Welcome to Iceland. Here we have stunning landscapes and beautiful people—especially the ladies. As you walk around town in Reykjavík, you may notice how perfectly presented Icelandic women are. You will probably think: they must be born like this. And while that’s partially true, there’s a lot of care put into taking care of their appearance, including details as small as eyebrows. Now, let’s get down to this beauty business.
Eyebrow tinting and microblading
The most common techniques Icelandic women use are eyebrow tinting and microblading. Tinting is similar to dying someone’s hair. “We mix the colour and the chemicals together, and then we pluck the eyebrows and put the tint on,” says Heiðdís Steinsdóttir, an aesthetician at Fegurð & Spa in Reykjavík.
Some women do the eyebrow tinting at home, while others go to spa or salon for it regularly. “I try to go once every two months if I can,” says Sif Björnsdóttir, a 23-year-old flight attendant at WOW Air.
If you think dying your eyebrows every two months is too much work, there’s a solution. Microblading is a semi-permanent technique where the makeup artist uses a tiny blade to draw hairs with ink. It’s like tattooing, but the goal is to be “more natural because you hardly can see,”Heiðdís says.
Many Icelandic women start putting effort into this beauty business at a very young age. Sif recalls, “When I was around 15 I went to the salon for the first time. I was one of the last girls in my class to start having my eyebrows done, and shaving, wearing makeup.” She was the kind of girl who liked doing sports and wearing comfortable clothes, but she eventually gave in to the trend to fit in.
The peer pressure among young girls is intense, and many girls feel like they have to do what everyone around them is doing. “People are aware that everyone is judging everyone based on the way they dress, the way they look,” Sif says. “We’re such a small community, and everyone wants to look good all the time, because you’ll always run into someone you know.”
The high beauty standards in Iceland are partially influenced by media. “Especially today with social media, you see this perfect female image everywhere,” Sif comments. “Girls as young as 12 are already starting to think about stuff like that.”
Unfortunately, the beauty trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. “It’s sad to say, but that’s how it is, and I think it’s even worse today,” Sif says.