Who cares about eyebrows?

Remember that old Seinfeld episode wherein Jerry and Elaine are trying to set George up with Elaine’s friend Cynthia? Elaine is talking about all of Cynthia’s good points, and adds that she has great eyebrows.

Jerry: Who cares about eyebrows?

Elaine: Women KILL for eyebrows like that. Do you know that? I mean, women pluck their real eyebrows out of their head, one by ONE, until they’re BALD, Jerry, bald above the eyes, and then they paint in these eyebrows to look like that.

Later, Jerry broaches the subject of a setup to George, who is reticent because, as he puts it, being set up on a date is one step away from an escort service, or possibly a prostitute. Oh, George. To sweeten the deal, Jerry begins to list all of Cynthia’s physical attributes, adding that she has great eyebrows. Women, he says, kill for eyebrows like that.

George: Who cares about eyebrows?


Who indeed? Well, I do, but more on that in a moment.

Are you on Instagram? I am, but inconsistently. Days can go by and I will forget all about it. My posts aren’t terribly compelling, either, they are mainly photos of a) food, b) my dog, c) something blooming in my garden, and d) the occasional selfie thrown in on a good hair day. I particularly post selfies when I am fresh from the salon, since my beloved hair therapist always blows my hair straight, which I never do in my regular life. I suppose I like to have photographic proof of the one day every five weeks when I have shiny, perfectly straight hair.

While I was at my in-laws’ house on the May long weekend, I received notification that someone had commented on one of my Instagram posts. Hooray, comment! Since my posts are so sporadic I always get excited when someone comments. I was a little confused, though, because the comment was from someone I didn’t know and the post in question was from mid-April.

But wait! Before I get to that, I want to note something. I am a person who can take constructive criticism. I try to stay reasonable and non-defensive – it’s a work in progress, yes, but I really try to look at criticism in an objective way. This is especially true if the constructive criticism/ helpful hint comes from a person I know well and love. If a friend has a comment about makeup, or a suggestion about a wrinkle cream, or anything at all, I will look at it objectively, see if it has any merit and, if so, incorporate it into my life.

As an example, someone mentioned a miracle wrinkle reducer to me, upon looking at my forehead wrinkle. I sadly did not write it down and cannot remember for the life of me a) who mentioned it to me or b) what was the product. If it was you, please tell me, because the forehead situation is dire.

Another example: I mentioned to my hair therapist that I was thinking of going to my natural dark brown, to which she said Not on my watch, Nicole. Her reasoning was sound: every five weeks I go insane, loathing the roots that I have, and if my hair was darker my loathing would be that much greater. Well, I like being a feisty redhead anyway, so I took her advice and here I am, in mid-April, with fresh colour and straightened hair.


And so when I opened my Instagram to read the comment left to me by someone I do not know, I was a bit surprised. I enjoyed the part about having beautiful hair and a wonderful complexion, particularly since I did not use a filter on that photo, as you can probably tell by the forehead wrinkles and undereye circles. And yet.

Let your brows grow in. They look as abused as my poor dying plants I’m constantly forgetting to water. You’ll be amazed.

I immediately went into the bathroom and peered at my eyebrows. It’s true, I have a few eyebrow hairs that are going grey to match my startling roots, but I didn’t think that they were particularly ABUSED looking. I didn’t think they were analogous to dead, unwatered plants. In fact, I thought in that photo they were looking particularly healthy, but I found myself second-guessing everything. Are my eyebrows all wrong?

Here’s the thing, if I let my eyebrows grow in, I feel it would be disastrous. My natural eyebrows are a cross between Martin Scorcese and Bert from Sesame Street, which is not a look I want to cultivate. If someone is comparing me to Bert from Sesame Street, I would like it to be because I’m boring and I like grey, not because of my unibrow.

Don’t worry; I didn’t let that comment destroy my self-esteem or anything. I’m not fishing for eyebrow-related compliments, but I did think it was a pretty strange thing to comment on. I never comment on stranger’s photos, and I would certainly never post a negative comment about something as strange as eyebrows. I was more puzzled than anything.

Then it hit me: maybe eyebrows are the new eyelashes. A while back there were a bunch of eyelash parties – analogous to Tupperware parties, but with eyelashes, I guess, I’ve never been to one myself – and now I’m wondering if the same is true for eyebrows. Are eyebrow regrowth products the newest Multi Level Marketing thing?

If my hypothesis is correct, then I have a gentle suggestion for eyebrow representatives everywhere: don’t go on Instagram and randomly tell people their eyebrows are terrible. Because really, who cares about eyebrows?

(I do. But still.)


  1. I never gave a moment’s thought to eyebrows until I was getting married. I paid someone to do my hair and makeup because at at time my (relatively) fresh and untired self knew very little about makeup and certainly not how to apply it properly for a large event. ANYWAY, the person doing my make up casually mentioned that I should probably get a brow wax too. Now, I have mostly blond eyebrows that are fairly short. Still, upon examination they did look a little fuzzy and caterpillar-y because of all of the small blond hairs all over the place. So, I gave it a whirl. Was transformative – not for my brows per se, although I do continue to get them waxed, but in that for the first time at 30 years of age I started noticing people’s brows. All that as background I offer that your brows look just fine to me and if the trend is to go for big bushy brows, I guess I’m going to have to be off trend because not only is it not possible for me, I don’t find it personally appealing. So move along potential MLM brow-growth formula sellers!

  2. I’m jealous that you even have eyebrows, I have some red ones, brown ones, and white ones, but mostly there are huge gaps missing. Why? Who knows? Age possibly. Either way, I am one of those crazy old ladies that have to draw, and colour hers in.

  3. I had a friend who shaved his off entirely in college just to see what it would look like.
    Creepy and scary is the answer. Also, he found out what they are for– dust and sweat they would have caught kept getting into his eyes. And that’s all I have to say about eyebrows.

  4. “Eleven Steps to Great Summer Eyebrows!” was the article that took me off of all women’s magazines forever. It was so blatantly “Get distracted by the constant vigilant maintenance of every single part of your body!”

  5. Sara Waldecker says

    You started out so great and positive… and then you started putting things down. 🙁
    I plucked my brows like you do and several years ago I decided to let them grow. They’re very thick, the way you describe your natural brows. I’m very happy with them and I get a lot of compliments and insults both… no woman is immune to body shame.
    I’m glad I grew mine out and have to do less maintenance. I’m sad that you had to compare thick eyebrows to manliness to write something positive about your own body.
    The answer to ‘Who cares about eyebrows?’ must be ‘You, since you take great pains to avoid and insult thick eyebrows.’

    • Hi Sara, I’m so sorry that this post made you feel this way. Not my intention, surely, and I don’t know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while or not. I was not intending to poke fun at thick eyebrows, but merely wanted to puzzle at a strange comment I received about my own eyebrows. I don’t like MY thick eyebrows but I certainly wouldn’t make fun of anyone else’s. I’m sure you look great just the way you are.

    • I can’t help but think that you’re working really, really hard to find an insult directed at you in here. She didn’t say “I hate thick eyebrows”. She said she personally found her eyebrows too thick to be attractive on her own personal face. For you to pop in anonymously to claim that that’s offensive to all thick-eyebrowed people is strange, to say the least.

  6. As with all other things, I like the way my eyebrows look when they’re tidied a bit but am too lazy to maintain them. See also: undyed hair, unshaved above the knee, chin hair the length of my armpit. Oh, don’t get me started on armpits.Thanks to you I am now looking at everyone’s eyebrows and smiling a little and loving that all eyebrows — thick thin visible or not – are part of who they are. And I”m glad yours are on your face. And if they stopped being on your face, I’d still read your blog because you’re gentle and kind and funny.

  7. I’ve noticed eyebrow-obsessiveness lately too. And funnily enough, I have an eyebrow-wedding story also – I’ve always had pretty thick eyebrows (and screw you for eyebrow-shaming me Nicole, you monster!) and my mom always wanted me to do something with them and my dad always said they’re fine, leave her alone. Then she MADE ME a waxing appointment before my wedding without telling me, so I did it and the woman burnt the shit out of my brow region so the makeup lady had to cover it up. And my traitor dad said the eyebrows looked great, bastard. So now I wax once a year and it burns me every time, and I pluck ineptly and my eyebrows are just weird. And yet no one has commented on any of my pictures – so very strange, that was. She clearly meant to be kind and helpful, and is just kind of bad at it.

  8. Hannah Munday says

    When I was in the 4th grade, a new girl came to our school. “Your eyebrows look like HUGE FUZZY CATERPILLARS” she said, scornfully, from underneath her own thin ginger brows.

    I’ve tried waxing (my skin burns and blisters). I’ve tried plucking (makes me eyes water, and I never know when to stop). I’ve tried depilatory creams (they also burn, and they smell terrible).

    In the 30 years since Alison Levy laughed at my eyebrows, I’ve seen eyebrow trends go from thin, to thick & natural, to arched, to penciled in, to shaved off completely…

    These days I pretty much leave mine alone. I just… can’t care about eyebrows. I know it’s an extremely personal thing, though. Some people care. Some people apparently care so much that they roam through Instagram caring about the eyebrows of completely strangers. Some people couldn’t give a shit about their eyebrows, or anyone else’s.

    So, yes. I agree with Jerry and George. No one cares about eyebrows. They’re just… there. On your face. You do you, whatever you want to do (just don’t shave only one, a mercifully brief fad from the late 80s.)

  9. Alexandra says

    Eyebrows are really a personal thing. It’s up to you and what makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. And how much maintenance you are willing to invest in them. I personally have been filling, and maintaining my brows since 7th grade. so about 20 years now. And man, I have gone through some horrendously ugly brow shapes over the years. But they followed the trends at the time. Thats what I like about doing my brows I can change them to fit whatever i want, and it can completely change my face. But that just me. Thats my preference. To me MY brows are important. But I couldn’t care less about someone elses. Thats not your thing, no big deal. You do you girl!

  10. Eye brows are a huge thing! I was just at a product launch for a brand and they introduced NINE new brow products in 6 different shades! Unreal!!!

  11. These tips work perfectly, with this you won’t bother about trying to wear makeup daily because of scanty eyebrows

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