Time for a little brow love.

Eyebrow expressions are one of our main emotion indicators.  

Taking nothing else into consideration, we can tell a lot about how a person is feeling just by looking at their eyebrow expressions.
Take a quick look at the drawings below. Can you tell how they are feeling?

This is explained by the fact that our eyebrow expressions are triggered by emotions, and we recognise these on an instinctive level.

In a nutshell, an arched, raised and relaxed eyebrow conveys a high confidence and happy feeling, while lowered or tense eyebrows indicate more negative feelings.

Why are eyebrow expressions important in portrait photography?

This is important to us as portrait photographers for three reasons:

  1. The slightest tension in the eyebrows can change the mood of your portrait and make your subject look angry, sad, surprised or even scared.
  2. Paying attention to your clients eyebrow movements will help you identify their comfort level and emotional state.
  3. Especially when working in fashion photography, eyebrow shapes can also be used creatively to command attention. We instinctively pay attention to angry people and a large angry eyebrow on a model will certainly catch our viewers attention. Whether it’s the right mood for the brand is another discussion entirely.

Working with a make-up artist who understands eyebrow emotions can be a huge help in correcting eyebrow shapes, or achieving that specific look that commands attention.

To learn more about “the perfect brow”, I caught up with eyebrow guru Eleni Eyebrows. Eleni is truly passionate for everything brow and has people driving from three hours away every month just to work with her. I couldn’t wait to hear what she had to say.

Interview with Eleni Eyebrows

Eleni Vasilopoulou
Eyebrow specialist

Eleni specialises in the shaping and styling of eyebrows. Originally from Australia, but now living in the beautiful town of Lausanne in Switzerland, she focuses on highlighting and enhancing the natural beauty and aesthetics of your eyes and face.

She is passionate about eyebrows and her biggest reward is seeing the joy on her clients face once they see the result of her work. Eleni uses a combination of gentle hot wax, tweezers and scissors in her styling, and when necessary, shows her clients how to fill in the brow with pencils, gels and highlighters.

Tell us a little bit about you and your work

I am an Australian ex pat, of Greek origin, and I moved to Lausanne almost 4 years ago. I have been shaping & styling eyebrows for almost 20 years now – if I could do this in my sleep, I would. I absolutely love what I do & sincerely hope this is reflected not only in the way I work, but most importantly, in the results of my work.

What can you tell us about the psychology of the eyebrow?

So much of what we say is emphasised by our eyebrow expressions. Aside from their movement around our eyes, the shape of an eyebrow can say so much, just at a glance.

  • Overly rounded eyebrows give the wearer a perpetual look of surprise.
  • Heavily arched brows give the look of constant worry, anger or harshness.
  • And overly thin brows can be ageing.
What are the most common problems you need to fix?

For me eyebrows need to help us express ourselves, not be the expression . When eyebrows have been unnaturally shaped, they overpower our natural features and become the expression. Especially with over arched eyes, where the person seems to be constantly surprised. It takes away from their natural power.

Mostly, I need to balance out the brows and advise clients on where and why they may need more brow hair. Conversely, I often have clients come to me with completely untouched brows wanting advice on how they should be shaped.

Can you share some brow pictures you really love and tell us why?

Claire – we had a set goal in mind for the shape of Claire’s brows. To have them fill out in certain places in order to achieve the best shape for her face. We managed to achieve this in just under a year and in time for her wedding. To me, Claire’s eyebrows are a perfect balance of beautiful natural eyebrows and a bit of shaping combined.

This is an example of your “not typical” shape that works.

Hannah came to me unsure of the shape her full brows should be. Over time, she has embraced the fact that she doesn’t have to have the high arch so many of us want. She has accepted that her brows are naturally straight and she wears them so well. They make her look powerful and sexy. I have brow envy every time I see her!

What is the one Body Language cue that makes you cringe when you see it in a photograph?

It would have to be self-consciousness. And I cringe out of empathy, as I know all too well what that feels like. It gives the viewer the impression that they are not confident in themselves or in the situation they are in even though they may be the most confident person you know away from the lense. It may only be for a fleeting moment, but it speaks volumes.

Pro tip from Eleni

Don’t let trends and fashions dictate how your eyebrows should look. Eyebrows are the fingerprint of your face – completely unique.
Opt for a brow shape that is natural & flattering for YOUR face. In most cases, the brow you are born with is the brow that will suit you most – with a bit of a helping hand from me.
We can’t all have Cara Delevigne’s eyebrows, and nor should we want to – brows are not a one size fits all.