From Iceland — The Icelandic Eyebrows

The Icelandic Eyebrows

Published June 17, 2013

The Icelandic Eyebrows

I heard the other day that a foreigner living here thought for the longest time that Icelandic women naturally had black, pointy eyebrows. It was only later when she saw a woman getting her eyebrows dyed and shaped in a salon that she realised how mistaken she had been to think that it was a genetic trait for blonde women to have dark black eyebrows.
As somebody with naturally untidy eyebrows that camouflage with my pale skin that is so colourless that I’m nearly invisible, I often find myself staring in fascination at young women sporting those prominent eyebrows and wondering how this adaptation on the iconic Spock-eyebrows became so very fashionable in the past decade.
If you’ve never seen them, they start with a square shaped end, about 1cm wide, above the inner corner of the eye, actually all the way to the ridge of the nose. Then they stretch upwards for about 2/3 of the eye, narrowing only a little bit before taking a sharp 30° turn downwards, declining into a sharp pencil point above and to the side of the outer corner of the eye. And they’re black as coal, thick and symmetrically shaped for both eyes.
What causes me to rudely stare is the fact that they’re often so mesmerizingly shiny. Sometimes I’ve wondered whether they’re simply stencils, which would make getting ready in the morning so easy. You could just hold the stencil up against your face and roll over it with a small paint roller, dyed in some sort of black lacquer!
To pull off such eyebrows though, one must work on the rest of the canvas. And perhaps this explains why fake tanning is so popular, why young women either have long bleached hair or hair dyed as black as a raven, and why they make the most of their eyeliner.
This pretty much describes every other young woman on the streets of Reykjavík. And it all started with the eyebrows; I see that now. Without the make-up, a woman’s features would simply disappear behind the elaborated Spock-eyebrows.
Having been abroad for a while, I was almost starting to miss seeing those familiar eyebrows that make me feel at home. Until I caught them on TV, in shows such as ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘East Enders’. I was delighted to see them again and it occured to me that that’s where the inspiration may have come from, although I never realised those TV shows were so influential in Iceland, in fact I didn’t know they were that popular here at all.
Now, back home, I’m seriously thinking about getting me some Icelandic eyebrows, especially if they can easily be stencilled on. The only thing is, I’m not really a morning person so I don’t think I could be bothered with all the rest—the fake tan, the heavy eye-make up and stuff.

But if I went ahead anyways, would it make you terribly uncomfortable if you saw a pair of downwards-facing brackets hovering before you?

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

The Unlikely Perfumer

The Unlikely Perfumer


Show Me More!