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Eye on Brows

By: Marvin Westmore
Posted: June 25, 2008, from the January 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Today, the field of esthetics is growing by leaps and bounds with the proliferation of day spas in women’s gyms, specialty salons, dental spas and even facilities that exclusively offer eyebrow services.

The growth is phenomenal—but, from a business perspective, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

In Beverly Hills, California, there are several spas—such as Damone Roberts, Brow Boot Camp, Valeries and Anastasia—that specialize in eyebrow shaping. Their clientele includes actresses, singers, TV personalities and socialites. The top spas charge $55 for the initial consultation, design and service, and $45 for follow-up maintenance visits. Just recently, a fashion magazine noted that many spas in New York have followed suit. These same spas provide esthetic skin care services, as well as retail skin care and makeup products. However, the most popular menu item is eyebrow shaping.

Why eyebrows?

Brows are to the eyes what a frame is to a painting. The frame focuses the viewer’s attention by distinguishing the art from its environment, in addition to providing a harmonious and defining setting for the picture. Eyebrows direct this same defining focus to the eyes. Brows are a key element in facial nonverbal communication because they convey attitudes, feelings and sentiments. They also add an emphasis to spoken communication. In essence, eyebrows reflect our outward signs of beauty, as well as the inward indications of our emotions.

Historically in Western cultures, eyebrows have taken many shapes and designs—from the bushy Neanderthal brow to the denuded, fully plucked 15th-century brow to false brows made of mouse skin in 18th-century England. In early theater, eyebrows were fashioned in an exaggerated form to convey the characters’ emotional state to the audience at the far back of the house. Since its inception in the 1920s, the world of motion pictures has continued to influence fashionable eyebrow trends.

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