A Complete Taxonomy of Eyebrows

brow-shapes-7
1

The Movie Star Arch

brow-shapes-2
2

The Straightforward Brow

brow-shapes-3
3

The Caterpillar

brow-shapes-4
4

The Comma

brow-shapes-5
5

The Parenthesis

brow-shapes-6
6

The Subtle Arch

brow-shapes-7

The Movie Star Arch

brow-shapes-2

The Straightforward Brow

brow-shapes-3

The Caterpillar

brow-shapes-4

The Comma

brow-shapes-5

The Parenthesis

brow-shapes-6

The Subtle Arch

brow-shapes-7
brow-shapes-2
brow-shapes-3
brow-shapes-4
brow-shapes-5
brow-shapes-6
replies

Your eyebrows convey a lot about who you are. Haha, just kidding! They’re just brows, everybody relax. The best thing to come out of the thick eyebrow movement is the fact that it embraces what was once viewed as an unfortunate genetic disposition, to be plucked away the moment you were old enough to know where your mom hid the tweezers. But like we've been sayin', the best brow is the one you've got. As such, a celebration of the many varieties of eyebrow shapes and sizes are below. Are you arched? Round? Straight? A little wobbly? Unibrowy? Sort of hungry right now? Congratulations, you’re human.

brow-shapes-7-613x408

The Movie Star Arch
Think: Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina Jolie. Dramatic, magnificent arched brows that require delicate plucking precision and careful shaping, but indicate that no bullshit will be had here, and I said I wanted this martini with a twist, no olives.

brow-shapes-2-582x388

The Straightforward Brow
As if God or the stork (or an eager waxing professional) took her paintbrush and just left you with two quick racing stripes. Available in various levels of thickness that max out at Brooke Shields circa 1980, these brows are straight, taper off at the end, and seem to signify no drama—or at least superior aerodynamics.

brow-shapes-3-582x388

The Caterpillar
Not quite as extreme as Wooly Willy’s, these brows are thick and full, the stuff Cara Delevingne brow fantasies are made of. Necessary accessories: a brow comb, brow gel, and possibly conditioner.

brow-shapes-4-582x388

The Comma
Also known as The Tadpole. These brows make you pause and say, hmm, something’s not right here. That’s probably because of over-enthused plucking, something you hopefully grow out of before it’s too late. But remember, time and eyebrow powder cure all things.

brow-shapes-5-582x388

The Parenthesis (to keep with the punctuation theme)

These round brows are perfectly curved like sideways parentheses—or the edge of an iPhone. No angles, no arch, no corners to hide in. The thinner they come, the more you look like a silent movie vixen.

brow-shapes-6-582x388

The Subtle Arch
The subtle arch is low-key; a small indentation near the end of the eyes give you something to work with when you’re raising your eyes in suspicion or disgust—an important, necessary facial exercise. Just ask January Jones or Lupita Nyong'o.

—Alex Beggs

Illustrations by Joana Avillez/Illustration Division.

Now that your eyebrow nomenclature is practiced, read more about why it's important here.

Interviews, product reviews, and more