How to Change Your Impression with Eyebrows
Posted on March 31 2020
So if you’ve been living under a rock and somehow didn’t know, eyebrows have been rocking the trends for the past few years all over the world. Surprisingly, their impact is stronger than you would think, and they definitely are not outshined by other parts of your look, such as your lips or eye makeup. In fact, there are some people who even insist on their ultimate importance.
And just like how there are differences in languages from country to country, their makeup trends and beauty standards have them as well!
Brows on #Fleek!
Beginning with Vine’s popular six-second video about the “fleekness” of your eyebrows in 2014, the importance of one’s eyebrows suddenly skyrocketed from there. The fact that how your eyebrows were done could change your entire makeup look spread like wildfire to thousands upon thousands of people across the nation, desperately trying to obtain the perfect pair of brows. In today’s America, people are going to microblading specialists, or they’re even tattooing them on, to make sure their brows are as perfect as they can be.
The eyebrows depicted in that video from then on are thick, clearly arched with pride. In the past, America did have a period of time where pencil-thin was in, but ever since entering the 2010s and now even into the 2020s, the bolder the better, it seems. And the West’s eyebrows’ defining characteristic: crisply drawn outlines, from start to end. As we approach towards the head of the eyebrow, it boasts a beautiful fade-out gradient, but even that is clearly defined.
To obtain this kind of sharp look, a common way is to clearly outline with pencil and to define with concealer and highlighter afterwards. People often use a wide variety of strong products to obtain their brows, such as pomade or gel, because that’s just how important of a role it has on the stage.
Fleek in a Different Way
On the other hand, Japan appears to be on the exact opposite end of the eyebrow spectrum. Around the same time as America, Japan has also had a rendezvous with pencil-thin eyebrows, but it has since evolved into the eyebrows we have today: fluffy and soft. It seems like both America and Japan had the idea that sticking to a more natural eyebrow shape was ideal, considering that it’s been pretty much a decade for both frontiers since the last main appearance of those dreadful brows. Both America and Japan turned up the thickness dial on their brows, but the biggest difference between the two is how loud and bold that arch is.
Unlike with America, there doesn't seem to be a monumental moment, but the eyebrows we see today in Japan get a lot of their inspiration from Korea. Over the past decade, from dramas to K-Pop idols, the Hanryuu boom’s effect on pop culture within Japan has been increasingly getting stronger and stronger. Wanting to look like their beloved idols and actors, Japan’s brows now closely match the popular “parallel brows” of Korea, with the arch subtle, but surely there. The only real difference to mention is the fact that Japanese people tend to try to match with their hair color, and that they have a slightly clearer arch compared to the Korean way. It is thick, just as thick as America, but the end goals are different. One is to talk loudly and proudly, and one is to support the overall gentle look.
Many Japanese people use eyebrow powder to gently fill in their brows, maintaining their natural arch, and if they use pencil, their outline is like an angel’s kiss. Take these products for example:
Source: Cosme Hunt
Source: SAQURA Blog
The Kiss Me Heavy Rotation Powder Eyebrow & 3D Nose Powder Contour Set> and the CANMAKE Mix Eyebrow Set a perfect example of their love for powdery, subtle products!
Fluffy vs. Crisp?
In the first place, why is there this kind of difference in makeup between the East and the West?
When you’re on literal different ends of the world, it’s only natural that there will be differences that pop up, whether it be the cuisine, the language… or in this case, the beauty standards. To put it simply, Japan tends to lean towards “cute” rather than “sexy”, “soft” rather than “bold”, “subtle” rather than “extravagant”. America tends to prefer the opposite for all of the above.
Japan also has a deeply embedded cultural ideal of not straying away from the group and knowing your place, producing a population that isn’t so out there. Of course, there will always be the exception or two, because it’s hard for every single Japanese person on the island to be the same, but this is just a standard generalization of what the main culture entails, and has been noted time and time again in various comparisons with Japan and the West, from articles like this to peer-reviewed studies.
And that seems to be reflected in their makeup trends, such as with their fleetingly soft eyebrows. The difference between “cute” and “sexy” is also quite stark in terms of boldness, so it makes sense for Japanese people to be more drawn to the former image.
At the end of the day, each set of brows has their own special charm point, and it wouldn’t be fair to pit them against each other in a fight, as they’re good for different people and different situations. Whichever brows you end up choosing for your face, they’re all on #fleek.