makeup to fill them in. If using a pencil, use short, feathering strokes to achieve a more natural look. Many people really do shave or wax off the entire brow and draw them on. If that's the look you're going for, think about it for a while before taking the leap.

Only a select few of us look fantastic with drawn on brows, which can take a while time to grow back! If you're starting with natural full brows and you're feeling uneasy about doing it yourself, most hair salons have experts on hand to shape your brows for you. It's cheap, easy and will guarantee perfect vintage eyebrows. Anyway, that's all I have on the subject of eyebrows. Feel free to post questions in a comment below or shoot me an email!


  1. Another good way piece of advice is - if you make a mistake, RESIST THE URGE TO MATCH IT ON THE OTHER SIDE. This is how disasters happen, people! I should know!

  2. LOL, you are SO right about that! I've done it too!

  3. And when you pluck for a few years (or decades, in my case) after a while most of the stray hair stops growing in. So the longer you do it, the less you have to do it.

    Do be sure to do them right at the start!

    Excellent tutorial!!

  4. Also a good piece of advice is there is a difference between PLUCKING and TWEEZING;
    Plucking is when you pull the hair straight OUT from the skin, it causes alot more discomfort then tweezing, which is when you pull the hair out of the root in the dirrection of its growth..

    Thanks for the tut! Unfortunatly I have pretty straight eyebrows; An arch is impossible for me. hahaha

  5. Really? I have never heard anything about the difference between "plucking" or "tweezing", but then again, I'm not a professional aesthetician! In my use the term "pluck" above, I did state that you should pull/pluck/tweeze/remove the hair in the direction of the hair growth. Random ripping out would be really painful and possibly bloody! *yikes*
    I bet you could get a good arch but you'd have to remove hairs from the bottom of the eyebrow. I love your brows the way they are, though! They look great with your bangs!

  6. Awesome post! I cannot find anyone that can do my brows the way I want them, I guess I'll just have to do it myself! :)

  7. Great post. I'm lucky that my brows have a naturally nice shape (well, I like it anyway) and I just have to make them, well, thinner. Or I get 50s eyebrows and I don't like that on me. ;]
    -Andi x

  8. you can also put orajel on before you start if it hurts too much.

    I agree with you, just plucking your eyebrows does wonders for your whole face!

  9. Gosh! THANK YOU! I need to fix my eyebrows and make them look more vintage! I needed this tutorial so bad!

  10. I just want to say that your site is just fabulous! This is so amazing! When I saw King Kong with Jack Black and Naomi Watts, I wanted to reach into the screen and fix her brows! What 30s gal would have modern brows like that?! Brows and lips are the cornerstone of the vintage face! Keep up good work! I love your style!

  11. Thanks, Betty! I totally agree! You who else has brows that make me want to groom them for her is Eva Green! I love her and think she is stunningly gorgeous but I really want to attack her with tweezers! *lol*

  12. Thank you SO much for posting this! It feels like a special present! I can't wait to try this out!

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  14. This is very helpful. I'm trying to get the look of Marlene Dietrich for a play I'm doing in September. Unfortunately, I inherited my dad's eyebrows - not good - and now have them waxed because they take so long to pluck. I'm bookmarking your post because it will be very helpful when I come to reshape them for the play. Thanks. xx

  15. Have been looking for pics for 1940s and 1950s eyebrow tutorial. Thanks!

    I'm not gonna attempt to DIY my eyebrows though since I am artistically challenged. Will show this to a friend and get her to do it for me instead. Thank you for the tutorial. I really appreciate it :)

  16. some advice that I found reassuring is think of your eyebrows as sisters, similar to each other but definitely not twins, and looking at mine; I can agree, I think they're at war with each other lol.

    1. I love that idea! hehe!! It's true too, mine are very similar but certainly not identical. :)

  17. Thanks! I was just noticing the other day that my eyebrows were thicker at the end than the beginning. Gonna try and get some glamorous forties brows out of them. :)

  18. Bride glow up with Perfect eye brows and i prefer H&M, They made my day, very good knowledge and experience they have, I will surely recommend others. Best Spa In Mississauga


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