Removing your eyebrows: a cautionary tale.

Listen carefully, ladies. I’m going to tell you exactly what happens when you over-pluck your eyebrows while in the grip of a dashing pop star – or entirely pluck them in my case – and then I’m going to show you how to fix it.

The ’80s was a decade that gave us so much big, bold beauty. Everyone wore Dior’s Poison, rose blusher was applied as a stripe down a cheek, lace fingerless gloves were mandatory and eyebrows, mostly, were Brooke-Shields-bushy.

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Did I want to embrace these trends? The trends all my school friends discussed, while applying lipsmackingly awful strawberry roll-on lip gloss and listening to Wham!? I did not. I considered myself alternative. A New Romantic. I had heavily kohled eyes and found my inner goth by way of a shoplifted scarlet Pupa lipstick and New Wave music. I bunked out of my boarding school and travelled to the city with heavily crimped and backcombed blue-black hair, a spare pair of knickers and a sackful of make up to go and see Siouxsie and the Banshees, Strawberry Switchblade (this is not an Urban Decay product) and The Cure.

And a band called Japan. David Sylvian, the lead singer, was probably the most beautiful man in the whole of England. Did I have eyes for him? Oh no. My eyes were drawn to the bass player, Mick Karn. He was alien, beautiful, haunting, exotic and completely eyebrowless.

I was captivated as only a mildly rebellious, middle-class, private school girl can be. And I knew I, too, had to remove my eyebrows to achieve this beauty. And so I did. Painfully and one by one, with my Mum’s tweezers, leaving bare, smarting, red skin. I was Karn! I was stupid.

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If you Google ‘celebrities without eyebrows’, you get over two million hits. But try as I might, I can only find websites with rather disturbing photographs of current stars with their eyebrows photoshopped out. (Seriously. Why?) Style icon David Bowie did it, but that’s it. Me, Karn, Bowie. Actually, now you put those names together I am a bit proud but this, ladies and gents, is a cautionary tale in case you should strike forth on your own and pluck.

Alison, with artfully drawn brows


My eyebrows did grow back. Sort of. They are rather wispy and wishy-washy and every single day since I tired of looking like a gothic alien (in all honestly probably about three weeks after the great pluck-out) I have drawn in my eyebrows.

A few days ago, The Glow’s editor dropped a bombshell on me. She’d read an old interview with the (now, sadly, late) Mick Karn explaining that he simply shaved his off every day. Now, why didn’t I think of that? Perhaps I would still have even and luxurious brows rather than the sad, sparse little wisps in their place. Still, a plus was that I was an early style adopter when the ’90s brought us the Pamela Anderson/Drew Barrymore thin-brow-line look.

So how do I mock up a good brow now? Over the years, I’ve used Laura Mercier’s very good Brow Powder, David Jones’ Beauty Brow Pencil which, if in a pinch or on a tight budget, is excellent. But the day I found the holy grail of brow liners was the day I stopped kicking myself for being such a plucking idiot and thanked the make-up gods for Kevyn Aucoin’s Precision Brow Pencil.

It's the ultimate. It lasts for eons and is oh-so-precise. It gives the most natural of looks and you don’t look like you have scary-drag-queen, drawn-on brows. I now have eyebrows of glory! And only I know they’re not my own. Hmm. Maybe that’s not much of a secret anymore…


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Have you ever, ah, removed your eyebrows?

Although celebrities don't always pluck away their brows, they sometimes bleach them into oblivion – just ask these ladies: