The Aesthetic Guide is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

New angles on the arc: Optimizing the eyebrow

Article-New angles on the arc: Optimizing the eyebrow

Key iconKey Points

  • Understanding eyebrow shape and how the surrounding structures influence achieving an aesthetically pleasing shape are the keys to ensuring that the eyebrow best fits the face
  • According to one expert, Botox is a versatile and effective nonsurgical shaping tool that can help to obtain the optimum aesthetic eyebrow

If eyes are the window to the soul, then eyebrows are the frame of that window. How then, does one mold the perfect frame?

Regardless of the approach to altering the eyebrows, considerations leading to success must go more than skin deep, according to one plastic surgeon.

Dr. Fagien
"Surgeons have too often just lifted people's eyebrows without regard for the cosmetic appearance they are creating," Richard J. Warren, M.D., Vancouver Plastic Surgery Center, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, tells Cosmetic Surgey Times. "In other words, surgically lifting people's eyebrows may not necessarily make them look better — and may make them look worse, depending on what they started out like. Cosmetically it's a very complex area." SHAPING CONCEPTS Dr. Warren notes that the shape of the eyebrow is more important than its height, and that over the years, there have been many attempts to define the "perfect" eyebrow shape. One of the best definitions, he says, appears in a paper published back in 1997 by Gunter and Antrobus.¹ The study examined and compared the eyebrow aesthetics of two groups: popular fashion models and the researchers' own patient population.

Before (above) and after (below) endoscopic brow lift, which elevated the eyebrows but created a less attractive eyebrow shape (over elevated medially and centrally). Photo credit: Richard J. Warren, M.D.
"They came to a number of conclusions," Dr. Warren relates, "the most innovative of which was their concept of an imaginary oval created by the eyebrow above, and the naso-jugular fold below, with the pupil in the middle."

"Our extensive review of both patients and fashion models," Gunter and Antrobus reported, "led us to conclude that it was a mistake to try to evaluate eyebrow aesthetics without considering the entire periorbital area, especially the eyelids."

Dr. Warren explains that, although the study is older and rarely quoted, the findings are nonetheless applicable to contemporary cosmetic surgery — describing concepts with which he agrees and which don't change as a result of time or technology.

"Attractive eyes are the result of a complex interplay between the overall facial configuration (how far apart the eyes are, the size and configuration of the face, etc.) and the eyelid/eyebrow complex itself," he explained in his presentation at the at the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) in San Diego in May 2008. "If you isolate the eyelid/eyebrow complex, attractiveness comes from a combination of multiple factors: eyebrow height, eyebrow shape, visible upper eyelid, the level of the eyelid (where it crosses the iris), and fullness of tissue in the upper lid sulcus."

According to Dr. Warren, attractiveness of the eye area depends on other factors too, including race, sex, fashion, culture, era and age.

"Eyebrows age by the tail of the brow (the lateral end) falling down more than the rest of the brow," Dr. Warren says. "Eyes age with loss of fat volume, bulging of what fat is left and excess loose skin," and this evolution must be taken into consideration when evaluating aesthetic correction. "In fact, we now have surgical techniques which can alter the height and shape of the eyebrow, the amount of visible upper eyelid, the level of the eyelid, the height of the lateral canthus, and the volume of fat in the upper lid sulcus," he explains. However, "The selection of the proper procedure requires careful patient assessment and a keen sense of aesthetics."

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.