Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 22, 2008

Stop Deforestation, Save Your Eyebrows!

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 2:30 pm

I’m worried about your eyebrows.

Well, not your eyebrows in particular, which I’m sure are gorgeous and not at all like mine which currently look like two lovelorn caterpillars yearning to become one, but the state of eyebrows in general and on big girls, especially young ones, in particular.

They seem to be going away and that concerns me. Everywhere I turn it seems that women are plucking their eyebrows into tiny squiggles that look like –and I’m sure you’ll pardon my indelicacy– the “boy” part of the boy-meets-girl part of the fertilization story. Not alluring.

What’s the story? Why are women giving themselves the facial version of The Lower Lindsay? It’s a puzzlement.

Here’s the thing about eyebrows. There are few prettier ways to frame a face than with groomed but healthy brow, arched outside and ending in an elegant taper. Think Liz Taylor or Marilyn Monroe.

Eyebrow pencil –or powder if you’re not as clumsy as I am– can clean up and define a brow in a heartbeat. Just one hint though, unless you want to look like you spend your days with some short man in a trench coat coming up with creative ways to murder Moose and Squirrel, use a pencil lighter than your natural hair color.

The best part? It’s totally okay to buy a cheap eyebrow pencil. I’ve used the Chanel pencil and I’ve used the Wet n’ Wild cheapies. They work the same.

And because we at Manolo for the Big Girl CARE about your needs, here is a brief guide to eyebrows:

Marilyn Monroe

Yes (if you’re a Fright Queen, otherwise No):
Simply Divine

La Liz

No (but bitchin’):
The Most Exalted Potentate of My Heart: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams


  1. Just have to take a moment to pay tribute to Liz Taylor in her prime. Was there ever anyone more gorgeous?

    Comment by rosarita — April 22, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  2. it reminds me of the girl in those adds I saw this morning:

    not sure if I like those big eyebrows though, looks a bit messsy to me

    Comment by ald — April 22, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  3. Thank you for sharing my hatred of the sperm brow. They make me feel ooky.

    Comment by Janey — April 22, 2008 @ 5:38 pm

  4. Ooh, I have Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows! I like the Marilyn Monroe look, but it doesn’t work with my natural eyebrow shape.

    Comment by Becky — April 22, 2008 @ 6:46 pm

  5. I love those glam ’50s eyebrows! I have an anti-caterpillar problem: practically no eyebrows at all. They are both pale and sparse — not remotely lush enough to pluck into any kind of shape — and I have never mastered penciling in anything more satisfactory without looking like Groucho.

    The pencil-brow fad would seem to be suited to the sparsely browed, but I can’t say I find it attractive. And it worries me a little when I see it on very young women. I mean, what if those eyebrows never grow back?

    Comment by Bridey — April 22, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

  6. I warn everybody about overplucking. I overplucked mine in the early 90’s when the super-thin brow was all the rage, and am now reduced to trying all sorts of dubious concoctions and potions to make even one precious hair grow back.

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — April 22, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  7. I too am an admirer of the brows. A well arched and groomed brow lends itself to a look of polished perfection. Don’t overpluck People!!

    Comment by Cybill — April 23, 2008 @ 2:33 am

  8. Way too much of my time is spent contemplating my brows. I bought one of those dumb eyebrow stencil “kits” which are basically just four pieces of clear plastic with a different eyebrow shape cut into each one because I was convinced that I had totally awful terrible brows that needed shaped but I didn’t want to overpluck. So anyway, long story short, I put the stencil thing on my brow and it was already that shape. So I guess I was already doing something right and I’ve stopped stressing since then. They’re about Marilyn’s shape/size.

    As far as filling ’em in, I recommend powder — a matte eyeshadow will work great and generally be cheaper than the “special” eyebrow powder — and do not apply too much. I fill in mine a little bit with brown matte mineral eyeshadow (since I have dark brown hair) using a brush with tougher bristles (like this one). It works much better than my attempts with pencil, which always came off too harsh. Plus, it turns out I hate pencils, period, even for writing with.

    Also, check out Bad Eyebrows. Lotsa bad eyebrows there.

    Comment by happyapple — April 23, 2008 @ 2:52 am

  9. I did the spermbrow for a long time, but fortunately am hirsute enough that they grew back when I got over it (around age 24). Now that I’m approaching my mid-thirties, I’m noticing that many young women (16-26ish) are really clinging to the super-skinny brows and it looks AWFUL. Their faces (no matter how much they weigh) look doughy and shapeless, and the current trend of piling on the emo-eyeliner only exacerbates it.

    Thanks for trying to make it stop.

    Comment by The Jimbles — April 23, 2008 @ 3:05 am

  10. Oh, thanks for the tip about the lighter pencil. I always have the worst time with that. Not that I’m in danger of having too little of eyebrows, but a girl does like to experiment from time to time.

    Comment by SarahE — April 23, 2008 @ 7:38 am

  11. I’ve gone a bit too natural with my brows, but I had to stop having them waxed because they always mutilated them. I like my natural shape; I’ll just have to rely upon myself to clean them up. Up with big brows, especially for bigger faces.

    Comment by Netter — April 23, 2008 @ 9:40 am

  12. Eyebrows are good. The hairs in my eyebrows are now turning white (I am not sure why), and I have to color because when I don’t, I entirely lose the top half of my head. It’s really very odd…so I am a big fan of lovely brows. I love Elizabeth Taylor’s – those were BROWS. Any man who felt “brow-beaten” by her definitely knew what he was talking about.

    Comment by Toby Wollin — April 23, 2008 @ 9:47 am

  13. About the color thing…when I was a small child, I was quite blonde. Of course, with that light blonde hair and near-transparent skin, nature chose to give me a coal black unibrow. People were always asking my mother why she used so much eyebrow pencil on such a small child, and rarely believed her when she said she didn’t.

    Luckily, my hair eventually turned a nice shade of very dark brown so the eyebrows no longer look so out of place. My eyebrows are, however, still several shades darker than my hair. If I used an eyebrow pencil lighter than the hair on my head, it would look bizarre, but one slightly lighter than my actual eyebrows makes a good transition.

    Why do I even know this? Alas! In a community theater play I was once informed by the make up department that I had to pluck off half my eyebrows and they would draw that part in at a much higher arch than was natural on me. I argued that they could use eyebrow wax to cover the bit they didn’t like, but I was vetoed. After the run of the show, my brows grew back a touch patchy on the ends.

    Don’t ever let a make up designer tell you waxing your brows out isn’t good enough. Unless the audience is sitting in your lap, they won’t be able to tell from the stage, anyway. Protect your brows.

    Comment by Twistie — April 23, 2008 @ 10:42 am

  14. I have light brows, and I look a little Mona Lisa if I don’t use brow powder to make them match my auburn hair. I recommend Smashbox Browtech powder and wax applied with a stiff slanted brush.

    Comment by Chiken — April 23, 2008 @ 11:33 am

  15. For dark-browed girls, it’s hard to beat Way Bandy’s advice from a couple of decades ago in “Designing Your Face” – use an Eberhard-Faber #6325 pencil from an art supply store to draw in individual hairs in your eyebrows. It looks so natural you need a magnifying glass to detect it. Don’t worry that it says “jet black” on the pencil; on skin it shows as a neutral dark color. I bought two back in the late 70’s when I first read his book, so I’m not sure if they are still being made because it takes so little I’m not even 2″ into the first one. But it seems like an artists staple, so I bet there’s something similar out there, if not the original. He suggested a “silverized beige” pencil for auburn and blonde, but I never had to look for it.

    Comment by Carol — April 23, 2008 @ 7:26 pm

  16. I have inherited a slightly more feminine version of the archbishop’s eyebrows, courtesy of my father. I do pluck the occasional mega-hair that’s sticking out at odd angles, but in general I can’t bring myself to pluck. I kinda like ’em.

    Does it matter as much if you have glasses? My frames sit just about even with my brows, toward the underside of the arc.

    Comment by TeleriB — April 24, 2008 @ 9:27 am

  17. I’m still not entirely certain what the “sperm brow” looks like, but I’ve seen a passle of awful eyebrows in my time. I have found that a medim grey eyeshadow fills in my black eyebrows nicely without being too dark or too harsh, and I recommend powder eyeshadows as a good way to experiment. Mascara is also a way of darkening and thickening brows at the same time, but not so great for shaping. And, of course, there’s always cosmetic tattooing, as a resort for the determined (VERY different from tattooing other parts of the body; look for someone with a license and experience!). I have also heard of Rogaine being used by those who had overplucked, and were trying to restore the lost brows, but I haven’t tried that myself yet. My own eyebrows are classic 1950s in flavor, somewhere between Elizabeth Taylor’s and Marilyn Monroe’s (both of whom were astonishingly beautiful): distinctly arched, widest at the front, and tapered at the tip. I can’t claim any more similarity than the eyebrows, alas.

    Most women, from what I’ve seen, at least, don’t seem to realize that eyebrows contribute all the expression, and a considerable amount of the beauty, to their faces. (Either that, or they’ve decided to go in for a highly, um, individual look.)

    Comment by La BellaDonna — April 24, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  18. ACK! I hate my eyebrows because they are too thin. I also hate eyebrow pencil because it smudges too easily. I need idiot-proof makeup.

    Someone please explain why some women will just pencil some strange shapes above their eyes! They might has well do Divine’s “Pink Flamingos” look (see above pics)!
    I just pluck the strays just enough to shape them. Tinted eyebrow gels are lifesavers. Revlon’s Colorstay eyebrow pencil and gel combo looks pretty natural and does not cost a lot.

    Just can’t deal with the fuss….

    Comment by dcsurfergirl — April 24, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  19. That’s it. I have to save that Liz Taylor pic for inspiration.

    Comment by Jenna — April 24, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  20. I have the same problem as La Petite Acadienne. Except mine were plucked down to nothing by a well-meaning friend back in the 70’s. Warning, ladies: they may not grow back!!!

    Comment by deja pseu — April 27, 2008 @ 10:31 am

  21. Mine were overplucked in the 70s. I don’t like powder by itself and the wax/powder combos have left me underwhelmed, so far. I’ll have to try the art supply pencil.

    Comment by Andrea — April 30, 2008 @ 7:33 pm

  22. Please keep these excellent posts coming.

    Comment by Color Code Facial Skin Care — November 3, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

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