Straight vs Arched: Here’s how brow shape can change the look of your face

I’ll confess: sometimes I cringe when I’m complimented about my ‘Korean’ face. I appreciate the intention, but I also can’t help but want to argue about how much skill it takes and the kind of mental dissection I do to make people (myself included) achieve K-Beauty without looking too contrived.

People have been seeing me with a carefully constructed K-Beauty brow for so long that they don’t notice the effect anymore. For the record, this is what I look like with straight brows.

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I used the Project Vanity x Ellana Minerals Life-Proof Eyebrow Gel in Dark Brown (P499) to level my arches. My eyebrows are naturally arched so redrawing them straight is quite a task! Most products tend to melt away faster under my arches, where there is no hair to help keep the product in place; I may start the day with straight brows but eventually end up with my natural arches. I like the Life-Proof Gel because the longevity helps ensure a pretty even fading (if any) to my whole brow. I also like how I can layer it to be more opaque on hairless areas, and thin it out on hairy areas so my brows can look more or less even.

Let’s not focus on the brows though and look at this face as a whole. Regardless of how you know me personally and your opinions about the rest of my facial features, I think this face looks pretty “soft” and dare I even say, “kind”. The straightness of the brow contrasts with the roundness of the eye shape, making it look bigger and rounder than it really is. It is servin’ some Bambi fresh innocence!

But carrying over a similar expression (neutral eyes and closed-mouth smile) and using the exact same makeup color palette (as those can also evoke different feels) this is what I look like with arched eyebrows.

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UNTWISTING MY COMPLETELY CRINGED SOUL FOR A SECOND, LET US DISSECT THIS GAWDFOSAKEN’ LOOK.

Here, I used the Life-Proof Gel again, in the same color. Brow color and opacity can also affect the final look of a set of brows, so I kept to pretty much the same depth of tone and opacity of filling in.

Whereas a straight brow makes my eyes look bigger and rounder, an arched brow enhances the corners of my almond eye shape. A completely similar physical facial expression starts to appear totally different. My eyes now look sharper. The arched shape also exposes my brow bone, creating the illusion of a lifted brow; an expression we associate with being mataray or even bitchy.

This is what we mean when we say “brows frame the face”. It’s difficult to truly get the meaning at first because the way we understand picture frames is that they encircle a whole square canvas, and on our faces, it is the hair that can most do that. With eyebrows though, how you fill and shape them can affect your resting expression:

  • Too dark brows can wash out the rest of the face, resulting in a harsh look

  • Longer brows can make your cheeks appear slimmer so it’s important to balance the length of your brow tail to the outermost corner of your eye

  • Where you begin to shade it can make your nose appear smaller - the smaller the space between your brows are, the more narrow the nose line appears

  • The height of your arches can interact with your eye shape to make it look bigger, as demonstrated in my photos

  • Even the location of your arches can give varying emotions, making you appear confused, surprised, sad, or mad!

Whatever our natural eyebrow shape is, choosing where to fill and not to fill has a major effect on the rest of our faces. You can follow our tutorial for finding your ideal brow shape and use a pencil to sketch it out before tweezing any hairs. If you’re a beginner or worried about getting it wrong, we’re big fans of Browhaus’ Brow Construction service - even men can benefit from some brow-scaping! After getting your brows professionally shaped, it’s easier to DIY maintenance.

If your brows are already shaped, you can tweak the shape as I did using the Project Vanity x Ellana Life-Proof Eyebrow Gels. There are three shades available so you can even create a 3D contoured brow to make them look full and lush! The brow gels are P499 each but you can get all three shades plus a cute pouch and brow brush exclusively at the Project Vanity store!

Have you ever experimented with different eyebrow shapes? What look would you like to achieve? Let’s talk about your successful and failed eyebrow experiments in the comments!